Suncheon Bay, March 13

Bird News from Dominic Le Croissette, Kim In-Cheol, Jason P Loghry and Mike Friel

An unseasonably warm (17C), sunny and breezy day at Suncheon. After meeting Kim In-Cheol at the very crowded visitor center (which apparently enjoys up to 6,000 visitors per day from all over South Korea on fine spring days like today), we set off along the thankfully uncrowded raised embankment out towards the mudflats of the bay.

Various small birds showed briefly in flight before dropping back into the extensive reedbeds, however it was clear there were good numbers of Pallas’s Reed Buntings around and we saw at least one Chinese Penduline Tit. At a small reedy pond on the landward side of the embankment, we were suddenly able to enjoy prolonged views of many Pallas’s Reed Buntings in small groups as well as surprisingly higher numbers of Common Reed Buntings. There was a constant stream of avian traffic to and from this small reedbed, which presumably offered excellent feeding conditions or fresh water to drink. Another Chinese Penduline Tit was in this area, as well as a Black-faced Bunting in the grounds of the education center.

A little further along, we flushed a total of at least 6 Japanese Quail from the embankment, which flew a short distance before pitching down into the reeds. The tide was out so there was little to see on the mudflats, although a party of 6 Eurasian Spoonbill and a perched Western Osprey provided some interest.

Meanwhile, Mr Kim located a female Merlin sitting in a plowed field, and before long we had good views of the Hooded Crane flock, comprising about 200 birds. Among them was a single Common Crane, and two hybrid birds.

Later in the afternoon,  we enjoyed spectacular views of the day’s best birds not far from Jinju: a pair of Eurasian Eagle Owls, with two Little Buntings nearby.

Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo. Photo © Mike Friel.

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