|Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala|
After a siesta from which I awoke feeling more disoriented than is normal, I headed back out for a circuit of 1-gu in the mid-afternoon. It felt very unbirdy in town - the sense of a clearout in 1-gu was reinforced when the banding team left early with a shrug and a “No birds.”
As I walked along the first path above the quarry, I came across my first Yellow-rumped Flycatcher of the spring, a cracking male. I slowly moved in closer, when a hiker with a trail radio came by and flushed the bird right on cue. After smiling my greeting and letting the man pass by, I waited for a few minutes for the bird to reappear. It didn’t.
There are times when I talk to myself, and as I gave up on the flycatcher and continued down the path, I loosed a particularly salty stream of Québécois profanity. This outburst flushed a chunky, tan-toned bunting from scrub at my feet. Before it landed on the rock nearby, I knew what it was – Black-headed Bunting! This is a rare overshoot to Korea that winters in India – definitely a bird that wasn’t high on the list of birds I was expecting to see this spring! I made sure to get some record shots, and the bird was confiding for about 30 seconds, before it flew straight up the quarry wall, and appeared to carry on north towards wherever it thought it was migrating to. Tomorrow I will be swearing in French at random intervals, just to see what happens.