Saturday, March 20, 2010

"Historical post" - Jeju Island, March 2010

White-bellied Green Pigeon Treron sieboldii
White-bellied Green Pigeon Treron sieboldii
White-bellied Green Pigeon Treron sieboldii
White-bellied Green Pigeon Treron sieboldii
Bird News from Matt Poll with Youngho Kim, Jeju island, March 20, 2010
  A trip to a park near Jeju City was extremely rewarding. A striking female White-bellied Green Pigeon perched in a tree, feeding on green berries. It was quite approachable, and apparently this same bird stayed in the park last spring, favouring one kind of tree. It was hard to spot, as it matched the colour of the foliage perfectly, and was quiet and relatively immobile.

My thoughts at the time:
I probably spent close to 15 combined hours looking for this White-bellied Green Pigeon last year, and didn't see it. Why? It sits in trees and it's GREEN! I finally found it yesterday, and I almost fell over - my hands were shaking. Serious birdwatchers aren't called 'twitchers' for nothing. I kind of feel bad for this bird - she's been returning to the same park year after year, presumably to mate with a fine green fella. Unfortunately for her, she originally must have been blown here by a storm or lost her way. Finding her favourite kind of tree, she returns year after year, waiting for a mate that won't appear, as her potential green baby-daddies are all in Japan. That's how it goes.

Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes
Hawfinch Coccothraustes coccothraustes
Bird News from Matt Poll with Youngho Kim, Northeast coast, Jeju Island, March 13, 2010
  A fairly quiet day on Jeju, with a lot of winter birds gone, and the spring migration season a few weeks off. At Hado, about a dozen Black-faced Spoonbills and (two Eurasian Spoonbills) were seen. Duck numbers have dropped off significantly. Several dozen Common Shelduck, a similar number of Spot-billed Ducks and Gadwall, a handful of Northern Shovelers, 200 Eurasian Wigeon, about 50 each of Pochard and Tufted Duck, and a single Pintail were left. About 30 Coot were also seen. A small but unidentified owl, possible a Tawny Owl, flashed by. 
  At Seongsan, a female Harlequin Duck gave distant scope views, in the company of several Black-necked Grebes. Nearby, a single Black-headed Gull mingled with Black-tailed Gulls, while a dozen Dunlin huddled near a handful of scuttling Kentish Plovers
  At the Halla Arboretum in Jeju-si, a female Hawfinch gave great close views. Several Pale Thrush thrashed through leaf litter, close to a walking trail. Back in Seogwipo, Barn Swallows are back in force, with dozens seen swooping low at all waterfront locations.

White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus
Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus
Eastern Great Tit Parus minor
Japanese Bush Warbler Cettia diphone
Seogwipo, Jeju island, March 9, 2010
  'Small birds' ruled in the park today, on a decidedly crisp spring day. Budding trees were buzzing with a large mixed flock of Great Tits, singing Japanese Bush Warblers, Yellow-throated Buntings, and Japanese White-eyes. A pair of Daurian Redstarts pursued each other while making their distinctive 'rusty hinge' squeak. A female Red-flanked Bluetail flitted through riverside brush. About six Olive-backed Pipits perched in a nearby tree when flushed, above a stream that held an adult male leucopsis White Wagtail in summer plumage. This is notable because I usually see lugens White Wagtails on this stream. A male Pale Thrush foraged by the water's edge, and at least nine Dusky Thrush perched in a flowering tree. No evidence of the several dozen Mandarin Ducks that were seen in the park a couple of months ago, and similar Spot-billed Duck numbers have dwindled back to a regular half-dozen. Two skittish Little Grebes were also seen.

From my notes at the time:
Yesterday was super snowy. Today, not so much. Winter is truly over now. The locals have a word that roughly translates to 'Winter's revenge on Spring,' describing the brand of late winter blast we just got.

(*Note: This is a “historical post.” Whereas I started birding in Korea in 2005, this blog has only been active since early 2012 - these posts are an attempt to consolidate my early birdventures from the various blogs and websites where they reside, largely from the “Archived Bird News“ section of Birds Korea’s excellent website: Find more historical posts by clicking on the "Historical posts" tab at the bottom of this post.
  For this post, most of images are lamentably poor-resolution screensaves, as many of the original photo files were lost in the infamous computer crash of 2011.)