Tag Archives: Gwangneung National Arboretum

Various Sites, December 12 – 16

Bird News from Choi Yongsung, Izle Choi, Mike Friel and Nial Moores

A five day birding trip full of discussion and good spirits to several key winter birding sites (Yeongjong on 12th; East Seoul and the National Artboretum on 13th; Cheorwon, Han-Imjin and Hwaseong on 14th; Geum Estuary and Geum River on 15th; and Suncheon Bay, SE River and Joonam Reservoirs on 16th). The weather included snow and sunshine and temperatures that ranged from a minimum minus19C (dawn at Cheorwon) to a more balmy plus 5C (at Joonam), with weather and baggage issues restricting time spent at some sites to only an hour or two. In total, at least 120 species were recorded, including several colourful favourites (e.g. Mandarin DuckFar Eastern Oystercatcher andAzure-winged Magpie) and the following stand-out highlights:

  1. Swan Goose Anser cygnoides. A flock of 33 was at the Geum (including a bird with a bleached-out neck collar) and one was at Joonam.
  2. Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus. Two at Joonam.
  3. Baikal Teal Anas formosa. Two at Hwaseong, 9,000 on the Geum River and a handful at Joonam.
  4. Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus. Eight were well-watched on the SE River, including one fully adult male.
  5. Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus. Five over the arboretum (including one oddly pale individual) and a dozen or so at Cheorwon were the only ones encountered. Of great concern, there appears to be no feeding this winter in Cheorwon due to concerns over Avian Influenza. It would be most useful to receive reports of vultures throughout the country this winter to see how this is impacting their survival.
  6. Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus. One at Suncheon Bay .
  7. White-naped Crane Grus vipio. Probably 25 in Cheorwon and 30+ at Joonam.
  8. Red-crowned Crane Grus japonensis. A total of 15 or so in the snow at Cheorwon.
  9. Hooded Crane Grus monacha. A flock of 460 (including at least a dozen obvious hybrids) were feeding on grain provided through the artificial feeding program at Suncheon Bay; another 15 or so were spread through the rice-fields. One was also at Joonam.
  10. Solitary Snipe Gallinago solitaria. Two were at the National Arboretum.
  11. Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis. One, a scarce over-winterer, was with a flock of 680Eurasian Curlew at the Geum.
  12. Saunders’s Gull Chroicocephalus saundersi. A flock of 290 were in the Outer Geum, with 100 + also at the Geum Barrage.
  13. Relict Gull Ichthyaetus relictus. A First-winter was in among a large flock of feeding gulls at the Geum.
  14. Eurasian Eagle-Owl Bubo bubo. One was sitting cat-like on a rice-field bund at Hwaseong.
  15. Grey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus. Two at the National Arboretum included at least one male.
  16. Yellow-bellied Tit Periparus venustulus. One or two heard at the National Arboretum.
  17. Red-billed Starling Spodiopsar sericeus, One was heard in among a flock of White-cheeked Starling at Joonam.
  18. Naumann’s Thrush Turdus naumanni. At least 40 at the National Arboretum and several groups at other northern sites suggest that this is a good winter for this species compared with most previous years.
  19. Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta. One in flight, calling, at Hwaseong.


Swan-Goose_NM-1Swan Goose Anser cygnoides, © Nial Moores
Swan-Goose_NM-2Swan Goose Anser cygnoides with faded neck collar, © Nial Moores

Baikal-Teal_NM-1Baikal Teal Anas formosa, © Nial Moores

Baikal-Teal_NM-2Baikal Teal Anas formosa, © Nial Moores

Scaly-sided-Merganser_NMScaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus, © Nial Moores

Cinereous-Vulture_NM-1Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus, © Nial Moores

Cinereous-Vulture_NM-2Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus, © Nial Moores

Hooded-Crane_NMHooded Crane Grus monacha, © Nial Moores

Relict-Gull_NM-1Relict Gull Ichthyaetus relictus, © Nial Moores

Relict-Gull_NM-2Relict Gull Ichthyaetus relictus, © Nial Moores

Relict-Gull_NM-3Relict Gull Ichthyaetus relictus with Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus (front), © Nial Moores

Grey-capped-Pygmy-Woodpecker_NMGrey-capped Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus, © Nial Moores