Bird News by Bradlee Sulentic
Gayabong – September 28, 2012 –
After getting a late start, I took my two sons up to Gayabong for some birding on a perfect Autumn day. Unfortunately, events conspired against us in the early going with Chuseok traffic slowing us in the trip out there and then the road being blocked off right before it heads up the mountain (at the bridge). So, in trying to make the best of a less-than-great situation, I parked the car and we had a great hike up an exceptionally quiet Gayabong. Outside of what I call the “Big Five” (Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Brown-eared Bulbul, Oriental Turtle-dove, Common Magpie and Eastern Great Tit) the only species of note were 4 Eurasian Jays, a raucous flock of 12 Azure-winged Magpies, a Marsh Tit showing off for us on an exposed branch and a Grey Wagtail flying beneath us under a bridge. Seeing that Gayabong wasn’t going to be giving up many more species we decided to cut our losses and head to…
Seosan Lake A – September 28, 2012 –
As usual, Seosan Lake A did not disappoint. Anthony very quickly got his first looks at 2 Whimbrel mixed in with a flock of 15 Far Eastern Curlew. He very much enjoyed learning about the differences in bill size and shape between the two species. There were quite a few gulls to look at, though they were mostly made up of Black-headed, Black-tailed and Mongolian Gulls. I was intrigued, though, by a rather large and very clean, bright gull that was mixed in with a flock of the afore-mentioned species. Being that I was busy trying to keep two boys interested, I couldn’t take the time to get to know my mystery gull better and had to move on. Ducks now seem to be moving into the area with 4 Mallard and 2 Eurasian Wigeons (all in eclipse plumage) mixed in with the usual Spot-billed Ducks. I was also able to spend a little time studying 3 Common Redshanks that were roosting with some Spot-billed Ducks and a lone female Mandarin Duck on a sandbar in the creek. Two species stole the show at Seosan today, though. Anthony got his very first looks at an endangered species when I located two handsome Black-faced Spoonbills roosting and cleaning themselves near the mouth of the creek. As excited as he was, he immediately started asking me when he’d have a chance to see “Spoonies” like I saw at Yubu-do. I guess seeing one “spoonbill” led his mind right into thinking about the other “spoonbill”. The other “star” was the flock of 10,000-15,000 Bean and Greater White-fronted Geese that flew over our heads on their way to their roosting area on a large sandbar in the mouth of the creek. To go from a couple thousand last weekend to ~15,000 this weekend is quite a jump and was a pleasant surprise for Anthony, Gabriel and myself.
Though our day kicked off the way it did, the beautiful weather and setting at Gayabong along with the spectacle of geese and spoonbills at Cheonsu made for a great day for me and my boys.