Chaiksan is a national park in an upland region around 100 km east of the South Korean capital Seoul. After a summer trip for Swinhoe’s Storm Petrels Oceanodroma monorhis on Chilbaldo islet, Arnoud and René realised that spring had passed and that they had to go to a high-elevation area to find any singing birds. Given the forest habitat, photographic opportunities were rarely the same as sound recording ones, so there are some species for which we have just a sound recording or a photograph. For European birders, it was remarkable to hear three species of cuckoo at once: besides ‘our’ Common Cuckoo Cuculus canorus, there were Oriental Cuckoo C optatus and Indian Cuckoo C micropterus. The latter illustrates a clear difference between the Far East and the ‘Far West’ of Eurasia. While temperate Europe is separated from tropical Africa by the Mediterranean and the barren Sahara desert, no such barriers exist in the far east. Several species breed continuously from India all the way to the Korean peninsula and Eastern Siberia. Likewise, some species breed all the way across Eurasia, continuously or almost so, especially in the far north. Others show some huge gaps. Perhaps the classic exampe is Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus, which looks almost identical to its south-western European counterpart Iberian Magpie C cooki, despite a 9000 km gap between them.

Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 07:17, 24 June 2007 (Arnoud B van den Berg). Song at close range, with two other cuckoo species in the background. Background: Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis, Oriental Cuckoo C optatus, Common Cuckoo C canorus, Eurasian Nuthatch Sitta europaea and Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana.

 

 

Chiaksan National Park, South Korea

Azure-winged Magpie Cyanopica cyanus, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 25 June 2007 (René Pop)

 

 

 

Chiaksan National Park, South Korea

Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 24 June 2007 (René Pop)

Daurian Redstart Phoenicurus auroreus, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 17:24, 24 June 2007 (Arnoud B van den Berg). Short song strophes by a male perched on a post, close to a silent brood of fledglings. Background: Pallid Thrush Turdus pallidus.

Chiaksan National Park, South Korea

Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 24 June 2007 (René Pop)

Blue-and-white Flycatcher Cyanoptila cyanomelana, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 09:22, 24 June 2007 (Arnoud B van den Berg). Song from the treetops. Background: Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus.

Chiaksan National Park, South Korea

Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 25 June 2007 (René Pop)

Oriental Turtle Dove Streptopelia orientalis, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 09:59, 25 June 2007 (Arnoud B van den Berg). Songs both near and distant, followed by wingclaps. Background: Brown-eared Bulbul Microscelis amaurotis and Pallid Thrush Turdus pallidus.

Chiaksan National Park, South Korea

Brown Dipper Cinclus pallasii, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 25 June 2007 (René Pop)

 

 

 

Pallid Thrush Turdus pallidus, Chaiksan national park, Gangwon-do, South Korea, 10:52, 24 June 2007 (Arnoud B van den Berg). Duet of two neighbouring males. Background: Yellow-throated Bunting Emberiza elegans.