Trip Report: Korea 9th September to 11th October 2005 Author: Fergus Crystal Contact email

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Trip Report: Korea 9th September to 11th October 2005

Author: Fergus Crystal

Contact email:
I was in Korea from 9th Sept to 11th Oct 2005. I spent most of my time birding on an island called Socheong-do, which is an island in the Yellow Sea off the W coast of North Korea but currently belongs to South Korea. I recorded a total of 130 species there, and a total of 211 species in the rest of Korea. Note that on 20th Sept there was a half day of observations, and strong south winds on 16th Sept and rain on 30th Sept affected day totals for migrants.
On the island, I met Mark Brazil, Mayumi Kanazawa and Chris Cook, and they were my co-observers from 15th–18th Sept. I want to thank them. I want to thank Nial Moores who is based in Busan, Korea, who gave me expert advice on travel, birds in Korea and classification/ identification. And finally thanks to Akiyoshi Nakamichi from Kagoshima, Japan, for all his support, use of his PC and library.


The transcriptions and descriptions of vocalizations are made up by me and are of course, totally subjective. However, they may be of some use as a reference. Also, apologies for the lack of Latin names of subspecies. I just don't have a big enough backpack for books! I have tried to follow the names and orders listed at the BirdsKorea website, but have made some slight changes and alterations in spelling to some names.

Please email me with any queries you have about certain records. I can provide descriptions for any records. I had a fantastic time birding in Korea and would recommend a trip here in autumn to birders who want experience of migratory species from eastern Siberia.

Yours sincerely,

Fergus Crystal,

Kagoshima, Japan

15th October 2005.

1. Japanese Quail Coturnix japonica

Seocheong: 1 flushed on Oct 2nd

2. Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus karpowi

3 males noted Subingdong mountain forest edge, Ulleung island (where probably introduced). Noted as common on Eulsuk island, Busan, where 7 seen on Oct 9th. Also 3 Seosan fields Oct 6th.

3. Swan Goose Anser cygnoides

1, possibly 2 birds, seen with Tundra Bean Geese at Seosan on October 6th. Photographed.

4. Tundra Bean Goose Anser (fabalis) serrirostris

Up to 20,000 present at the Seosan roost on 5th Oct and 23,000 there the next evening.

5. Greylag Goose Anser anser

1 first year bird was seen at the Seosan roost on October 6th, but no photograph taken.

6. Snow Goose Anser caerulescens

2 birds at Seosan on October 6th: 1 was a "blue" bird larger in size than surrounding Bean geese; the other, in a separate flock, was a white adult smaller than surrounding Bean Geese.

7. Ruddy Shelduck Tadorna ferruginea

6 birds were seen at the Seosan roost and on nearby fields on Oct 5th–6th.

8. Gadwall Anas strepera

2 Seosan roost 5th Oct. 30 (on a lake near the Seosan reclaim) Oct 6th. 1 Eulsuk, Busan Oct 10th.

9. Falcated Duck Anas falcata

8 on a lake near the Seosan reclaim Oct 6th.

10. Eurasian Wigeon Anas penelope

No more than 300 present at Seosan Roost on 5th–6th Oct.

11. Mallard Anas platyrhynchos

Around 500 Seosan 5th and 6th Oct. 50 Eulsuk 10th Oct.

12. Asian Spotbill Anas poecilorhynchos

Seocheong: 5 over NW on 29th Sept. Around 3000 Seosan roost 5th Oct. 400 Eulsuk, Busan 9th Oct

13. Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata

17 seen at Seosan on 6th Oct. 4 Eulsuk, Busan 10th Oct.

14. Northern Pintail Anas acuta

2000 Seosan 5th–6th Oct.

15. Garganey Anas querquedula

Flock of 7 seen in a field at Seosan Oct 6th. 1 Eulsuk, Busan on Oct 9th.

16. Baikal Teal Anas formosa

An estimated 30,000 into the Seosan fields at dusk on 5th Oct, but 70,000 there on 6th Oct.

17. Common Teal Anas crecca

Around 7000 birds thought to be present at Seosan on 6th October. 1000 N Saemangeum 7th October. 100 Eulsuk, Busan 9th Oct.

18. Tufted Duck Aythya fuligula

10 Eulsuk, Busan 10th Oct.

19. Yellow-legged Buttonquail Turnix tanki

Seocheong: A first-year female found dead (squashed by a car) in the central island, and another female flushed near lighthouse on 20th Sept. A male flushed there on 22nd Sept, 1 female at Hydro centre 23rd, 2 calling at lighthouse scrub before dawn 24th Sept,1 female there 27th Sept, 1 calling at dawn at main village on 29th Sept and 1 at lighthouse scrub on 3rd Oct was the last. The call is a flat, slowly repeated " cwee... cwee... cwee" (heard once in duet). It drops slightly at the end of the sequence, and is reminiscent of a subdued Water Rail Rallus aquaticus call. The skin of the dead bird is in the deep freeze at the police station. I mislabeled it Little Buttonquail C. sylvaticus.

20. Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker Dendrocopus kizuki

Birds were noted at Soraksan National Park (2 at Osaek village on 14th Sept) and one near Gunsan on 5th Oct.

21. White-backed Woodpecker Dendrocopus leucotos

3 birds in woods on the southern slopes of Sunginbong san at Dodong, Ulleung island on 12th Sept. This is an endemic island ssp.

22. Great-spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopus major

Seocheong: presumably the same adult female seen each day 22nd-26th Sept, in different areas of the island. Twice the bird was watched trying to quit the island by flying (N towards Tacheong island) 500m out over the sea and climbing to a height of 100m in wide undulating spirals before dropping again and returning to a perch in an exposed pine. This happened during sunny weather and light winds. On the evening of the 26th the bird was seen near the army base in the east of the island. There was a slight west wind that night. No other sightings. This is probably the first record for this island. Also 1 bird seen near Gunsan on 5th Oct.

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopus hyperythrus

Seocheong: 1 male was observed by Mark Brazil on 14th Sept, but not seen again.

23. Grey-headed Woodpecker Picus canus

A very confiding adult male was perched on weed stems by the Seosan goose roost on 6th Oct, a totally treeless area around 5km away from the nearest woods. 1 heard calling N of Gunsan on 5th Oct.

211. Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla

Seocheong: singles seen on 21st Sept, 22nd and 24th, all in or near pine trees.

24. Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis

Seocheong: 3 on 15th Sept, 4-5 on 17th, 3 on 18th.

209. Eurasian Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

Seocheong: 3 seen on 15th Sept and a single 1st year male at village port to Oct 4th. Seosan: 3 noted in drainage ditches near goose roost 6th Oct. 1 Eulsuk island, Busan 10th Oct.

210. Black-capped Kingfisher Halcyon pileata Seocheong: 1 in rain in central island on 21st Sept.
25. Northern Hawk Cuckoo Cuculus fugax

Seocheong: 2 birds seen well in pine wood edge near army base on 22nd Sept. I was an adult male, the other thought to be a first year. Possibly the first record for the island.

26. Eurasian Cuckoo Cuculus canorus subtelephonus

Seocheong: 1 ad female 18th Sept, 1 first year on 21st, 1 first year 22nd, 1 first year 24th. Elsewhere 1 first year being mobbed off a perch by a Common Kestrel, Shinpo port, Saemangeum 8th Oct. All birds seen were grey morph birds.

27. Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus opthalus horsfieldi

Seocheong: 1 1st year 15th Sept, 4 on 16th, 1 on 17th, 1 1st year 18th, 1 rufous 1st year 20th, 1 on 24th, 1 ad 25th, 1 1st year 26th, 1 rufous 1st year 27th and 1 at the light house 2nd Oct. Note that this species was heard to be given a rather high but guttural “kyuk-kyuk” call in alarm at pursuing raptors on three occasions.

28. White-throated Needletail Hirundapus caudacutus

Seocheong: 9 west past aerial tower on 25th Sept.

29. Pacific Swift Apus pacificus

Seocheong: 1 on 17h Sept, 14 on 18th, 1 on 19th, 4 on 22nd, 2 on 27th, 2 on 2nd Oct. 1 Eulsuk, Busan on 9th Oct.

30. Oriental Scops Owl Otus sunia

Seocheong: 1 near lighthouse 24th Sept, 1 there 2nd Oct and 5 there 3rd. 2 near village on 4th included a reddish brown morph. Total 9.

31. Northern Boobok Ninox japonica

Seocheong: 1 in pines on north side of island 1st Oct. Formerly known as Brown Hawk Owl.

32. Jungle Nightjar Caprimulgus indicus

Seocheong: Mostly found in association with pines: 4 on 16th Sept, 1 on 24th, and 1 on 28th (possibly the same bird giving a rapid “kik-weeo” call in flight before dawn This call was reminiscent of Poor-will call from North America, and suspected to be the rarely heard migration flight call of this species). Also 2 near Army barracks at dusk on 3rd Oct.

33. Black Woodpigeon Columba j. janthina

Ulleung island: commonly seen around the outskirts of Do-dong village, where birds seemed rather less shy than those in Japan. Seocheong: 1 distinctly heard calling in pines near the school in the afternoon of 1st Oct. There had been a light NE wind and drizzle during the morning, clearing to sunny calm conditions at midday. Despite much waiting, I could not find the bird. This is the first report of this species coming from the island (or neighboring islands).

Feral pigeon Columba livia var. domestica

Seocheong: a racing pigeon with a Chinese leg ring was very tame and present at the lighthouse from 15th Sept to about 22nd Sept. In addition, “rock dove”-like birds were noted on the island on two occasions: 2 at the army barracks briefly on 24th Sept and 1 over 2nd village on 3rd Oct.

34. Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis

5 seen on Ulleung do during a hike around fields at Do-dong on 12th Sept. Seocheong: seen daily, with fluctuations in numbers due to birds coming in off the sea from the N (Tacheong island). The highest count was a flock of 40 in the pines at the eastern tip of the island, 26th Sept.

35. Ruddy-breasted Crake Porzana fusca

Seocheong: 1 calling at lighthouse scrub on 28th Sept.

36. Common Moorhen Gallinula chloropus

Breeding thought to have occurred at Eulsuk, Busan, where a pair with five juvs seen 9th Oct.

37. Eurasian Coot Fulica atra

2 on a pond near Seosan marshes and 2 at Seosan estuary 6th Oct. 2 Eulsuk 9th Oct.

38. Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola

Seocheong: 1 on 20th Sept, 1 on 21st Sept, 1 at dusk over village 2nd and 5 on 3rd Oct. Total 8.

39. Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura

Seocheong: 1 photographed in a muddy garden plot by the village on 17th Sept.

40. Swinhoe's Snipe Gallinago megala

Seocheong: 1 photographed with a Pintail Snipe on 17th Sept separated and flew N when flushed.

41. Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago

Seocheong: 1 grassy headland near ferry port on 23rd Sept. Elsewhere, 5 Seosan reclaim 6th Oct and 4 flushed Eulsuk 9th Oct.

42. Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa

2 N of Gunsan 5th Oct. 40 in wet fields, Seosan 6th Oct. 2 by Saemangeum sea wall in rain on 7th Oct.

43. Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica

50 N Gunsan 5th Oct.

44. Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus

Singles seen at Shinpo port (Saemangeum) 7th Oct and Eulsuk 9th Oct.

45. Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata

100 N Gunsan estuary 5th Oct. 5 Seosan goose roost 6th Oct. 1 Saemangeum N wall 7th Oct.

46. Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis

4 N Gunsan 5th Oct. 25 Seosan goose roost 6th. 27 Saemangeum N wall 7th. 1 Eulsuk 9th.

47. Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus

15 Seosan fields 6th Oct. 12 Eulsuk pools 9th Oct.

48. Common Redshank Tringa totanus

5 N Gunsan 5th Oct. 7 Eulsuk 9th.

49. Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis

1 N Gunsan 5th Oct. 17 in one rice field, Seosan 6th.

50. Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia

Seocheong: 1 past the lighthouse heading SW on 2nd Oct. Elsewhere, 250 N Gunsan estuary 5th Oct, 50 Seosan fields 6th, 100 N Saemangeum 7th and 8 Eulsuk 9th.

51. Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus

1 ad village beach 15th Sept to 18th was joined by a 1st year from 17th. 1 1st year there 1st Oct to at least 4th.

52. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola

Just 2 recorded in rice fields at Seosan 6th Oct and 7 at Eulsuk on the 9th.

53. Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus

Seocheong: 1 heard over the village at night on 26th Sept. Elsewhere, 1 N Gunsan 5th Oct and 30 together N Saemangeum 7th.

54. Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos

Seochong: 1 on 15th Sept, 2 16th, 1 18th, 2 on 20th, 1 23rd and 2 present ferry port 1st-at least 4th Oct. Elsewhere, singles were recorded at N Gunsan, Seosan and Eulsuk and a day count of 7 at Saemangeum (in the rain) on 7th Oct.

55. Grey-tailed Tattler Heteroscelus brevipes

Seocheong: 1 heard at night over village on 18th Sept.

56. Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis

Seocheong: 1 1st year at village beach 1st- 3rd Oct. Also 10 N Gunsan 5th and 20 N Saemangeum 7th Oct.

57. Dunlin Calidris alpina

400 N Gunsan estuary 5th Oct. 32 Seosan goose roost and fields 6th Oct. 100 N Saemangeum 7th.

58. Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus

2 with Dunlins on estuary N of Gunsan 5th Oct.

59. Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus

170 counted off the ferry from Pohang to Ulleung island on 11th Sept, but just 2 birds noted from ferry from there to Mukho 12th Sept.

60. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus

3 Seosan goose roost 5th Oct, then a different 2 birds Seosan 6th.

61. Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva

Seocheong: 2 N over ferry port at midday on 20th Sept. Elsewhere, 10 Seosan goose roost %th Oct and 45 there the next day.

62. Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola

2 Seosan goose roost at night on 5th Oct.12 N Saemangeum 7th Oct.

63. Litle Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius

1 Seosan fields 6th Oct.

64. Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus

2 Seosan goose roost 5th Oct. 200 N Saemangeum 7th Oct.

65. Mongolian Sand Plover Charadrius mongolus

50 N Saemangeum 7th Oct.

66. Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus

30 seen flying over Seosan goose roost on 5th Oct.

67. South Polar Skua Strercorarius maccormicki

Seocheong: 1 dark bird seen from ferry on 20th Sept, chasing Vega Gull.

68. Pomarine Skua Strercorarius pomarinus

Seocheong: 2 adults (1 pale, 1 dark) with moulted tails, seen from the ferry on 4th Oct.

69. Black-tailed Gull Larus crassirostris

Common and often seen in harbours, ports and mudflats, e.g. At Busan, Pohang, Ulleung island, Mukho, Incheon, Seosan, Gunsan and Saemangeum it was the commonest Larid. At Seocheong around 100-200 birds regularly roosted on rocks and tetra pods at the village port throughout. On 16th Sept a 1st winter with a piece of red cloth tied to its tarsus was found by Mark Brazil, a “primitive form of banding” from the DPRK? 1700 were off the S shores of the island on the sunny day of 24th Sept.

70. Slaty-backed Gull Larus schistisagus

Seocheong: an early 2 (1ad, 1 1st yr) from ferry to Incheon on 4th Oct.

71. Vega Gull Larus vegae

Seocheong: 1 ad village port 15th Sept and throughout, joined by a 1st yr on the 17th. 5 ad from ferry on 20th. 3 ad ferry port 25th.15 from ferry on 4th Oct. Elsewhere, 1 in the Korean strait 9th Sept. 400 Seosan goose roost 5th Oct and 50 Eulsuk 9th Oct.

72. Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus

Seocheong: I ad winter past lighthouse on 2nd Oct. Elsewhere 50 N Gunsan and 300 sesan 5th Oct. 250 Eulsuk 9th Oct.

73. Saunders’s Gull Larus saundersi

3 1st winter birds ¡Èhawking¡É over water at Seosan goose roost at dusk on 5th Oct.

74. Common Tern Sterna hirundo longipennis

50 from Pohang to Ulleung ferry 11th Sept, and 5 from Ulleung to Mukho ferry on 12th. 13 from Incheon to Seocheong ferry on 20th Sept.

75. Osprey Pandion haliaetus

Seocheong: clearly migrating birds (moving NW) were 1 on 19th Sept, 1 on 23rd Sept, 3 on 24th and 2 N on 2nd Oct, but 1-2 birds present around lighthouse rocks from 21st Sept.

76. Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus

Seocheong: Birds counted flying in steady streams and thermals, most Heading NW. 188 on 22nd Sept, 28 on 23rd, 149 on 24th, 207 on 25th, 171 on 26th, 239 on 27th, 50 on 28th, 142 on 29th, 15 on 1st Oct, 7 on 2nd , 10 on 3rd, 31 on 4th. (Total 1240). Around 1-10 birds (usually 1st years) roosted in Pines and headed out at dawn the next day. These were included in the next Day totals. Also 65 flying SE on 24th Sept were thought to be “returnees” already counted, so they were deducted from the total. Around 60% of birds seen were 1st or 2nd year birds. Color phases: whitish about 20%, fawn 30%, normal brown 30%, and dark 20%. Note that “fawn” noted only on young birds – could this be the color of young “normal brown” birds? Note that heading in a NW direction over Seocheong is the shortest way to rejoin the coast of China for the migration south.

77. Black-eared Kite Milvus linneatus

Seocheong: migrants heading N or NW: 2 on 17th Sept, 1 on 18th, 2 on 20th, 3 on 21st, 3 on 24th, 1 on 26th and 1 on 28th (Total 13). Elsewhere only noted at Eulsuk, where up to 9 birds present 9th Oct.

78. Eastern Marsh Harrier Circus spinolotus

Seocheong: 2 imm birds roosted with Pied Harrier above main village on 20th Sept. 1 imm over Nw with other raptors on 24th Sept (Total 3).

79. Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos

Seocheong: 3 (2 1st yr and a 2 or 3 cy male) over SE on 15th Sept, 16 into roost in low pines and scrub surrounding hilltops above village on 20th Sept (mostly juveniles, but 1 adult and 2 3cy males and an adult female present, at least 7 still present in tree perches in rain the following morning), 4juv and 1 ad female over NW on 22nd, 2 juv and an adult pair over on 24th, 1 juv with 1 2cy male and a 2 or 3cy female over NE 25th, 4 juv/ imm NW 26th, 4 (inc a 3cy male) NW 27th and 1 juv over N on 4th Oct (Total 39).

80. Chinese Sparrowhawk Accipiter soloensis

Seocheong: 2 NW on 15th Sept, 1 juv feeding on grasshoppers on 20th Sept, 4 NW 22nd Sept, 2 N 23rd, 2 N 24th and 1 NW 27th (Total 12).

81. Japanese Sparrowhawk Accipiter gularis

Seocheong: Day totals are given. I made an effort not to recount individuals that appeared to be staying on the island. 3 on 16th Sept, 1 on 18th, 1 on 20th, 11 over NW on 22nd, 8 N on 23rd, 8 N 24th, 1 on 25th, 19 NW on 26th, 9 NW on 27th, 3 N 28th, 1 in rain on 30th, 1 on 2nd Oct, 1 on 3rd, 4 N on 4th. (Total 71)

82. Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus

Seocheong: Again, day totals are given. 2 on 17th Sept, 2 on 19th Sept, 5 on 20th, 7 on 21st, 10 on 22nd, 7 N on 23rd, 19 N on 24th, 6 NW on 25th, 17 NW 26th, 15 NW and N on 27th, 10 on 28th, 4 on 29th, 1 on 30th, 3 N on 1st Oct, 4 2nd Oct, 9 N 3rd, 14 N on 4th. (Total 135)

83. Northern Goshawk Accipiter gentilis

Seocheong: sightings of young birds migrating N or NW with other raptors. About 20% were 2cy immatures, the rest juveniles. 1 N on 23rd Sept, 6 N on 24th, 6 NW on 25th, 4 on 26th, 4 on 27th, 1 NW on 28th, 2 SE on 29th, 2 N on Oct 1st, 1 N on 3rd and 2 NW 4th. (Total 32)

84. Grey-faced Buzzard Butastur indicus

Seocheong: Just 2 sightings: 1 over N on Sept 26th and 5 N on Oct 4th. Around 100 pass through in early Oct annually (Nial Moores pers. comm.).

85. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

ssp. interstictus Seocheong: Difficult to assess numbers as a few birds appeared to remain on the island for a day or two. Also this species seems to migrate at lower height then other raptors. Day totals are given. Two “pale type” birds were noted (not that uncommon in this ssp.), a 2cy or adult male, and a female/ juv. 1 on Sept 15th, 1 on 16th, 5 on 18th, 4 S on 20th, 2 on 21st, 8 on 22nd, 2 on 23rd, 8 N on 24th, 2 on 27th, 3 on 28th, 2 on 29th, 2 on 1st Oct-4th. (Total 39)

86. Amur Falcon Falco amurensis

Seocheong: 2 sightings of first year birds: 1 on 15th Sept with Hobby and 1 N on 2nd Oct.

87. Eurasian hobby Falco subbuteo

Seocheong: Another tricky raptor species to count. Certainly several migrating individuals were noted, but most records were of birds feeding around the island. Several birds (mainly juvs) appeared to stay for a while, including an individual on wires in the eastern part of the island for 5 days. Birds were seen chasing hirundines and preying on mantids. Day counts are given. 4 on Sept 15th, 5 on 17th, 2 on 18th, 3 W on 19th, 13 (inc 5 SW) on 20th, 4 on 21st, 22 (inc 12 over NW at great height with Oriental Honey Buzzard) on 22nd, 6 N on 23rd, 5 N and 3 stayers on/ from 24th, 2 NE 26th, 7 arrived in rain on 30th, 2 on 3rd Oct, and 1 of them again on 4th. (Total 78) Elsewhere, 1 juv over reedbed at Eulsuk on 9th Oct.

88. Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus

Seocheong: A resident pair was regularly seen around the island 15th Sept- 4th Oct. A juv (probably from this pair was seen at the very eastern tip of the island at end Sept. Intruders: an imm female was seen on 3 days and another adult female was seen with the pair on 26th Sept, when a different juv was seen moving NW with other raptors. (Total 6) Elsewhere, 1 adult was noted on the watch tower at Eulsuk, Busan 9th Oct.

89. Little Grebe Podiceps ruficollis

A single and a flock of 9 seen at Seosan on 6th Oct, and 1 ad with 1 juv in a pool at Eulsuk on 9th Oct.

90. Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus

1 adult winter at Seosan on 6th Oct was the only record.

91. Great Cormorant Palacrocorax carbo

20 on a sand bar, Han river, Seoul on 14th Sept. 150 (many flying from sand bars at river mouth upstream) Eulsuk 10th Oct.

92. Temminck's Cormorant Phalacrocorax capillatus

A common sight on rocks below the lighthouse and near the ferry port at Seocheong. Numbers thought to remain stable 15th Sept- 4th Oct. A count of 110 at lighthouse was made on 24th Sept.

93. Pelagic Cormorant Phalacrocorax pelagicus

60-100 birds were regularly seen on rocks by the lighthouse at Seocheong 15th Sept- 4th Oct.

94. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea

Seocheong: up to 6 birds recorded around the island 15th Sept- 4th Oct, but 4 S on 28th and 10 over S at dusk on 30th Sept. Elsewhere, 100 Kunkanghong, Gunsan 5th Oct, 30 Seosan 5th Oct, 150 Eulsuk 9th Oct.

95. Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Seocheong: just two records: 2 at ferry port rocks on 15th Sept, then 40 SE at dusk on 1st Oct. Elsewhere, 20 N Gunsan and 100 Seosan Oct 5th, 20 Eulsuk 9th.

96. Great Egret Egretta alba

Seocheong: 1 S on 16th Sept, 1 E on 21st, 2 SW on 1st Oct and 3 S next day. Elsewhere, 100 N Gunsan and 200 Seoasan 5th-6th Oct, 70 at Eulsuk 9th.

97. Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia

Seocheong: 4 S with other egrets on 2nd Oct. Elsewhere, around 40 in Seosan fields 6th Oct and 5 seen in scrub and grass, Eulsuk island, Busan on 9th.

98. Cattle Egret Bulbulcus ibis

Seocheong: 3 S on 2nd Oct. Elsewhere, 1 at Seosan on 6th Oct and 1 on N outskirts of Busan 8th Oct and 1 at Eulsuk next day.

99. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax

Seocheong: Overflying/ feeding individuals heard at night: 1 on 20th Sept, 1 W on 24th, 3 on 29th, 7 on 1st Oct and 25 S on 2nd. Elsewhere, 30 at Kunkanghong bridge, Gunsan 5th Oct and 50 at Seosan same day.

100. Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus

Seocheong: an adult flew E past the lighthouse, early a.m. on 2nd Oct.

101. Striated Heron Butorides striatus

Seocheong: 1 flew into a tree at the lighthouse and was squawked at by a Black-naped Oriole, 18th Sept. Elsewhere a juv was noted in a mountain stream, Osaek village, Saroksan Nat. Park on 13th Sept.

102. Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis

Seocheong: Nocturnal migrants calling a high-pitched “kyow” or “kyew” (sometimes rather Daurian Jackdaw-like in tone) heard over main village: 9 over on 1st October, 10 on 2nd. Elsewhere, 1 bird heard in reeds near Buan, Saemangeum on 7th Oct at dusk.

103. Schrenck's Bittern Ixobrychus eurhythmus

1 juv/ first year flushed from scrub below lighthouse early am. on 28th Sept flew into low pines there. The flight call is a weak, rather hoarse “wak”, and this was heard singly among migrating Yellow Bitterns over main village at dusk on 29th Sept.

104. Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia

3 (2 ads and a juv) at Seosan on 6th Oct.

105. Streaked Shearwater Calonectris leucomelas

Seocheong offshore: on days of strong S or N winds, birds moved close to leeside shores, making rough counts possible. 40 on 17th Sept, 250 on 21st, 600 on 29th and 100 on Oct 2nd. In addition, from the Seocheong- Incheon ferry: 2 on 15th Sept, 25 on 19th, 46 on 20th and 100 on Oct 4th. Elsewhere, 2 near Busan Port on 9th Sept, 120 from Pohang to Ulleung Island ferry 11th, 150 from Ulleung to Mukho ferry on 12th.

106. Flesh-footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes

Seogheong to Incheon ferry: 2 records of 4 birds: 1 on 20th Sept and 3 on 4th Oct.

107. Tiger Shrike Lanius tigrinus

Seocheong: A 1st year was at the lighthouse scrub on 18th Sept.

108. Bull-headed Shrike Lanius bucephalus

Seocheong: 1 near army barracks 22nd Sept to at least 30th. 1 at second village from 23rd Sept to at least 4th Oct. 1 lighthouse scrub 24th Sept to at least 4th Oct. 1 “white rocks” port 26th Sept. 1 main village gardens 27th to at least 4th Oct. A different bird joined the other at the lighthouse on the 28th. Elsewhere, up to 3 at Do-dong village, Ulleung island on 12th Sept. 1 seen near Seoul on 14th. 2 Kunkanghong rest area, Gunsan 5th Oct, 4 Seosan fields 6th Oct, 2 eulsuk 9th Oct.

109. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus

ssp. lucionensis Seocheong: a 1st yr bird resembling this ssp. near village on 15th Sept.

ssp. cristatus Seocheong: noted regularly on the island and an attempt was made not to recount individuals. Some were quiet and skulked in low scrub, so these counts probably under-estimate the actual numbers present at the time. Some first years were surprisingly tricky to separate from browner first year Bull-headed Shrike. Note that the calls too can be similar: Brown occasionally gives a Bull-headed-like “teng teng” call and a more hysterical rattling series that approaches the crazed chattering of Bull-headed. 3 on 15th Sept, 1 adult male 16th, 6 on 19th, 2 on 20th, 2 on 21st, 4 on 22nd Sept, 4 more on 24th, 3 on 24th, 2 on 28th, 2 others on 29th, 2 on 1st Oct, 2 on 2nd and 1 on 3rd.
110. Chinese Grey Shrike Lanius sphenocercus

Seocheong: 1 ad main village photographed in rain on 21st Sept. 2 different adults seen in other places on the island on 23rd. None of them resembled Steppe Grey Shrike L. pallidirostris.

111. Eurasian Jay Garrulus glandarius

Seocheong: 3 were calling from pines at dusk near the school on 23rd Sept, then 4 central island (the same birds?) 24th, and 2 there 25th and 26th. The ssp. involved seems to be similar to Korean mainland birds seen (similar to brandtii of Hokkaido, but with more rufous nape). Birds were heard imitating calls of Common Buzzard and Daurian Jackdaw. Elsewhere, 2 were heard in Saroksan Nat. Park (at Osaek) on 13th Sept and 2 seen near Seosan carrying acorns on 6th Oct.

112. Azure-winged magpie Cyanopica cyanus

2 near Jongyang (N of Gunsan) on 5th Oct, flock of 45 into pines at a rest area on the AB seawall at Seosan on 6th moved W to wooded hills. 26 noted around Shinpo port, central Saemangeum on grave mounds and in village gardens on 7th Oct.

113. Black-billed Magpie Pica pica

A common sight in Korean mainland towns villages, towns and cities and also woodland edge and scrub, but not noted on any islands. The highest count was 16 together at Osaek village, Saroksan Nat. Park on 13th Sept.

114. Spotted Nutcracker Nucifraga caryocatactes

1 bird seen landing in a pine on a rocky pinnacle, central Saroksan on 13th Sept.

115. Oriental Crow Corvus orientalis

Soon to be split from Carrion Crow C. corone. Noted only on the bus ride from Saroksan to Seoul: a total of 10 seen on 14th Sept.

116. Large-billed Crow Corvus macrorynchos

Seocheong: a pair was present throughout, but additionally 1 on 17th Sept, 1 on 23rd Sept, 1 on 24th, 4 on 27th, 9 (from N) 0n 29th. Elsewhere, seen at Seosan, Saemangeum and Eulsuk but not so common. Common in Soraksan area: 50 above Osaek onsen on 13th Sept.

117. Black-naped Oriole Oriolus chinensis

Seocheong: 6 on Sept 15th, 1 on 16th, 12-17 on 17th, 33 on 18th, 1 on 20th, 1 on 21st, 1 on 22nd and a late 1st yr on 2nd Oct. Total 56- 61. Birds often found in pines, where they perched cryptically.

118. Ashy Minivet Pericrocotus divaricatus

Seocheong: migrants usually flew over at some height. Single calls heard are misleading in counts as a single bird in a flock of 15 could be giving the call. Here is a list of all birds seen: 1 on 15th Sept, 10 on 18th, 18 W on 19th, 4 on 21st, 31 (inc 25 into roost) on 22nd, 4 N and 2 roost on 23rd, 1-3 on 25th, 2 on 26th, 1 on 27th, 4 on 2nd Oct, 1 on 3rd Oct, 7 on 4th. Total 82-84.

212. Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melanoschistea

Seocheong: Mark Brazil reported a probable single on pine crowns in the centre of the island on 18th Sept. I another individual, a male, in a small orchard by the second village (about 500m from Mark’s site) on 2nd Oct.

119. Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii

Noted at a stream (2 birds) Osaek, Saroksan on 13th Sept.

120. Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius

ssp. philippensis Seocheong: about 5 birds present at 3 sites around the island to end Sept, with an influx of 4 juvs at village on 17th. In October, just one at ferryport.

121. Siberian Thrush Zoothera sibirica

ssp. davisoni Seocheong: 2 hydro centre woodland 21st- 22nd Sept, 1 E island 23rd, 1 N on 24th, 2 on 27th, 3 different birds on 28th, 3 others on 28th, 1 in rain on 30th, 1 adult male on 2nd Oct, 1 on 3rd, 1 on 4th. Total 16.

122. Scaly Thrush Zoothera (dauma) aureus

Seocheong: 1 lighthouse scrub 20th Sept, 1 central island 26th, 1 near aerial tower 28th and maybe the same bird on 1st Oct, 3 in scrub and plots around 2nd village 2nd and 1 near there on 4th. Total 6-10.

123. Grey-backed Thrush Turdus hortulorum

Seocheong: 3 lighthouse scrub and a 1st year near army barracks 2nd Oct, 7 on 3rd Oct, 19 on 4th Oct. Total 30.

124. Eye-browed thrush Turdus obscurus

Seocheong: a single seen well at lighthouse on 2nd Oct and 1 over E next day.

125. Pale Thrush Turdus pallidus

Seocheong: A single sighting of an adult male near army barracks with other thrushes on 2nd Oct.

126. Dusky Thrush Turdus naumanni eunomus

Seocheong: 1 at lighthouse on 3rd Oct. ssp. unidentified: 2 singles over E on 2nd and 3rd Oct.

Naumann's Thrush T. n. naumanni

1 ad female was noted in a muddy field near Seosan flats on 6th Oct.

127. Grey-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa griseistricta

Seocheong: 2 on 17th Sept, 2 on 18th, 2 on 19th, 1 on 25th, 1 on 27th. Elsewhere, 2 at Do-dong, Ulleung island on 11th Sept. Total 8 at Seocheong.

128. Sooty Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica

Seocheong: 4 on 17th Sept, 6 on 18th, 2 on 19th, 2 on 20th, 10 on 21st, 1 on 26th, 1 on 28th, 2 on 1st Oct, 6 on 2nd. Total 34.

129. Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica

Seocheong: 18 on 15th Sept, 7 on 16th, 10 on 17th, 8 on 18th, 5 on 19th, 2 on 20th, 27 (after light rain) 21st, 22 on 22nd, 12 on 23rd, 1 on 24th, 8 on 25th, 6 on 26th, 2 on 27th, 6 on 28th, 4 on 29th, 2 on 30th (rain), 8 on Oct 1st, 5 on 2nd, 3 on 3rd and 1 on 4th. Total 162.

130. Mugimaki Flycatcher Ficedula mugimaki

Seocheong: 2, an adult male and a 1st yr male flycatching in scrub less than 1m high near lighthouse on 2nd Oct.

131. Taiga Flycatcher Ficedula albicilla

Seocheong: All sightings were of 1st year birds of this species. I checked carefully for Red-breasted Flycatcher F. parva. 1 on 15th Sept, 1 ad female 19th, 2 on 22nd, 1 on 23rd, 2 on 24th, 1 on 25th, 2 on 26th, 2 on 1st Oct, 3 on 2nd, 6 on 3rd, 3 on 4th. Total 24. Elsewhere 1 bird was seen near Do-dong, Ulleung island on 11th Sept.

132. Blue-and-White Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelena

Seocheong: first years only: 2 at lighthouse on 17th-18th Sept, 1 on 19th, 2 on 26th, 1 on 27th. Total 6. Elsewhere a pair seen at Do-dong, Ulleung-do on 11th Sept.

133. Swinhoe's Robin Luscina sibilans

Seocheong: birds were surprisingly confiding and easy to observe. There seem to be two calls, one is “tac”, similar to Dusky Warbler call but a little deeper and thicker. The other is a high “piht”, a little flatter than the high pitched “hee” of Japanese Robin Erithacus akahige, more like a drawn out Sakhalin Leaf/ Pale-legged Leaf warbler call, but louder. Seen in 1m high bushes in shady undergrowth, but also feeding on a path in pine forest and flushing up into 5m high branches. 3 on 1st Oct, 7 on 3rd Oct, 15 on 4th Oct. Total 25.

134. Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope

Seocheong: 2 on 23rd Sept then nothing until October, when arrival was abrupt: 7 lighthouse scrub and 4 near main village 2nd, 22 on 3rd and 43 inc. 3 males in song at dawn on 4th. Total 79. Elsewhere, 1 was seen near Kunkanghong in a reedbed on 5th Oct amd 1 was in scrub near reeds at Eulsuk on 9th. Note that Webb’s Parrotbill Paradoxornis webbianus (common in mainland Korean reed beds and wet scrubland) gives a whistled contact call “ tee lee lee” rather similar to the wavering “tiLUI” given by this species. Siberian Rubythroat also commonly gives a deep, slightly nasal “jutt” or “vhett” call from scrub.

135. Siberian Blue Robin Luscinia cyanae

Seocheong: An adult male and a first year female seen near the lighthouse on 3rd Oct.

136. Red-flanked Bluetail Tarsiger cyanurus

Seocheong: an early first year was in pine woods in the central island on Oct 4th.

137. Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus

Seocheong: Just 1 seen, an adult male on 2nd Oct. Elsewhere, commonly noted around Do-dong village, Ulleung island on 11th and 12th Sept. 5 Osaek village, Soraksan, (inc juvs) on 14th Sept. 2 seen at Eulsuk, Busan on 9th Oct.

138. Siberian Stonechat Saxicola maurus stejnegeri

Seocheong: all records refer to 1st years: 2 on 16th Sept, 1 on 17th, 3 on 20th, 1 on 21st, 4 on 23rd, 1 on 24th, 1 on 25th, 2 on 26th, 2 on 28th, 3 on 1st Oct, 5 on 2nd, a further 3 (8) on 3rd, 1 on 4th. Total 29.

139. Daurian Starling Sturnus sturninus

Seocheong: 1 adult seen on 22nd Sept.

140. White-cheeked Starling Sturnus cineraceus

Seocheong: Single over E on 19th Sept, 3 on wires at army barracks 22nd, 1 E and 10 W at dusk on 1st Oct, 5 on 2nd Oct on wires, 1 on Oct 3rd, 2 on 4th. Total 23.

141. Chestnut-cheeked Starling Sturnus philippensis

Seocheong: a “ball” of 15 flew SW past lighthouse on 4th Oct. Although Daurian Starling is more likely here, birds were thought to be this species, with single bold white wing bar seen in flight.

142. Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea

Noted commonly along mountain trails in Soraksan Nat. Park and around Osaek village (inc. rooftops) on 13th and 14th Sept.

143. Winter Wren Troglodytes troglodytes

Seocheong: probably a rare sighting of a single bird in clifftop weeds near lighthouse on 27th Sept. There had been a slight SW wind the night before, but the weather was hot and hazy. ssp. not known but appeared similar to 2 birds seen well at Soraksan Nat. Park on 13th Sept.

144. Marsh Tit Parus palustris

Noted as common in deciduous woodland around the rocky pinnacles (up to 1000m asl) at Soraksan Nat. Park 13th Sept, and also 5 were seen around Osaek village on 14th.

154. Coal Tit Parus ater

Commonly seen/ heard (inc juv birds) in pine/ deciduous woods around Do-dong village and Sunginbong mountain, Ulleung island, 11th-12th Sept- a separate ssp. to mainland birds? Less common around Osaek in Soraksan, just 2 heard in Hemlock crowns there 14th Sept. 3 were seen in planted pines by the busy Kunkanghong rest area N of Gunsan on 5th Oct.

155. Great Tit Parus major

Seocheong: common on the island, mainly in pine woods. About 5 groups of 10 noted around the island throughout my stay, but there appeared to be an influx (with Varied Tit) on 17th Sept, when a flock of 25 was noted near the lighthouse. ssp. similar to Japanese minor, but perhaps a little less green on saddle in adults. Elsewhere commonly noted in several places, including parks in Busan, Seoul and Incheon. Also common on Ulleung island.

156. Varied Tit Parus varius

Seocheong: not thought to be resident on the island, so these records refer to migrants: 5 on 17th Sept, 2 on 18th (different place), 2 singles on 23rd. Birds appeared bigger and bulkier than Great Tit when perched together on lines. Elsewhere, birds were noted as being fairly common at Soraksan. On Ulleung-do, a distinctive ssp. that appears similar to amami in S Japan, with a narrow, rusty mantle patch that grades diffusely and obscurely into smokey grey upperparts, and a pale orange face and nape patch. Juveniles had paler faces, some were buffy white. Calls were similar to nominate in mainland Japan.

157. Long-tailed Tit Aegithalos caudatus magnus

2 noted at Osaek, Soraksan on 14th Sept and 4 seen in woodland edge near Seosan on ct 6th.

158. Eurasian Sand Martin Riparia riparia

Seocheong: ssp. unknown. 2 E with Barn Swallow past lighthouse on 2nd Oct had dark breast bands that were clearly visible.

159. Pale Sand Martin Riparia diluta

Seocheong: a bird suspected to be of this sp. was seen heading SW with Red-rumped Swallows in central island at midday on the sunny day of 25th Sept. The wind had been a slight E, the conditions hot and muggy/ hazy. The bird circled about 15m above me and I got good views of underparts and upperparts. Appeared considerably smaller than Red-rumped Swallows. Underparts were a kind of grayish white color, greyer from throat to central breast. The underwing coverts were pale brown, concolourous with the flight feathers ( so unlike the dark under wing coverts of Asian House Martin, Eurasian Sand Martin and Eurasian Crag Martin (the latter was recorded in Korea for the first time recently). The vent was pale off-whitish. The underparts seemed less clean than Eurasian Sand. The upperparts: wings were earth brown, diffusely darker than the body, which was paler brown with a cold greyishwash (also crown). The bird called once, a gravelly “chrrt”, a little deeper than Eurasian Sand Martin. I have seen this species in the field and in the hand (Chokpak, Kazakhstan, Sept 2000) but I have no experience of ssp. within the eastern palearctic. What was interesting about this bird was that it seemed to lack even a suggestion of a breast band (diffusely grey brown in the ssp. in Kazakhstan). Nial Moores (pers. comm.) cautions that recently a Russian scientist working in Far East Russia comments on the existence of a form of Eurasian Sand Martin with a weaker breast band that can only be separated in the hand from Pale Sand by pp length. However, the bird I saw seemed to lack the breast band completely, instead having a sort of grayish wash. The record, although unsupported by a photo, is included here because this species is likely to be recorded in Korea in the future.

160. Barn swallow Hirundo rustica gutturalis

Seocheong: 4 on 15th, 2 on 17th, 9 on 18th, 33 on 19th, 2 on 20th, 1600 E in 3 hours on 21st, 20 NE on 22nd, 8 over on 23rd, 5 on 24th, 250 over in 3 hrs, feeding on flying ants 25th, 14 W on 26th, 50 SE on 27th, 70 SW on 28th, 15 SE on 29th, 220 E on 2nd Oct, 2 on 3rd, 185 E on 4th Oct. Total 2389. Elsewhere the only significant count was 1000 over Seosan reclaim on 5th Oct.

161. Red-rumped Swallow Hirundo daurica

Seocheong: 1 moulting ad noted 15th Sept, then 12 on 25th, 39 W/ NW on 26th, 124 SE on 27th, 12 SW on 28th, 6 SE on 29th, 1 on Oct 1st, 181 on 2nd, 6 NW on 3rd, 380 on 4th. Total 764. All birds seen well appeared to be “eastern” on account of large size, pale underparts (thin streaks not so visible) and no suggestion of complete rusty-buff neck collar (except slightly buff semi-collars on moulting birds). Elsewhere a sighting of a single at Seosan on the 5th Oct.

162. Asian House martin Delichon dasypus

Seocheong: 1 on 19th Sept but 3000 (95% this species!) dropped from the clouds with arin shower and hawked insects above the main village at dusk on 21st. All birds seen well thought to be this species and not European House Martin D. urbicum. It just shows how a rain shower can significantly alter counts of migrants. We get to see only a fraction! I did not record any the following day. Then 5 on the 25th, 10 on 26th, 6 SE on 27th, 1 on 28th. Total 3023.

163. Goldcrest Regulus regulus

Seocheong: a single with Yellow-browed Warblers flocks on 3rd Oct.

164. Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus s. sinensis

Seocheong: a resident pair with two young noted in the hydro centre scrub area (not every day) from 17th Sept. Birds are skulking at this time of year (Nial Moores pers. comm.) Adults were in moult and had more white on crowns than juvs. They became slightly more visible at the end of Sept when they started feeding on berries. This species was first recorded here 2 years ago and has bred on the island at this site.

165. Brown-eared Bulbul Hysipetes amaurotis

Seocheong: a fairly common resident on the island. 2 different begging juveniles were seen being fed caterpillars by parents on 17th and 22nd Sept. A notable group was one of 20 near the army base that may have involved migrants. Elsewhere, noted as common in suburbs and woodland edge throughout. Also seen on Ulleung island 11th and 12th Sept. I think the ssp. is the same throughout Korea, but I’m not sure of the name.

166. Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis

Seocheong: migrants: 2 grassy headlands 20th Sept, 1 E over lighthouse 21st, 1 on 23rd, 1 E over lighthouse 24th, 5 E on 1st Oct. Total 10.

167. Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus

Seocheong: 25 on 15th Sept, 18 on 18th, 115 on 19th, 110 on 20th, 70 on 21st, 400 on 22nd, 170 on 23rd, 10 (pre dawn migration) and 70 on 24th, 70 on 25th, 30 on 26th, 80 on 27th, 21 on 28th, 55 on 29th, 1 on 30th (rain), 40 on 1st Oct, 60 N on 2nd, 80 on 3rd, 58 on the 4th. Total 1388, but this may well involve birds counted twice.

Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus

A possible flock of 6 birds were observed in the central island on 18th and 19th Sept, but not seen well enough to confirm identification, so not included in the records. However, it appears juvenile/ first year Chestnut-flanked White-eye have much weaker pale brownish marks on flanks, and about 2% of young birds in any given flock of say 30 birds have absolutely no chestnut on flanks. These birds appear very similar to Japanese, particularly to the ssp. lucionensis that occurs in the Ryukyu islands. Also I couldn’t discern any differences in the various calls and subsong of either species. Nominate Japanese should at least have darker, browner grey washed underparts and a duller green on upperparts (especially the crown) than the yellowish tones shown by Chestnut-flanked. A comparison of photos of first-years of either species and of first year ssp. lucionensis would be very interesting.

168. Asian Stubtail Urosphena squamiceps

Seocheong: 1 or 2 on 17th Sept, 2 on 19th, 1 on 20th, 2 on 21st, 1 on 23rd, 1 on 24th, 1 on 28th-29th, 3 on 1st Oct, 1 on 2nd, 3 on 3rd, 2 on 4th. Total 18-19. The call is a high, cheek-sucking “tcheek”; responds to imitation.

169. Lanceolated Warbler Locustella lanceolata

Seocheong: An adult was seen well in low scrub below the lighthouse on 4th Oct. The call is “chat”, similar to Pallas’s Grasshopper but a bit higher and slightly squeaky.

170. Pallas's (Grasshopper) Warbler Locustella certhiola

Seocheong: 1 1st yr at east valley near main village in weedy plot on 16th Sept, 1 ad on 22nd, 3 on 24th, 1 on 26th, 2 on 28th, 1 on 1st Oct, 1 on 2nd Oct, 2 on 3rd, 3 on 4th. Total 15. The call is a flat, quiet “chat”, but alarming birds that emerged from cover preceeded this with a sharp “dt dt dt dt”. Note that several first years seen had much reduced streaking on underparts and upperparts and lacked a strong rusty tone to rump. A confusing bird with very little streaking above and none below (except a few weak streaks on flanks) was the bird seen by Mark Brazil and me on the 16th. Note that all 1st yr birds have barely visible tips to tail feathers, and tails appear shorter on many than adults, who show a “fan” of white terminal tail spots when flushed. This is not often indicated in field guides.

171. Gray's (Grasshopper) Warbler Locustella fasciolata

Seocheong: 1 heard calling in base of willow-type bushes near hydro centre on 23rd Sept. 1 bird glimpsed in scrub below lighthouse on 3rd Oct.

172. Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps

Seocheong: 1 1st yr in susuki grass on 19th Sept, 1 in same place on 2nd Oct, 2 on 3rd Oct and 1 adult seen on 4th Oct. The call is a low “trruk” or “trrek”. Note that 1st years show rather thick “brows” and a strong yellowish buff cast to brown plumage, adults show weaker brows in autumn, have colder brown upperparts, paler buff underparts, and slow a slightly rusty tint to crown. Total 5. Elsewhere, 5 noted in a reedbed at Kunkanghong, Gunsan 5th Oct and 4 skulking in reeds at Eulsuk on 9th.

Manchurian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus tangorum

Not recorded, but included here as it could occur as an autumn vagrant on Seocheong. Birders should check the internet for images of this species: individuals have quite slender heads and long bills and have a sort of lanky reptilian look. Paddyfield Warbler A. agricola is also possible, but phragmites are few and far between on Seocheong.

173. Oriental Reed Warbler Acrocephalus orientalis

2 in reeds at Kunkanghong, Gunsan Oct 5th was the only record.

174. Thick-billed Warbler Acrocephalus aedon

Seocheong: 2 on 22nd Sept, 1 on 28th-29th, 1 grassy peninsula orchard 30th Sept, 3 lighthouse scrub 1st Oct, 2 on 2nd, 4 on 3rd. Total 13. The most common call is a low, muffled “tuc”, sometimes rolled into a low rattle “tuc tuc tuc trruc trruc trruc”that sounds like alarming Dusky Warbler and Black-browed Reed Warbler. Also a more wheezy “wep” or “hep” is repeated, higher than Siberian Rubythroat`s “vhett” and slightly reminiscent of some Radde’s Warbler calls. Occasionally birds gave a “skeesh” call, like air escaping from a pump. Often found skulking in low creeper clad scrub, this species also seems fond of a mix of sususki grass (emerges on stems in alarm) and rose bushes.

175. Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus

Seocheong: 4 on 16th Sept, 8 on 18th, 10 on 19th, 5 on 20th, 4 on 21st, 4 on 22nd, 6 on 23rd, 6 on 24th, 1 on 25th, 4 on 26th, 1 on 27th, 5 on 28th, 3 on 29th, 6 on 1st Oct, 2 on 2nd, 9 on 3rd, 3 on 4th. Total 81, but may include some stayers. The common call is “tac”, rather hard with a metallic edge, often repeated slowly but sometimes in a more insistent series when a rolled “trrac” is also given. Elsewhere, a single flushed from Artemisia scrub beside reeds at Eulsuk, Busan on 9th Oct.

176. Radde's Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi

Seocheong: 3 on 21st Sept, 2 on 22nd, 1 on 23rd, 4 on 24th, 1 on 26th, 4 (inc a male giving a twittering subsong) 28th, 2 on 1st Oct, 2 on 3rd, 1 on 4th. Total 20. The call is a slowly repeated “tep”, throatier and less hard than Dusky Warbler. Occasionally birds intersperse this with quiet whimpering notes reminiscent of a quiet alarm song of Japanese Bush Warbler Cettia diphone. Birds were more inquisitive than Dusky Warbler: quite often individuals would “pop out” and perch on weeds to check out the observer. Habitat choice as Dusky, but found more often in Artemisia and drier parts of scrub.

177. Pallas's Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus

Seocheong: just 2 records: 1 on 20th Sept and 1 on 27th Sept. The call is “chooeet” and is rather quiet compared to that of Yellow-browed. I think this species probably occurs here more in Oct/ Nov.

178. Yellow-browed Warbler Phylloscopus inornatus

Seocheong: a common migrant: 22 on 15th Sept, 10 on 16th, 10 on 17th, 20 on 18th, 12 on 19th, 20 on 20th, 20 on 21st, 37 on 22nd, 25 on 23rd, 25 on 24th, 12 on 25th, 22 on 26th, 30 on 27th, 41 on 28th, 20 on 29th, 2 on 30th (rain), 31 on 1st Oct, 21 on 2nd, 97 on 3rd (inc a foraging flock of 20), 60 on 4th. Total 527, but probably includes some stayers. The call is a rising “tsweest”, easily recognizable. No Hume`s Leaf Warbler Ph. humei were heard.

179. Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis

Seocheong: a common migrant: 6 on 15th Sept, 25 on 16th, 15 on 17th, 20 on 18th, 18 on 19th, 30 on 20th, 36 (inc 3 xanthohydras types giving “jirojo” subsongs) 21st, 15 on 22nd, 14 on 23rd, 22 on 24th, 9 on 25th, 20 on 26th, 18 on 27th, 27 on 28th, 10 on 29th, 1 on 30th (rain), 11 on 1st Oct, 6 on 2nd, 9 on 3rd, 14 on the 4th. Total 326, but may include stayers. About 10% of birds seen lacked any yellow tones to plumage and were like nominate borealis. Most birds seen here were xanthohydras types, though note that some were almost totally lacking yellow. There seemed to be a lot of variation of wing bars (some with two, most with one, some with none) and supercilium colour (some yellow, some white). 2 birds seen together on 1st Oct lacked any yellow tones to underparts (inc axiliary patch) and underparts were clean and unsullied at breast sides. Upperparts were plain greyish, lacking obvious olive tones. Call “dzhi” was essentially the same as all others heard. Is this another ssp.? Note that many birds also give a quick double call that sounds cricket-like, “dzhi-di”, irrespective of ssp.. Elsewhere, 6 recorded in low scrub at Eulsuk, Busan on 9th Oct.

180. Two-barred Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus plumbeitarsus

Seocheong: 1 on 20th Sept, 1 on 2nd, possibly the same bird on the 3rd Oct. The call was a ringing, slightly disyllabic “ch’li”. When seen well, birds seemed to have a more horizontal perching posture than Arctic and Yellow-browed, with tail held slightly raised (a bit like a Ficedula flycatcher). 1 bird had a yellowish tinge to supercilium, and another showed a single wing bar (with one feather moulted) on one wing. The legs on one individual looked slightly lighter in colour.

Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides

Not recorded with certainty on Seocheong (migrants must be rare here), but a Greenish-type Warbler seen in pines near the helipad on 15th Sept had single wing bars on both wings, whitish underparts and a grayish wash to breast sides. Tantalizingly, the bird gave a whispery “tsli” call similar to Greenish Warblers I have heard in Kazakhstan. It was viewed only briefly at dusk by Mark Brazil and me, but it moved into creeper cover. The wind was light S.

181. Pale-legged Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus tenellipes

Seocheong: 2 Sakhalin Leaf/ Pale-legged Warbler type birds with distinct dark crowns, olive green mantles, greenish fringing on flight feathers and “sickly pale” pink legs were seen: 1 on 24th Sept bathing at a puddle below the lighthouse and 1 on Oct 4th. It’s likely they refer to this species, but see below.

182. Sakhalin Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus borealoides

Seocheong: the counts for unidentified Sakhalin Leaf/ Pale-legged Leaf Warbler are given here: 1 on 15th Sept, 3 on 16th, 5 on 17th, 4 on 18th, 2 on 19th, 6 on 21st, 12 on 22nd, 3 on 23rd, 2 on 24th, 2 on 26th, 1 on 27th. Total 30, of these, just 8 were watched, Due to the understorey habitat and distinctive call (a high, repeated “pit” which is reminiscent of the “peet” given by Red-flanked Bluetail and is essentially the same for both Sakhalin Leaf and Pale-legged Leaf) birds were more often heard than seen. The 8 individuals seen all seemed to possess plumage characteristics of Sakhalin Leaf: brown upperparts including the crown, a slight greenish tinge to flight feather fringes and pink based legs with darkish brown shins. One possibility is that Sakhalin Leaf migrates south via the Korean peninsula and Chinese coast line in autumn (and this may be true as it is an uncommon migrant in the northern Ryukyu islands in S Japan in autumn). If this is a case, then there could well be more Sakhalin Leaf than Pale-legged Leaf in Socheong in mid-late Sept. The sightings of Pale-legged Leaf recorded here seem to have occurred a bit later. Could it be that Pale-legged moves through Seocheong in October? The other possibility is that, based on range, Pale-legged Leaf is a more likely migrant from Ussuria, passing through Seocheong in September. If this is the case, then most, if not all birds recorded here refer to Pale-legged, and if this is true, then Pale-legged must develop plumage characteristics very similar to Sakhalin Leaf (including darker legs) in autumn. I tend to go with the former possibility: Sakhalin mostly migrate from Honshu using the Korean peninsula in Sept, while Pale-legged Leaf overfly the area more in Sept, touching down further S in China. But the migrations of these two species are not well understood. A small helgoland trap in the scrub below the lighthouse and some regular study by Korean banders would considerably help to clarify the situation.

183. Eastern Crowned Warbler Phylloscopus coronatus

Seocheong: 2 on 15th Sept, 5 on 17th, 2 on 18th, 2 on 20th, 1 on 21st, 1 on 22nd, 1 on 26th. Total 14. This species passes through in late Aug/ early Sept. The call is quite a strident, slightly disyllabic “chiu” which tends to be slightly upwards inflected and “cheery”. Once, a bird was heard calling quietly in a series and interspersing some “melancholy” downslurred notes “piu”, that were slightly reminiscent of Ijima’s Leaf Warbler Ph. ijimae calls.

184. Webb's Parrotbill Pardoxornis webbianus

Not recorded on Seocheong and Ulleung islands, but commonly seen in reeds and nearby scrub in flocks of up to 20 birds, inc many juvs, at Seosan and Eulsuk, Busan. On 6th and 9th Oct Nore some birds give a ringing whistle “tee lee lee” but flocks emit a buzz of “jeet” calls as they forage.

185. Crested Lark Galerida cristata

ssp. coreanensis Socheong: 1 was on dry dusty ground in the valley E of main village from24th- 28th Sept and was photographed. The first record for Seocheong. The bird arrived after E winds and was tired on the first day. It appeared to be slightly injured or soiled in the belly area.

186. Eurasian Skylark Alauda arvensis/ Japanese Skylark A. japonica

10 flew W over Seosan fields on 6th Oct, but I couldn`t identify the sp./ ssp.

187. Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans

Seocheong: a single over E on 2nd Oct. Elsewhere, noted only on Eullung-do, where up to 30 seen around Do-dong village on 12th Sept.

188. Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus

A common site in villages, towns and cities in mainland Korea, but not recorded on Seocheong or Ulleung islands.

189. White Wagtail Motacilla alba

ssp. leucopsis Seocheong: seemed to be the most common ssp. occurring here 15th Sept- 4th Oct. Birds also seen at Ulleung-do (up to 10 on 11th Sept at Do-dong), Seoul, Incheon, Seosan and Saemangeum. See day totals for Seocheong below.

ssp. ocularis Seocheong: up to 4 birds present at main village beach at low tide 1st-4th Oct, but probably occurs overhead more than records suggest. 2 were seen at Seosan on 6th Oct, and 1 at Saemangeum on the 7th.

ssp. baicalensis Seocheong: not definitely recorded but probably some were moving in White Wagtail flocks over the island 15th Sept-4th Oct. 8 were seen at Do-dong, Ulleung island on 12th Sept.

Black-backed Wagtail Motacilla (alba) lugens

Seocheong: A first year and an adult were at the village beach on Oct 1st-3rd. Also 3 were seen on Ulleung island on 12th Sept and 1 at Eulsuk, Busan on 9th Oct.

Migrating White Wagtail flocks:

Seocheong: based on sightings, 90% were ssp. leucopsis: 5 on 15th Sept, 3 on 17th, 1 on 18th, 120 W on 19th, 35 on 20th, 50 on 21st, 20 N on 22nd, 65 on 23rd, 60 on 24th, 31 on 25th, 8 on 26th, 30 E on 27th, 45 E on 28th, 51 E on 29th, 30 on 1st Oct, 60 on 2nd, 25 on 3rd, 30 on 4th. Total 679.

190. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava simillima

Seocheong: 5 seen at village port tetrapods at dawn on 16th Sept.

191. Eastern Yellow Wagtail Motacilla tschutschuensis taivana

Seocheong: 2 adults grassy headland track 19th Sept.

Yellow Wagtail sp./ ssp. flocks:

Seocheong: 2 on 15th Sept, 4 on 16th, 20 on 17th, 6 on 18th, 10 on 19th, 2 on 20th, 10 on 21st, 3 E on 23rd, 7 N on 24th, 2 E on 25th, 1 on 28th, 15 on 29th, 3 on 1st Oct, 7 on 2nd, 6 on 3rd. Total 98. Also around 50 flew to distant reed roost at Seosan on 5th Oct and 10 flew W over Eulsuk, Busan on 9th.

192. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Seocheong: seen every day, day totals take into account stayers as much as possible and mostly refer to birds moving at dawn with other pipits and wagtails: 1 on 15th Sept, 37 N on 17th, 30 on 18th, 10 S/ SW on 19th, 6 on 20th, 130 E on 21st, 6 on 22nd, 10 SE on 23rd, 30 on 24th, 3 E on 25th, 4 on 26th, 5 E on 27th, 20 on 28th, 31 E on 29th, 2 on 30th (rain), 5 on 2nd Oct, 6 E on 3rd, 10 on 4th. Total 346.

193. Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi

Seocheong: 98% birds consistent in moving N/NW over the island, apart from other pipits and wagtails. 1 on 15th Sept, 1 on 16th, 12 on 18th, 1 on 19th, 1 on 21st, 1 on 22nd, 7 on 23rd, 4 on 24th, 11 on 25th, 3 on 26th, 1 on 27th, 1 on 28th, 13 on 29th, 2 on 30th, 7 on 1st Oct, 19 on 2nd, 8 on 4th. Total: 93. Elsewhere, 5 at Seosan reclaim on 5th Oct and a good count of 54 in the grass at Eulsuk on 9th Oct.

Blyth's Pipit Anthus godlewskii

Seocheong: not definitely recorded here, but a suspiciously small Richard’s Pipit heading E on 27th Sept may have been this species. The call was “chilp” and was higher pitched than Richard’s call.

194. Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni

Seocheong: a common migrant, mostly heading E at dawn: 3 on 15th Sept, 15 on 17th, 10 on 18th, 23 on 19th, 2 on 20th, 45 on 21st, 14 on 22nd, 12 on 23rd, 35 N on 24th, 30 on 25th, 12 on 26th, 20 on 27th, 56 on 28th (inc some pre-dawn flight), 52 on 29th, 1 on 30th (rain), 62 on 1st Oct, 270 E in 2 hours at dawn on 2nd, 35 on 3rd, 35 on 4th. Total 732.

195. Pechora Pipit Anthus gustavi
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