Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Holiday hooter

Little Owl Athene noctua
Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens (and friends) 
A river with natural banks...not easy to find these days...
Tangled habitat for buntings, Long-tailed Rosefinch and Siberian Accentor
Korea's east coast
  Took a little Christmas bus trip out of town, where a lethargic Little Owl awaited me in a field. How did Santa know that was exactly what I wanted?
  Along a nearby river, a Siberian Accentor, a female Long-tailed Rosefinch, and two dozen Rustic Buntings were seen in the lovely natural scrub-lined banks – an increasingly rare sight on South Korea’s rivers. A lone Dusky Thrush reminded me how unthrushy my Gangenung tenure has been to date. Still only one species of Turdus thrush logged, with individual birds countable on one hand.
  On the coast, I unknowingly strayed onto a militarized section of beach and was chased off by a squad of jumpy young whistle-blowing soldiers – fun times. If you don’t want foreigners bristling with optics bumbling into your machine-gun nest, how about putting up a bigger sign…or a fence maybe? Just an idea.
  Gulling produced more highlights, with the highlightiest being a Glaucous-winged Gull tucked in among a motley colony of more common gulls – another long-awaited bird. Also along the coast, several Glaucous and Slaty-backed Gulls, four species of grebe, and my first few Red-breasted Mergansers of the season.
  The mystery thrush from the last post was of course a Blue Rock Thrush, not on a namesake rock, but looking out of place in more traditional thrush habitat. It sure can mess with the mind when a familiar bird is seen out of context.

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