With the close of winter, spring has returned in all its glory to the Flower City, bringing with it warmer temperatures, colourful blossoms, and millions of migrating birds.
Mile for mile, Guangdong province is one of the best places in the country for bird watching. Every autumn, migratory birds traverse the east China flyways from the breeding grounds in the north to the wintering grounds in the south. And on their route, they stop here for a rest or stay for winter. When spring arrives, the migratory birds make their journey back north.
March is the best time for birding, so grab your binoculars and go on a great weekend getaway to one of the following top spots in the province for finding birds and embracing the spring.
Nansha Wetland Park in Guangzhou
As an important migratory stopover, Nansha Wetland attracts more than 100,000 migratory birds, accounting for more than 50 percent of Guangzhou’s migratory bird population, to perch every winter in the wetland. The rare black-faced spoonbill frequently has been spotted by birders since the end of last year.
Star Lake in Zhaoqing
Regarded as a significant part of the Guangdong wetland system, Star Lake Wetland is one of the best places in Guangdong to see red-crowned cranes. Well-known red-crowned cranes, flamingos, white-naped cranes and Demoiselle cranes can be seen, up close, everywhere in the ecological park located in Star Lake Wetland.
Chebaling National Nature Reserve in Shaoguan
Situated in the southeast of Shixing County in Shaoguan, Chebaling National Nature Reserve is a hot spot for seeing adorable birds, including the orange-bellied leafbirds, white-breasted waterhens, grey-chinned minivets and Daurian redstarts. If you are lucky enough, you may come across the endangered white-eared night herons, which are one of the most mysterious birds in the world.
Birds’ Paradise in Jiangmen
The nationally renowned Birds’ Paradise is a wonder of nature where hundreds of thousands of birds flock throughout the year. Ba Jin, one of the most celebrated Chinese writers, wrote the lyric “The Birds' Paradise” after he took in the marvelous scenery of the tree-covered island.
The island is covered with 400-year-old banyan trees. Most of the birds on the island are wild egrets and pond herons. In the morning the white egrets fly away and the grey egrets return, while in the evening, the reverse takes place — the grey egrets go out and the white egrets return. They go about their business punctually, hovering in the sky, creating a beautiful landscape.
Nan’ao Island in Shantou
Located along the Asian marine flyway, Nan’ao Island is a great habitat for over 130 species of birds, such as short-tailed albatross, Christmas frigate birds, Chinese egrets and Pelagic cormorants. What better place to go to have a relaxing cruise around the island watching the migratory birds perching on the reefs.
Mangrove Nature Reserve in Shenzhen
As part of the East Asia-Australia flyway, thousands of migratory birds traverse Shenzhen Bay every year, which makes the Mangrove Nature Reserve a heaven for bird watching. The mangrove wetland is home to 194 bird species, of which 23 are endangered, such as the eastern imperial eagles and Saunders’ gulls. (By Wing Xie, Louis Berney)
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