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Birding quickly in South Korea (1 Viewer)

Hi Mike

Han river in Oksu might have newer species in the water by now. However, given the number of people, I doubt it you can spot passerines there. Uiwang is still the best for overall birding. The rice fields should be harvested by now, so you'll probably have lots of open space.
Have you tried out the hiking trails north of Seoul? Most of them are quite busy but a few in the neighborhood of the Blue House (President's residence) have less people and more birds. And they are very easy to access as well.
Baikal Teals have arrived along the West coast. Last weekend, I went to a place called Seosan .... staggering numbers of Bean and White fronted geese. Baikal Teals were very few in number. However, a local birder told me that the area called Gunsan on the south west coast has them by the hundreds of thousands. But unfortunately none of these places are close to Seoul.

Good luck
cheers
Subho
 
Hi Subho,

I went to Uiwang today - while there seemed to be more Spot-billed Duck and Mallard, plus a few Shoveler & Teal, there were fewer duck/geese species than last time I went on 9th Oct. I saw a few new passerines though - Bull-headed Shrike, Daurian Shrike, Elegant Bunting, all of which are smart birds. Plus Japanese Pygmy Woodpecker.
No Black-faced Bunting seen, but I did see a group of 15 Skylarks in the air - would these be Eurasian rather than Oriental? Oh, and I heard a call that sounded like Crested Lark - is this likely?

No warblers though - what warbler species would you expect to see? The only warblers I've seen are Yellow-browed, seen a few times in the woods behind my hotel.

I may try Oksu tomorrow. I'm flying back to the UK next weekend, so this will be my last Korean birding experience.

Cheers,
Mike

I also saw a couple of very distant raptors: a small falcon mobbing a very large accipiter. From the general jizz, I think the falcon may have been a Merlin (or possibly Hobby), but not a Kestrel. From the size difference, the accipiter may have been a Northern Goshawk. Does this identification sound feasible?
 
Dear Mike
I am a new member and not to sure of how the forum works. My wife and I are keen birders and will be visiting South Korea on our way back to the UK from 17 days in Vietnam and Cambodia. As an afterthought I have only just booked the flights via Seoul so that we can spend a few days in South Korea particularly with a view to finding wintering ducks and geese which are of particular interest to me. We will have a car hired for 8 full days and will be self guided.Could you help with a site for Scaly-sided Merganser as we are particularly interested in seeing this species. We are both retired and are conscientious birders, and will not disturb the birds. I do hope that you can help. Best wishes Roger Labbett Louth, Lincolnshire, UK
 
Dear Mike
I am a new member and not to sure of how the forum works. My wife and I are keen birders and will be visiting South Korea on our way back to the UK from 17 days in Vietnam and Cambodia. As an afterthought I have only just booked the flights via Seoul so that we can spend a few days in South Korea particularly with a view to finding wintering ducks and geese which are of particular interest to me. We will have a car hired for 8 full days and will be self guided.Could you help with a site for Scaly-sided Merganser as we are particularly interested in seeing this species. We are both retired and are conscientious birders, and will not disturb the birds. I do hope that you can help. Best wishes Roger Labbett Louth, Lincolnshire, UK

Hi Roger,

Thanks for the post. Unfortunately I'm not the best person to ask, as I was only in SK for work, from Sept-Nov 2011, based in Seoul and restricted to birding by public transport at weekends.

My advice for birding gen would be to peruse this forum, and also look at birdskorea, especially the Archives section, which have monthly reports going back several years. There is also a blog for more recent reports. There aren't many active Korea birders on this forum, so it may be worth being a bit cheeky and directly emailing some names on the Birds Korea site or here.

One practical tip for getting around. Maps and road signs are largely in Korean (though the main place names are often shown in English on road signs). I used Google Maps on my smartphone to work out where I was, but your phone may not work with 3G in Korea, and if it does, it could be horrendously expensive. A better alternative would be to rent a "Wibro" device from the Korea Telecom desk in Incheon Airport (downstairs in the airport) while you are there. This is a mobile wireless broadband device that connects to Korea's mobile network and transmits a wifi signal - you then connect your smartphone, laptop or tablet to that. Can't remember how much it costs, but probably around £30 for a couple of weeks. You will need to charge it up, just as for your phone.

Hope this helps.

Mike
 
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