If you are lazy in winter, you may have missed some touching moments going on in the wild. Why not pack your bag and bring your camera to China’s top ten best destinations for birding in this winter time, to escape the daily grind and simply enjoy the beauty of nature. Bird-watching must be one of the best ways to relax your mind and attain inner peace.
Xinjiang Bayanbulak Swan National Nature Reserve
400 km northwest of Korla, high-altitude Bayanbulak wetlands lies within the second largest grassland area in China (at 2,300-2,500 m), with Kaidu River flowing through. It is celebrated as the famous “Xinjiang Swan Lake”, a natural habitat for the largest populations of wild swans in China. Each year birds migrate to Bayanbulak between the months of November and March. Make sure you have your cameras ready to capture some touching moments, when the birds’ wings are fanning.
Rongcheng in East China’s Shandong province
As the winter comes, thousands of swans from Siberia fly to Rongcheng Swan Lake for wintering, the largest winter swan habitat (covering an area of 10,500 hectares) in China, and one of the top four swan lakes in the world. The elegant swans walking, singing and dancing, creating a beautiful and peaceful picture.
Caohai Nature Reserve, Guizhou
Located in Weining, Southwest China’s Guizhou province, Caohai Nature Reserve is one of the best places in China for winter birding. Every year, the black-necked crane, the only plateau crane worldwide, will pass the winter time here, when visitors will have chance to enjoy the sight of black-necked cranes in flocks and any other 300 bird species.
Poyang Lake in Jiangxi Province is a should-not-miss destination for winter birding. It has a total of 310 species of birds and is famous for being the “Kingdom of the stork”. A large number of rare birds habitat here, including Grus leucogeranus, Grus japonensis, larus relictus… In winter time, a maximum of 100,000 migrating birds fly to the Lake, making it the largest migratory bird wintering area in Asia.
Dongting Lake Birds Natural Reserve
Dongting Lake Birds Natural Reserve (covering an area of 190,000 hectares) in Hunan province has earned the reputation of the “paradise of birds” among bird-watching fans. Every winter, more than 300 species of birds, totaling one million, come to Dongting lake and make the wetland area their home.
Dongtan Wetland in Chongming Island
Chongming Island finds itself about 100 km away from downtown Shanghai, and boasts one of the best winter birding parks – Dongtan Wetland. Established in 2003, this 24-square-kilometer park is China’s only wetland park neighboring a migratory bird reserve. Every year from November to next February, an annual birding Festival will be held in Dongtan Wetland, when it welcomes the highest number of birds of the whole year.
Due to its mild and warm climate in winter, there are numerous excellent winter bird-watching destinations in Yunnan. Red-billed gulls from Siberia has spent winter in Kunming for almost 30 years. Dianchi Lake and Cuihu Park are best places to watch red-billed gulls in Kunming. Besides, Botanical garden in Xishuangbanna of tropical climate offer opportunity to see Crimson Sunbird and Anastomus oscitans. While Napa Lake wetlands in Shangri-la is home to “noble birds”, such as black-necked crane, in winter, attracting lots of people to photograph.
Yancheng Wetland Nature Reserve
Lying on China’s eastern shore, Jiangsu province, Yancheng is the largest coastal wetland reserve in China and home to Red-crowned Cranes and other 381 species of birds. Best time to watch birds in Yancheng is between late October and early April, when about 600 Red-crowned Cranes prefer wintering here.
Zhalong Nature Reserve in Tsitsihar
Located in Tsitsihar, northeast China’s Heilongjiang province, Zhalong Nature Reserve was established in 1979 with the purpose of protecting a large number of Red-crowned Cranes. It is also a stopover and nesting area for a great quantity of storks, swans, herons, grebes and other species.
Dongzhaigan Mangrove Forest Nature Reseve in Haikou
Dongzhaigang Mangrove Forest lies in Yanfeng Town, Haikou City of Hainan Province (belongs to the tropics marine climate). It is not only a national mangrove reserve, but also a wetland of waterfowl habitat. During the winter, the best season for birding in Dongzhai Harbor, tens of thousands of birds turn the area into a wonderland.