Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Historical post" - Jeju Island, May 2010

Siberian Thrush Zoothera sibirica
Wee horseling
Hanon crater
Scootin' the backroads
Beats TV
Backstreets of Seogwipo
Mil naengmyan - a spicy cold soup - surprisingly refreshing on a hot day!
Not so refreshing - mool hwae, another icy-spicy soup, this one with raw, bony fish
Long-spine Porcupinefish Diodon holacanthus
Seogwipo, Jeju Island, May 19, 2010
  Relatively quiet on the bird front, on an overcast and windless morning. A quiet corner of a Seogwipo park held an elusive and interestingly-marked male Siberian Thrush, that appeared to be a 1st summer male. About 20 Cattle Egrets were spotted in a nearby field, and I heard my first Common Cuckoo of the year on a hill east of town.

Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Long-toed Stint Calidris subminuta
Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybrid
Pacific Reef Heron Egretta sacra
Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis
Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus
Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides
Short-beaked Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis
Habitat loss at Hwasun beach
Bird News from Matt Poll and Youngho Kim, Jeju island, May 1, 2010
  The first genuinely hot and sunny day of the spring. In Seogwipo, a Grey-backed Thrush skulked in the underbrush on the far bank of a stream. Several Asian Brown Flycatchers have returned to the park. No sign of the Asian House Martins from earlier in the week. 

  On the southwest coast, farmer's field were busy with migrants and visitors. A Common Snipe, and a Long-toed Stint with strong chest markings fed in a flooded field alongside four Sharp-tailed Sandpipers. Three pairs of Garganey remain nearby, along with several Eurasian Teal. A dozen Eastern Yellow Wagtail also shared this field. About a dozen Black-winged Stilts, and a Curlew Sandpiper were seen in nearby fields. I spotted a Chinese Pond Heron here earlier in the week. In a nearby grassy field, we were greeted by the impressive sight of several small flocks of Little Whimbrels taking off together, forming a flock of at least 40 birds (*possibly a high count for Korea). It was also treat to watch was two female Amur Falcons swooping low over the same field, feeding on insects. One male Amur Falcon was also seen. A (late?) Eastern Buzzard and a Kestrel also patrolled nearby fields.
  Further up the coast an Osprey caught a fish in a tidal pool right at our feet, and was then harried by a Eurasian Magpie. Best for the day was probably a Whiskered Tern. It was spotted in the same artificial pond where a Citrine Wagtail was spotted a few weeks ago, where it sat on a rock, clearly too exhausted to move. Also spotted this day were several Blue Rock Thrushes, Pacific Reef Herons, Common Kingfishers, Meadow Buntings, and abundant Barn Swallows at all locations.
  At Hamo beach, several Black-throated Loons drifted offshore, and interestingly one of them was in summer plumage, while the rest remained in winter plumage. At an oreum near the coast, several Dark-sided, Grey-streaked, and Asian Brown Flycatchers were all represented in a hilly thicket. The bushes were alive with active Eastern Crowned and Arctic Warblers, as well as a half dozen or so Brown-headed Thrushes. Overhead, two Oriental Dollarbirds performed aerobatics, and called noisily and corvid-like from the trees.
  Youngho informed me that he had seen both a Japanese Night Heron and Purple Heron earlier in the week, but unfortunately we couldn't relocate either of these birds. Several Grey-tailed Tattlers and five Terek Sandpipers foraged on shore rocks, while about eight Short-beaked Common Dolphins moved past, close to shore.
  At Hwasun beach, some disturbing habitat loss. A small reedy wetland at the mouth of a stream that fed into the ocean has been halved by an ever-expanding concrete construction/storage sprawl. The stream has been completely diverted. The reeds and surrounding area was formerly home to a wide array of egrets, herons, reed warblers, and plovers, among others species, but there were no birds there in evidence today.

(*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.)