Friday, April 20, 2012

Black Wood Pigeon redux, with JP

JP, living the dream
Badass biker-birding!
Those are canola flowers - I often snack on them while birding!
Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus feeding
Arctic Loons (Black-throated Loons) Gavia arctica
Black Wood Pigeon Columba janthina
Fire-bellied Toads Bombina orientalis getting cannibalistic
Fire-bellied Toad Bombina orientalis
  Last weekend the singular JP came out from Busan to check out 'Black Wood Pigeon Island' with me. We found at least a dozen this time. In spite of almost tripping on them after a while, I remained fairly enthusiastic about each new one we spotted! Other birds of note included some wicked-looking Black Kites, numerous Korean Bush Warbler, A raft of Arctic Loons, and a Blue-and-White Flycatcher, my first flycatcher of the year. We also spotted at least 100 Brown-eared Bulbuls rallying together and flying north towards 'mainland' Geoje-do. Also notable were dozens of Fire-bellied Toads in an old flooded Japanese gun emplacement.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Geoje-do lately

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
White-cheeked Starling Spodiopsar cineraceus
Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorhynchos
Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius
Tadpoles a'roiling
White-striped Grass Lizard Takydromus wolteri
  Full-blown migration is moments away here in Korea, and I'm excited. I'm heading out early tomorrow morning to see what's about on the south side of the island.

Chinese Penduline Tit

Chinese Penduline Tit Remiz consobrinus
Chinese Penduline Tit Remiz consobrinus
  A walk through the fields near my apartment yielded some interesting birds this morning. Aside from the steadily decreasing numbers of Spot-billed Ducks, notable were several dozen Buff-bellied Pipits noisily foraging in the rice fields. Most exciting was a loose group of about 50 Chinese Penduline Tits moving lazily through the reeds. I've never seen Pendulines in these fields, so they must be moving through.
  On the weekend I witnessed a dozen Grey Herons performing deft aerial maneuvers better suited to Rollers or Swallows! It was quite uncharacteristic and impressive to watch - I'm guessing it was part of a courtship display.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Black Wood Pigeon

Heading to Wood Pigeon Island
Black Wood Pigeon habitat
Black Wood Pigeon Columba janthina
Black Wood Pigeon Columba janthina
Black Wood Pigeon Columba janthina
 Here is a bird I have been dying to see for a few years. Near threatened, this bird is only found on small offshore islands. I got an early start on Saturday and headed to a nearby island to check for anything interesting - the Black Wood Pigeon definitely qualifies! I heard it crooning eerily, and got a quick glimpse of one high up in the treetops before it flew off. I was gutted I didn't get a better look. I hung around for almost two hours, going mad from craning my neck upwards trying to locate the noisy but elusive birds. When it was almost time to get back to the ferry, the birding gods smiled on me, and two of these impressive birds fluttered down onto a tree right at my eye level. Amazing!
  A Black Kite, and numerous Japanese Bush Warblers singing their summer songs were also notable on the island. Back in Gohyeon, Little Ringed Plovers and Grey Wagtails have been arriving over the past week, a good sign that summer is around the corner. In the harbour, most of the Great Crested and Little Grebes are starting to assume their summer plumage. The large group of Eurasian Wigeons near my apartment seems to be thinning out lately, and I've noticed large numbers of Grey Herons in the area over the past week.