On Saturday 18th May, the EAAFP Secretariat participated in the 3rd Ganghwa Big Bird Race 2019 on Ganghwa Island, Incheon Republic of Korea. Since 2017 the Ganghwa Arrangement Committee for the 2019 Big Bird Race has organized this local event and the EAAFP has participated in the event since last year.
Team EAAFP Group photo (Photo credit: Youjin Lee and Jiyae Yim/EAAFP Secretariat)
The Ganghwa Big Bird Race is becoming a popular local event that not only bird watchers but also general public especially families would love to join. During the annual migratory seasons, the tidal flats of Ganghwa attracts with many waterbirds. In spring, the Black-faced Spoonbills return to the tidal flats to breed. In winter the Red-crowned Cranes show off their graceful features as they stroll through the tidal flats. These two species are very important visitors to Ganghwa. The vast tidal flats and rich fields of Ganghwa provide excellent habitats for many migratory birds. The 2019 Ganghwa Big Bird Race promised the participants ‘a great opportunity to breathe with nature.’
The race started from Saturday 18 to Sunday 19th May for the competitive category. This year, the organizer created for the first time, a category for non-competition group. It is a bird-watching tour for beginner bird watchers to enjoy bird watching. As an official supporter of the 2019 Ganghwa Bird Race, the EAAFP Secretariat invited special guests to join the bird race as in the Team EAAFP. Mr. Tyler Joyner (US Embassy), Mr. Lifeng Li (GCF) with his son, and Ms. Solongo Khurelbaatar (GCF) joined the team.
Yellow-throated Bunting (Photo credit: Youjin Lee and Jiyae Yim/EAAFP Secretariat)
In the morning, the team EAAFP made a short tour at Jeondeungsa Temple with two tour guides. After enjoying the beautiful sceneries and the history of the temple, the group had lunch in a local restaurant. At 13:00 the team moved to the Ganghwa Royal Youth Hostel to attend the Introduction to Bird Watching Basics which was prepared for all non-competitive groups. The chairperson of Ganghwa Bird Watching Society explained key bird species in Ganghwa, how to identify birds, some guiding rules in watching birds. It was very useful for beginners to start bird watching from scratch.
Spot-billed Duck (Photo credit: Youjin Lee and Jiyae Yim/EAAFP Secretariat)
Visiting a temple on Ganghwa Island (Photo credit: Youjin Lee and Jiyae Yim/EAAFP Secretariat)
The bird watching trip started at 14:00 for 3 hours across the island. The team checked the names of the species in the bird guide book. Some migratory birds welcomed the EAAFP team including the EAAFP key species: Black-faced Spoonbill and Far Eastern Curlew were among them. After finishing bird-watching trip, the EAAFP team shared their feelings and impression with other teams at the evaluation session. Ms. Yoon Lee, the external relations manager said “we were very happy to share the beautiful nature in Ganghwa Island and the birds with our foreign friends”. She read out the list of birds observed during the trip. Total 25 species were observed including:
Eurasian Oystercatcher, Varied Tit, Black-tailed Gull, Eurasian Magpie, Black-naped Oriole, Brown Shrike, Swinhoes Egret, Eurasian Spoonbill, Gray Wagtail, Little Grebe, Daurian Redstart, Oriental Turtle-Dove, Common Kingfisher, Great Tit, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Pigmy Woodpecker, Moorhen, White Wagtail, Black-faced Spoonbill, Whimbrel, Brown-eared Bulbul, Large-billed Crow, Broad-billed Roller (Dollarbird), Eurasian Kestrel, Eastern Spot-billed Duck.
Photo credit: Youjin Lee and Jiyae Yim/EAAFP Secretariat
The Ganghwa Big Bird Race (BBR) aims to promote birdwatching in Korea and gradually grow to become a Bird Festival. The EAAFP will also make efforts to promote the public engaging Bird watching events with various partners.
Bird watching in Ganghwa Big Bird Race (Photo credit: Youjin Lee and Jiyae Yim/EAAFP Secretariat)
Flock of waterbirds in Ganghwa (Photo credit: Youjin Lee and Jiyae Yim/EAAFP Secretariat)
For more photos of the Ganghwa Big Bird Race: https://www.flickr.com/photos/eaafp/47956749532/in/album-72157708816130321/