Saturday, 4 April 2020

A Calm Spring Morning


Nobody ever thought the beginning of the year of 2020 would be like this. I'm really sorry for those who are suffering. In these strange times, spring has come just as usual. Barn Swallows (Tsubameツバメ) have arrived in Chiba!

A pair of them were working together hard to build their nest from scratch. (Some kind person has put the tray for their nest under their shop's canopy)👍

Sunday, 12 January 2020

South Korea VII Royal Tombs

Cemeteries are always wildlife-friendly - little disturbance and lots of green.
Byoungwoo, our excellent bird guide, took us to one of the big royal tombs and we saw a lot of woodland birds there!

Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Akageraアカゲラ)

White-backed Woodpeckers (Ooakageraオオアカゲラ)

After a white-backed woodpecker pecked the tree a bit, a Grey-headed Woodpecker (Yamageraヤマゲラ) took over the place! what a bully!
a bit like Humpty Dumpty...

male Red-flanked Bluetail (Ruribitakiルリビタキ)

Nuthatch (Gojukaraゴジュウカラ)

male Elegant Bunting (Miyama-hoojiroミヤマホオジロ) or Yellow-throated Bunting

Jay (Kakesuカケス)

Water Deer (Kibanoroキバノロ)
Water deer are an endangered species in China but, according to Byoungwoo, they are thriving in South Korea. We saw them quite a few times although they are thought to be very shy. We may have been very lucky:)

King's tomb
The shrines and tombs for high class people have a stone corridor straight from the main shrine building, which is apparently a path for the sacred spirits to be led to the shrine. Interesting.

Korean lunch - dried cod soup & kimchi & little dishes
Korean light supper - cold noodles with chili paste covered with nori seaweed

Thanks to Byoungwoo, we really had a great time in South Korea. Nearly 60 species of birds in two days, some of which were lifers for us. It is a very good number considering the fact that Japan and Korea share many species. And of course we totally enjoyed his excellent choice of Korean cuisine as well!

Byoungwoo's Birding Korea site is here:

Saturday, 11 January 2020

South Korea VI The Han River

On the way to Cheorwon, we stopped at several locations where Byoungwoo, our guide, showed us wonderful Korean birds.

The mighty Han River
Byoungwoo spotted a pair of Scaly-sided Merganser (Kourai-aisaコウライアイサ) in the middle of the river, which was too far for a photo. Argh!

BUT! There were plenty of other birds for us to watch.
Whooper Swans (Oohakuchoオオハクチョウ) - a lot of them!

A raft of Goldeneyes (Hoojirogamoホオジロガモ)
 One of them flew towards us and swam away:)

Whooper Swans, Taiga Bean Geese (Oohishikuiオオヒシクイ) and Mallard (Magamoマガモ)

familiar Spot-billed Ducks (Karugamoカルガモ) & Eurasian Teals (Kogamoコガモ)

This handsome male Daurian Redstart (Jobitakiジョウビタキ) was foraging in the shrub by the river.

At another location by the Han

We were lucky to see two species of eagles!

Steller's Sea Eagle (Oowashiオオワシ) taken by Byoungwoo. Awesome!
& a white-tailed eagle (Ojirowashiオジロワシ) with no photo.

In the river below the eagles were some sawbills.
Common Mergansers (Kawa-aisaカワアイサ)
Smews (miko-aisaミコアイサ)

It was only a couple of hours after our birding trip started but we already saw quite a few lovely birds by the river, thanks to Byoungwoo.

Byoungwoo's bird guide site:

Friday, 10 January 2020

South Korea V Cheorwon

Apart from the cranes and geese, we were lucky to have seen quite a few juvenile White-tailed Eagles (Ojirowashiオジロワシ) on the paddy field in the DMZ.

We could not find any carcass so we could not figure out why they were there with lots of Common Magpies (Kasasagiカササギ).

A very nice picture of a White-tailed Eagle from our guide Byoungwoo

Whooper Swans (Oohakuchoオオハクチョウ) were in the water near the paddy fields.

From the hide in the observatory, we saw a large number of ducks, mainly Mallard (Magamoマガモ).

There were a small group of Baikal Teals (Tomoegamoトモエガモ) among the mallard. (a lovely photo taken by Byoungwoo)

A Bull-headed Shrike (Mozuモズ) was posing for us:)

Water Deer (Kibanoroキバノロ) (also taken by Byoungwoo)

Korean-style dinner - Tofu hotpot & kimchi dishes
very hot (spicy) & hot (temperature) and delicious!

& Korean-style breakfast - many little dishes with rice & soup

another great photo taken by Byoungwoo in Cheorwon

Mr Byoungwoo's "Birding Korea" site is here

Thursday, 9 January 2020

South Korea IV Geese in the DMZ

In the late afternoon, we went to see Greater White-fronted Geese (Maganマガン) roost in a reservoir. On our way, we saw many of them flying towards the site.
As the number was going up, the noise was just overwhelming.
Even after getting rather dark, they were still coming in from all directions.

When we went back there next early morning to see them flying out, it was just stunning.
(taken by Byoungwoo)

You can feel a part of it by seeing the video, especially with the sounds on-
geese leaving their roost

Our guide, Mr Byoungwoo Lee, said it was one of the best mornings even for him.
It was so great. Thank you, Byoungwoo, for taking us there! Luckily, it was not as cold as everyone was expecting. We had been warned prior to the trip that the temperature could go down to -20 or lower in Cheorwon, but actually on those two days, it was very mild and we only had a bit of snow during the day.

If you're interested in birding in South Korea, we strongly recommend Byoungwoo as a guide. Please check out his URL "Birding Korea" here