Birdwatching around Seoul: Namhansanseong, Gyeongancheong wetlands and Bongeunsa temple grounds

When: June 2022 Weather: Hot 25-30C

Leica M10P 35 summilux, Nikon P950

We normally hold our annual meeting of Asia-Pacific eye surgeons every year but of course we had to cancel the 2020 and 2021 editions. It was pretty touch and go whether our first physical face to face meeting would go off successfully and thankfully it did and all our attendees and industry partners were happy. So I was glad to organise a half day birding trip with Birding Korea who assigned us an English speaking guide, Byoung Woo Lee for a 5-11am bird outing just outside Seoul.

It was already light at 5am as we drove off from COEX Intercontinental and we arrived at the World Heritage Site of Namhansanseong within 30min and started off walking a narrow trail…

on the drive up the hill, we spotted this ring necked pheasant who hurriedly scurried into the forest….a good start

an atmospheric walk in the cool misty morning

Juvenile Daurian Redstart

Azure winged magpies were common and beautifully coloured

the rather common brown eared bulbul

another view of brown eared bulbul

tiger shrike

Although we tried to locate the Hazel grouse it was probably a bit late in the season so we went back across up a hill towards this complex

Namhansanseong temple

Marsh Tit

Eastern crowned warbler warbling away!

juvenile yellow throated bunting

Eurasian nuthatch

The splendid Great Spotted Woodpecker came and sunned himself on this rock

Last bird from namhansanseong was this pair of grey backed thrushes taken from afar with poor light

We then came down the hill and proceeded to a wetland ecological park…

Gyeongancheong Wetland Park

There was a large body of water which you could walk around fringed by a river and many reeds….so hopes were high for the oriental reed warbler…

first bird there was the vinaceous parrot bill

here the parrotbill clearly seen

grey heron
lovely wooden walkway around the reed fringed lake
spot-billed duck
and then we heard and then saw the oriental reed warbler….here posing

singing with gusto!

full throated warbling!

we interrupted this handsome longtailed tit with his breakfast

Long tailed tit

white cheeked starling

white wagtail

Oriental greenfinch

from a nearby vantage point we were able to see hundreds of cormorants perched on a float

So that was the end of the morning’s birding and Byoungwoo was an excellent guide, not rushing us and always wanting to show us more….all in all a great morning’s birding. As I always do when staying at COEX, I will bird at the Bongeunsa Temple directly opposite…a charming little birding site for an hour or two…

Bongeunsa temple grounds

A saffron robed monk on the trail

as dawn sunshine seeped in through the leaves

beautifully coloured eurasian jay

So our Korean trip ended with nice sightings and certainly much better than my last trip a few weeks ago to Bachma, Vietnam! I would recommend Birding Korea if you want an english speaking guide who will drive you around and bird.

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