Frankly, I was a bit surprised when my wife booked a couple of days stay in South Korea. It will be part of our return trip home after visiting family and friends in California. I was surprised because she said that we will spend those two days birding and I know that Korea is not exactly a birders destination. I was proven right when Cynthia tried to contact a couple of birding authorities based in Seoul and absolutely got no response at all. Not even one of those automated replies. So after some intensive googling, she was able to find a possible birding place: the Seoul Grand Park.
It was very cold spring morning and having just warmed ourselves with a breakfast at a local Dunkin' Donuts that we were faced with a dilemma: How to get to the park using public transportation. We pretty much know which Subway Train Lines to take (again thanks to the internet), the problem was how do we get to the station.
We eventually found it after some meandering. Now we have to figure out how to buy the tickets from an automated vending machine. It turned out that we had to make a transfer to reach our final destination. After getting off the first train we hurried to get aboard the next one and was a tad too late. Which turned out to be for the better because, thanks to an "angel" who looking at our ticket, informed us that the train we just missed was going the opposite direction of where we were supposed to be headed. "Go to the other side," was his advice.
We finally arrived at the Seoul Grand Park station after surviving the rush hour packed train ride. We climbed up several sets of stairs and ended up on a huge, and I mean HUGE parking lot bordered here and there with leafless trees.
"Is this it?" I asked my wife with such incredulity that she was quite taken aback. For the life of me I couldn't imagine finding a lot of birds in a parking lot.
"Why don't we walk towards the theme parks" Cynthia declared with dogged determination. We scanned every tree that we passed by hoping to see a bird that was not a Eurasian Magpie. Oh sure, the Magpie was a lifer but they were the trash birds of Korea. They even build nests on electric poles in the middle of the city!
Our tree scanning efforts paid off when I saw a brownish bird huddled in a branch. Brown-eared Bulbul!
To our surprise, the surrounding trees produced even more birds! Most of which had the word "Eurasian" attached to their names:
Further up the road, we noticed a knoll where there seemed to be some bird activity near and on the ground. We walked around the area and added more lifers to our list:
and finally, a Yellow-throated Bunting
Noontime and we were exhausted from all the walking we did searching for the hidden avian treasures of Seoul.
We plodded back to the subway station hoping we won't get trampled by the tsunami of passengers disembarking and boarding the trains.