Friday, October 9, 2015

Striking North - Seosan, September 27-28, 2015

Birding among forsaken monoliths
The fields of Seosan

Seosan Super Moon
This way to Birdland! Sigh.
Ridiculous 'Birdland'
Dreaded Chuseok traffic
Former Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus with lunch
Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps
First-year Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
  Two weekends ago, Loghry and I took a much-needed bird trip over Chuseok, Korea's Thanksgiving. Our original plan to hit Gageo-do was scuppered by forecast high winds that would have meant trouble for the ferry, so we opted for Seosan, an agricultural coastal plain about halfway up South Korea's west coast. We started things out in Suncheon, scoping out my patch at the bay. Nothing too nutsoids, but duck variety and numbers were up, and it was fun picking through shorebirds with Loghry's scope. The trip north to Seosan was slowed to a crawl at times by the infamous Chuseok traffic, that sees 35+ million Koreans take to the roads. Ugh.
  Acting on some hot tips from fellow Birds Koreans, we checked a few spots that have been known to host Pheasant-tailed Jacana and Watercock (shakes both fists, muttering oaths) in the past, but it was most likely a touch too late in the year for those specials.
  The rice fields kept us busy as we picked through the many snipes and pipits skulking in ditches. We had quite a few Common Snipes, Buff-bellied Pipits, and a few Red-throated Pipits as well - always an exciting species to watch, although the first year birds can be tricky to separate from Buff-bellied, especially at a distance. A few pacing Black-faced Spoonbills were a welcome sight among the egrets, as Black-browed Reed Warblers skulked among the reeds.
  The bird of the trip was Jason's first (and my second) Pied Avocet. Gorgeous bird! "Th-Th-That's not a Shelduck!!" Giddy high-fives all-round.
  Visible for miles on a hillside was Seosan Birdland - a ridiculous eyesore that appears to be nothing more than another wasteful and poorly-conceived tourist trap. Busloads of visitors can gawk at stuffed birds, climb on giant fibreglass cartoon birds, play with touch-screens, and buy t-shirts and hot dogs on sticks. It doesn't appear that birders, the local landscape, or indeed birds were considered when this repugnant white elephant was birthed.

No comments:

Post a Comment