Birds News by Jason Loghry with Lee Ki Soo
A lovely day of birding began near a temple in the Goseong area. Two weeks earlier, Mr. Lee Ki Soo had observed a pair of Ruddy Kingfishers at the temple. We set out early to see if they were still present. As we began our morning walk, we carefully looked through the dense canopy of green leaves that followed the nearby creek water downstream. We first spotted an Oriental Dollarbird on a wire and then a few Eurasian Jays moving through the foliage. At a forest edge near a road side grave site, a Chinese Sparrowhawk sat high on a limb. A White-backed Woodpecker drummed away and a Pale Thrush flew by carrying a twig in its bill. The area seemed ‘birdy’ and several tits, thrushes, bulbuls were singing. Then with very much delight, at almost 8am, the beautiful song of two Ruddy Kingfishers could be heard from opposite sides of the forest. We walked up a nearby path, but didn’t stray far from the stream or temple. Suddenly an Oriental Scops Owl swooped by quickly, perhaps flushed by our approach. We sat quietly near the stream where the song was loudest and one of the kingfishers perched on a tree directly in front of us. My heart pounded for the few seconds we were able to observe it, and for the rest of the day, my smile seemed permanent.
Time passed quickly as we searched to get just one more view, but the kingfishers went silent at about half past eight. Mr. Lee mentioned that two weeks before, they had been most active at around 10am. As we waited, an Oriental Cuckoo started singing, some Black-naped Orioles started feeding actively, and the wind picked up a little. Two female Mandarin Ducks flew downstream. A closer look revealed a Chinese Sparrowhawk perched on a limb just over the flowing water. It flew downstream. At about ten, Lesser Cuckoos could be heard singing from the tops of trees and Asian Stubtails from within the shrubbery. A Grey-headed Woodpecker was also feeding. With no sign of Ruddy for a couple of hours, we decided to move on to Junam.
At Junam, there were a lot of Grey Herons and Great Egrets. There were also some Little Egrets, Intermediate Egrets, and Eastern Cattle Egrets. Oriental Reed Warblers were singing that summer was in the air. About 70-80 Little Terns were feeding on the reservoir, hovering and diving for fish. We hoped to see some Stilts on the rice fields, but there were none around.
At Dongpan, there were even larger numbers of Egrets and Herons, a flock of about 30 Spot-billed Ducks feeding, 2 male Mandarin Ducks, a Common Cuckoo on a wire, and a flock of White-cheeked Starlings feeding under the trees of a persimmon orchard.
At Euguksa (temple), we found Blue and White Flycatchers, one tending to a nest nearby a stoney patch of creek. We also found a Great Spotted Woodpecker. There were also many mosquitos, so we didn’t stay too long. On the way out, another Chinese Sparrowhawk flew by but then decided to have a bath. It was a hot afternoon but a great one for the start of the summer.