Goeje, May 17

Bird News from Jason Loghry with Lee Ki Su

The morning sky was partly cloudy as we headed for the small island of Maemul-do, off of Goeje. As we grew closer to the island, 10 Pacific Loon passed us in flight, giving only brief views. Our attention was then drawn to the sky as 12 large raptors soared above us. At first, I presumed these raptors were Black Kites, but a closer look revealed they were Crested Honey Buzzard. It was exciting, and this was the first time I had seen so many together. Although the boat was rocky, it was spectacular to be able to see them at close range.

On the island, the wind was strong. The habitat looked fantastic, but there were few birds to be seen. By this time, the sky was clear. There were several broadleaf hardwood trees (Machilus thunbergii) present on the island, but we were unable to find any Black Woodpigeon. Species observed on Maemul-do include Oriental Reed Warbler, Korean Bush Warbler, Japanese Bush Warbler, Meadow Bunting ( including several singing), Brown-eared Bulbul, Eurasian Magpie, Eastern Great Tit, Barn Swallow, Pacific Swift, and the dozens of Crested Honey Buzzard soaring from island to island, appearing to be on a migration route.

At noon we took a boat to the neighbouring island of Somaemul-do. There were hundreds of tourists visiting the island and the habitat was more disturbed than at the now seemingly quiet Maemul-do. We were still able to see a few birds, including a female Blue and White Flycatcher, Common Cuckoo, Pale Thrush, Brown-eared Bulbul, and several Japanese Bush Warbler singing. The most impressive observations made were of the Crested Honey Buzzards, most of them seen in the morning hours, with a total of 72 for the day.

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