Mungap Island, May 12-14

Bird News from Tim Edelsten


May 14th (AM)

Cool and sunny: 56 species counted before boarding the boat. A break from last night’s strong winds spurred a lot of activity, with some 200+ unidentified small passerines flying over the ridge from 11am onward. Anxious bunches of Chestnut-flanked White-eye (149) moved through. New on the scene was a Pin-tailed Snipe, 2 Dollarbird, 2 Raddes Warbler, 3 Common Cuckoo, 1 Red-billed Starling, a wheeling Japanese Sparrowhawk, 1 Blue Rock Thrush, and a Eurasian Sparrowhawk. While watching a skulking Lanceolated Warbler attempting to creep away through the grassland, out stepped a Ruddy-breasted Crake.

Unusually, 4 cristatus Brown Shrike were seen side-by-side on a wire, engaged in some sort of dispute: there are also lucionensis about. One of the resident Peregrines was hunting very actively today, first whooshing over my head with the screech of a jet fighter, then later hurling itself at the two Spot-billed Ducks, which escaped by jumping into the sea. These rapacious falcons apparently own not only Mungap but at least one of the neighbouring islands, which they commute to and from.

So then I left, with a 48-hour total of 80 species.


May 13th

Still very cool, bright and clear, with an easterly wind. Of 56 species, several new sights. Most welcome were 2 very sleek Japanese Grosbeak, sat near the summit of Kitde-bong. Also 3 Taiga Flycatcher, 2 macronyx Eastern Yellow Wagtail, 2 Dusky Warbler, 2 Peregrine, 3 Eye-browed Thrush, 6 Siberian Stonechat, a Common Sandpiper, 1 Chinese Grosbeak, a Richards Pipit, 1 Siberian Blue Robin, 4 Asian Stubtail, and a pretty Eastern Oystercatcher turning over the shells on the beach.

Once again most notable (and noisy), the urgent passage of 497 Chestnut-flanked White-eye, massing before moving off the northernmost point. Also 12 Ashy Minivet flying over and through.


May 12th (PM)

SW breeze. Overcast, becoming clear and sunny by mid afternoon, with mist later: cold in the evening.

An afternoon on this blissfully quiet and mostly untouched island produced 57 species, with a fair bit of visible movement and falls of migrants. The most visible migration comprised 142 Chestnut-flanked White-eye moving through in restless waves of shrill flocks, also the passage of 3 Barn and 9 Red-rumped Swallow, 10 White-throated Needletail, and an Oriental Honey Buzzard over.

Noteworthy were 2 Common Rosefinch, a Chinese Pond Heron, a Forest Wagtail, 1 Yellow-breasted Bunting, a Grey Nightjar, 2 Ashy Minivet and 1 or 2 presumed Hume’s Warbler among the 60+ tired-looking Yellow-browed Warbler. By mid afternoon, obvious new arrivals flopping about on the ground included a Dark-sided and 17 Asian Brown Flycatcher, 18 Chestnut and 1 Chestnut-eared Bunting.

In relatively good numbers were Mugimaki (8) Black-faced Bunting (46), Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (11) Pale-legged Leaf Warbler (18) and Eastern Crowned Warbler (18).

Resident or in breeding territory on the island were 2 Hobby, an Oriental Scops Owl, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Yellow-throated Bunting, 3 Pale Thrush, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Grey-backed Thrush, a trilling Rufous-tailed Robin, 4 Brown-eared Bulbul, 2 Jay, 6 Eastern Great Tit, 1 Varied Tit, a Bull-headed Shrike, 2 Common Kingfisher and 4 Black-naped Oriole.

Otherwise present, a lone Black-billed Magpie, 14 Oriental Turtle Dove, 4 Cattle Egret, 6 Grey Wagtail, 1 Large-billed Crow, 6 Olive-backed Pipit, a Striated Heron, 1 Indian and 1 Lesser Cuckoo, 2 Mongolian among the usual Black-tailed Gulls, 3 Grey-streaked Flycatcher, 7 Tristram’s and 2 Yellow-browed Bunting, 2 Blue-and-White Flycatcher, 8 Temminck’s Cormorant, 5 Brown Shrike, 3 Little Bunting, 1 Little Egret and 3 Spot-billed Duck.

  • Although Mungap remains one of the most pleasant of the Korean Isles, construction has unfortunately begun to increase. There is now a monstrous new ticket office and 2 new houses are being built: the central damp marshy area is gradually being filled in. The pond has been gouged out and enlarged, and is now ringed by a boardwalk.It is still a concrete shell, but hopefully the natural vegetation will recover in time.


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