Sunday, November 4, 2018

Early Novembirds of GNG, November 1-4, 2018

Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
sunbathing Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Great Egret Ardea alba
Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula
Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
male Bull-headed Shrike Lanius bucephalus
female-type Bull-headed Shrike Lanius bucephalus
Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans
Pallas’s Reed Bunting Emberiza pallasi
  Ack! It’s November! Feels like it some nights, but the afternoon highs are still into the 20s. The insects seem confused. The air has been been weirdly tainted of late – the skies are bright blue, but the suspended particulate readings have been into the yellow. I can taste it in my eyes. Invisible lung poison, sweeeeet.

November 1
  On a lazy hike behind my house, an encounter with an ‘odd’ Marsh Tit got me to thinking…what the heck is the real story with Willow Tits in South Korea? Would I know one if I saw one? Would anyone? Nutty. Later added Azure-winged Magpie to my house list while sipping coffee – love that species.
  In the afternoon, I re-encountered the Red-billed Starling flock that roams the town south of the river. It seems my hunch was right − I was seeing smaller elements of a larger flock, because the flock I saw wheeling and screeching over my neighbourhood numbered easily over 100. Badass! I’d like to pick through them much more carefully to see if anything else is mixed in, but I tend to see them only when I don’t have my optics on hand. I’ll get ‘em.

November 3
  Saturday morning was quiet along the Namdae River, with 34 species logged. Judging from the amphitheatre of photogs lined up with their lawn chairs and bubbling vats of soup, it would seem the Eurasian Bitterns have returned to their wintering spot among the reeds. I couldn’t be arsed waiting around, but it’s nice to know the species is kicking about. Got a quick glimpse of an Amur Leopard Cat along the river, hoping for a better look.
  On a quiet dirt track near the coast, I encountered a big-ish mystery finch with a raspy sing-song vocalization. I tracked it to a tree and was about to get an angle, when I got utterly annihilated by a convoy of sand-farming dump trucks. Of course the bird was gone when I pulled myself from the ditch and the dust cloud had dissipated. What was it? Who knows. Drab Brambling? A pipit seen and an unseen Japanese Wagtail heard, giving the impression of a single bizarre bird? Some super common bird I misidentified? All are reasonable hypotheses.

November 4
  A 41-species afternoon at Gyeongpo Lake, including personal Gangneung first Tufted Duck and Grey-headed Woodpecker. A Grey Heron sunning itself was goofy-looking. Best of the day was also the worst, in that I didn’t get a record shot…of the Yellow-bellied Tit I briefly saw perched across a canal. It was with a flock of Great and Coal Tits, and seemed to melt away with several of the latter. Two hours of searching failed to re-locate the bird. I’ll be picking through packs of tits much more carefully from now on. Stop laughing.

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