Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A 'Lifting' Experience With Cranes

It was all down to my new Best Mate at the Bus Station yesterday that I very luckily hooked up with the local Crane Monitoring Group, Driver, Guide & Orithologist jongsoo Choi, University Professer Choi Jin-Woo & Asistant Kim Mi-Jeong, who kindly invited me along.

The area to be surveyed was the now mostly frozen Hantan River & Valley just 10 miles north of the town,

and particularly this section which is a usual Crane Roost site - there were none there this late (07:00) this morning.

The habitat here is mostly Rice Paddies, now dried out in the winter chill,

some surrounded by promising looking patches of scrub, brush and small trees. Among these we did find some of what are now becoming 'usual suspects' such as Yellow-throated and Rustic Bunting, Tree Sparrow, Vinous-throated Parrotbill, Magpie etc but there were a couple of additions to the list such as LARGE-BILLED CROW, JAY and MEADOW BUNTING.

At this point we were also in the shaddow of North Korea but still undaunted by Janet Read's recent mail anf link.

Still no Cranes and for no fathomable reason Mihwang and Choi climbed to the bottom of this none-too safe looking steel ladder to a structure below, announcing on their way "there are no birds down here". Kim and I both 'bottled' it seeing no reason to kill ourselves, and anyway the top was the best vantage point for Brown Dipper that we also didn't see.

"Which direction"? was the obvious next question and it can only be assumed that the sign read
'You Are Now Entering Paradise'
best let the pictures do the talking!

White-napped Crane

Argueably the most numerous, especially on the day, and the first to be located.

Red-crowned Crane

Creamy necked juvenile

Hooded Crane

Of the 3 Crane species found locally, this is the least likely to be seen as the Field Guide describes it as usually only recorded 'on migration'. This had also been the brief before we left this morning and there was to be no disappointment if it did not make the list.

Hooded Crane with White-napped Crane for comparison. this was the only individual seen all day not only to my delight, but also to that of the monitors.

White-napped & Red-crowned Cranes

Trip List - 43 World Lifers - 7