Bird News by Jason P. Loghry, with Nial Moores and Amaël Borzée.
Reading even the most extraordinary news from Eocheong-do during spring migration doesn’t compare to an actual visit. It seemed like around every corner was something new to discover and observe. Unfortunately, my understanding is that even though my enthusiasm is at a high, some species did seem to be at a noticeable low. Nonetheless, we observed a great number of species.
Chinese Pond Herons, Siberian Blue Robins, Red-flanked Bluetails, Ashy Minivets from the tree tops, Black-naped Orioles in flight, Chinese Grosbeaks on telegraph wires, a Japanese Grosbeak observed from the tip top of a tall tree, Russet Sparrows outside the school yard, Tristram’s Buntings, Little Buntings, Chestnut Buntings, Yellow-Breasted Buntings, Yellow-browed Buntings, and a Yellow Bunting in and out of the gardens.
Yellow-browed Bunting Emberiza chrysophrys Photo © Jason P. Loghry
There were several Pale-legged Leaf Warblers as well as Yellow-browed Warblers singing here and there, allowing me to get to know their songs and calls very well. Eastern-crowned Warblers were about, but not in very high numbers. A Korean Warbler calling and then coming in full view in a bush alongside the beach.
A few Dusky Warblers were about, and at one point, a Radde’s Warbler came down close to a Dusky, allowing for an observance of contrast between the two; as did with a Blythe’s and Richard’s Pipit; and as did with a very delicate and lovely looking Black-browed Reed Warbler in the same thicket as an Oriental Reed Warbler. A Red-throated Pipit was also observed. A striking Siberian Rubythroat streamed passed me, after it and another were seen possibly battling over territory.
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula abicilla Film © Jason P. Loghry
Quietly watching a grassy rocky cliff-side on one of the mornings, a well-hidden Pintail Snipe suddenly jetted out right in front of us and then off into the distance. A drab Common Rosefinch in the garden, beautiful Rufous-tailed Robins were heard singing and a few seen as well, as were some vibrant Yellow-rumped Flycatchers here and there, and a very interesting Narcissus Flycatcher, and for us an elusive Ferruginous Flycatcher, originally spotted by Mr. Choi Seong Hoon. Some Asian Brown Flycatchers were about and a Grey-streaked Flycatcher was observed and a few heard calling. A few gorgeous Taiga flycatchers were also rattling away.
House swifts, Red-rumped Swallows, Barn Swallows were swooping up and around the overcast damp sky. At least two Brown Shrikes were observed, one being of lucionensis. A couple of Dollarbirds came at one point during one of the evenings and could be viewed from afar. A Grey Nightjar also swung around the side of the harbor in the even later evening sky. Shorebirds seen were several Common Sandpipers, a tired Mongolian Plover, and a very exhausted and also very interesting Pacific Golden Plover. A gorgeous Forest Wagtail and some gorgeous Eastern Yellow Wagtails, including one of taivana.
Oriental Cuckoos could be heard. A Grey-faced Buzzard, Chinese Sparrowhawks, Japanese Sparrowhawks, and a Peregrine Falcon could be observed. Chinese Blackbirds, the call of a Siberian Thrush, Grey-backed Thrushes, an Eyebrowed Thrush, and on a walk quiet during a very misty windy afternoon from the lighthouse, I came eye to eye with one of the most amazing birds I’ve ever seen, a White’s Thrush. Wow!
It seems as though the list could continue, and at least 85 species were observed on one of the days. Was a remarkable weekend, and at one point when a storm came in, and the ferry couldn’t come, at the risk of missing work, I was allowed one more evening and morning of greatness. Ah, migration just leaves me in awe.