Wednesday, 8 January 2020

South Korea III Cranes in the DMZ

Towards the end of the holiday and the year, we had a 2-day trip to Cheorwon with our guide, Mr Byoungwoo Lee, of Birding Korea, mainly to see cranes in their wintering site in the DMZ. And it was a wonderful trip, full of birds as well as delicious (&spicy!) Korean food, all thanks to Mr Byoungwoo and a farmer and conservationist, Mr Choi.

At the gate of the Crane Observatory in the DMZ:) Supposedly, seven species of cranes can be observed in the area.

In the DMZ, the land is quite flat and farmland (mostly for rice) is spread out as far as one can see like this;

White-naped Cranes (Manazuruマナヅル) were the most abundant cranes there.
graceful figure...

Red-crowned Cranes (Tanchoタンチョウ) were foraging in small groups including this year's young ones, which have orangey heads.


Red-crowned cranes are the most well-known crane species in Japan - when Japanese people say cranes (Tsuruツル), most of the time, they mean red-crowned cranes. 

White-naped cranes & Red-crowned cranes

Mr Choi, who's been observing cranes in the area for 25 years or more, had an amazing eye and spotted an odd one in a large flock from miles away.
A Hooded Crane (Nabezuruナベヅル) was mixed with White-naped and Red-crowned cranes. 
(the second from the right)

A Common Crane (Kurozuruクロヅル) was on the far field with other cranes.

A Sandhill Crane (Kanadazuruカナダヅル) was in another mixed flock.
We saw 5 species of cranes within a few hours. How could Mr Choi spot the odd ones! must have lots of experiences and love for birds, I believe. He grows rice organically there during the summer and keeps track of the cranes in the winter in the DMZ. He's also been exchanging information with the people in the crane wintering grounds in Hokkaido and Kyushu, Japan. 


Lovely photos taken by our guide Byoungwoo



The URL for Mr Byoungwoo Lee's "Birding Korea" site
https://www.birdingkorea.com/

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