Sunday, December 23, 2018

And an odd thrush in a bare tree – Gangneung, December 22-23, 2018

Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
Red-billed Starling Spodiopsar sericeus
Festive thrush quiz! What is it? Answer next time...(evil laugh)
White-tailed Sea Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla
White-winged Scoter Melanitta deglandi
Gelatinous harbour ornament
Tim scoping it out
Home for now
   Due to alarming smog levels, only a quick circuit of the river on Saturday morning, wearing my silly drywaller’s mask of course. My personal first Peregrine Falcon (seemed pale-masked?) of the season terrorized the river birds near my house. Further downriver the first seven scuttling Sanderlings of the season. Also, a Common Kingfisher still, and three Siberian Accentors.
  On Saturday night Tim Edelsten blew into town, and we clucked away like hens about bird stuff over a bowl of spicy something-something. Always nice to check in with another grizzled old Korea vet.
  The following day, Tim and I met up early at the lake, on a Sunday that was windy when it wasn’t mild. Tim brought his scope, so we engaged in the sort of birding that pulls me out of my comfort zone (which is mucking through lonely ditches) – gulling and seawatching. It reminded me that I’m happiest when I’m learning new things. My eyes still hurt though, ouch ouch, that sea-wind…real stingy.
  A White-tailed Sea Eagle wheeling overhead whipped the other birds on the lake into a frenzy – it was entertaining to watch Grey Herons pulling aerobatic maneuvers better suited to terns or swallows.
  Back in the harbour, a couple of hours of seawatching produced some memorable sightings. Near the shore, three elusive Slavonian Grebes (would make a solid name for a Harry Potter villain) performed an underwater disappearing act (AKA Horned Grebe). Further out, several ranks of White-winged Scoters and Ancient Murrelets zipped past. Some Black-legged Kittiwakes were also spotted, and I got tenuous long-range looks at what was probably a Brant Goose…I’ll wait for a closer view before ticking that one, as it would be a first. There’s a spot for them just up the coast, apparently.
  After seeing Tim off, I walked back home via the river, with the setting sun in my eyes for once. On a sandy strip, Sanderling ranks had swelled to a dozen. The day ended with a mini-murmur of about 45 Red-billed Starlings rallying on the wires near home – the 54th and final species of the day.

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