Often hot (temperatures up to 30°C or more inland) and humid, with very heavy rains some years by mid-month.
By early June, Yellow and the rare Schrenk’s Bittern are breeding in the least disturbed reed-beds, and Watercock give their (slightly comical) gulping calls in a few rice-field areas. Nesting activity in Black-faced Spoonbill and Chinese Egret colonies peaks, and forest nesters are still vocal, especially in the first half of the month. At Gwangneung, typical species include 4 species of woodpecker, Ruddy Kingfisher, Yellow-rumped Flycatcher and Mandarin Duck, while on the south coast at Geoje Island Pale Thrush, Blue-and-white Flycatcher and Yellow-throated Bunting predominate. Black Woodpigeon nest on Gageo and other islands and Styan’s Grasshopper Warbler are widespread on small islets. Although not usually considered a month for migration, June has nevertheless provided some national firsts in recent years, with a Lesser Coucal in 2005, Malayan Night Heron in 2006, and a Roseate Tern at the Nakdong estuary in 2008.
(The following records are a compilation of our own sightings and records sent in by other observers. As well as being posted on the Birds Korea website(s), selected records are also forwarded to other Korean-language birding websites; records of threatened species are arranged and forwarded to Birdlife International and national authorities when appropriate; flag images and records are passed to bodies responsible for their coordination throughout the flyway; and all records sent to us are used to compile annual reports and to support the evolving understanding of the status of many of Korea’s birds.)
Ganseong – Nam Cheon, June 30
I got my new toy today, an 80-400mm lens, and seeing as the rain had stopped, I took the opportunity to walk down to the coast along Nam Cheon to try it out.
The first birds I saw were two Japanese Wagtails. They nest under the highway bridge on the south side of Ganseong. I took a few photos of them with my new toy. There were Oriental Reed Warblers everywhere in the long grass along the creek and a few Siberian Stonechats, but none of them would sit where I could get photos of them. A couple of Striated Herons were around too, but I couldn’t get close to these sharp-eyed birds either.
Then I saw a shrike with a pale grey head and body with just a small patch of rufous on the flanks, a black line through the eye and a black shoulder. I wasn’t sure what it was and tried to get closer but shrikes are sharp-eyed birds too and it wouldn’t let me approach. Luckily, it flew to a bare stick where I was able to get some photos using my scope and camera adaptor. It turned out to be a male Bull-headed Shrike.
Continuing towards the coast I get close to a couple of Eurasian Tree Sparrow and got some photos of one with my new toy. There was a Mandarin Drake and some Eastern Spot-billed Ducks along the creek as well, including one female with 9 ducklings.
Just inside the mouth of the creek on the sand bank I found two Swinhoe’s Egrets. Hiding behind the pine trees so the soldiers couldn’t see me I got some photos of them using my scope. There were 3 Little Ringed Plovers in the same area.
I had a quick look out to see through the security fence and saw some Black-tailed Gulls, 2 Black-headed Gulls and a Great Crested Grebe.
Heading back up the creek I saw a Eurasian Hobby on top of one of the poles beside the road. I walked past it to get the Sun behind me and had just enough time to take a few photos of it before it flew away. It was quite a nice evening walk.
Goseong County Birds in May and June
Birdwatching in the last couple of months have been hectic with birds on migration. I have seen a lot of birds and taken many photos.
I found two Brown Shrikes along Nam Cheon near Ganseong on May 15. They were from 2 subspecies, Lanius cristatus lucionensis and L. c. confusus. Other interesting birds along Nam Cheon included a Black-faced Spoonbill with a Grey Heron and a Common Greenshank on June 1, and two Whiskered Terns and 5 Mandarin Drakes on June 6.
Buk Cheon north of Ganseong has also had some interesting birds. I found a group of 7 Japanese Waxwings there on May 18 and two Grey-streaked Flycatchers on May 23.
I’ve also visited Geonbong Buddhist Temple a number of times having discovered it as a good place to see some forest birds. On May 28 there were 2 Black Woodpeckers on a dead tree near the start of the hiking trail. There has also been a couple of Dollarbirds in the same area and I got photos of them on June 13.
Of course there have been many more birds and many more photos but it’s not possible to report on them all.