Monday 21 August 2017

Surprising stop at the Yellow Sea

One of the privileges of being a migratory bird might be the freedom to travel between countries without a passport or visa. Thus, our Whimbrel KS decided to visit a country which might be a little bit difficult (for humans) to enter – North Korea.

Sometime between 12-13 Aug, KS left Shuanfeng Reservoir in Heilongjiang where it had stayed for 4 days and headed to the Yellow Sea. After a 911km flight, it has chosen an extensive mudflat area on the west coast of North Korea as its next stop.
Fig 1: KS’s southward migration from the nesting ground to China, then to North Korea

We do not have much information about this stop-over site in South Hwanghae Province, North Korea as it is not a listed Important Bird Area. Yet, from the satellite image, we can see very extensive mudflat area (14km long x 4km wide) which looks an excellent site for shorebirds. KS has also spent time at the north-west shore of this bay where there are agricultural lands. South Hwanghae Province is known to be not very mountainous and therefore a very suitable area for farming, including vegetables, fruits, grains, and rice.

Meanwhile, KU is about 370km north-west of KS, still staying at Yingkou in Liaoning Province, China where it has been for 13 days. We are now anxiously waiting to see when they will both start migrating south again.

Fig 2. Mudflat area in South Hwanghae Province where KS stop-over

As of 19 August 2017:
Migration tracks of our Whimbrels:

Migration summary on our Whimbrels
Katherine Leung
19 August 2017

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