Eocheong Island, August 31
Typhoon Rusa arrived on the Korean peninsula with an almighty crash…winds gusting over 200 km per hour and torrential rain (in one area on the east coast a devastating 700 mm of rain fell in 24 hours) leading to 200 deaths nationwide: the worst typhoon to hit Korea in over 40 years.
The only new bird arrivals on Eocheong in a few hours of survey work were a Broad-billed Sandpiper and two Black-capped Kingfishers. Rather surprisingly, one hour of seawatching produced no seabirds at all.
Eocheong Island, August 30
A weak frontal trough moving south through the Yellow Sea, while Typhoon Rusa moves north towards Jeju, produced the first Siberian Thrush and Chestnut-Cheeked Starling Sturnus philippensis of the autumn, but few other new migrants.
Eocheong Island, August 29
Another scorchingly hot and humid day (with temperatures up to 32 C on the mainland), with little obvious bird migration until the evening, when ca 120 Pacific Swifts arrived, carrying 15 White-throated Needletails with them. Also present was the same or another Asian House Martin , a Common Rosefinch and 4 Pechora Pipits, the first of the autumn. This species tends to be the commonest pipit in western South Korea until mid-September, when the Olive-backed Pipit migration starts in earnest. One Pechora showed excellently, sitting on overhead wires, revealing very strongly buff washed underparts.
The best bird of the day was seen only briefly, also towards dusk: a single Baillon's Crake working its way down the main stream. This is a fairly scarce migrant in South Korea, best found on offshore islands.
Eocheong Island, August 28
Following the passage of a spent cold front, the day dawned clear, hot (temperatures reaching 30 C) and almost birdless. Amongst very few passerines of note were another Common Rosefinch and 6-8 Chinese Grosbeak.
The visible passage of Pacific Swift also dropped off, with only 6 recorded all day, along with only 2 White-throated Needletailed Swifts . The best bird of the day therefore was probably an extremely dingy-looking Asian House Martin, a species generally considered to be a rare migrant through the South, but which has occurred in flocks of up to 40 on Gageo Island in the far southwest of the peninsula.
Eocheong Island, August 27
Despite some torrential thundery rain moving through during the night and early morning, sadly no major fall.... slightly increased numbers of most of the same species as on the 26th including the obliging Blyth's Pipit , with the addition of 2 Richard's Pipits , and the first Brown Hawk Owl and Grey-streaked Flycatchers (3+) of the autumn.
Other good birds included 4 species of cuckoo, with both an Indian and an Oriental Cuckoo feeding out in the open in adjacent trees (good for checking id features of this tricky group!), but the best bird of the day in rarity terms was again a swift...this time 2+ Little Swift in with 160 Pacific Swifts in the evening, constituting about the sixth record for Korea (after 2 seen this May).
Eochong Island, August 26
Today, rather quiet, though increasing cloud, especially in the late afternoon, started to "produce" a few birds.
No Swiftlet today, but at least 175 Pacific Swifts and ca 10 White-throated Needletails.
Best was a Blyth's Pipit seen excellently, though the autumn's first migrant Chinese Sparrowhawk and Yellow-browed Warbler, along with 3 Common Rosefinches still and 9 new Chinese Grosbeaks, also added considerable interest.
Tonight's and tomorrow's weather forecast, thundery showers...the first fall of the fall?
Eochong Island, August 25
Latham's Snipe: 1
(Himalayan) Swiftlet: 1 late evening
White-throated Needletail: 1
Pacific Swift: 45
Broad-billed Roller: 2
Tiger Shrike: 1
Arctic Warbler: ca 10
Common Rosefinch: 3
Yellow-breasted Bunting: 1
Tristram's Bunting: 1
Chestnut Bunting: 1
Chinese Grosbeak: 2
Gunsan-Eochong Island, August 24
Few birds, but clearly the start of autumn migration.
Swinhoe's Storm Petrel: 2 from the ferry; 4 from the island
3 species of cuckoo
Forest Wagtail: 1
Small numbers of Yellow-rumped Flycatchers (6) , Pale-legged Leaf Warblers (6) and Arctic Warblers (5).
Okku, August 22
A fantastic few hours at Okku, even though shorebird numbers small (tide not fullest yet).
Spoonbilled Sandpiper: 6 + adults. One still in full-breeding plumage.
Grey-tailed Tattler: At least 376 - a very high count for the west coast.
Terek Sandpiper:ca 670
Greater Sandplover: 3+ (only ca 30 Lessers: very poor showing)
Marsh Sandpiper: 45+
Great Knot: ca 1500
Bar-tailed Godwit: ca 400
Red-necked Stint: ca 120 (ca 10 juvs)
Dunlin ca 15 (inc one with obvious streaking on the vent: the central N.American form hudsonicus?)
Eight shorebirds noted with leg flags at Okku
Grey-tailed Tattler: 1 yellow flag on right leg upper (flagged in N W Australia)
Terek: One orange right leg upper (flagged in Victoria, Australia)
Terek: one yellow right leg upper (flagged in N W Australia)
Bartailed Godwit: one yellow on right upper (flagged in N W Australia)
Great Knot: One green on right upper (flagged in Brisbane, Australia)
Great Knot: two yellow on right upper (flagged in N W Australia)
Great Knot: one orange on right upper (flagged in Victoria, Australia)
In addition, c 35 Garganey; 2 Hobby; 20+ Grey and 2 Yellow Wagtail evening. Also 1 Vega and 3+ Mongolian Gulls.