Monday, December 27, 2010

"Historical post" - Jeju Island, December 2010

Blizzard in Seogwipo 
Moments before I tripped over my first Eurasian Woodcock



Seogwipo, December 27, 2011
  After being dreadfully bed-ridden for a few days, I ventured out a few days after Christmas, to test out my rubberlegs. I wandered through some of Seogwipo’s lovely coastal parks, and ended up almost tripping over a bedraggled Eurasian Woodcock, my first, in the blizzard.
  Here were my thoughts at the time, as they were:
  Snowing everywhere in the world it seems. Yesterday I woke up a human again, and not a wretched creature that lives on the toilet, and groans and grunts to itself all day. Yuk. Lost a few pounds though, always makin' lemonade. So I ventured out of my stuffy hovel and into an awesome little Seogwipo blizzard along my favorite backroads. My lips numbed. It was good. Still not 100%. I had a revelation while fevered and sweaty under my blankets for three days - when you're hallucinating heavily, anything that's on TV seems pretty good.


Waterfowl assemblage at Ojori
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Rook Corvus frugilegus
Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago
Eastern Buzzard Buteo japonicus
Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens
Dusky Thrush Turdus eunomus
Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus
Bird News from Matt Poll and Youngho Kim, Jeju island, December 12, 2010
  A crisp but pleasant day for coastal birding on Jeju. Along the coast near Sehwa, several Red-breasted Merganser, two dozen Temminck's Cormorant, and eight Buff-bellied Pipits. At Hado, 12 Black-faced Spoonbill grouped with about twice as many Great Egrets. The winter ducks have arrived in force - 12 Common Shelduck, 70 Mallard, several hundred Spot-billed Duck, about 200 Gadwall, a similar number of Eurasian Wigeon, and about a hundred Tufted Duck. Also at Hado were perhaps 60 Coot and 16 Northern Lapwing.
  At Ojori Lake a similar numbers of ducks, with the addition of a dozen or so Pintail, a half-dozen Pochard, 15 Shoveler, and nine Falcated Teal. Near Seongsan, the sky was darkened by two massive clamours of Rooks, the two totaling probably 3,000 birds! At one point hundreds of Rooks mobbed an Eastern Buzzard mercilessly, and it was definitely a spectacle. Three more Eastern Buzzards were seen during the day, as were three Common Kestrel, three Western Osprey, and a Peregrine Falcon. At Ojori, 16 more Black-faced Spoonbill huddled. One of them had a white ring on its left leg, and Youngho suspects it was ringed in Siberia.
  Earlier in the week, a Seogwipo park held a half dozen Pale Thrush, a similar number of Dusky Thrush, about two dozen Eurasian Siskins, and a Common Snipe. In a nearby park, I saw a Naumann's Thrush - the first time I've seen one on Jeju. About two dozen Mandarin Ducks were spotted on a quiet stretch of river.



Hanon crater
Seogwipo's harbour
Further east in the harbour
One of Jeju's ubiquitous citrus orchards

Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni
(*Note: This is a “historical post.” Whereas I started birding in Korea in 2005, this blog has only been active since early 2012 - these posts are an attempt to consolidate my early birdventures from the various blogs and websites where they reside, largely from the “Archived Bird News“ section of Birds Korea’s excellent website: http://www.birdskorea.org/Birds/Birdnews/BK-BN-Birdnews-archive.shtml).  Find more historical posts by clicking on the "Historical posts" tab at the bottom of this post.
  For this post, most of images are lamentably poor-resolution screensaves, as many of the original photo files were lost in the infamous computer crash of 2011.)

Saturday, November 27, 2010

"Historical post" - Jeju Island, November 2010


Youngho leads the way to the Rosy Finch cliffs
A refreshing ankle-deep icewater soak was necessary, but it was worth it
Asian Rosy Finch Leucosticte arctoa
Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos
 Bird News from Matt Poll and Youngho Kim, Jeju island, November 27, 2010
  At the base of remote grassy cliffs on Jeju's west coast, two Asian Rosy Finches were spotted when they braved extremely strong winds and came down to drink trickling fresh water. Earlier in the day, Youngho saw about 30 Asian Rosy Finches in the same spot, and last week one of Youngho's friends saw as many as 180 on these cliffs. At Yongsu, two Bean Goose, a dozen Coots, and about 150 Spot-billed Ducks and Mallards. Along the west coast, several Little Grebes, Common Sandpipers, five Pintails, 50 more Spot-billed Ducks, as well as an Osprey and a Peregrine Falcon.
  After parting ways with Youngho, I spotted several Olive-backed Pipits, a dozen Hawfinch, and several Pale Thrushes in a hilltop park in Seogwipo. In another park, a Striated Heron has been seen in the same spot on a small river for the third winter in a row. Also in the park was a female Pintail, two dozen Mandarin Ducks, and a circling Goshawk.
  And here’s how I reacted at the time, candidly:

  This bird is super rare here, it's been seen less than ten times in Korea. On Saturday afternoon my Korean birding buddy tipped me off about the finch, and I jumped on old whitey and scooted out to meet him near Sanbangsan on the southwest coast. The scoot out woke me up - it was super windy, and I was fighting hard not to get blown into adjacent lanes by the robust gustiness. Once I met up with Youngho, we drove up to a remote cliff on the west coast. We had to scale down this insane cliffside using a haggard old crumbling path. Once at the bottom, we stared up at the cliff for ages, hoping to get finch-lucky. What didn't help was the fact that the tide was all the way in, which meant frigid ankle-deep seawater every few seconds. Also unhelpful, vis-a-vis trying to find the birds were the gale force winds. Woke my ass up even more though. After ages, two of the elusive pinky finches came down for a drink. I about lost my mind. I crept up and got a few decent shots. High fives!  Happy happy day. I have a headache.



Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata
Mandarin Duck Aix galericulata
Eurasian Magpie Pica pica
Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus
Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus
Seogwipo, Jeju Island, November 16, 2010
  A crisp sunny day for a walk through my patch of parks in Seogwipo. The first few Jeju winter specials were spotted in a riverside park - several furtive Pale Thrush, a foraging Red-flanked Bluetail, several Japanese Bush Warblers, a Grey Wagtail, and numerous Japanese White-eyes were seen. On the river, about 25 Mandarin Ducks mingled with a like number of Spot-billed Ducks and six Little Grebes in winter plumage, while a smartly-marked Eurasian Magpie scolded me from a nearby tree. Also in this park were several Great Tits, a Daurian Redstart, and a White-backed Woodpecker.
  A Chinese Pond Heron crept through a nearby field. This is the second Chinese Pond Heron in winter plumage I've seen on Jeju in the past two years - perhaps they're expanding their winter range northwards?


(*Note: This is a “historical post.” Whereas I started birding in Korea in 2005, this blog has only been active since early 2012 - these posts are an attempt to consolidate my early birdventures from the various blogs and websites where they reside, largely from the “Archived Bird News“ section of Birds Korea’s excellent website: http://www.birdskorea.org/Birds/Birdnews/BK-BN-Birdnews-archive.shtml).  Find more historical posts by clicking on the "Historical posts" tab at the bottom of this post.
  For this post, most of images are lamentably poor-resolution screensaves, as many of the original photo files were lost in the infamous computer crash of 2011.)

Monday, October 18, 2010

"Historical post" - Jeju Island, October 2010

Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana
Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana dwarfing a Grey Heron Ardea cinerea
Bird News from Matt Poll and Youngho Kim, West Coast, Jeju island, October 18, 2010
  A rare visitor to Jeju has caused enough stir to land it on the evening news! On a hazy morning, a massive Oriental Stork paced slowly through a small wetland, in the company of six Grey Herons.



Rolling onto Udo Island
Lovely Udo Island

Temminck's Cormorant Phalacrocorax capillatus
White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus
Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschensis
Eurasian Coot Fulica atra
Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla
Jeju island, October 17, 2010
  On Udo Island, a dozen Temminck's Cormorants dried their feathers on rocks, as a Northern Lapwing flew overhead. On a mountaintop, a half-dozen White-throated Needletails whizzed past so close I could hear the 'woosh' of air they made. A dozen or so Barn Swallows were also spotted here. A small agricultural plot held about 20 Eastern Yellow Wagtail. Also seen on Udo were several Japanese Bush Warblers, Dark-sided Flycatchers and Stejneger's Steonechats.
  At Hado, the reservoir was filling in with growing numbers of winter ducks - several hundred Pochard, Gadwall, and Eurasian Wigeon. Handfuls of Eastern Spot-billed Ducks, Moorhens, and Coots were also present, along with two Ospreys and a Common Kestrel.
  At Pyeoson, 24 Kentish Plovers and several Dunlins paced the beach. Back in Seogwipo, a Taiga Flycatcher remains in a park, associating with an Asian Brown Flycatcher, as the individual seen there last year did.



Eastern Spot-billed Duck Anas zonorhyncha
Eastern Spot-billed Duck Anas zonorhyncha
White Wagtail Motacilla alba
Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicas
Golden Orb Weaver Nephila clatava
Seogwipo, Jeju island, October 14, 2010
  Great fall weather for birding on Jeju, with a few migrants and regulars in evidence. In a quiet park, a female Taiga Flycatcher flicked its tail from a low perch, in the same spot where a female Taiga Flycatcher was spotted last year, almost to the day. Perhaps the same bird? Also in this park: several Grey-streaked and Asian Brown Flycatcher, an increasing number of Eastern Spot-billed Duck (20), several Mandarin Ducks, and a White-backed Woodpecker.
  In a farmer's field, two lugens White Wagtail cavorted in the dirt, chasing grasshoppers, while a Grey Wagtail worked a nearby stream. A male Stejneger's Stonechat in non-breeding plumage, numerous Japanese White-eyes, and a Common Snipe were also present in this field. As I was leaving, a mystery starling flashed past, showing a lot of grey. I didn't get a good look at it, but it gave me the impression of a White-Shouldered, which I've seen in this field before.


(*Note: This is a “historical post.” Whereas I started birding in Korea in 2005, this blog has only been active since early 2012 - these posts are an attempt to consolidate my early birdventures from the various blogs and websites where they reside, largely from the “Archived Bird News“ section of Birds Korea’s excellent website: http://www.birdskorea.org/Birds/Birdnews/BK-BN-Birdnews-archive.shtml). Many of the pictures are poor resolution, as the originals have been misplaced over the years. Find more historical posts by clicking on the "Historical posts" tab at the bottom of this post.
  For this post, most of images are lamentably poor-resolution screensaves, as many of the original photo files were lost in the infamous computer crash of 2011.)