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The Birds Korea Bird Review: 2005

Swinhoe's Rail, Hong Island, October 2005.
Photo © Kim Sung Hyun / National Parks Association

Compiled by Nial Moores, arranged and formatted by Charlie Moores.
Posted December 31st, 2005.

2005 was another year of growth – growth of membership of Birds Korea, growth in the number of birdwatchers becoming active here, and growth in the national list.

This year, four more species (Lesser Coucal, Eurasian Dotterel, Tickell's Leaf Warbler and Yellow-bellied Tit) were newly recorded in South Korea and added to Category 1; one species was “elevated” due to taxonomic considerations and better documentation (Elisa's or Green-backed Flycatcher); at least three new taxa (Caspian and Steppe Gulls, pandoo Blue Rock Thrush) were also documented; while several species were recorded in higher concentrations during 2005 than in any previous year (including Broad-billed Roller, Common Tern, Asian House Martin, Eye-browed Thrush, Chestnut-flanked White-eye and Common Rosefinch).

With the delayed addition of Arctic Redpoll to Category 1, based on a record in 2002 (see the Addenda below), as of January 1st, 2006, the South Korean national list now contains 462 species in Category 1; 24 species in Category 2; two in Category 3 (one of which apparently lacks documentation); and 15 in Category 4. In addition, American Herring Gull which is increasingly accepted as a full-species based especially on recent genetic studies (e.g. Leibers et al. 2004; Pons et al. 2005), is listed as a “species in waiting,” (and Caspian Gull is likely to be so listed in the near-future). This gives a total of 503 or 504 species, with 26 of these apparently unsupported by skins, images or descriptions by multiple observers.

Conservation highlights of the year included the opening of the National Park Association's Migratory Bird Research Centre on Hong and Heuksan Islands, and the suspension for most of the year of the Saemangeum reclamation. Obvious low point was the court announcement on December 21st that the reclamation should be allowed to continue as “the court cannot cancel a project like this one solely on the basis of unspecified loss in the future.” In addition, South Korea lost one of its most eminent conservation-driven bird academics in 2005, with the passing away of Dr. Kim Sooil in August.

As in previous years (2002, 2003, 2004), the 2005 Year Report consists of the most noteworthy records of the 400 or so species observed during the year. Most such records were submitted directly to Birds Korea, or were to a lesser extent gleaned from the growing number of Korean birding websites, most notably Kim Hyun-tae's in Seosan, and the website of the KWBS. The vast majority of the very most significant records (e.g. species recorded less than 10 times nationally) are supported by images (as specified in the text), and in an increasing number of instances by written descriptions. In the absence of a National Rarities Committee, the descriptions and/or images of a few taxa have also been passed on to a small (but growing number) of experienced observers for their further consideration.

Birds Korea very much hopes that this process can continue, expand and become more formalized over time, and we welcome support to achieve this goal.


This year, the report is based on records contributed by the following observers:

Angela Nebel (AN)
Angus Macindoe (AM)
Arne Jensen (AJ)
Barry Heinrich (BH)
Bill Tweit (BT)
Birds Korea Tour, (BK Tour = Toby Nowlan, Peter Hape Franz (PHF), Steve Matherly, John and Karen Shrader, Marcel Lau, Tony Broome, Trevor Feltham, and Glyn and Richard Taylor)
Cha In-Hwan (CIH)
Charles Page (CP)
Choi Seung-Hoon (CSH)
Choi Soon-Kyoo (CSK)
Christian Artuso (CA)
Chu Yong-Gi (CYI)
Dana Garner & Michael Chinn (DG & MC)
Dave Baker (DB)
Ed Keeble (ED)
Fergus Crystal (FC)
Gang Chang Wan (GCW)
Gruff and Sara Dodd, Clive and Eleanor Hurley, Kingsley and Sharon Parker (GD et al.)
Han Sung-ho (HSH)

Hosaka Akio (HA)
Hwang Jae-Wung (HJW)
Igari Atsushi (IA)
Jake Macllenan (JM)
Jang Kyung Ae (JKA)
Ji Nam-Jun (JNJ)
Jin Seon-Deok (JSD)
Jochen Baurmeister (JB)
Joakim Hammar (JH)
Joo Jung-Sang (JJS)
Josie Pyle (JP)
Kakimoto Hiroshi (KH)
Kanamura Mayumi (KM)
Kang Hee-Young (KHK)
Kim Beom-Su (KBS)
Kim Dae-Hwan (KDH)
Kim Jeong-Ung (KJU)
Kim Hyun-tae (KHT)
Kim Kyeong Ho (KKHo)
Kim Kyung-Hee (KKH)
Kim Jin-Man (KJM)
Kim Shin-Hwan (KSHW)
Kim Su-Kyung (KSK)
Kim Sung-Hyun (KSH)
Kim Tae-Hwan (KTH)
Kim Hyang-Ee (KHE)
Kim Un-Mi (KUM)
Kim Young-Mi (KYM)

Koshiyama Yozo (KY)
Kwak Ho-Kyong (KHKY)
Lee Hae-Soon (LHS)
Lee Jeong Gwan (LJG)
Lee Jeong-Sik (LJS)
Lee Jung-Gwan (LJG)
Lee Ki-Seup (LKS)
Mark Brazil (MB)
Mayumi Kanamura (MaK)
Mike Chung (MC)
Mike Hooper (MH)
Mo In-Ho (MIH)
Mochizuki Kenji (MK)
Nial Moores (NM) Oliver Niehuis and Berit Ullrich (ON & BU)
Ohyama Shigemi (OS)
Onishi Toshikazu (OT)
Park Geon-Seok (PGS)
Park Heung-Sik (PHS)
Park Jong-Gil (PJG)
Park Meena (PM)
Per-Ovin Anders and family (POA)
Pete Aron (PA)
Peter de Haas (PdH)
Peter Nebel (PN)
Randy Horvath (RH)

Richard Klim and Erica Klim (RK & EK)
Richard Taylor (RT)
Robin Newlin (RN)
Seo Jeong-hwa (SJH)
Seo Han-Soo (SHS)
Seto Ryoji (SR)
Shane Enright (SE)
Sim Heon Seup (SHS)
Shim Mi-Yeong (SMY)
Sugiyama Tokio (ST)
Tim Edelsten (TE)
Toby Nowlan (TN)
Tony Broome (TB)
Trevor Feltham (TF)
Tyler Hicks (TH)
Uemura Yukitoshi (UY)
Werner Suter, Einhard Bezzel, Rudolf Bigler, Marcel Hofsetter, Christian Zoch, Oliver Zeising, Thomas Zingg, Marianne Lenz, Gunther Helm, Eva Luksch and Ilse Wendland (WS et. Al)
Yu De-ho (YDH)
Yu Sung Hwa (YSH)

The Year in Brief


The month was cool, with very heavy snowfall mid-month, and again from 29th onwards. As in 2004, a couple of unusual species attempted over-wintering, including a Black-winged Stilt on Jeju, while even more remarkable was the occurrence of a Little Owl at Gimcheon on 6th, a Ferruginous Duck (third national record) at the Geum on the 16th, and at least 2 White-bellied Green Pigeon, with one on Jeju and another at Taean.


The month started cold, with heavy snow and subzero temperatures, before turning cool and then decidedly mild from 21st onwards, with a further cold snap towards the end of the month. Highlights included a Pallas's Gull on Heuksan Island on the 5th.

barabensis Steppe Gull, Eocheong, April 21st. Photo © Nial Moores


The month started cool, with a very heavy snowstorm on the 5th, followed by several short cold snaps and gradually warming temperatures. Species of most note in the first half of the month included an American Herring Gull at Yangyang on 2nd, a barabensis Steppe Gull at Seosan on 4th, and a presumed nominate cachinnans Caspian Gull near Daebo (Guryongpo Peninsula) on 9th. Heavy migration was noted several times during the month, with the first major influx of spring made up of over 1 800 Far Eastern Curlew at Saemangeum on 24th, followed by a Long-tailed Shrike on Eocheong on 25th.


An average month weather wise, with a rain front on 6th and 7th producing the first major spring migrant influxes, along with another White-bellied Green Pigeon on Jeju on 8th. Warm and settled conditions mid-month, when highlights included two Black Redstart in the southwest and a record-breaking count of 20 Greater Short-toed Lark on Daeheuksan on April 15th, gave way to heavy rain on 19th and 20th, producing a very large fall of Brown-headed Thrush. Following the front, a strong westerly airflow became established, producing a Black-headed Bunting on Eocheong on 22nd, Korea's second Isabelline Wheatear at Taean, and Korea's first pandoo Blue Rock Thrush, on Eocheong, on 23rd, followed by Korea's first fully documented Green-backed Flycatcher, on Daeheuksan on 24th. Rain at the end of the month produced a Water Pipit, the first spring record, on Eocheong on 30th.


The best month of the year in 2005 in terms of interesting records. The first part of the month was dominated by strong and dust-bearing westerly winds, interspersed with periods of rain, e.g. from April 30th into the 1st and again on 5th/6th, followed again by several days of persistent cloud with occasional rain mid-month, a weak front on the 17th followed by very strong northwesterly winds and showers on 18th, and then sustained southwesterly winds pushing migrants across the Yellow Sea from a near-stable low pressure system in southern China between the 19th and 22nd. Major national rarities included Korea's second pandoo Blue Rock Thrush on Socheong on May 2nd, a female Black-headed Bunting on Eocheong on 2nd and 3rd, an Isabelline Wheatear on Socheong on 5th, a Himalayan Swiftlet and a new Black-headed Bunting on Eocheong on 6th, and a Siberian Chiffchaff (second national record) on 9th. On the 11th, a Rosy Pipit on Hong Island was the first national record since 2001, while at least 3 minussensis were in among a record count of 3200 longipennis Common Tern on May 14th in the Nakdong. On Socheong Island on the 16th, a male Rufous-bellied Woodpecker was the start of an amazing purple patch, with a probable Common Swift on the 17th, a male White-bellied Green Pigeon and Korea's second Chinese Thrush on 18th, Korea's first Tickell's Leaf Warbler on 19th, along with a Black Bittern, a Red Turtle Dove and a Grey Bushchat on 20th, Korea's second Black-winged Cuckoo-shrike and Tickell's Leaf Warbler and the 8th or so Spangled Drongo on 21st, and a third Tickell's Leaf Warbler on 22nd, along with the same or another White-bellied Green Pigeon and a female Rufous-bellied Woodpecker, and finally another Red Turtle Dove on 23rd.


Hot and occasionally wet, with rain fronts in the first part of the month producing records of a Himalayan Swiftlet on Eocheong on 6th, and Korea's first Lesser Coucal on a nearby island on 9th.


A very wet start to the month, followed by typical hot and humid conditions. Few records received. Ca 40 young Saunders's Gull fledged at Yeongjong early in the month, while the colony at Song Do was greatly compromised by reclamation work.


Hot and largely dry. Most remarkable records for the month were of one or two Black Tern at Saemangeum on August 16th (second national record), and a count of 13 Spoon-billed Sandpiper also there on 19th and 20th.


The month was predictably warm, though with little typhoon activity. Only Typhoon Nabi on the 6th produced gale-force winds in the East Sea, followed very soon after by a weakening storm to the southwest of Korea which affected the Yellow Sea, and set up a strong westerly airflow. Much of the rest of the month was rather dry, with locally heavy rain on the 21st/22nd, and especially on the 29th and 30th. Highlights included strong movements of terns in the south-east, with best being almost 1000 Common Tern south in an hour past East Busan on 7th (a movement containing several presumed Aleutian Tern) and a Gull-billed Tern in the Nakdong on 10th, a Black-headed Bunting on Heuksan on 10th, and then a series of records of Red-backed -type shrikes in the southwest. The frontal system of the 22nd produced record high day counts first of Asian House Martin (3000 on 21st) and then Chestnut-flanked White-eye (400 on 22nd) both on Socheong, while the month closed with Korea's first Eurasian Dotterel found in heavy rain at Seosan on 30th.


Amur Falcons, Socheong, October 16th. Photo © Robin Newlin

Much of the month was mild and fairly dry, with vigorous rain fronts passing through the peninsula on September 30th and October1st, 7th and 8th, 13th/14th, and again on 21st, with each wave producing some excellent records. Highlights included Korea's first Eurasian Dotterel remaining into October at Seosan, South Korea's third Siberian Chiffchaff on Weiyeon Island between 10th and 13th, record-breaking numbers of Amur Falcon (with 96 in one flock at Imjingak on 11th, and an estimated 300+ passing through Socheong on16th), a probable Booted Eagle on Socheong on 20th, and Korea's first Yellow-bellied Tit, photographed there on 22nd. In addition, several Chinese Nuthatch and Eurasian Bullfinch towards month's end hinted at a good winter for both species, while aSwinhoe's Rail photographed on Hong Island on 28th was the first national record in 75 years, and a Sandhill Crane at Suncheon on 30th was apparently only the fourth record for South Korea.


For much of the country dry (with zero precipitation in Busan after the 4th) and cool without any significant late autumn arrivals. Outstanding highlight was the second national record of Yellow-bellied Tit in Gunsan on 13th, and the discovery of apparently two Little Owl towards the end of the month, while a gull photographed at Song Do on 27th was considered by the observer likely to have been a Slender-billed, a species with only one prior national record.


Cold, with temperatures at or below freezing in the north of the country for much of the month, with periods of very heavy snow especially in the southwest after mid-month. Highlights of the month included the same or another Sandhill Crane at Seosan on 6th and one back at Suncheon on 21st, the discovery of a juvenile Steppe Eagle in Jinju on 28th, and a Siberian Chiffchaff on Heuksan Island on 29th. In addition, two records of Long-tailed Shrike and an over-wintering Black-winged Stilt were also both very noteworthy.

Selected Species Accounts

Japanese Quail Coturnix japonica
Typically considered a passage migrant and locally regular winter visitor. Three in the Gunsan area on June 26th (PN, JM), with 7 (apparently including young) seen at Gaya San, near Seosan on July 7th (NM, PA) indicate that the species occasionally occurs in South Korea in summer. In DPRK, Tomek considered that it used to breed in the north of the country (e.g. Tomek, 1999). Perhaps like Eurasian Quail Coturnix coturnix it occasionally breeds in areas peripheral to its main range?

Hazel Grouse Tetrastes bonasia
Although considered a fairly common resident throughout especially the more northern part of the country, two were apparently seen out-of-range on Socheong Island on October 20th (IA, KY, OT).

Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Few reports received of this scarce winter visitor, with an estimated population of between only 1000 and 3000 individuals in East Asia (anon, 2005). 8 were at Hwajin Po in late December, while highest counts in 2005 were of 6 at Youngrang Lake, Sokcho area on January 4 (JKA), and 4 at Seosan on November 16th, (KSHW)

Swan Goose Anser cygnoides ENDANGERED
Now with a global population estimated at between 50 000 and 60 000 (anon, 2005), this is a local migrant and scarce winter visitor in ROK. Small numbers winter at the Nakdong estuary, e.g. 8 on January 30th (NM, GD et. al), the Han-Imjin (e.g. 4 on January 7th: NM, DG &MC) and the Geum River, where 48 on January 7th (PN, JM, MK). At the latter site, one had a blue neck collar with white letters which read "R90"; this same bird remained there until mid-February before being re-sighted on February 23rd at the Han-Imjin (NM, RK & EK). Numbers built up at the Han-Imjin from mid-February, and though neither of these counts can be considered comprehensive, there were at least 500 counted there on March 11th (NM, WS et al), declining to 250 by March 20th (RN). In autumn, the highest count received was of 630 on November 5th (NM, JB), while R 90 was also re-sighted back at the Geum on December 18th (JM, PN, AN). News from DPRK was of 10 250 at Chungchon estuary, Mundok County, South Pyongan Province in mid-October (AJ).

Bean Goose Anser fabalis
The most recent population estimates of Bean Geese (combined) suggests a total of ca 130 000 in East Asia (anon 2005). 86 116 (mostly serrirostris) were counted nationwide on January 15th as part of an NIER-coordinated waterbird count (Yi in Li, 2005). One middendorffi was seen at the Mangyeung estuary, Saemangeum, on July 1st (NM. PA) while serrirostris Bean also apparently over-summered at Seosan, with 3 seen there on June 8th (NM, JP) increasing (!) to 9 by June 30th (NM, PA)

Greater White-fronted Goose Anser albifrons
The most recent population estimate suggests a total of between 100 000 and 150 000 frontalis Greater White-fronted Goose in East Asia (anon 2005). 84 039 were counted nationwide on January 15th as part of an NIER-coordinated waterbird count (Yi in Li, 2005). 4-5 were still present at Seosan Lake A on June 30th, with one also on the Mangyeung estuary, Saemangeum on July 1st (NM, PA). Probably 60 000 were present at Seosan on October 31st (NM, JB).
NOTE: It appears that there are two distinctive types of Greater White-fronted Goose in Korea: one small, dark, pink-billed and typically associated with short-grass habitats (albifrons-type?); the other much bulkier, bigger-billed, orange-billed and more typical of long-grass habitats (frontalis-type?).

Adult, Joonam, March 13th. Photo © Peter de Haas

Lesser White-fronted Goose Anser erythropus VULNERABLE
An estimated 14 000 of the world's ca 27 000 winter in East Asia (anon, 2005). In South Korea, a scarce migrant and rare winter visitor, significantly overlooked. A confiding adult was again present throughout the winter at Joonam, remaining until at least March 20th (TH). At the Geum (NM, GD et al.), there was also an adult on January 26th, with a different adult there on January 31st (NM and ED), increasing to 4 individuals there on February 23rd (NM, RK & EK). On March 23rd, there was a very probable adult at Saemangeum (NM, CP). On October 1st, at least 4 were at Seosan (NM et al.), with one there on 9th (NM et al.), and at least two on October 31st (NM, JB). Also 4 were at the Han-Imjin on October 11th (NM, BK tour.). One at Joonam from December 9th (NM, HA) was presumably the regularly returning adult.

Greylag Goose Anser anser
A first winter was seen (not photographed) at Seosan Lake A on October 6th (FC). This is probably about the 5th record for South Korea. Park (2002) lists 1 bird ‘collected' in Seoul on Nov. 11,1934; 3 ‘collected' in Jeju on Jan.23,1915; and one sight record at Joonam from January 20-22nd 1992. In addition there is one earlier sight record of one at the Dongjin estuary (NM)

Snow Goose Anser caerulescens
Probably significantly fewer than 50 winter in East Asia annually. A rare winter visitor to ROK, with probably between 3 and 5 individuals most winters. Two were in the Han-Imjin area in January, e.g. on 15th (MH), with two at Ganghwa on February 6th (CSK). At Seosan, one adult on October 6th (FC) and one juvenile on October 9th (NM et al), with again an adult there on October 31st (NM, JB).

Cackling Goose Branta hutchinsii
Since the first records in 1992 (Park, 2002), this species has become annual (or nearly so). One was at Seosan on January 25th (NM, GD et al.), while two at Joonam in January (e.g. KSH, NM, JSJ) had increased to three there on March 16th (TH)

American Wigeon Anas americana
First documented record in 1993 (Park 2002): subsequently few records. Probably annual in very small numbers, but status confused by comparatively numerous hybrids. One adult male, April 8th, at the Nakdong estuary (TH).

Baikal Teal Anas formosa VULNERABLE
337 558 were counted nationwide on January 15th as part of an NIER-coordinated waterbird count, compared to 455 000 in the same count in January 2004 (Yi in Li, 2005). >400 000 are now considered to winter regularly in ROK (Moores, in Kear (ed.) 2005). In 2005, “uncountable numbers” returned to the Geum River by February 13th (PN), and there were an estimated 400 000 to 450 000 individuals there on February 23rd (NM, RK & EK), with only a few thousand remaining by March 12th (JM). In the mid-summer, 5 at Seosan Lake A on June 8th (NM, JP) was only the second over-summering record (the first being at Saemangeum in 2004), while there was also one at Seosan, Lake B on July 9th (NM, PA). In the early autumn, the peak count received was of only ca 260 000 at Seosan lake A on October 31st (NM, JB) while one observer claimed a record-breaking flock of 600 000 at Kocheonnam Lake, Haenam, on November 21st (KJU), declining to 150 000 on December 9th and 20 000 to 30 000 on December 11th (via LJS), the same date that local observers also claimed 600 000 at the Geum River/barrage lake (via JM). The suggested total on December 11th from just two sites of 620 000 recalls a nationwide count reported to the Anatidae Working Group for January 15th 2004 of 658 000 (reported in the Year Review for 2004), which apparently was later revised downward to the 455 000 cited above.
News from DPRK was of 34 000 at Chungchon estuary, Mundok County, South Pyongan Province in mid-October (AJ).

Red-crested Pochard Rhodonessa rufina
A rare winter visitor with all six known pre-2004 records close to either the Han or the Nakdong Rivers. In 2004, at least three individuals, including towards the end of the year a male at the Geum River from December 19th (JM, PN) to at least the 30th (NM, AK), and a perhaps regularly returning female at Joonam, photographed on December 23rd (KTJ, MIH). In the first half of 2005, there were two males and one female. Presumably the same female was at Joonam on January 10th at least (ON, BU), while a male, perhaps the tenth national record, was found on the Han River on February 6th (PHS), with the “December male” also back on the Geum River on February 28th (JM, PN).

Ferruginous Pochard Aythya nyroca NEAR-THREATENED
Two previous records (one in 2002, one in 2004). A male was found at the Geum River Barrage Lake on January 16th (JM, PN, CSH, KTH), becoming the third national record.

Adult male, Geum River, January 16th. © Chai Seng Hoon

Baer's Pochard Aythya baeri VULNERABLE
A rare winter visitor or migrant. Continuing the obvious downward spiral in numbers, no ROK record at all in 2005 known to Birds Korea. News from DPRK was of 3 at Chungchon estuary, Mundok County, South Pyongan Province in mid-October (AJ).

Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis
An under-recorded but rare winter visitor, with less than 10 records cited in Park (2002). One female in the Nakdong estuary on November 26th (KBS), with another female off Igidae, east Busan, on December 2nd (NM).

Scaly-sided Merganser Mergus squamatus ENDANGERED
Most recent global population estimate of only 1 000 – 2 500 individuals (anon 2005). A wary and rare winter visitor, with probably between 20 and 50 most winters, and all records pre-2002 falling between November and March. In late November 2004, 10 were found in Gangwon Province, “NE River” (SHS), with 9 there on January 4th (NM, ON, BU) 12 on January 30th (NM, EK) and 4 on March 1st (NM, WS et al). One was on Jeju at least at the beginning of January (KSH), while there were also 2 were on the Imjin River on January 29th (MH). On October 18th, 2 drakes had returned to the NE river (NM, TN)(NM, TN), with 14 there (including 9 drakes) on December 22nd (NM, POA). A check of a regular site in the SE on December 9th found no birds (NM, HA), though a pair was there on December 28th (NM, KH, OS, SR, ST), and 5 were seen near Gwangju in the southwest in late December (JSD).

Gangwon Province, January. Photo © Nial Moores

Yellow-legged Buttonquail Turnix tanki
A scarce and very skulking migrant, most often flushed from long grasses on offshore islands. On Socheong Island, where the species is most often recorded, ca 9 claimed in total between September 20th and October 3rd (FC). In addition one was found dead there on October 21st, two were seen on 22nd (IA, KZ, OT), with the last record of the year, also on Socheong, on October 23rd (NM)

Eurasian Wryneck Jynx torquilla
A scarce migrant, most often recorded on western islands in spring. First for the year was one on Eocheong on April 19th, with 2 there on 20th and 3 (all considered different) on 21st (NM) – approximately 9 were logged there in total during the spring. On Socheong in autumn, singles were seen on September 21st, 22nd and 24th (FC).

Rufous-bellied Woodpecker Dendrocopos hyperythrus
A rare migrant recorded only four times in South Korea up to 2002 (three listed in Park, 2002; and a single on Eocheong Island in September 2002), with three recorded in 2004. In 2005, on Socheong Island, there was a male between May 16th-19th (NM); a female on May 22nd (NM); and a male on September 14th (MB), further confirming its status as a rare migrant.

Common Hoopoe Upupa epops
A fairly common summer visitor, with highest numbers of migrants in March and April. First record of the year was of a pair at Joonam on February 20th (PdH), and last was one on November 20th at Gunsan (JM, PN)

Broad-billed Roller (Dollarbird) Eurystomus orientalis
On May 4th, several flocks (of 9, 15, 30 and then 72) were noted on Eocheong Island, perhaps all moving east. These were followed by a single flock of 110 watched circling the island in the evening (NM): easily the largest single count of this species known to Birds Korea.

Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis
One found recently dead and photographed by a non-birdwatcher, on June 9th on Geokrelbiyel Do (island not located on map), in Gunsan, and the images forwarded by LJG. This is the first record for South Korea and the Korean peninsula, and the species has been added to category 1 of the Birds Korea checklist.

Geokrelbiyel Do, June 9th. Photo © not known, used with permission per Lee Jung Gwan

Himalayan Swiftlet Collocalia brevirostris
Status unclear. Recorded annually since 2001, with all records from offshore islands (most especially Eocheong Island) between April and August. One on Eocheong island on May 6th was photographed (NM, KSH), while another on Eocheong on June 6th (NM, JP) constitutes probably the 11th national record.

Eocheong, May 6th. Photo © Kim Sung Hyun

Pacific Swift Apus pacificus
A locally common summer visitor and migrant. Earliest arrivals in February; typically most have departed by early October. First record of the year in 2005 was one at Buan on February 27th (CSH).

Common Swift Apus apus
On May 17th, one probable was seen for ca 2 minutes at medium-long range in heavy rain showers on Socheong Island (NM). It was the size of a Pacific Swift, and lacked a white rump band (though such a band was visible on other swifts seen at the same time). Views were considered insufficient to claim a national first: e.g. neither the throat patch or the presence or absence of scaling on the underparts were observed.)

House Swift Apus affinis
A scarce but regular migrant in very small numbers, with the majority of records towards the south, but also recorded as far northwest as Socheong. First of the year was one on Hong Do on April 14th (NM, PJG). On Eocheong, there were two on May 6th and one on May 8th (NM).

Ural Owl Strix uralensis
A rare resident or perhaps winter visitor. One photographed at Odaesan National Park on November 19th (SB) appears to be the 7th national record. Although this species is found, uncommonly, in DPRK, and is widespread in Japan, there are only four specimens listed in Park's 2002 thesis (2 from Gyeonggi in 1927 and 1928, and 2 from Gangwon Do, in 1975 and in 1992). There was a stunning photograph of one taken in Gangwon Do (perhaps in 2002?), and one “dark type” reported in the Seoul area in 2003.

Little Owl Athene noctua
Probably a very scarce winter visitor, not yet recorded annually. Six specimens exist, collected between August and March (Park, 2002). Five or six records in 2004, following the previous most recent record, of one observed near the Dongjin River, Saemangeum in January 2002 (NM, KSK). In 2005, also ca 5 records. There was one photographed at Kimcheon on January 6th (KSK), and another was observed at Pyongcheon on January 28th (KDW), with one on October 7th (YSH) and again on November 11th and 24th at Kokrungcheon (YDH), all in the Northwest. Towards the end of the year, one was also seen at Seosan from at least November 27th (KHK) to at least December 24th (KHT) In DPRK, one was on a cement post near the DMZ, next to a road sign marked 70Km to Seoul, on a date between July 26th and August 2nd (JH).

Hill Pigeon Columba rupestris
On the basis of its being extant as a wild bird in DPRK, and on the existence of historic records (both suggesting a wild origin), Hill Pigeon has been moved to Category 1 of the Birds Korea checklist. It is clear that this species is now very uncommon in ROK, and observers are respectfully encouraged to look for and report all sightings. In 2005, at least one reported at Hwaeom-Sa on Jiri Mountain on August 27th (KHT). In DPRK, on the road to DMZ and road to Wonsan between July 26th and August 2nd there were two groups of 4 and 6 respectively (JH).

Black Woodpigeon Columba janthina NEAR-THREATENED
Apparently a scarce and very local summer visitor or resident, breeding on a small number of offshore islands, with birds recorded on ca 15 islands (Park, 2002). In the East Sea, still regular and reasonably widespread on Ulleung island, where perhaps mainly a summer visitor. In the southwest - in the South Sea and southern Yellow Sea - where the majority of the population exists, perhaps largely resident, with populations increased by birds from elsewhere (highest count being of 80 in far southwest in February 1980: Park 2002). In 2005, especially noteworthy records away from regular, known sites (such as Heuksan and Ulleung Islands) included one seen at Samseonghyeol Shrine in downtown Jeju City on Jeju Island, January 13th (On, BU); one heard crooning on Hong Island on April 14th by NM and PJG (this species had not been known to occur there recently); two seen on Imja Do on August 25th (LJS); and one heard on Socheong Island on October 1st (FC), significantly the furthest north record from ROK.

Red Collared Dove Streptopelia tranquebarica
First recorded in 1993, with the 2nd and 3rd records in 2001 (Park 2002). Although probably not annual there were 2 on Hong Island on May 2nd (PJG), followed by a run of records in late May 2005 comprising several different individuals – all female types. On Socheong these included singles on May 20th, 22nd and 23rd and on June 3rd-4th (all NM) with one also on Heuksan Island on June 3rd (PJG).

White-bellied Green Pigeon Treron sieboldii
Only 6 previous records, involving 9 individuals (Park, 2002). In 2005, a male at Choenripo beach on Jeju Island between December 24 and January 4th or 5th (LJG); a male at Chollipo, Taean on January 6th at least (KSH, LHS), a female on Jeju on April 8th (JNJ), and a male on Socheong Island on at least May 18th and 22nd (MK, NM) – the last apparently the tenth record for ROK.

White-naped Crane Grus vipio VULNERABLE
Most recent population estimate suggests a world population of 7 200, with 3 200 in the Japan/Korea population (anon, 2005), and several hundred wintering in the Cheorwon/DMZ area. 35 were wintering at Joonam in mid-January (BH), though only 12 were there in late December (NM, KH, ST, SR, OS). In the autumn, a peak of 2 700 were counted on November 5th and 6th (LKS) largely in Cheorwon.

Joonam, January 13th. Photo © Mo In Ho

Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis
One at Suncheon Bay on October 30th (CIH), and one at Seosan (KHT, KSHW) on December 6th (latter photographed), and one back at Suncheon on December 21st (NM, POA): apparently the fourth or fourth and fifth national records. According to Park Jin-Young's unpublished doctoral thesis there are only three previous records of Sandhill Crane in South Korea - despite the species occurring annually at Izumi in Japan (having surely migrated through the Korean peninsula). Previous published records are of one on December 5th, 1987 at Daeseong Dong (Gyeonggi Do), one at Imjingak on 28th January 1989, and one at Cheorwon on March 9th, 1995.

Common Crane Grus grus
A scarce migrant with occasional singles wintering. Status confused by presence of apparent hybrids with Hooded Crane present in the wintering flock at Suncheon. At least one apparently pure Common was at Suncheon Bay on February 22nd (NM, RK & EK). Presumably the same individual was back at Seosan in December, where photographed with its apparently mixed-origin family (KHT).

Hooded Crane Grus monacha VULNERABLE
Most recent population estimate suggests a world population of 9 960, with 8 500 wintering in Japan/Korea (anon, 2005). The wintering flock at Suncheon Bay held at least 145 individuals on February 22nd (NM, RK & EK), while the 300 at Seosan Lake A on March 25th (KHT) clearly contained many newly-arrived migrants. One still present on May 1st at Suncheon Bay was likely the last of the spring (KHK).

White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus
Proving increasingly regular on migration along the west coast (especially towards the southwest, but recorded several times as far north as Socheong), and occasionally over-summering. One on Heuksan Island on December 25th (PJG) is presumably the first mid-winter record.

Swinhoe's Rail Coturnicops exquisitus VULNERABLE
One possible on Heuksan Island on October 4th (NM & BK tour). A juvenile banded and photographed on October 28th on neighboring Hong Island by the National Parks Migratory Bird Center staff was the first confirmed record of this vulnerable species in South Korea since 1930.

Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa
A fairly numerous migrant. Peak counts included 4 500 in the Saemangeum estuarine system and a further ca 2000 on the Geum on August 16th and 17th (NM, AR).

Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica
The earliest record in the spring of a group was 10 at Saemangeum on March 23rd (NM, CP).

Far Eastern Curlew Numenius madagascariensis
A regular migrant with often several hundred over-summering. Two at Ganghwa on March 1st (MH) were likely among the first of the spring arrivals. By March 24th, 1 815 at a single roost at Gyewha Do, Saemangeum seemed to indicate an exceptional and rather early arrival (NM, CP, CYG). Significant numbers oversummer, but 900 at Ganghwa and 1500 at Yeongjong on July 8th (NM, PA) presumably included significant numbers of early autumn returnees.

Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis
At least 200 were in a small stretch of drainage channel next to the Dongjin estuary on September 22nd (NM, TF, SE, TN) – constituting probably one of the highest (or the highest?) count of this species in ROK to date.

Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia
High counts in the Saemangeum estuarine system included ca 1000 in one roost at the Dongjin on September 23rd (NM, TF, TN, SE), with at least 500 more at a separate roost on the Mangyeung the next day, increasing to over 1000 there also on October 5th (NM, BK tour).

Nordmann's GreenshankTringa guttifer ENDANGERED
A scarce and local migrant, very much overlooked and largely confined to extensive estuarine tidal-flats, with formerly perhaps 100 – 200 in South Korea annually. The majority of records are in autumn (with the peak in October), with largest previous counts in the Saemangeum estuarine system (i.e. 61 October 21st-23rd, 1998: Moores b, 1999). A very poor showing in 2005 – likely due to both lack of proper coverage as well as to declining numbers. One presumed Nordmann's was on the Mangyeung on August 17th (NM), with another claimed at Song Do on August 28th (TE), followed by a well-watched bird at Ganghwa on September 29th (NM and BK tour). Further records at Saemangeum included one well-watched individual on the Dongjin on 22nd, and singles at the Mangyeung on September 24th (NM, TF, SE, TN) and October 2nd (KFEM via JM and PN), with at least 2 there on October 5th (NM and BK tour).

Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris
A locally very numerous migrant, largely dependent on the Saemangeum estuarine system and the neighboring Geum. First record in spring was of 3 at Gyehwado, Saemangeum (NM, CYG, CP) on March 24th. In autumn, ca 15 000 were present in mid-August (NM, AR).

Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmea ENDANGERED
Now with a minimum world population estimate of less than 3 000 individuals. A very local migrant, most numerous in autumn in the Saemangeum area. Only two records known to Birds Korea in spring (perhaps as Saemangeum area not extensively counted): one breeding-plumaged adult at Okku on May 8th (PN, JM, RN) and another at the Nakdong on May 14th (NM). In autumn, there were 13 on the Dongjin on August 19th and 20th (TR, PN), with one there on 24th (CN), three or four on September 4th, four on September 17th (including at least one juvenile (PN, JM), and 3 on September 21st (NM, SE, TF, TN). There were also 2 juveniles at the Nakdong estuary on August 26th and 27th (NM, CA, JSJ, KHE), followed by a banded juvenile on September 21st (JSJ), and three more (unbanded) juveniles from 25th (JSJ) to at least 26th (JSJ, NM, TF, TN, SE). There was also one on Jeju on September 12th (JNJ)

Juveniles, Nakdong, September 26th. Photo © Trevor Feltham

Little Stint Calidris minuta
A very scarce migrant, first claimed in 1996 (Park, 2002), with fewer than 10 records subsequently. Recorded annually in recent years. On May 14th one was at the Nakdong Estuary (NM), with another adult, this one photographed, on Heuksan Island on 19th (PJG). On September 26th a worn juvenile was photographed at the Nakdong Estuary (NM, TF, TN, SE).

Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii
One at Seongsan Yuwonji on March 22nd (KSH) and three on Jeju Island on March 25th (KUM) are very early records of a typically scarce migrant.

Ruff Philomachus pugnax
Five together in a drainage channel next to the Dongjin estuary on September 22nd (NM, TN, SE, TF) is a good count of this rather scarce migrant.

Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus
170 counted off the ferry from Pohang to Ulleung island on 11th Sept, is perhaps one of the highest recent counts known from the Korean part of the East Sea (FC).

Greater Painted-snipe Rostratula benghalensis
A scarce and local breeding season, with some individuals likely wintering in the far south, and others migrating. Late records in autumn included one at Seosan on October 31st (NM, JB), one at Upo Rasmar site on November 6th (SB) and 4 on November 30th, at Yongsan River (CSK).

Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus
First recorded in 1993 (Park, 2002), and now recorded annually, especially in summer. One or two over-summered on Jeju, while one was present at the Nakdong from ca October 20th until early November (a JSJ and MIH).

Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus
An increasingly recorded migrant, most especially in spring, with breeding since at least 1998. One apparently attempted to over-winter on Jeju in the first half of the year (being present into the beginning of January at least: KSH), while the first spring arrivals were back at Seosan by March 25th (KHT). Towards the end of the year, one was also found at the Mangyeung, Saemangeum, on December 26th (PN, AN).

Pied Avocet Recurvirostra avosetta
A rather rare migrant, now recorded annually, most often in autumn, and very occasionally in winter. 2 over-wintered on Jeju, at least until January 7th (GCW).

Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula
Perhaps less than 10 records nationally. One first calendar year photographed at the Nakdong on September 26th (NM, TN, TF, SE) was perhaps the only record of the year. Park (2002) lists only 7 or so previous records, with only one or two subsequent records known to Birds Korea.

Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii
At least 26 were present at the Nakdong estuary on August 26th (NM, CA), presumably constituting the largest known concentration of the species in Korea. The highest count given in Park (2002) is 20, at the Mangyeung estuary (Saemangeum) on August 30th, 1999.

Oriental Plover Charadrius veredus
A very scarce migrant, possibly annual in the far southwest. One on Jeju between April 16th and 18th (KUM) was the only record received.

Eurasian Dotterel Charadrius morinellus
A juvenile found at Seosan near Lake A on September 30th (NM, RT et al.) remained in the area before being taken into care on about October 8th, and then released. This is the first record of the species in South Korea and it has been added to Category 1.

Seosan, October 4th. Photo © Kim Hyun Tae

Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus
A local winter visitor and migrant. Ca 100 at the Geum estuary on February 6th (PN, JM) is perhaps the highest single count known to Birds Korea. The highest national count traced by Park (2002) was of only 49 at Joonam in January 1989.

Oriental Pratincole Glareola maldivarum
An increasingly recorded species. In 2004, apparent breeding in or near Seosan. In 2005, the highest spring count was of 10 on Jeju between April 16th and 18th (KUM) while the highest autumn count was of 4 at Seosan, on October 1st (BK tour and NM).

South Polar Skua Catharacta maccormicki
First recorded in 1995, the South Polar Skua is increasingly recorded in autumn. Recent records suggest very small numbers are regular at sea between Socheong and Incheon in autumn. In 2005 records from there comprised one on September 12th (MB); 1 dark bird on 20th September (FC); and one paler-collared dark bird ca 10 km south of Socheong Island on October 20th (NM).

Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius pomarinus
Not listed in Lee, Koo and Park (2000), this species is now known to be relatively numerous in Korean waters, most especially in autumn, with an obvious peak in late October. The highest day count received in 2005 appears to be of (only) 21 between Incheon and Socheong on October 20th (NM).

Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus
An uncommon migrant, typically in August and September. One distant individual at Daebo (Guryongpo) on March 26th (TH) is therefore an exceptional record, recalling that of one seen between Gageo Island and Mokpo on March 14th, 2001 (NM).

Common Gull Larus canus
A locally common winter visitor, especially to the east coast (where several thousand present from Gangneung northward). On March 10th (NM, WS et al.) ca 10 were seen 30-50 km inland on rivers south of Gyeongju (very few inland records), while a Second-winter at the Nakdong estuary on September 5th was considered an exceptionally early date (NM, BT).

Glaucous-winged Gull Larus glaucescens
Although not even officially recorded in South Korea until 1997 (Park 2002) this species is clearly an annual winter visitor in small numbers, especially along the East coast. In 2005, 3 were still present at Daebo (the Guryongpo Peninsula) until at least March 26th (TH), considered a rather late date for a multiple occurrence.

Glaucous Gull Larus hyperboreus
A local winter visitor, mostly along the east coast, but occurring west to e.g. Heuksan Island, and more rarely north to Incheon. 23 on the east coast between Yangyang and Hwajin Po on January 5th (NM, ON, BU) and 18 at Guryongpo on January 28th (NM, GD et al.) both appear to be rather high counts (though not matching the 42 counted between Jumunjin and Yangyang on the east coast between January 29th and 31st, 2001: Park 2002).

American Herring Gull Larus smithsonianus
Although there have been between five and ten recent records in South Korea, criteria for separation from extreme individuals of vegae and birulai and even intergrades/hybrids between the various taxa are perhaps not well-established. On January 23rd, an adult was at Sorae (NM, GD and CH), with a second-winter (photographed) at Jumunjin on March 2nd(NM, WS et al).

Slaty-backed Gull Larus schistisagus
Although not officially recorded in South Korea (along with Glaucous or Glaucous-winged Gulls) until perhaps the 1990s, Park (2002) contains an extraordinarily high count of 14 638 Slaty-backed Gull along the East coast of Gyeongsangbuk Province in January 2001. The species is clearly fairly numerous in winter (October-March), often found in concentrations of 50 to 100 in preferred areas. Approximately 500 on the Guryongpo Peninsula on March 9th seems a rather high count for a typical winter (NM, WS et al).

Mongolian Gull Larus mongolicus
A numerous species, wintering commonly in the northwest, and breeding locally on several islands in the Korean part of the Yellow Sea. One record of interest was of a wing-tagged bird photographed on Hong Island on December 13th (PJG). More details on this individual will be posted later on-site.

Steppe Gull Larus (heuglini) barabensis
Status unknown. Approximately 10 individuals that seemed to match barabensis better than taimyrensis were noted and photographed by NM between January and May 2005, at several different locations. These included two adults at Seosan on January 25th (NM, GD etc al.), one third winter (?) also at Seosan on March 4th (NM, WS et al.), and one or more adults on April 21st on Eocheong Island (NM). These records and images are presented at: BK-ID-Steppe-Gull.shtml.

Caspian Gull Larus cachinnans cachinnans/“ponticus”
One third summer-type photographed by NM on March 9th near Daebo, Guryongpo Peninsula, with vegae (BK-ID-Steppe-Gull.shtml). This taxon/species has perhaps not previously been reliably claimed in the Korean peninsula. It has not yet been added to the Birds Korea checklist due to the lack of contemporary taxonomic consensus on “large white-headed gulls,” although following several recent studies it is clear that mongolicus does not belong in cachinnans. Although initially considered a strikingly odd mongolicus in the field, images allowed identification to be made later, based both on structure and plumage, with such an identification supported by observers familiar with cachinnans who subsequently looked at the images. (NM, WS et al., though not seen by all in the group).

Pallas's Gull Larus ichthyaetus
First recorded in December 2002. A near full-breeding plumaged adult on Heuksan Island on February 5th (PJG) was the 5th national record known to Birds Korea, with the 6th (the same individual?) also a breeding-plumaged adult, this time photographed at Seosan on April 1st (JJS).

Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus
6000+ at the Nakdong estuary on April 11th (NM, PM) was considered a rather high count for this site.

Slender-billed Gull Larus genei
A gull was poorly digiscoped at Song Do on November 27th (TE). The images appear to show a largely white-headed, medium-sized gull, with a very small head, long neck, and deep breast. Based on darker shadow on the coverts and tertials, it can be tentatively identified as a first-winter Slender-billed, an identification supported by the description of leg colour as orange, and bill as orange with a fainter dark tip. Although very hard to discern with confidence, the eye also appears pale in one image, with a contrasting dark pupil. However, none of the three images reviewed show the head-shape from the side, and this combined with some disparity between the observer's notes and the images themselves (stating there was no brown on the coverts or tertials) perhaps allows for the slight possibility that this was an extraordinary, aberrant Black-headed (comments from those with much experience of the species welcome).
Slender-billed Gull has been recorded only once in South Korea, in early 2002.

Song Do, November 27th. Photo © Tim Edelsten

Relict Gull Larus relictus VULNERABLE
Most recent population estimate puts world population at 12 000 individuals (anon, 2005). A scarce winter visitor to ROK, much more numerous in cold rather than mild winters, and most regular between December and February. In December 2004 the only report known to Birds Korea was of one first winter on the Nakdong estuary on the 29th (NM, AG). In January 2005, two were at the Nakdong on the 10th (ON & BU), one first winter was at Pohang on 12th (KSH), and one second-winter was at Song Do on January 22nd (NM), with a ringed adult there on January 23rd (Nm, GD et al). The highest count of the winter was then of 7 or 8 at Song Do, Incheon, on February 25th (NM, RK & EK), with one still there at least until March 6th (TE), when there were also three at the Nakdong Estuary the same day (NM, WS et al). In the autumn, the first report was of an adult at the Nakdong on December 7th (NM, JSJ & KHE), with 2 adults there on December 28th (NM, KH, ST, SR, OS).

Saunders's Gull Larus saundersi VULNERABLE
Most recent population estimate puts the world population at between 7 100 and 9 600 (anon, 2005). In Korea, most numerous as a migrant and winter visitor. With nesting in ROK first proved in 1998 (Moores, 1998) there were at least two colonies in 2005, one at Song Do and one at Yeongjong. At Yeongjong, 20 adults were accompanied by no less than 40 juveniles on July 8th (NM, PA), while at Song Do, there were 138 adults on February 2nd (NM, EK), increasing to 223 on February 25th (NM, RK & EK). There were an estimated 100 adults still present on May 4th (KDH) and then throughout the summer, apparently producing very few young (TE). Much of the preferred feeding area was actively reclaimed during the breeding season. In early December, ca 100 adults seen there, with no late juveniles or first winters noted at all (TE).

First-winter, Nakdong, December 9th. Photo © Hosaka Akio

Gull-billed Tern Gelochelidon nilotica
One adult photographed in non-breeding plumage at the Nakdong estuary on at least September 10th (JSJ) was about the fifth national record.

Caspian Tern Sterna caspia
First recorded in 2001, since when it has become barely annual. Two photographed at Seosan on April 1st (JJS) becomes ca 7th record (involving 8 individuals).

Common Tern Sterna hirundo
A fairly common largely offshore migrant, especially in autumn. According to Park (2002) previous highest published day counts have come from the Nakdong esuary on the south coast (1 000 on September 8th, 1990), and Pohang on the east coast (700 on September 8th, 2000). On May 14th 2005, a record-breaking 3 200 were counted in the Nakdong estuary (NM, JSJ). This flock contained at least 3 minussensis (and a further ca 20 intergrades or birds not yet fully in breeding plumage, with a combination of red legs and blackish or black bills). Minussensis has previously been recorded only twice nationwide (Park, 2002). In the autumn, on September 7th, 890 were counted passing south in one hour past Igidae, Busan (NM), while at least 425 were seen at sea near Bigeum (Shinnan-Gun) on September 16th (NM).

Aleutian Tern Sterna aleutica
Although views were perhaps inadequate to confirm identification, between one and three adults were seen moving south past Igidae in among flocks of Common Tern on September 7th (NM).)

Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus
Increasingly recorded in summer months, since the first record in 1988, though still less widespread and rather scarcer than the White-winged Tern Chlidonias leucopterus. The highest counts of the year were of at least 5 at the Nakdong on May 14th (NM, JSJ et) and 5 at the Geum estuary on May 22nd (PN, JM), with 2 there still on June 19th (PN, JM) and one still at Seosan on July 1st (NM, PA). In late autumn, on September 27th, one was at Joonam (NM, TN, TF, SE) with another at the Dongjin estuary on October 2nd (NM et al.)

Black Tern Chlidonias niger
One in near full breeding plumage, and one presumed Black in non-breeding plumage were watched briefly at close range hawking along a dyke near the Dongjin Estuary on August 16th (NM, AR). This is the second record of the species in Korea, after the first photographed individual at Seosan in May 2001 (KHT).

Common Murre Uria aalge
A very uncommon winter visitor, not recorded annually. Two were videotaped on Ulleung Island in the mid-winter period (subsequently details of this record have been lost).

Long-billed Murrelet Brachyramphus perdix NEAR-THREATENED
Recorded probably annually in very small numbers on the East/South-east coast. Only one record known to Birds Korea in 2005: one non-breeding plumaged individual, seen near Daebo (Guryongpo Peninsula) on March 9th (NM, WS et al).

Oriental Honey Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus
A locally common double migrant through South Korea. A total of ca 1 240 were counted by FC on Socheong heading northwest between September 22nd and October 4th (when counting stopped) with 188 on 22nd, 28 on 23rd, 149 on 24th, 207 on 25th, 171 on 26th, 239 on 27th, 50 on 28th, 142 on 29th, 15 on October 1st, 7 on 2nd , 10 on 3rd, and 31 on 4th.

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla NEAR-THREATENED
A local winter visitor and very scarce breeding species, with one or two pairs nesting on southern islands. Probably > 50 winter regularly nationwide, most regularly in Cheorwon, Han-Imjin, Seosan, Saemangeum, Haenam, Nakdong and along the east coast (between Hwajin Po and Yangyang). In January, for example, records received by Birds Korea included: Five at Cheorwon on January 4th (NM, ON, BU); 3 at Hwajin Po-Sokcho on January 5th (NM, ON, BU); 2 at Yangyang on January 5th (NM, ON, BU); One at Seosan on January 16th (MH); One at Upo on January 16th (O SH); 3 at the Han-Imjin and two at Jeokseong on January 29th (MH); 2+ at the Nakdong estuary on January 29th (NM, GD et al); and 3 on a NE River on January 30th (NM, EK).

Steller's Sea Eagle Haliaeetus pelagicus VULNERABLE
A regular winter visitor in very small numbers, most regular between December and February. At least 8 individuals reported in the first half of 2005, at the Han-Imjin, Cheorwon, Hwajin Po-Yangyang and the Nakdong estuary. No reports were received until January 8th, when one was at Yangyang (SHS), and one probable was at the Nakdong on January 10th (On, BU), followed by an adult and an immature there on January 29th (NM, GD et al). Three were said to be in the Cheorwon area in early February (via NM). The same or another immature was back at Yangyang on February 6th (SHS), with one first year at the Han-Imjin on February 23rd (NM, RK & EK), an immature at Hwajin Po on March 1st (NM, WS et al) and an extremely late immature bird at the Nakdong estuary on March 6th (NM, WS et al).

Yeongdeok, February 6th. © Sim Heon Seup

Cinereous Vulture Aegypius monachus NEAR-THREATENED
The species is an increasingly numerous winter visitor to South Korea, with an estimated 1000 or 1200 present in recent winters, almost all close to the DMZ (e.g. in Paju and Cheorwon). ca 450 at dawn on January 4th at the ‘Bird viewing House” (NM, ON & BU) in Cheorwon Gun, with 450 also at Ilsan on January 7th (NM, DG & MC) were two of the higher counts received. Possibly up to 70 near Jinju on December 28th (NM, KH, ST, SR, OS) is considered an exceptional count for so far south.

Pied Harrier Circus melanoleucos
Considered a rare passage migrant to South Korea by Lee, Koo and Park (2000), the series of records made on Socheong Island in 2003 and 2004 suggest that although it is uncommon, it is the most numerous harrier in South Korea in September and October, especially in the northwest. In 2004, autumn records on Socheong Island made by NM between September 4th and October 31st comprised over 40 individuals, with a maximum of 10 on September 19th.This compares to a very similar 39 in 2005 counted by FC between September 15th and October 4th on Socheong, with a peak of 16 coming into roost on September 20th, followed by at least one juvenile there between October 23rd and 26th (NM).

Rough-legged Buzzard Buteo lagopus
Apparently once regular, but in recent years becoming a very scarce winter visitor to South Korea. Records included one on January 19th at Ganghwa (ON, BU), with 2 at Gimpo on February 2nd (NM, EK). In March, one was on Yeongjong on March 11th (WS), with another at Jiri San on March 16th (TH).

Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga VULNERABLE
A very scarce winter visitor and rather more regular migrant, most especially in October and November. 2005 was a poor year for the species. One was at Mokpo on January 12th (ON, BU). In the autumn, there was a juvenile over Socheong on October 23rd (NM), with another at Seosan Lake A on October 31st (NM, JB).

Steppe Eagle Aquila nipalensis
A juvenile found with Cinereous Vultures, well watched and photographed (with a Large-billed Crow in the photo above) on December 28th near Jinju City, is the first confirmed record of this species known to Birds Korea in recent years. Tomek (1999) gives one record of “Aquila rapax” from DPRK, a bird caught on the east coast in December 1959. This presumably refers to Steppe Eagle A. nipalensis, formerly often considered a more eastern subspecies of Tawny Eagle A. rapax. This is also presumably the basis for Steppe Eagle being listed as a vagrant to Korea in Lee, Koo and Park (2000), a field-guide covering the whole peninsula, while Park ( 2002) in his unpublished doctoral thesis on South Korean birds contains no mention of A. nipalensis. There are at least two sight records in South Korea, however, known to Birds Korea: one, initially described as a sub-adult, but based on its broad white underwing stripe much better aged as a juvenile, at Seosan on December 31st 1994 (NM and Des Allen); and the other, unaged, and without description, seen in Cheorwon in early January 2002 by Brian Foster et al (see 2002 Year Review). The species has also been listed by KHT for Seosan, either on the basis of the 1994 or on another unpublished record. In the absence of better information, the Jinju juvenile is best considered the third national record and very likely perhaps the first fully documented record of the species in South Korea, supported by images of the bird both at rest and in flight, and seen by multiple observers.

Jinju, December 28th. Photo © Sugiyama Tokio

Eastern Imperial Eagle Aquila heliaca VULNERABLE
A very scarce winter visitor and migrant, with typically between 3 and ca 10 individuals annually between 1998 and ca 2002, and subsequently rather fewer records. One at Seosan on at least January 1st (KHT) and one on Socheong on October 18th (IA, KY, OT) were perhaps the only records of the year.

Booted Eagle Hieraaetus pennatus
Although views were insufficient to confirm identification, a presumed pale-phase Booted was seen perched and in flight by a lone observer (NM) on Socheong Island, on October 20th. Identification was based both on plumage features and structure. Although there are no records for Korea, it is interesting to note that one was found and photographed at Xiangyundao FF, Laoting, Hebei on October 2nd and 3rd (per Beijing Birdwatching Society posting). The species apparently reaches East Asia, at least occasionally.)

Amur Falcon Falco amurensisA very scarce spring migrant, more numerous northward, and an irregular autumn migrant – apparently peaking in October. 2005 was a truly exceptional year for the species. In the spring, the highest day count was of 4 on Socheong Island on May 18th and 19th (involving at least 5 individuals). In the autumn, one on September 15th (MB and FC) and October 2nd on Socheong (FC), were followed by at least one on October 8th on Eocheong (TB), and then a record-breaking flock of 96 on October 11th at Imjingak (TB, NM et al). Already considered an exceptional count, this was then followed by at least 300 on October 16th passing over Socheong (AI, KY, OT, RN, TE). In addition, news from DPRK included two single adult males (one near the DMZ and one towards Wonsan) between July 26th and August 2nd (JH) suggesting either over-summering there or even breeding: a probability earlier raised by Tomek (1999) based on 6 historic records falling between May and August. In addition, there were 8 at the Chungchon estuary, Mundok County, South Pyongan Province in mid-October (AJ).

1st summer male, Socheong, May. Photo © Nial Moores

Red-necked Grebe Podiceps grisegena
A day count of over 100 at the Guryongpo Peninsula on January 28th (NM, GD et al.) appears to be one of the highest counts ever of this species in South Korea.

Great Crested Grebe Podiceps cristatus
Approximately 3000 were at the southern end of Seosan's Lake A on March 3rd (NM, WS et al.), considered very likely a record-breaking national high count (the likely population estimate of this species in east Asia has been suggested at between 25 000 and 50 000 individuals: anon, 2005). Six breeding-plumaged adults at Seosan Lake B on July 7th (NM, PA) suggests that breeding will be likely at this site in the future – especially if disturbance by (illegal) fishermen can be reduced.

Chinese Egret Egretta eulophotes VULNERABLE
Few significant reports of this species, with a world population estimated at between 2600 and 3400 individuals (anon, 2005). First of the year was one on Jeju Island on April 5th (KUM), with one reaching as far north as Yeongjong by April 10th (TE, RN).

Great Egret Ardea alba and Eastern Great Egret Ardea modesta
These two taxa have now apparently been split by the Heron Working Group into two species, Ardea alba and Ardea modesta. Modesta is the common breeding form (rather scarce in winter), with presumably nominate alba (?) occurring regularly in winter.
This split will very likely be recognized by Birds Korea once more information on the research underlying the split becomes widely available.

modesta (left) and alba "Great Egrets", Seosan, October 22nd. Photo © Kim Hyun Tae

Chinese Pond Heron Ardeola bacchus
Apparently first recorded only in 1988, this is an increasingly regularly-recorded species, most especially on offshore islands along the west coast in spring, and also inland in the Cheorwon basin. In 2005, 3 nests were found on Ganghwa (PGS). In September, away from Ganghwa, one also at the Dongjin estuary on September 22nd (NM, TN, TF, SE), while on Socheong Island one flew east on October 2nd (FC).

Songdo. Photos © Robin Newlin

Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis
A rare overshooting migrant, first recorded in 1990, with further records at least in 2000, 2003 and 2004. On Socheong Island an adult male was watched coming in off the sea, and landing on a beach on May 19th. Presumably the same bird was later found feeding on a track in pine woods later the same day (NM). This is approximately the 5th or 6th national record.

Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris
An uncommon late autumn migrant and scarce winter visitor, most especially in the southwest. One on October 1st at Seosan appears to be a rather early autumn migrant (NM et al).

Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor ENDANGERED
South Korea supports a very significant percentage of the world's breeding and staging population (now estimated at 1 400 individuals: YY Tung, 2005); and a small number of over-wintering individuals. In 2005, 21 wintered on Jeju (Yu, 2005), with 15 still present on March 8th (NM, WS et. al). The first obvious spring migrant was one at the Dongjin, Saemangeum, on March 24th (NM, CP), followed soon after by one on the Geum River on March 25th (NM, CSH). In autumn, dispersal involves internationally important concentrations at a number of highly threatened and unprotected wetlands, including Yeongjong, Song Do and Saemangeum.

Black Stork Ciconia nigra
Rare in East Asia, with a threatened flyway population of only 100-500 individuals (anon, 2005). Increasingly recorded in South Korea, both in winter and on migration, but surprisingly 2 at the regular wintering site in Hampyeong on January 16th (KDH) appears to be the only record received of the year.

Oriental Stork Ciconia boyciana ENDANGERED
Global population now estimated at ca 3000 individuals (anon, 2005). A local and rare winter visitor to South Korea, with between 20 and 30 individuals in most recent winters. At least 8 were in the Haenam area in late January (LJS), with 6 still there in late February (NM, RK & EK). At Seosan, at least one over-wintered, with two there on March 3rd (NM, WS et al.). In autumn, one at the Nakdong from October 24th to the end of the month (JSJ), with 3 at Seosan on October 30th (KHT), and 5 there on December 10th (KHKY), with 4 also in Haenam on November 29th (LJS).

Seosan, February 1st. © Nial Moores

Pacific Loon Gavia pacifica
A large movement of loons off Igidae (East Busan) on December 2nd was very largely made up of Pacifics . At least 930 moved south in one hour, with likely several thousand moving through between 10 am and 2 pm (NM).

Flesh -footed Shearwater Puffinus carneipes
This is an uncommon migrant, most frequent in autumn. One was near Heuksan Island on October 3rd (NM et al), and from the Socheong to Incheon ferry there was 1 on 20th September and 3 on 4th October (FC), followed by singles from the same ferry near Socheong on both October 20th and October 30th (NM).

Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris
This is an uncommon migrant, in summer months (April to October). One between Eocheong and Gunsan on June 6th (NM, JP) was apparently the only record received by Birds Korea in 2005.

Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus
A migrant and summer visitor, considered to have declined very significantly in recent years. Autumn migration appears to peak in mid-late August. On Socheong, there were 34 logged between September 15th and October 3rd (FC). One on October 10th near Seoul is considered exceptionally late (RN)

Brown Shrike X Thick-billed Shrike Lanius tigrinus
A male Thick-billed and a female confusus type Brown Shrike were photographed at the nest at a site near Seoul in June and July, even fledging young (SJH). This is the first such extraordinary hybrid pairing noted in South Korea.

Seoul. Photos © Seo Jeong-hwa

Red-backed Shrike Lanius collurio
After the first accepted record (of a banded individual on Hong Island, on September 16th 2004), a series of records of “odd” juvenile shrikes in 2005 – which appear to be either Red-backed, perhaps phoenicuroides Isabelline, or hybrids (between Brown, Red-backed or Isabelline). On September 8th, there were two Red-backed Shrike-types (one perhaps indeterminate) on Heuksan (PJG). These were followed by an apparent Red-backed Shrike on Hong Island on September 14th (PJG), and then a Red-backed Shrike and one more indeterminate bird on September 15th (NM, PJG) and 16th on Heuksan when the indeterminate bird was banded (PJG). Plumage and e.g. width of T6 (the outer tail feather) seem to rule out both pure Brown and pure Red-backed for this second individual. On September 22nd, yet another indeterminate shrike was seen, this time near the Dongjin estuary, Saemangeum (NM, TN, TF, SE), the same day that another first winter was seen on Heuksan Island (PJG). It is absolutely apparent that much more study is required to separate these forms reliably in East Asia (and by extension elsewhere in their ranges).

Long-tailed Shrike Lanius schach
An increasingly recorded species since the first in 1994. First record of the year was of one on Eocheong Island on March 25-26th (NM), with two there on April 11th (JM, KYM) and one there still until the 18th (NM). No other records received by Birds Korea in the autumn, until one on Hong Island from December 6th till at least December 15th (PJG, KSH), and one at the Mangyeung in Gimje on December 27th (SMY).

Chinese Grey Shrike Lanius sphenocercus
A scarce migrant (especially in September) and winter visitor, with probably 10-20 most autumn/winters, and a small breeding population also apparently established in the DMZ. In January for example, one was in Cheorwon (CSK), and on 14th (KSH) and 27th, one also in Suncheon Bay (NM, GD et al.), with at least one at Seosan Lake A on February 1st (NM, EK). In early spring, on March 12th, one was again at Okku, Saemangeum (JM), with one on Eocheong Island on April 22nd (NM, CSK, KHT et al) and another on Socheong on May 18th (NM): the latter two both considered extremely late records. In September, there was one on Socheong on September 21st, and 2 on 23rd (FC), with two also at Seosan Lake A on September 25th (NM, TN, TF, SE). On October 16th, one was again on Socheong (IA, KY, OT), with birds also remaining at Seosan. On December 3rd, one was photographed in Daegu at an inland wetland area (NM, KSKY).

Black-winged Cuckooshrike Coracina melaschistos
Only one previous record. In 2005, no less than three sight records, all on Socheong. A definite dark-winged cuckoo-shrike on Socheong seen by MK on May 21st was presumed to be of this species (the only likely cuckoo-shrike species on range), and is therefore considered the second national record. Presumably this same bird was heard calling a loud “Schweep” repeated three times (NM). A further “probable” was seen in the centre of the island on 18th Sept (MB), while a male was seen at close range on October 2nd (FC). Although there are no images, the description of this third individual is very detailed (including the diagnostic tail pattern and head markings), and as well as comprising the third (or fourth?) national record, it allows elevation of the species to Category 1 of the Birds Korea checklist (“Species that have been reported since 1980 by multiple experienced observers”).

Black Drongo Dicrurus macrocercus
While considered a vagrant by Lee, Koo and Park (2000), it is apparent that this species is rather a fairly regular spring-overshoot species, most frequently recorded from the second week of May onwards (with very few records in autumn). In 2004, probably 16 individuals were found in total, while in spring 2005 a conservative and record-breaking 60 individuals were recorded (surpassing the ca 40 logged in 2003). These numbers are derived in the main by adding up peak counts, rather than by allowing fully for turnover. In May, 2 on Hong Island on and 2 on Eocheong on 6th, were the first of the year, with then 5 on Eocheong on the 8th (NM, CSH, KSH) and a flock of ca 15 probable Black Drongo seen on Yeon Do, Gunsan, also on 8th (CSH). On the 9th, there were 4 on Eocheong, and one on Yeon Do (NM). On neighboring Weiyeon Island, there were 7 on May 7-8th (KHT), and on Hong Island in Jeollanam one on May 9th (SMY). On May 11th, 2 more Black Drongo were on Hong Island (PJG), with 7 on Heuksan Island on the 12th, and 10 there on 19th with a peak of 14 on neighboring Hong Island on 20th (PJG) following rain on the 18th. On Socheong, 3 on May 19th had increased to 9 on 21st and 11 on 22nd. On June 1st, 3 more were on Socheong increasing to 5 by June 3rd, when there were also 2 on Heuksan (PJG), while there were also 2 on Eocheong Island on June 6th, increasing to 3 on June 7th (NM, JP).

Spangled Drongo Terpsiphone atrocaudata
A rare spring overshoot, with ca 7 previous records. One was seen on Socheong on May 21st (NM).

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
A rare overshoot, recorded in both spring and autumn since the first in 2001. With one record in 2004 (see Addenda below), two on September 22nd on Hong Island (HSH) comprise the 6th national record (and the seventh for the Korean peninsula).

Hong Island, September 22nd. Photo © National Parks Association

Japanese Waxwing Bombycilla japonica NEAR-THREATENED
An irruptive species, occasionally fairly numerous, and most regular in early spring. Only small numbers were reported in 2004, and the only report known to Birds Korea in the first half of 2005 was of one or two heard calling at Gwangneung National Arboretum on February 3rd (NM, EK).

Blue Rock Thrush Monticola solitarius
A first-summer male of the distinctive subspecies pandoo was photographed on Eocheong Island on April 23rd (CSH, NM, KHT). What was most likely the same individual was then found and photographed on neighboring Weiyeon Island during the period April 30th-May 2nd (SHS). This constitutes the first record of this subspecies in South Korea. Following this record, another male was seen on Socheong Island on May 2nd (MK).

pandoo, Eocheong, April 23rd. © Nial Moores

Grey Thrush Turdus cardis
Erroneously considered a vagrant by Lee, Koo and Park (2000) this species is a scarce though regular migrant in spring, with very few autumn records. First records of the spring were one on Eocheong on April 10 (JM, KYM), three at Taejongdae on April 12th, with one there still on 16th (TH), 2 on Hong island on April 15th, and 2 at the south end of Heuksan on 16th (NM, PJG). On Eocheong, the peak count was of 8 on April 20th (NM), with the last there on May 6th (NM). On Socheong in spring, the latest was a female, on May 21st (NM). In Busan, one was at Taejongdae on May 2nd (TH, SB) and another at the Nakdong estuary on November 4th (NM, KBS).

Chinese Blackbird Turdus (merula) mandarinus
Since the first record in July 1999 (of a small breeding “colony”), the species has been increasingly recorded, most especially as an early spring migrant on offshore islands. Records in 2004 received involve ca 15 individuals. In 2005, records in the first half of the year spanned all months from February through May, with again at least 15 individuals noted. One on February 2nd on Jeju (GCW) was likely evidence of over-wintering. Interestingly, although this taxon has been seen in mid-winter several times in DPRK (Duckworth, 2004) it has only been previously recorded once in winter in South Korea. There were two on March 26th on Eocheong Island (NM), with one there on April 10th (JM, KYM), and possibly 4 on Hong Island on April 14th (PJG, NM). One was again on Eocheong on April 18th, with 2-3 on 19th (NM). A rather exceptional record, considering the date and location, was of a male in Taejongdae, Busan, on May 2nd (TH, SB), when one also seen on Socheong Island (MB), while a run of more late migrants included singles on Eocheong on May 5th and from May 8-9th (NM); one on Hong Island on May 11th-12th (PJG); and one on Socheong on May 19th increasing to at least 3 by May 21st (NM, MK).

Eye-browed Thrush Turdus obscurus
An occasionally numerous migrant, most especially in May to western islands, with the first record of 2005 being of one at the south end of Heuksan on April 16th (NM, PJG). On Eocheong 10 on May 6th had increased to new national high count of 700 on Eocheong on May 8th (NM), with a further 110 also on neighboring Weiyeon Island (KHT).

Brown-headed Thrush Turdus chrysolaus
Erroneously considered a vagrant to Korea by Lee, Koo and Park (2000), this is a regular, occasionally numerous migrant to South Korea, especially in spring. First record of the year was of one at Dadapo, Busan on April 11th (NM, PM), with at least three on Hong Island on 14th and four there on 15th, with one also at the northern end of Heuksan on 15th and two at the south end of the same island on 16th (PJG, NM). Also on 16th, three were at Taejongdae, Busan (TH). 5 on Eocheong Island on April 19th had increased to at least 45 on April 20th (NM), on which date there were also 6 on the mainland by Gunsan airport (PN) and a conservative 100+ in one area of the north of Heuksan Island (TH), decreasing to 70+ by 22nd (PJG). On April 22nd also still at least 45 on Hong Island (PJG). With over 200 recorded between 20th and 22nd – despite very limited coverage of only a few sites (excluding e.g. Gageo Island, where 150 recorded in a similar major fall several years before, and Hong Island during the peak of the fall) – it is likely that many hundreds/low thousands were present in South Korea following the heavy overnight rain of April 19th/20th. Most apparently moved on quite quickly, with more typical numbers recorded in the subsequent week. Peak counts after this period included 15 on Eocheong on April 25th-26th (NM), and 5 there on May 6th (NM).

Dark-throated Thrush Turdus ruficollis
A very scarce migrant (especially in autumn) and irruptive winter visitor, increasingly recorded, most often on western islands - especially Socheong Island where it appears to be annual. In spring 2005, there was an adult male red-throated on Eocheong on May 1st (IA, KY, OT, UY). In autumn on Socheong Island, there was a first year male red-throated on October 20th (OT) and perhaps a first year female black-throated on 20th (IA, KY, OT); a male-type black-throated on 23rd (NM); and a first year on 24th (NM).

Chinese Thrush Turdus mupinensis
One flushed from nearly underfoot on a cliff path on Socheong on May 18th (NM) was the second record of this Chinese endemic on Socheong – and the second record for Korea.

Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina
A largely spring migrant, most regular in the southwest. Earliest report of the year was of 3 at Taejongdae, Busan, from April 10th (NM) to at least 12th (TH).

Green-backed Flycatcher Ficedula elisae
An “odd” female-type Narcissus Flycatcher found and photographed by PJG on Heuksan Island on April 24th was subsequently identified as a Green-backed or Elisa Flycatcher – becoming the first fully documented record of this likely threatened taxon in South Korea. (For more details and discussion, go to: BK-ID-Narcissus-Flycatchers-types.shtml).

Heuksan Island, April 24th. Photo © Park Jong Gil

Red-breasted Flycatcher Ficedula parva
One first year bird on October 28th on Socheong island (NM) is the fourth or fifth record, with the first record in April 2003, followed by 2 or 3 in November 2004.

Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina
An autumn vagrant. Four previous records. In 2005, two more records, both photographed and both on Hong Island. The first was a male on September 23rd and 24th (KKH and NPA), and the second a first winter female, between September 29th and October 5th (SJH and NPA).

Japanese Robin Erithacus akahige
This is a rather scarce and very skulking migrant, found mostly in spring (when in song), with only one autumn record (in November, 2004). At Taejongdae, Busan, a regular site for the species, there were three on April 10th (NM), increasing to four on April 12th, with one still there on April 16th (TH). One was also heard singing on Hong Island on April 15th (NM, PJG).

Siberian Rubythroat Luscinia calliope
A locally fairly numerous migrant, likely breeding in the northeast. 43 on Socheong on October 4th (FC) appears to be a new national day high count. The same day there were at least 12 on Heuksan Island (NM, BK tour) suggesting that rather large numbers were moving through much of South Korea at that time.

Siberian Blue Robin Luscinia cyane
A fairly common spring migrant on offshore islands, breeding in hill forest. Scarcely recorded on autumn migration. A count of at least 115 in a limited area of Socheong on May 20th is presumably a new national day high count (NM). In the autumn, there was an adult male and a first year female on Socheong on October 3rd (FC).

Black Redstart Phoenicurus ochruros
A rare spring overshoot. First recorded in 1999, and annual since. In 2004, there were at least three records (ca 9-12th). In 2005, there was a first-summer male photographed on Hong Island on April 14th, with a second first year male on Heuksan seen briefly on April 16th (NM, PJG).

Grey Bushchat Saxicola ferrea
Three previous records (one in May 1987, and singles in April and May 2004). In 2005, an adult male was found and photographed on Socheong Island on May 20th, staying at least until 23rd when observations ceased (NM)

Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina
One previous record (Heuksan, May 1st, 2003: PJG). Two records in 2005, both photographed. The first was on the mainland, at Wonbook on the Taean peninsula on April 23rd (KHY and HJW), and the second was on Socheong Island on May 5th (MB, MK, KM).

Socheong, May 5th. Photo © Mark Brazil

Red-billed Starling Sturnus sericeus
First recorded in 2000, this species has proved to be a regular early spring migrant along the west coast especially, and in the northeast in autumn. Spring records in 2004 involved ca 20 individuals. In 2005, apparently rather fewer reports received (perhaps as its status is now rather better known, and it is no longer considered a rarity?). First record was of one or two on Heuksan between March 30th and April 2nd (KSH). These were followed by 2 on Hong Island on April 14th with one also on Heuksan Island on 15th (PJG, NM), and 2 on Weiyeon Island between April 30th and May 2nd (SHS), with one also there on May 7th-8th (KHT). On Eocheong, still one on May 5th-6th (NM), with 4 on May 8th (NM). On Heuksan, one on May 19th, with one also on Hong Island on May 29th (PJG), while on June 7th one was also seen on Eocheong (NM, JP).

Purple-backed Starling Sturnus sturninus
A scarce migrant (especially in May), with a very few breeding records. On April 25th, 2 were on Eocheong (NM), with three there on May 7th (NM), while on Socheong there were 2 on May 21st, and probably 7 on 22nd (NM). In autumn, there was 1 on 22nd September on Socheong (FC), 2 on Heuksan Island on October 3rd (NM and BK tour), and one again on Socheong on October 17th (IA, KY, OT).

Chestnut-cheeked Starling Sturnus philippensis
A scarce migrant in spring and autumn (with most records between mid-April and early May and again between mid-September and early October). The most significant records were of 15 moving Southwest from Socheong on 4th October (FC), and between 15 and possibly up to 30 at the Nakdong in late September/early October (per JSJ).

White-shouldered Starling Sturnus sinensis
A rare overshoot migrant, only recorded once pre-2001, but now recorded annually. Two were on Weiyeon Island between May 7th and 8th (KHT) and one was on Heuksan on May 19th (PJG).

Weiyeon Island, May 7-8th. Photo © Kim Hyun Tae

Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris
A scarce migrant and winter visitor, increasingly recorded. News from DPRK was of 1 at Chungchon estuary, Mundok County, South Pyongan Province in mid-October (AJ), likely the third record for DPRK.

Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea
Considered sedentary, one on Socheong on October 20th (NM) is considered unusual.

Chinese Nuthatch Sitta villosa
An irruptive winter visitor (last recorded in the winter of 2002/2003). A male was claimed by PHF at the National Arboretum on October 11th, while on Socheong, there was a male on October 19th (KY) and 20th, followed by one on October 24th and one or two more (including a first year female) on October 26th (NM). On the mainland, there was at least one or more at Song Do, Incheon, from November 15th to 27th (KDH, KHK, KHT).

Song Do, November 27th. Photo © Kim Hyun Tae

Yellow-bellied Tit Parus venustulus
A first calendar year male was photographed on Socheong on October 22nd (NM). This constitutes the first record of this species in Korea. Surprisingly, this was followed by the sighting of a second bird (description received), presumably a non-breeding plumaged male, in Gunsan on November 13th (PN, JM).

Socheong, October 22nd. Photos © Nial Moores

Pale Sand Martin Riparia diluta
Although unrecorded in South Korea, the following description (slightly edited) was received by FC: “A bird suspected to be of this sp. was seen heading SW with Red-rumped Swallows on Socheong Island at midday on 25th Sept. 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 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 grayish wash (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)…the bird seemed to lack the breast band completely, instead having a sort of grayish wash.)

Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica
A common migrant and summer visitor, though apparently much decreased in recent decades (with one roost in 1966 estimated to hold 100 000 birds: Park, 2002). On Socheong, 1600 east in 3 hours on September 21st (FC) appears to be the highest count of the year.

Northern House Martin Delichon urbicum
First recorded in 2003. On Socheong, one on October 16th (IA, KY, OT: description received) is approximately the 6th record for South Korea.

Asian House Martin Delichon dasypus
A local, fairly common migrant, most often recorded on offshore islands. On Socheong Island, a flock of 3 000 arrived in a rain shower on September 21st (FC). This is more than ten times higher than the previous national highest day count; and unexpectedly far north for such a count (with the species apparently most regular along the south coast).

Light-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus sinensis
First recorded in October 2002 on Eocheong Island, 2004 proved to be an exceptional year for the species in Korea, with the first breeding record of two or more pairs on Socheong. The first records for the year came again with the first birdwatcher's visiting Socheong. On May 2nd and 3rd there were 2+ (MB, MaK, AM, MK) there, with 2 also on May 16th (when coverage restarted), rising to 5+ on May 18th, and 6+ on May 19th and 20th (NM), when there was also one on Hong Island (PJG). In the autumn a “resident pair with two young” were present on Socheong from September 17th (FC), when observations restarted, with 2 adult-types present through late October until 4 were logged on the 29th (NM), when coverage ended.

Chestnut-flanked White-eye Zosterops erythropleurus
Although only 4 records are cited by Park (2002), this is an occasionally common migrant, increasingly numerous northward. In 2005, the spring peak included 100 on Socheong on May 19th (NM). In autumn, ca 10 were seen at Daeam San in Gangwon Province on September 19th (BH, DB), while 87+ were on Hong Island in the far southwest between September 27th and October 9th (NPA), while on Socheong, day counts between September 15th and October 4th gave a total of ca 1 400 (though this might include some double-counting), with a record-breaking high count of 400 on September 22nd (FC). Although the species is often present into early November, one on December 14th in Seoul (RH) appears to be the first mid-winter record.

Japanese White-eye Zosterops japonicus
Rather numerous as a resident and perhaps migrant along and near the south coast, and on offshore islands as far north as Eocheong Island. One on the mainland at Gunsan on January 30th (PN, JM) seems noteworthy. Although there are only two records cited by Park (2002) for Gyeonggi Province in the northwest, there were five individuals (three records) there in 2004, and in 2005, a flock of 6 possibles were on Socheong Island on 18th and 19th September (FC), while one was also seen in Song Do on November 30th (RN).

David's/Siberian Bush Warbler Bradypterus (thoracicus) davidi
One probable was heard singing on Socheong on May 22nd (NM).)

Black-browed Reed Warbler Acrocephalus bistrigiceps
A fairly common migrant and local summer visitor (to the far NE), with a peak day count this spring of ca 50 on May 22nd on Socheong (NM).

Thick-billed Warbler Acrocephalus aedon
A scarce migrant, more regular northward, especially in late May and again in August/September. 15 on May 22nd on Socheong (NM) is a new national high day count. In autumn on Socheong, a total of 13 were logged between September 22nd and October 3rd (FC).

Siberian Chiffchaff Phylloscopus (collybita) tristis
Following on from the first record in DPRK in 2001, the first record for South Korea was of 2 on Hatei island in the southwest in April 2004. In 2005, three more records (all photographed): one on Eocheong island on May 9th (NM), the second on neighboring Weiyeon Island between October 10th and 13th (SHS); and one on Heuksan Island on December 29th (PJG and NPA).

Dusky Warbler Phylloscopus fuscatus
A fairly common migrant, more numerous northward, with some considered to breed in the northeast, and occasional birds over-wintering. In spring, the highest day count was of 70 on Eocheong on May 8th (NM).

Tickell's Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus affinis
One was found and photographed on May 19th at the lighthouse on Socheong Island (NM). This was soon followed by a one or two more very vocal individuals in a different part of the island on May 21st, followed by what was believed, also on plumage details, to have been yet another (incessantly calling) individual on May 22nd and 23rd, when it was very poorly photographed (NM). These are the first, second and third records of the species for South Korea and the Korean peninsula, and the species has been added to category 1 of the checklist.

Socheong, May 19th. Photo © Nial Moores

Radde's Warbler Phylloscopus schwarzi
A scarce migrant, commoner in spring and more numerous northward, with some considered to breed in the mountainous northeast. In the spring, the highest day counts were 35 on Eocheong, on May 8th (NM), and 35 on Socheong on May 22nd. In the autumn, very few records in 2005, with a total of ca 20 logged on Socheong Island between September 21st and October 4th (FC).

Pallas's Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus proregulus
A locally common spring migrant, most numerous northward, peaking in late April. Rather scarcer in autumn, except in the northwest. Considered to breed in the northeast. A count of 40 on October 17th on Socheong Island is considered exceptional for a day count in autumn (IA, KY, OT, RN, TE)

Hume's Warbler Phylloscopus humei
A scarce “displaced migrant”, likely much overlooked. Most regular in late April/early May and again in late October/early November. In 2004 there were approximately 10 records involving ca 15 individuals, and in 2005, at least 6 records involving 8 individuals. One was on Eocheong on April 25th (NM), with a second there on May 8th (NM), while there were 2 on Socheong on May 16th, 2 on May 19th and one on May 22nd (all NM). In autumn, perhaps because of the lack of coverage in November, the only record was of one on Socheong island on October 29th (NM).

Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis
One glimpsed and heard calling on April 7th at Taejongdae in Busan (NM) is an exceptional date, almost one month earlier than typical.

Two-barred Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides plumbeitarsus
A scarce migrant, rather more numerous in spring than in autumn, commoner northward. First of the spring were two on Eocheong on May 8th (NM), with 25 on May 22nd on Socheong Island representing a new national peak day count (NM). In autumn, also on Socheong, there was 1 on September 20th, 1 on October 2nd, possibly the same bird on the 3rd Oct (FC), three on October 19th, and one on October 22nd (NM), while there was also one near the National Arboretum on October 11th (NM and BK Tour).

Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides
There is no record of non-plumbeitarsus Greenish in Korea. “A Greenish-type Warbler was seen on Socheong on September 15th. (FC, MB) It had a 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 FC had heard previously in Kazakhstan. It was viewed only briefly at dusk” (FC).

Hong Island, October 2nd. Photo © National Parks Association

This first claim was soon followed by a bird (left in the photo above, with an Arctic Warbler right) banded on Hong Island on October 2nd, by researchers visiting the newly opened Migratory Bird Research Centre. Although identified confidently as a Greenish Warbler in the hand at that time, PJG noted that the wing formula better matched Arctic, and subsequent examination of the images by PJG, NM and by warbler specialist Peter Kennerley (e.g. van der Vliet, Kennerley, Small, 2001) suggested that it might instead be an Arctic Warbler, perhaps of a smaller subspecies such as kennicotti.
There were “a number of features that are against the identification as Greenish Warbler, of the western form P. t. viridanus… I would not be happy accepting this as a viridanus Greenish if it was caught in Britain, or as plumbeitarsus or viridanus in eastern Asia. I would be swayed to Arctic, but it would need further research to establish this beyond doubt.” (P. Kennerley in lit, Nov., 2005).)

Greater Short-toed Lark Calandrella brachydactyla
A regular though scarce spring migrant, most regularly found on western islands in mid-April. First report of the year was of 2 on Hong Island on April 14th, with a record-breaking flock of 20 on Heuksan Island on the 16th (NM, PJG). There were also two on Eocheong on April 18th (NM), with a further single there on April 24th, and on May 19th and 20th one was on Socheong (NM): apparently an extremely late data.

Crested Lark Galerida cristata
A very scarce and local resident, confined to only a few scattered sites. There was one on Socheong from September 24th- 28th (FC).

Russet Sparrow Passer rutilans
Away from the regular breeding island of Ulleung, 4 or 5 were on the coast at Yangyang on January 5th (NM, ON, BU), one was on Eocheong on May 2nd (OT et al), and one was on Socheong on October 2nd (FC).

Citrine Wagtail Motacilla citreola
First recorded in 1999, it has since proved to be a scarce annual migrant in spring along the west coast. First for the year was a male on Heuksan on April 15th and 16th (NM, PJG), with the second a male seen briefly on Eocheong on April 23rd (NM). On neighboring Weiyeon island one was present between April 30th and May 2nd (SHS), with 2 there between May 7th and 8th (KHT).

Richard's Pipit Anthus richardi
A regular spring and autumn migrant through Korea, occasionally found in the low 10s per day. 54 at Eulsuk island, Busan, on October 9th is exceptional in terms both of number and locality. (FC)

Blyth's Pipit Anthus godlewskii
A very uncommon but regular spring migrant, even scarcer in autumn. There was one on April 14th on Hong Island, with 2 there on 15th and a further 2 on Heuksan (NM, PJG). Also one on Eocheong on April 20th (NM), increasing to two by April 22nd (NM), with one new individual on April 25th (NM). There was again one on Hong Island on May 11th-12th (PJG), with the last of the spring on Socheong on May 20th (NM). The only autumn record was one claimed on Socheong on October 20th (IA, KY, OT).

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
First recorded in 2000, it has since proved to be annual, easy to overlook in amongst flocks of the much more abundant Olive-backed Pipit Anthus hodgsoni. In 2005, at least four records (the 11th-14th nationally): one on Heuksan on April 19th (TH) (when there were 1000 Olive-backed Pipit present), with presumably a different one there on April 24th (PJG) and again one there between May 5th and 7th (KJM). Additionally, one was photographed on Eocheong between May 13th and 17th (KSH)

Red-throated Pipit Anthus cervinus
An often numerous migrant, especially in September. One on March 7th on Jeju was either over-wintering or a very early spring migrant (NM, WS et al).

Rosy Pipit Anthus roseatus
One photographed on Hong Do on May 12th (PJG) is the sixth national record.

Hong Do, May 12th. Photo © Park Jong Gil

Siberian Buff-bellied Pipit Anthus rubescens
Ca 350 counted moving in small flocks in a river near Gyeongju on March 10th (NM, WS et al.), seems noteworthy as does a count of “hundreds” at Joonam on March 25th (TH).

Water Pipit Anthus spinoletta blakistoni
Prior to 2005, there were 8 records involving at least 11 individuals, all in winter. The ninth record was of a single bird photographed on Eocheong on April 30th (IA, KY, OT, UY), with the tenth on November 4th on Heuksan (PJG).

Alpine Accentor Prunella collaris
Considered a scarce winter visitor. In 2005, 7 on Socheong on October 19th had decreased to 6 by the 20th (IA, KY, OT). Further records came from the Northeast, and 2 were on Shirubong mountain in Jinhae near the south coast on December 30th (MC).

Photo © Choi Soon Kyoo

Siberian Accentor Prunella montanella
A sometimes fairly numerous migrant and winter visitor. A day count on October 22nd of 50 (IA, KY, OT, NM) on Socheong Island, including a single flock of 35 (IA), was considered exceptional.

Common Rosefinch Carpodacus erythrinus
An uncommon migrant, regular along the west coast (most especially on islands in late April and early May and again from early September through into November, with at least one recent record in mid-winter). On Socheong, there were an estimated 124-135 individuals logged between September 17th and October 4th, with a national high day count of 58 on September 19th, which included a single flock of 20 (FC). Finally, two were found wintering in mid-December in Gunsan (KKHo), increasing to at least 8 by December 26th.

White-winged Crossbill Loxia leucoptera
A male on Socheong on October 23rd (seen only in flight) is the second record of this species in South Korea (NM).

Eurasian Bullfinch Pyrrhula pyrrhula
Although described as an uncommon winter visitor in Lee, Koo & Park (2000), this is rather more an irruptive winter visitor, occurring in fairly high numbers in late 2005. On Socheong Island, first observed on October 23rd, when at least 10 noted, including one bird with apparently all-red underparts in flight (NM). In December, rather widespread and comparatively numerous in the northern part of the country, with for example ca 25 at the National Arboretum on December 22nd (NM, POA). This flock was made up largely of rosacea-types, but included at least one male griseiventris and at least one presumed cassinii (the latter photographed).
It seems noteworthy that there were also records of the species south of the expected range in China in November, for example as far south as the Yellow River delta in Shandong province (Lei Jinyu of the Beijing Birdwatching Society, in lit. Dec. 2005).

Meadow Bunting Emberiza cioides
One of the Japanese form ciopsis was photographed at Yeosu on February 23rd (CSK). This is only the second record of this distinctive taxon in South Korea. In addition, a single flock of 200 “Korean Meadow Bunting” were in the Cheorwon basin on February 24th (NM, RK & EK): this is the largest flock of the species known to Birds Korea.

Yeosu, February 23rd. Photo © Choi Soon Kyoo

Tristram's Bunting Emberiza tristrami
A regular, sometimes numerous double-migrant, especially in coastal areas, with two records of over-wintering. One was heard on March 23rd at Dongjin (NM) suggesting either very early migration or local over-wintering.

Yellow-breasted BuntingEmberiza aureola NEAR-THREATENED
A formerly reasonably numerous migrant on offshore islands and in areas with reedbeds close to the coast, apparently declining. In 2005, peak counts on the various islands included 50 on Weiyeon Island between April 30th and May 2nd (SHS), 20 on Socheong Island on May 19th (NM), and 55 on Heuksan Island on May 19th (PJG).

Black-headed Bunting Emberiza melanocephala
A near-full breeding plumaged adult male from April 22nd (KHT) – to at least the 25th (NM) was only the third record for South Korea. This was, however, followed soon after by a female Black-headed on May 2nd and 3rd (IA, KY, OT, UY), a female Red-headed/Black-headed on May 5th (NM), and a male and female Black-headed on May 6th (NM et al.). All, apart from the bird on the 5th were photographed, and plumage differences suggest at least two males and one or more likely two females (one from May 2nd-May 6th; and one on May 5th) were recorded during this period: at least the 3rd-5th records for South Korea. On September 9th, a first winter Black-headed was seen and photographed on Heuksan Island (PJG).

Female, Eocheong, May 2nd or 3rd. Photo © Onishi Toshikazu

Japanese Yellow Bunting Emberiza sulphurata VULNERABLE
An uncommon migrant on western islands and presumably along the south coast. On April 19th and 20th, 11 on Heuksan Island (TH) and 8 on Eocheong Island (NM) were both the first of the spring and also the peak counts for the year, with ones and twos regular e.g. on Eocheong throughout the remainder of the month. On May 4th, there were still 6 on Eocheong Island (NM), and one on Socheong on May 5th (MK).

Grey Bunting Emberiza variabilis
Apparently a very scarce and local winter visitor, and early spring migrant (February-April), especially along the south coast. In 2004, very few records received. In 2005, first record was one at Hwasoon on the south coast on February 22nd (CSK), with at least one in woodland next to the Nakdong Estuary on March 6th (NM, WS et al). On Jeju, at least 6 heard in the Arboretum there on March 8th (NM, WS et al), while at least 5 were at Taejongdae in Busan on April 7th with 4 there on 10th (NM), and 3 there still on 12th (TH), with a further 3 at Dadapo on April 8th (TH). Two were at the southern end of Heuksan Island on April 16th (NM, PJG), and two were also on Eocheong Island (a first record there) on April 20th, with another single on the 21st (NM).

Ochre-rumped Bunting Emberiza yessoensis NEAR-THREATENED
A scarce migrant (March?-April, and again in late October and November) and winter visitor, likely regular in small numbers at a number of sites, most especially along the west coast (e.g. at Seosan where annual, south to Haenam). On March 11th, one was at Ganghwa (NM, WS et al.) and 3+ were at Suncheon Bay on 15th (TH), perhaps a first record for this site, with both records suggesting the start of spring migration. One on Socheong on May 18th (NM) was perhaps the latest spring record known to date. Records in autumn also came from Ganghwa and Socheong Island.

Other Species of Special Conservation Concern: Either with no records or no records of note in 2005

Emperor Goose Anser canagica NEAR-THREATENED
Only one record, in Cheorwon in December 1995.

Crested Shelduck Tadorna cristata CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
No records since 1916.

Great Bustard Otis tarda VULNERABLE
No confirmed records since 1976.

Siberian Crane Grus leucogeranus CRITICALLY ENDANGERED
Most recent population estimate in East Asia of 4 000 individuals. Approximately 7 records, most recent in 2004.

Red-crowned Crane Grus japonensis ENDANGERED
Most recent population estimate suggests a total world population of ca 2 700 individuals, with ca 600 wintering in Korea, mostly in the Cheorwon area.

Band-bellied Crake Porzana paykullii NEAR-THREATENED
No records in 2005. Last record was in 2004.

Eurasian Oystercatcher Haematopus (ostralegus) osculans
An estimated several hundred pairs nest in South Korea (LH, 2004), with most wintering at one site: Yubu Island, at the mouth of the Geum River. The distinct osculans is best considered a separate species based on disjunct breeding range; difference in measurements from other subspecies; and in differences in plumage (most especially non-breeding adults and immatures do not develop a full white neck collar, at most showing only a fairly faint trace). The single most important wintering area for this taxon is the threatened Yubu Island tidal-flats. (a maximum count there on January 19th, 2002, of 5 300 represents more than 50 % of the estimated minimum population of the species).

Crested Murrelet Synthliboramphus wumizusume VULNERABLE
With less than 10 previous historic records, 200 were reported by LKS on the south coast in October 1987 (Park, 2002). Two single birds were claimed in 2002 (in February and December). However, no further recent records known to Birds Korea.

Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni VULNERABLE
Only one record, in November 2001.

Crested Ibis Nipponia nippon VULNERABLE
No confirmed records since 1978 (Park, 2002).

Black-headed/Oriental Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus NEAR-THREATENED
Only two records, last in 2004.

Japanese Night Heron Gorsachius goisagi ENDANGERED
With 9 specimens (last apparently “collected” in 2001) and only 5 other published records prior to 2002 (Park, 2002), this is a rare migrant through South Korea. In 2004, 4 records were made on offshore islands, stretching along the west coast, in April and in May. There were no records known to Birds Korea in 2005.

Dalmatian Pelican Pelecanus crispus VULNERABLE
Only two records: one in 1913, and the second in 1978 (Park, 2002).

Short-tailed Albatross Diomedea albatrus ENDANGERED
Three historic specimens and no recent records.

Fairy Pitta Pitta nympha VULNERABLE
A scarce and local breeding species, most numerous on Jeju. No records away from known areas in 2005.

Black Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone atrocaudata NEAR-THREATENED
A local summer visitor especially to Jeju island; nests only very locally. Fairly scarce migrant. No records of special note received by Birds Korea in 2005.

Marsh Grassbird Megalurus pryeri VULNERABLE
Only one historic record, in 1962.

Pleske's Grashopper Warbler Locustella pleskei VULNERABLE
A little known taxon, nesting on offshore islands, apparently on at least the east and west coasts. Total numbers have perhaps yet to be estimated, but the species seems fairly widespread in suitable habitat. A population of locustella on Ulleung Island, appearing in some ways intermediate between L.pleskei and L. ochotensis was newly described in 2004.

Manchurian Reed Warbler Acrocephalus tangorum VULNERABLE
Three previous records, four individuals. No records in 2005.

Late Additions to the 2004 Year review

Himalayan Swiftlet Collocalia brevirostris
One on Eocheong on April 28th (AI, KY, OT), becomes ca the 8th national record.

Western Sandpiper Calidris maura
A non-breeding plumaged adult claimed at the Mangyeung River, Saemangeum, September 29th (AI, KY, OT). This is the first claim of the species in Korea, although it has been recorded irregularly in neighboring Japan. It was added to category 2 of the checklist while a more detailed description was awaited, but still lacking further information and in the knowledge that no photographs were taken, a decision has been taken to remove it from the checklist. Identification of a juvenile might be considered significantly more straightforward than the identification of a winter-plumaged adult, a plumage in which Hayman et al describe Western as “virtually indistinguishable in the field from other dark-legged stints.”)

Long-tailed Jaeger Stercorarius longicaudus
Two were seen from Eocheong on September 26th (AI, KY, OT): the second record for South Korea of this category 2 listed species (description still awaited, to allow elevation to category 1).

Lesser Frigatebird Fregata ariel
A juvenile on Eocheong was first found on September 22nd, remaining at least until the 24th (AI, KY, OT).
It is presumed that this is the same individual as already listed in the 2004 Review for October 1st, when it was then photographed by KSH.

Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus
One was photographed on Eocheong on Sepetmber 23rd (AI, KY, OT). Probably only the fifth national record.

Tree Pipit Anthus trivialis
One was present between September 21st and 23rd on Eocheong (AI, KY, OT).


Marsh Warbler Acrocephalus palustris
Three on September 22nd, 1 on 23rd, 2 on 24th, 2 on 25th, 1 on 26th (AI, KY, OT ). No photographs, no description yet received. Without any images or detailed description, and with known difficulties in separating Marsh and Blyth's Reed in autumn in the field (most especially perhaps by observers lacking any experience of either species), it seems prudent to list the record in the review without adding it for now to any category.)
Late Addition to 2002 year Review

Arctic Redpoll Carduelis hornemanni exilipes

Eocheong, October 30th. Photo © Nial Moores

One first winter, October 30th, Eocheong (NM). Poorly photographed, but after consideration by Andy Stoddart (e.g. Stoddart, 2001; Votier et al, 2000) added to Category 1 of the checklist. A full description will be posted soon.


As always Birds Korea are grateful to all those who have provided records and images for use, and who have kindly commented on descriptions to allow a better assessment of records.

In 2005, special thanks continues to go to Kim Hyun-tae, Choi Soon-Kyoo and Jeon Shi-Jin for use of images, to Kim Sung-Hyun and Park Jong-Gil, who kindly sent both records and images from Hong Island and Heuksan Island, and Kim Su-Kyung who helped contact observers for further information and permission to use images.


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  • Duckworth, J. W. 2004. Eight birds new to DPR Korea. Forktail 116-120.
  • Hayman, P., Marchant, J. & T. Prater. 1986. Shorebirds. An Identification guide to the waders of the world. Christopher Helm, London.
  • Lee W-S, Koo T-H, J-Y Park. (2000). A Field Guide to the Birds of Korea. LG Evergreen Foundation. Toyokan Publishing Company.
  • Liebers D., de Knijff P., A.J. Helbig. (2004). The herring gull complex is not a ring species. Proc. R. Soc. London B 271, 893-901.
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