Cheonsu Bay, April 29

Bird News from Bradlee Sulentic

It’s days like these that make me look forward to my next day out! Today I took my good friend down to Seosan Lake A for his first birding experience. This being my first Spring trip to Cheonsu Bay, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The warm, overcast day got off to a fantastic start with great looks at a Striated Heron on one of the irrigation ditches on the southeast side of the lake. Overall, the numbers of water fowl were down, with only a small flock of ~500 Greater White-fronted Geese seen on the water and small numbers of 10 other species of water fowl seen. Northern Shoveler was the only species still seen in decent numbers (and they were all clearly paired up for breeding). The best duck seen today was a pair of Garganey near the first reed hide. These birds made up for the painful dip of a possible Garganey on the river near my house due to my not bringing my scope that day. The great variety of herons and egrets kept my friend in awe all afternoon, with seven different species seen today. There were also scores of shorebirds and waders on nearly every meter of open sand/mud and shallow water. If we weren’t racing sunset I would have spent much more time ID’ing more than the seven species I found, including Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit, Red-necked Stint and Dunlin. A flock of ~12 Penduline Tits working their way through the reeds along one of the ditches kept us busy for a while, making identifying them difficult until they finally settled in some reeds for some good looks. About a dozen Little Terns also made their first appearance of the year and put on a nice show diving for food. To top off a fantastic day, a lone Black-faced Spoonbill was resting on a sand bar near where the stream empties into the lake (near the second reed hide). His head was tucked under his wing, which made identification a bit tricky. His eye was exposed just enough to see the black which separated him from his more common cousin. All-in-all, we identified 44 species of birds, including 7 lifers for me. With another more experienced birder, we could easily have pushed the total number to 60 species. My buddy was great company. He tells me he had a great time learning about birding and wants to accompany me on future trips. GREAT DAY ON CHEONSU BAY!

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