Heaven for Birds!
"Qinglong Lake offers an expansive view of its waters along with a lotus pond, accompanied by rivers, wood land and shrubs devoid of human development. The diverse habitat enables birds to find food, rest and shelter from natural enemies."
——Wu Jiawei, Deputy Director of Chengdu Bird Watching Society
If you take Metro Line 4 to the Chengdu University Station, you can find a conspicuous billboard at the exit saying "the stork-billed kingfisher is timid and likes to hide in groves." The cute, colorful bird on the billboard is the stork-billed kingfisher, which has been listed on the 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). It is actually a surprisingly coincidence that the billboard stands here, since Qinglonghu Wetland Park, the "Heaven for Birds" in Chengdu, is seated not far from it.
Qinglonghu Wetland Park was opened to the public in 2016. It is famous for being the largest ecological lake in Chengdu - Qinglonghu Wetland and is currently the largest wetland park in the city. It is also a heaven for bird watchers and animal photographers - the park is home to over 200 species of wild birds, including 30 rare, vulnerable and endangered birds. It is worth noting that 3 critically endangered Baer's pochards, a diving duck, (Aythya baeri) also live here.
It's amazing to have such an important wetland and bird habitat on the Chengdu Plain. The park has paid great attention to its design and construction, ensuring a special bird conservation area was set up to protect rare birds an appropriate distance from human activity for ecological isolation - 200 meters away from the nearest urban road. The park has also planted a variety of vegetation in the park according to the different species of inhabiting birds, to provide more diversity of food and habitats for them.
It's a New World
According to the Chengdu Bird Watching Guide, officially released in 2017, Qinglonghu Wetland Park was recognized as one of the seven best locations for bird watching in Chengdu and was also highly regarded by the Chengdu Bird Watching Society. "Qinglong Lake offers an expansive view of its waters along with a lotus pond, accompanied by rivers, woodland, farmland and shrubs devoid of human development. The diverse habitat enables birds to find food, rest and shelter from natural enemies," states Wu Jiawei, Deputy Director of Chengdu Bird Watching Society. He added that the park was also a perfect place for birds to migrate and shelter themselves during the winter.
He said, "You can easily find birds, which are commonly seen in Chengdu, in Qinglong Lake like the light-vented bulbul, long-tailed shrike, little egret, little grebe and eurasian coot. The last two often live in wetlands. The light-vented bulbul is a resident bird that does not travel long distances around the year and can be seen regularly. Meanwhile, wild ducks and egrets can be easily spotted during the spring and winter thanks to their high population numbers." We asked Wu to give us the name of bird worth looking out for. His answer was, "the red-breasted merganser. These ducks mainly live in East China's coastal areas and rarely fly to Sichuan for the winter."
As a professional bird watcher and photographer in Qinglonghu Wetland Park, Wu Jiawei explained that because Qinglong Lake is very wide, watchers should bring a telescope with a foot rest in addition to a pair of binoculars to observe birds from afar. Additionally, he called on watchers to take cover, follow the rules of the park and not to disturb or feed the birds when taking photographs. In his view, bird watching is a "doorway to nature with a high barrier to entry." In response to that, Qinglonghu Wetland Park has made itself into a backdoor to that very same place.
Address: Shiling Scenic Area, Longquanyi District, Chengdu
Opening Hours: All Day
Photos by Bo Yuan& Bay Peng
Excerpted from HELLO Chengdu October Issue in 2018
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