Monday, 12 May 2014

South Korea part 4 - Busan

I caught the KTX bullet train from Daejeon to Busan which took about 2 and a half hours and travelled at a max speed of 300 kilometres an hour. I'd got off to a bad start by leaving my phone (a Korean phone) in the taxi. When I got to Busan I had to try and phone Virgin to barr the phone so I needed to get an international phone card. The girl in the shop had no idea what I was on about, but another girl overheard me and helped me find a phone card, find a phone box and dial the number which I was really grateful for

Busan is the second largest city in South Korea, it was instantly amazing and overwhelming so instead of going straight to the hotel I'd booked I thought I'd go to this park I'd heard a lot about called Taejongdae Park as it turned out to be closer to the station than the hotel. I caught a bus, doing the tourist thing of trying to give the bus driver a 10000 won note, not done. A nice lady on the bus smiled at me sympathetically.

I heard some unfamiliar sounds when entering the park which initially caused me some confusion, one of them turned out to be Blue-and-white Flycatcher and the other I had a sneaking feeling was Sakhalin Leaf Warbler, this is a rare vagrant to Korea and if you want to find one, Busan is the best place it seems. I turned out to be right and I got a not particularly good recording of it.

Round the corner near a picnic area I was stunned to see a couple of male Narcissus Flycatchers, I'd heard that these were regular here but had no idea it would be that easy to see them, but I suppose they were behaving like spring Flycatchers, being pretty obvious...
Male Narcissus Flycatcher 
Male Daurian Redstart
Yellow-throated Bunting
I met the nice lady from the bus again and she made signs like she wanted a drink, so I offered her some juice but what she actually meant was she was going for a cup of tea. Just as she walked off a Japanese Bush Warbler burst into song behind us, I almost thought it was her phone ringtone until it gave another burst of song from a bush then went totally silent.

Another Red-rumped Swallow had joined up with a party of Barn Swallows and were busy feeding overhead. This was a nice introduction to birding in Busan, even if it was late in the day, the weather was humid with a stormy feel about it which looked promising.....
I stayed at the famous Haeundae Beach in a place called the JJ Inn hotel, the taxi driver had trouble finding it. It turned out to be next to a red light district. I went for a wander in the area, turned a corner and found myself walking past glass fronted booths full of stunning girls which I have to admit was not expecting at all.

The following day, well for me, as Busan doesn't sleep. I decided to walk to another park about 6 kilometres away called Igidae Park. I stopped at Dongbeak park just next to the beach and had another go at getting rubbish shots of a Pygmy Woodpecker.

Pygmy Woodpecker

Juvenile Japanese White-eye

Black-eared Kite
Black-tailed Gull

Blue Rock Thrushes project their songs from man made structures such as cranes

On reaching Igidae Park, there was an amazing boardwalk all along the edge of the rocks, this was fine to start with, offering some great views, but as you move on the boardwalk gets more cramped and it gets busier, that's where I took a path up into the forest.

This was a amazing place, warm, humid but pleasantly so, full of lush vegetation and as I reached the edge of a valley, teeming with birds. I could hear Eastern Crowned, Yellow-browed Warblers singing. Grey-backed and possibly Pale Thrushes singing then a flock of Ashy Minivets appeared, I could count six but there seemed to be many more.

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