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Guide for Bird Watching released
Date:2022-05-05 10:43:01 Source:Wenzhou·China Fonts:[ Large Medium Small ]

On April 25th, Wenzhou Natural Resources and Planning Bureau (WZNRPB) released a Guide for Bird Watching in Wenzhou. It said that now is the best time for bird watching as Wenzhou is welcoming a large number of migratory birds.

The East Asian - Australasian Flyway is one of the 9 flyways of global migratory waterbirds, which has the most species and the largest number of migratory birds, and is also the most crowded migration route. Wenzhou happens to be on this route.

Sanyang Wetland

Male Pheasant-tailed Jacana hatching eggs

Pheasant-tailed Jacana in Sanyang Wetland

Bird species richness ★★★★☆ (five stars being the richest, the same below)

Bird species representation ★★★☆☆ (five stars being the most representative, the same below)

Ease of observation ★★★★★(five stars being the easiest, the same below)

Convenience of transportation ★★★★★(five stars being the most convenient, the same below)

The vegetation in Sanyang Wetland in Wenzhou has been gradually restored in recent years, allowing numerous plains birds to breed or migrate here for a stopover. All kinds of common urban birds can be observed here, among which Pheasant-tailed Jacana, a type of summer birds that breed in an area in spring or summer, fly to warmer areas in autumn to spend the winter, and then fly back to the original area in the following spring, is one of the star species of Sanyang Wetland.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana is one of the important indicator species of inland lakes and swampy wetlands. It has slender claws and can walk lightly on water lilies, lotus, water chestnut, Gorgon fruit and other floating leaf plants. With a beautiful shape and colorful plumage, it is reputed to be the fairy of the waves.

Pheasant-tailed Jacana is one of the few birds known for its polyandry system, with the female dominating the breeding. “Today I met a water bird named Pheasant-tailed Jacana that lives in the south of China. This amazing bird is polyandry, with the female being larger than the male in shape. After the female bird lays eggs, it will go off to find another male bird, leaving the work of incubating the eggs and raising the offspring to the father alone. Being diligent and attentive, the father will guard the young in his arms on rainy days...” observed a birdwatching enthusiast.

Jingshan Park

Chinese Paradise-flycatcher said to be the incarnation of the Butterfly Lovers

Chinese Paradise-flycatcher (Photo from Jingshan Forest Park Management Center)

Bird species richness ★★★★☆

Bird species representation ★★★☆☆

Ease of observation ★★★★★

Convenience of transportation ★★★★★

Jingshan Park in the downtown is a large urban park of mountainous type, which homes a variety of ecological environment types such as zoos and botanical gardens, providing a sound living environment for various types of mountain and urban birds. Inhabiting the park are the Chinese Paradise-flycatchers, a kind of summer migratory birds. Both brown ones and the rare white ones can be seen there.

The Chinese Paradise-flycatcher is an auspicious bird in Chinese culture, signifying successful official career and longevity in ancient times. Legend has it that it is also the incarnation of the Butterfly Lovers, i.e., Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, and its call sounds like “qiufu” which means “seek blessing” in Chinese. Among the ten treasured national paintings of the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, one is “Chinese Paradise-flycatcher with Plum Blossoms”.

People often compare the Chinese Paradise-flycatcher to a fairy of the forest. A male Chinese Paradise-flycatcher has a long tail that is nearly three times as long as his body. When it comes time to migrate, the male will peck off his two “long ribbons” in order to reduce drag over long distances, while the female will shed her tail feathers automatically after mating.

Unlike geese and swans, the Chinese Paradise-flycatchers migrate by the family. Every year in May, male Chinese Paradise-flycatchers arrive at the migratory destination three to five days earlier. They will choose thin branches that stick out diagonally in the shape of “Y” or “V” in tall trees as the nesting sites, which can effectively prevent squirrels and other “scoundrels” from sneaking over and attacking them. The male usually chooses two or three nesting sites and wait for the female to decide where to nest. Sometimes the male will build two nests at the same time, while the female will only join in the construction of one nest, which will eventually become the nest for egg-laying and incubation. It has been said that in this way, nesting by the Chinese Paradise-flycatcher is similar to buying a house by man in which the opinion of the female often makes a difference.

On June 14th last year, a Mr. Guo recorded with video a “battle” between a Chinese Paradise-flycatcher and a squirrel, which was forwarded by a person in charge of Jingshan Forest Park Management Center in his WeChat Moments. In the video, a Chinese Paradise-flycatcher sitting on eggs in Jingshan Park found a squirrel close to its nest. To protect its eggs, the bird braved the squirrel and attacked it from the air several times with the help of a magpie robin. In the end, the squirrel was driven to the tree and fled. Just as the message in the Moments read, “Soul quality pervades all beings, and parents are mightily loving.”

Qidu Island

“Long-necked waiting bird” that can catch 70 snakes a year

Black-tailed Gull (Photo from VCG.COM)

Bird species richness ★★★★☆

Bird species representation ★★★☆☆

Ease of observation ★★★☆☆

Convenience of transportation ★★★★★

On the Qidu Island in Lucheng District, a variety of ecological environments such as protection forests, farmland, freshwater rivers and wetland ponds render suitable habitat for waterfowl. Migratory waterfowl can be seen along the river area.

At present, it is easy to find egrets, night herons and barn swallows in Qidu, according to Liu Ming, head of Wenzhou Wildlife Conservation Society, and there are herons on the Qidu mudflats as well.

In the early morning and late afternoon, herons like to forage most. Sometimes, they will stand motionlessly in the same position for a long time, with their necks tucked between their shoulders. Hanging on one leg with the other leg tucked under their bellies, they can be still for hours like a sculpture. When insects or small animals they like to eat pass by, they will be quick to extend their necks and peck them. Due to herons’ prolonged idle and static posture to wait for the opportunity to feed, people nickname herons the “long-necked waiting birds”.

A heron is a good snake catcher and can easily prey on small snakes. Known as the “nemesis” of small snakes, it can catch 70 small snakes a year.

In addition to the heron, you may happen to see the Black-tailed Gull in Qidu. Known as “sea cat” in Japan, Black-tailed Gull is a medium-sized gull with a black tail and a mournful cat-like cry. It often follows boats and fishing boats for food, and also steals food from other seabirds.

Lingun Island

Yellow-billed Egret at its most beautiful during its breeding season

Yellow-billed Egret (Photo from VCG.COM)

Bird species richness ★★★☆☆

Bird species representation ★★★☆☆

Ease of observation ★★★☆☆

Convenience of transportation ★★★★☆

Located at the mouth of the Oujiang River, Lingun Island in Dongtou District, with Oujiang River at its back and the sea at its face, is one of the recommended places to observe various kinds of waterfowl. On the mudflat wetlands on both sides of Lingni Dike, you may see a variety of plovers and waders, geese and ducks, gulls and herons and other waterbirds during the migration season and winter, among which the summer migratory birds include the Yellow-billed Egrets protected at the national level. To observe coastal waterfowl, you’d better know the tidal pattern, as the best time to watch them is an hour or two after the tide just started to ebb.

From May to July each year is its breeding season, during which the Yellow-billed Egret is at its most beautiful, with its beak turning bright yellow, its naked skin on the face turning blue, its neck and back sprouting ornamental feathers, and its chest and head growing hackles. Since the end of the 19th century, human beings started to hunt the Yellow-billed Egret in large numbers for its beautiful plumage, causing its population to dwindle and making it a rarity.

Male Yellow-billed Egrets are very territorial and will not allow other birds of their species to enter their domain. At the beginning of a Yellow-billed Egret romance, the female will chase the male. After the female enters the male’s domain, the male will stretch his feathers to intimidate the female, and the female must wait patiently for the male to gather his feathers and agree to stay in the domain.

Binoculars indispensable for bird watching

Do not disturb birds at close range

In the Guide for Bird Watching, WZNRPB reminds the public that binoculars must be used for bird watching as it’s difficult for the naked eyes to observe birds in detail due to the distance between the birds and people. Ordinary binoculars basically satisfy the needs of bird watching.

Dos and don’ts for bird watching

1. Watch birds from a distance to avoid frightening and disturbing them. Do not disturb them at close range, let alone break into their nests .

2. Respect birds. Do not chase or harm them, let alone take away or harm their offspring, or destroy their nests.

3. Protect the environment. Do not litter or destroy the habitat of birds, and protect their living space.

4. Do not use flash when photographing birds, as flash can disturb them.

5. Choose clothes and shoes that are comfortable for you to move around, and do not dress in bright, colorful clothing.

6. Take portable shooting equipment and don’t forget to take away your garbage.

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