Welcome Shorebirds: Songdo 7th March 2015

Written by Spike Millington
All photos taken by Eugene Cheah

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Mr. Spike Millington, Chief Executive, Ms. Tomoko Ichikawa, Communication Officer, and Mr. Eugene Cheah, a freelance wildlife photographer

As BirdLife Australia plans its annual Farewell Shorebirds celebration, Tomoko Ichikawa, Eugene Cheah and I decided to check out the mudflats around Songdo for early migrants. First up was Aam Do, the traditional site for Kentish Plovers, which, true to form, yielded 37 of these little waders, mostly hunkered down among the rocks on the mudflats, but occasionally running around and calling. A couple of ocularis White Wagtails were with them. Moving on to Gojan mudflats on the rising tide, 160 Saunders’s Gull, mostly with their black hoods, rested on the shore, later to roost on the open water. The wintering Eurasian Curlews numbered about 250. Other shorebirds were 15 Eastern Oystercatchers, 20 Dunlin and 30 Grey Plovers. Among the latter was a sleeping Bar-tailed Godwit (relevant link: Year of the Godwit 2015 by Pukorokoro Miranda Naturalists’ Trust), the first of the year and a most welcome sight. About 500 Common Shelducks were off shore, with 250 Mallard and 100 Common Pochard. The real prize though, while scanning through the numerous Mongolian Gulls (with still quite a few Vega, Tamyr and Slaty-backed Gulls) was a spanking summer-plumaged adult Pallas’s Gull, the first I have seen in Korea. The Black-tailed Gulls are congregating at their favourite places, looking immaculate in breeding plumage and calling and displaying. Despite the cold, spring seems on the way.

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Kentish Plover
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Pallas’s Gull with Mongolian Gulls
Pallas’s Gull
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Waterbirds resting at high tide
bar tailed godwit and plover
Sleeping Bar-tailed Godwit and Grey Plovers

This article was first posted on Birds Korea at: http://www.birdskoreablog.org/?p=14625