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Above: A sizeable percentage of the world's population of Baikal Teal wintering on one of Seosan's huge reclamation lakes. I spent
Sunday visiting this enormously important migration stopover point and wintering area, which Birds Korea
considers the best birdwatching area on the peninsula. Over 200,000 Baikal Teal regularly winter here, and my very
conservative estimate for the day was 30,000. Feeding among them were many other species of waterfowl such as Common Teal, Great
Crested Grebes, and Common Pochards. Flying in great skeins overhead and feeding in the adjacent fields were many thousands of
Tundra Bean and Greater White-fronted Geese (below). Witnessing this major migration event was a powerful experience.
|Below: A pair of Baikal Teal (Anas formosa; Korean name: Gachang-ori).
Note to the unimpressed: They're in nonbreeding plumage--the drake is stunning in breeding plumage.
|Below three: Bean Geese (Tundra subspecies) in flight (Anser fabalis serrirostris; Keungireogi).|
|Allied with the Greater White-fronted Geese, the Bean Geese are unstoppable.
|Below two: Great Crested Grebes (Podiceps cristatus; Ppullonbyeong-ari).|
Below: Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis), better known where I'm from as Geomeunmongnonbyeong-ari... I mean, Eared
Grebe. A common winter visitor to Korea's lakes and coasts.
|Below: Great Knots (Calidris tenuirostris; Bulgeuneokkaedoyo).|
|Below three: Common (Eurasian) Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus; Hwangjorong-i)|
|Below four: Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus; Huinmulttesae)|
Below: A distant Intermediate Egret (Egretta intermedia; Jungbaengno), a common summer visitor that looks like an undersized
Great Egret and loves rice fields. (A key fieldmark, difficult to observe except at close range, is that the gape (mouth) extends
beyond the eye in Great Egret, and not in Intermediate.)
|Below: Another Little Egret (Egretta garzetta; Soebaengno), actively hunting like a Reddish Egret in the surf.|
|Below: Dunlin flock at sunset (Calidris alpina; Minmuldoyo). Can you find the two Kentish Plovers?|
|Below: Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus; Jungburidoyo)|
Full wildlife list for the day (new birds in caps): Little Grebes (~10), GREAT CRESTED GREBEs (~18), Eared Grebes (2), Gray Herons
(~40), Great Egrets (~8), INTERMEDIATE EGRETs (~5), Little Egrets (~10), Black-crowned Night-heron (1), Tundra Bean Geese (1000s),
Taiga Bean Goose (1; subspecies middendorffi), Greater White-fronted Geese (100s), Gadwall (~10), BAIKAL TEAL (30,000+),
Common Teal (300+ noted; there were certainly many more of each species), Mallards (100s), Spot-billed Ducks (1000+),
Northern Pintails (3 noted), COMMON POCHARDs (~20), COMMON KESTREL (1), EURASIAN HOBBY (1), Black-bellied Plovers (8), KENTISH PLOVERs
(200+), BLACK-TAILED GODWIT (1), Whimbrel (~8), FAR EASTERN CURLEW (1-2), Greenshanks (~10), snipe sp. (1; flushed from fairly dry
rice field; deep "whuck" call as it flushed), GREAT KNOTs (34), Dunlin (300+), Black-tailed Gulls (500+), Black-headed Gull (1),
Rufous Turtle Doves (~20), White Wagtails (~15; an adult Bull-headed Shrike - smaller than them - made a nearly successful attack
run; very cool!), Bull-headed Shrikes (2), Vinous-throated Parrotbills (~40), warbler spp. (3), Great Tits (~5), bunting spp. (~20),
Black-billed Magpies (~30), Eurasian Tree Sparrows (~20). Mammals: Amur Leopard Cat (roadkill, unfortunately).
|Stranger in a Strange Land|
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|Comments: All photographs taken around the Seosan reclamation lakes in South Korea (10/16/2005).|