Birdathon Report: Barry Heinrich, May 14th-15th

Birdathon Report by Barry Heinrich

I started my birdathon at 10:00 near Alps Resort just off the northern most highway over the mountains in Goseong County. The village is called Jinburyeong. I drove down the range towards the coast then visited Geonbongsa Buddhist Temple. Then I took a back road to Geojin and Hwajinpo Lagoon where I found a few ducks that had not yet flown north. From there I went to Daejin hoping to get some seabirds, but there were very few gulls around. I did find a Blue Rock Thrush as I headed south along the coast to Geojin. On Geojin Beach I found a pair of Whimbrels and just had time to get photos before they were scared off by someone walking towards them along the edge of the water.

Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Continuing south I spent some time around my home territory at Ganseong, first looking at the gulls near the mouth of Buk Cheon. It was there that I saw what I believe was a Grey Nightjar flying from near the coast into the forest on a small hill north of the creek. I drove along Buk Cheon to see what else I could find and found Little Ringed Plovers and Kentish Plovers on the back of the sandbar by the sea. There was plenty of activity at the breeding colony of about 50 Grey Herons and 10 Eastern Great Egrets.

Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Richard’s Pipit Anthus richardi. Photo © Barry Heinrich

A thorough search of the rice fields east of Ganseong turned up 2 Pacific Golden Plovers, a Richard’s Pipit and an Eastern Yellow Wagtail among other birds. Nam Cheon in the middle of the day had a Bar-tailed Godwit, a Korean Bush Warbler, Oriental Reed Warblers, a few ducks and other birds as well.

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus. Photo © Barry Heinrich

I found Wood Sandpipers near Songji Lagoon and small numbers of other birds as well. There were very few birds to be seen along the coast because many people were enjoying the fine weather by the sea on Saturday afternoon.

Baikal Teal Anas formosa. Photo © Barry Heinrich

There were some good birds at Cheongcho Lagoon, including a Redshank, Grey-tailed Tattler, Terek Sandpiper and Common Sandpipers. There was also a lone male Baikal Teal and a Chinese Pond Heron at the edge of the water. In the trees around the lagoon I found some good birds too. I returned to Ganseong after dark to get some rest and prepared for an early start at Namdae Cheon on Sunday morning. I arrived there just after 06:00 and had a Black-naped Oriole singing not far from Naksandae Bridge. There were Cattle Egrets and Eastern Great Egrets in the grass around the island west of the birdge. From when I arrived until 07:20, flocks of passerines flew over heading north. I counted over 2700 of then. The waves of birds stopped after that time. I wonder how many I missed that flew past earlier in the morning. Due to the overcast conditions and poor light, it was not possible to identify many of the small birds as they went past. I took some photos of a few flocks but they were too far away for me to tell what they were. I did managed to identify the gulls on the lagoon, and some of the warblers in the trees near the floodbanks. Walking through the trees I flushed a Northern Boobook. I finished my birdathon count closer to Yangyang. I found some buntings and Richard’s Pipits on the low vegetation near the Namdae Cheon. I also saw a Zitting Cisticola in this area.

Black-faced Bunting Emberiza spodocephala. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Chestnut-eared Bunting Emberiza fucata. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Yellow-breasted Bunting Emberiza aureola. Photo © Barry Heinrich

Overall, I think I had a good 24 hours of birding. I made another visit to Cheongcho Lagoon after I finished the birdathon with the intention of getting more photos. The best of these was a Northern Boobook that stood in a tree glaring at me with its yellow eyes with no intention of going anywhere. Its mate was quite a bit more nervous though.

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