|Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus|
|Tundra Swan Cygnus columbianus (left) with Whooper Swan Cygnus cygnus|
|doomed Common Merganser Mergus merganser|
|Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula|
|Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope|
|scruffy Eurasian Teal Anas crecca|
|Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus|
|Slaty-backed Gull Larus schistisagus|
|Common (Kamchatka) Gull Larus canus kamtschatschensis |
(heavier bill than I expected, but within the range of kamtschatschensis -
thanks to the Kantori group for the ID help)
|Black-headed Gull Chroicocephalus ridibundus|
|Great Egret Ardea alba |
(I think those pale legs at this time of year make this a
Western Great Egret Ardea alba alba...reading up on it right now...)
|White-tailed Sea Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla (and friends)|
|Chinese Grosbeak Eophona migratoria|
|The flusher (left), the swans (centre), and the photographer (right)|
|Gotta get that perfect in-flight shot...|
|The flusher hustling over to scare the resting swans back towards the photographer|
I walked the Namdae River on the afternoon of December 8th, and spotted 40 species. At the photog spot, the Oriental Stork still loitered, and was joined by a White-tailed Sea Eagle, which performed to the staccato applause of camera shutters. A flock of eight Chinese Grosbeaks seems to be making a (rare) go at overwintering near my house. Stay tuned.
I headed out to Gyeongpo Lake bright and early on December 9th to meet a good birding friend, but unfortunately there was an issue with my phone and we got our wires badly crossed, so didn’t end meeting up. A la prochaine.
By mid-afternoon, I had tallied a nice even 50 species on the lake and in the fields and reservoirs beyond. No sign of last month’s Water Rail or suspected Bluethroat. On a quiet canal, I was greeted with the grotesque sights of a Common Merganser with its bill fouled with fishing line, and then a dead Temminck’s Cormorant lying upside down in the crook of a tree. Nearby, I spotted a Common Kingfisher – a species I feel like I don’t see that often in winter in Korea.
Best of the day was a winter-plumaged Chinese Pond Heron that circled the canal once then headed off – the species rarely overwinters in Korea. Also notable were a Common Shelduck flyby, and single Slaty-backed, Common (Kamchatka), and Glaucous Gulls on the lake, amidst the more common gulls. I’m giving gulls a try, sigh.
My day ended with a Common Snipe and a dozing Tundra Swan among a bevy of 26 Whooper Swans. The resting swans were repeatedly harassed by a photographer, who sent his companion ahead to disturb and flush the birds back towards him so he could get closer/flight shots. Appalling.