Xixi Wetlands Birding

When: September 2015                       Weather: Moderate,  26C

Bird photos:  Nikon P900.  Others:  Leica M240   21mm Super elmar and 35mm Summilux

Whilst West Lake or Xi Hu in Hangzhou gets all the acclaim, it is busy and crowded around the lake, so I was delighted to find out that there was a bird sanctuary called the Xixi wetlands about 5 km from westlake.  I paid two visits to it, the first in the afternoon to recce it with my friends and then again the next morning for the birding on my own.  Arriving at Xixi from the city, we got off at the main entrance which is the second entrance where we boarded the tourist boats for a cruise of the many waterways that criss cross the wetlands.  Useful for a general view of the area and is quite scenic but not good for birding…

Xixi Wetland Park: the first wetland conservation area in china

Xixi Wetland Park: the first wetland conservation area in china

Tour boat around the wetlands..there is a silly rule that disallows passengers from sitting or standing outside and insists that all passengers remain inside the cabin....the boat captain was a dour character who would not have it otherwise...sigh

Tour boat around the wetlands..there is a silly rule that disallows passengers from sitting or standing outside and insists that all passengers remain inside the cabin….the boat captain was a dour character who would not have it otherwise…sigh

Setting off on the boat, the waterways are well kept with manicured gardens..

Setting off on the boat, the waterways are well kept with manicured gardens..

well kept waterways

well kept waterways

unspoilt waterways

unspoilt waterways

pretty bridges

pretty bridges

interesting buildings

interesting buildings

Lovely flora

Lovely flora

a truly scenic wetland

a truly scenic wetland

A boat left over from a movie filmed here...

A boat left over from a movie filmed here…”If you are the one”

We alighted at the third stop and walked a bit…among the old buildings….

buildings with character

buildings with character

pagoda

pagoda

noodle makers

noodle makers

irrigation

irrigation

We ended up in one of the little shops where we tasted the sweet persimmons...yum

We ended up in one of the little shops where we tasted the sweet persimmons…yum

tranquil scenes...

tranquil scenes…

the only bird I saw this first outing was this sparrow!

the only bird I saw this first outing was this sparrow!

But realising that the wetland park had potential, I returned bright and early the next morning at 730am and was dropped off at the first entrance near the Bird Sanctuary at Lotus Pond.  The Xixi wetlands doesn’t officially open till 8 or 830am but there are plenty of green birding areas to scout out even before the gates open.

this is the walkway alongside the main tien shan road running along the park...it overlooks a big waterway...walking here was quite productive..

this is the walkway alongside the main tien shan road running along the park…it overlooks a big waterway…walking here was quite productive..

Juvenile Black capped night heron

Juvenile Black capped night heron

Another one perched above the water

Another one perched above the water

The first and probably most common sighting was the light vented bulbul..

The first and probably most common sighting was the light vented bulbul..

here, taking flight

here, taking flight

The light vented bulbul has interesting prinia like yellow markings on the wing

The light vented bulbul has interesting prinia like yellow markings on the wing

and several little brown jobs like this appeared very actively buzzing around the bushes

and several little brown jobs like this appeared very actively buzzing around the bushes

? rose Finch

Parrotbill…? Vinous throated?

a type of finch?

Parrotbill

Walking into the wetlands, the bird sanctuary is a few hundred metres away….and there is quite a lot to see along the way….the finches above…and then….

this handsome fellow was singing way up in the trees...

this handsome fellow was way up in the trees…

A long tailed shrike or is it a bay backed shrike?

A long tailed shrike 

he was singing away merrily

he was singing away merrily

the greenery around was colourful

the greenery around was colourful

DSCN7240

The persimmons were fruiting...

The persimmons were fruiting…

A little grebe

A little grebe

Eurasian Blackbird?

Eurasian Blackbird?

after a few hundred metres, you come across this sculpture indicating your arrival at the bird sanctuary

after a few hundred metres, you come across this sculpture indicating your arrival at the bird sanctuary

The

The “Bird Reserve in Lotus Beach” Place names in Hangzhou environs have charming names….

When you walk into the sanctuary on well laid paths, it’s obvious that a lot of care has gone into creating and maintaining a great environment for the birds to flourish…hides are constructed with pictures of the local birds etc….

A large hide from which to view the birds..

A large hide from which to view the birds..

a walk through the bamboo copse...as if it was in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon!

a walk through the bamboo copse…as if it was in Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon!

A pair of common sparrows?

A pair of common sparrows?

Black billed magpie...

Black billed magpie…with a flash of blue on the wing

Black billed magpie up close

Black billed magpie up close

And my star bird of the morning was this endearing Black throated tit

And my star bird of the morning was this endearing Black throated Bushtit

Black throated Tit

Black throated Bushtit

there were pretty bridges everywhere

there were pretty bridges everywhere

Spotted dove

Spotted dove

lush vegetation

lush vegetation

and flowers

and flowers

platform of one of the hides

platform of one of the hides

emerging from the sanctuary, if you turn left and head towards the Xixi wetland museum, you see this monstrous building that is a real blot on the landscape.....

emerging from the sanctuary, if you turn left and head towards the Xixi wetland museum, you see this monstrous building that is a real blot on the landscape…..

Egret

Egret

So that’s it.  I think that the Xixi wetlands is a gem of a sanctuary, much less congested and more natural than Westlake itself…the bonus is that it’s not far away and easily accessed.  The migratory season hadn’t really started yet so the numbers of birds were not vast.  It was still fun though and highly recommended for the birder….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s