Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Down by the river

It's always nice having the Han River Park near my house. Out near the Banghwa Bridge there's an actual shore where people often come to fish.


I almost ran over this little guy on my way down the path out to the shore.


One creature I didn't almost run over was something that bounded away into the tall grass. I barely got a glimpse of its rear end, but thought to myself, "That was either a very large rabbit or a very small deer." Both options seemed unlikely until I mentioned this to a student who told me he'd seen two deer near the same spot while rollerblading in Han River Park. He'd also mentioned he'd seen a TV show which mentioned deer living near the Han River. This slipped my mind until another student mentioned seeing one there the day before, so I decided to figure out what kind of deer they were. The answer: water deer, or gorani (고라니) in Korean. As that page tells us, they're quite small, and "[t]hey run with rabbit-like jumps," which helps to explain my confusion. Photos of them can be found at naver.

Photo from here.

A 'close-up' video of one caught in a snare is here, while a news video about a gorani family near, of all places, the Banghwa Bridge, can be found here. The video also shows footage of a leopard cat, or salkwaengi (살쾡이 - more photos here), and a raccoon dog, or neoguri (너구리). I had no idea such wildlife was a short bike ride from where I live.


Above and below are shots of the Banghwa Bridge during the day and night. The Haengju mountain fortress, the site of a Korean victory during the Imjin War, can be seen behind it



Bukhansan is seen shrouded in mist above, while below the still-under-construction Incheon Airport Railway Bridge can be seen.


Below is a crab I saw while on the bike path by the Han River. I hadn't realized there were freshwater species.


Setting up this shot certainly got a few stares from passersby...

9 comments:

Erik Loomis said...

There's still wildlife in Korea? Wow. That's actually quite surprising.

Scott said...

Erik, wildlife in Korea still exists: Expats!

Celebith said...

I used to live over near the Kayang bridge, in the apartments just behind the SBS studio (I used to hear the oppa brigades every weekend). I like living closer to where I work, and I still have an apartment right off the Han, but I loved living in Deungcheon-dong and still miss it. Once you get past Kayang brigde and into the wetlands preserve by Incheon airport highway, the Han river park is great!

Anonymous said...

er, is there a link to ANOTHER video...one that shows the ajossi letting the deer GO? crimey.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing you're a lifelong city boy if you were surprised to learn that crabs live in rivers, too.

Sonagi

matt said...

celebith:
I know the SBS studio. I used to take a bus by there quite often before I knew what that building was, and only noticed Carre Four. I couldn't for the life of me understand why there were so many girls hanging out in front of Carre Four!

Sonagi:
Wrong guess; I've spent more of my life in the country than the city (Here are a few photos taken from the house I grew up in). I've never seen freshwater crabs anywhere in Ontario, only crayfish.

Greta said...

Those are beautiful photographs, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hey Matt, how can a fellow Banghwa-er get to this park?

Is it within walking distance?

-taryn

matt said...

Taryn - if you walk to the intersection by banghwa station (as in, walk past the station to the first intersection, where the supermarket is) turn left and walk down the street until it ends. Then turn left again and walk until you go under the freeway and hit the river park. It takes less than 10 minutes on a bicycle - walking might take you 20-25 minutes.