Tag Archives: fall migration

Fall Migration in Jeju City Parks, September 2023

Bird News from Leslie Hurteau.

A very belated post to share various bird sightings throughout the month of September from various city parks within Jeju City (central north city of Jeju Island). Fall migration had really picked up by the second week of September, and continued to increase as the month progressed. There was a noticeable movement of flycatchers in particular. Black Paradise Flycatchers were seen and heard in noticeable numbers even within city parks. The usual Asian Brown Flycatchers, alongside Dark-sided and Grey-streaked, were more numerous. Other songbirds, like Arctic Warblers, Eastern Crowned Warblers, and Yellow-browed Warblers were almost a daily occurrence in urban green areas.

Black Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata 긴꼬리딱새, several were seen and heard in local city parks, likely young individuals beginning to migrate south. © Leslie Hurteau
Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica 솔딱새, perhaps one of the first times seeing this species on “mainland” Jeju, as opposed to an “island-island”, like Mara Island. © Leslie Hurteau
Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana 큰유리새 at least one male (or two?) were fueling up in Shinsan Park in downtown Jeju City throughout September. © Leslie Hurteau

Along the coastal parks, Egrets and Herons could be seen in higher numbers, as well as a surprise Whiskered Tern found diving for food in a stream right off of a main road. A small number of birds I usually associated with winter here, such as Eurasian Kestrel and Chinese Grosbeak, were also observed.

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrida 구레나룻제비갈매기 seen flying and feeding around one of the few freshwater streams in Jeju City, adjacent to a very busy road. An important reminder that we share space with migratory birds of all types even in highly developed areas. © Leslie Hurteau
Common Pheasant Phasianus colchius Incredibly common on Jeju, and not only heard (like they often are on the mainland) but seen as well. This brilliant male was strutting around nearby where the Black Wood Pigeon and a Black Paradise Flycatcher were seen. © Leslie Hurteau
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 황조롱이 being mobbed by a Large-billed Crow. Shortly before this photo was taken, the Kestrel was being mobbed by a large group of Barn Swallows and Oriental Magpies, which clearly got the attention of the Crow. Kestrels are fairly common to see on Jeju from fall through to spring, and given the timing of this sighting I think this individual was migrating south rather than planning to overwinter. And if it was going to overwinter, I’m sure the not-so-warm welcome convinced it otherwise! © Leslie Hurteau
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos 큰부리까마귀 seen with a stolen piece of raw fish from a nearby traditional market. This species is very common throughout Korea, but seems especially common on Jeju Island. Not a migrant, but a fun sight to see. © Leslie Hurteau
Chinese Grosbeak Eophona migratoria 밀화부리 The first Grosbeak of the season for me, seen in Shinsan Park at the end of September. As of writing this blog post (early November), a large group of Chinese Grosbeaks has been present in the same area since early October. © Leslie Hurteau
White-shouldered Starling Sturnia sinensis 잿빛쇠찌르레기 This species seems to be mainly uncommon passage migrants, but in recent years there have been records of White-shouldered Starling breeding on the western edge of Jeju Island. This year I was unable to find them nesting in their “usual” spot, but it’s possible they just found a new area. This particular individual was seen with a group of Light-vented Bulbuls in Oedo Eco Park, just west of Jeju Airport. © Leslie Hurteau

Out of all the species encountered in these city parks, two standouts were Black Wood Pigeon and Fairy Pitta. Both individuals had fresh plumage, and the gape was still slightly visible on the Pitta’s bill, making me think they were born this year and were dispersing. It’s possible the Black Wood Pigeon came from Sasu Island 사수도 (a small island with restricted access, just east of Chuja Island 추자도), as a breeding population is known to be there. The Fairy Pitta was likely from Jeju, but also possible it could have been from the mainland or elsewhere.

Black Wood Pigeon Columba janthina 흑비둘기 A very surprising find but perhaps not unexpected given that small nearby islands are known to have breeding populations. This fresh looking individual was found quietly perched in a pine tree in a quiet part of Sarabong Park, a large city park in Jeju City. Care was taken not to disturb it, as the area is quite busy and plenty of curious Oriental Magpies around may have potentially got involved. © Leslie Hurteau
Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha 팔색조 This individual appears to be one born this year, with the fresh plumage and the visible gape at the base of the bill, a feature that seems common for many young passerines (Corvids especially, in my experience). Oddly enough I found this one at nearly the exact same spot I saw an adult in early June, in Shinsan Park in the middle of downtown Jeju City. © Leslie Hurteau