Socheong Island May 19 – 24

Bird News from Robin Newlin

From the boat, one flock of about 12 Northern Phalaropes before fog made viewing difficult. On Socheong, fog continued; the overall impression was that there were relatively few birds around. One male Taiga Flycatcher bathed in a stream, Nearby were an Asian Brown Flycatcher, a Streaked Flycatcher, a Brown Shrike, 3 Northern Hobbies, 2 Broad-billed Rollers and a Crested Honey Buzzard. A Northern Hawk Cuckoo sang invisibly. Several Cattle Egrets and one Intermediate Egret worked the grassy slope above the harbor. The path to North Point held 2 Eye-browed Thrushes, some overhead Siskins, and a few Yellow-browed, Dusky and Radde’s Warblers.

May 20:
Fog very heavy in the morning. In the village, one tree held 2 Daurian and 1 Red-billed Starling and 2 Chinese Grosbeak. On the outskirts, a Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and an Arctic Warbler. At North Point, my first locustella for some years: a Lanceolated Warbler.

Also, very small numbers of the following: Meadow Bunting, Chestnut-eared Bunting, Yellow-browed Bunting, Black-faced Bunting, Hawfinch, Siberian Blue Robin, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Chinese Sparrowhawk, Richard’s Pipit, Little Bunting, Chestnut Bunting, Peregrine Falcon.

May 21:
Continued heavy fog with sunny patches in the afternoon. A Citrine Wagtail shared the rocky village cove with a Yellow Wagtail. Afternoon saw a slow increase in variety/”quality” but not numbers – the following were all single birds: Grey Thrush, Siberian Thrush, Grey-backed Thrush, Black-browed Reed Warbler, Thick-billed Warbler, Pallas’s Grasshopper Warbler, Pale-legged Leaf Warbler, Siberian Rubythroat, White-throated Rockthrush, Chinese Pond Heron, Forest Wagtail, Brambling.

May 22:
Northerly winds on the morning meant few new birds—highlights were a female Mugimaki Flycatcher, a Dark-sided Flycatcher, several Pallas’ Grasshopper Warblers, a second Thick-billed Warbler (i.e. now a pair), a few Black-browed Reed Warblers, 2 Chestnut-eared Buntings, a cracking Yellow-breasted Bunting and a Pechora Pipit. Little, Oriental, Common and Northern Hawk Cuckoos called and a few showed. One Black Drongo made a brief appearance near the main village, and 2 Chinese Pond Herons shared a field with several Arctic, Dusky and Radde’s Warblers. Depressing talk with some men surveying the pretty dirt-and-gravel road out to North Point: apparently a hardtop road is in the works, even though their headman agreed that the present road is nicer.

May 23:
More fog. A Striated Heron on the way to North Point. On the grassy slope of the headland, a brief flight view of an apparent Asian Koel. Fog grew heavier as the day continued. A Black-naped Oriole, a (female) Narcissus Flycatcher and an Ashy Minivet were the only new additions.

May 24:
Again fog, again cancelled boats. North Point in the early morning yielded very few birds: Blue Rock Thrush, handsome Meadow Buntings and the continuing Eye-browed Thrushes. Later in the morning and early afternoon, a circuit of a very silent North Point-Back Trail yielded a couple of (probable) Gray’s Grasshopper Warblers, a Dusky Warbler, a Tricolored Flycatcher, several Arctic Warblers and a Eurasian Jay.

Socheong, © Robin Newlin

Socheong, © Robin Newlin

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus, © Robin Newlin

Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola, © Robin Newlin

Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, © Robin Newlin

Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus, © Robin Newlin

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