Geoje-do, January 8

Bird news from Matt Poll

It’s great to be back in Korea! I knew my new home on Geoje Island was going to be a promising spot for birds when I spotted a Black Kite on the car ride from Gimhae airport. I’m living in Gohyeon, which is nestled in a coastal valley that offers a wide array suitable bird habitat packed into a relatively small space.

Taking an early morning jet-lag walk near my apartment, I was impressed by my new patch, as I passed by a harbour, a salt-water canal, fresh-water streams, low mountains, fallow farm fields, marshy wetlands, and massive reedbeds.

I spotted 42 species on this walk, including a number of mainland species that were notably infrequent or absent from my Jeju birding trips, such as Long-tailed Tit, Varied Tit, Coal Tit, Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker, and Vinous-throated Parrotbill – most part of a vigorous and inquisitive bird wave that enveloped me as I ate breakfast at the top of a mountain! In the hills, I also saw a Japanese White-eye, numerous Yellow-throated Buntings, as well as a Dusky Thrush and a Pale Thrush.

The harbour and streams are home to many hundreds of Spot-billed Ducks, as well as groups of 20-50 Eurasian Teal, Gadwall, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Pochard, Common Goldeneye, and Great Crested Grebe. I spotted a Black-headed Gull in the harbour with the more common gulls, while a lone Cinereous Vulture soared overhead. At a quiet spot on a rocky stream, I was pleased to find five Long-billed Plovers.

Coal Tit. Photo Matt Poll

Eastern Great Tit. Photo Matt Poll

Varied Tit. Photo Matt Poll

Large-billed Crow. Photo Matt Poll


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