Birding in Hangzhou Bay Wetland National Park
When: September 2018 Weather: Warm: 25-28C
Nikon P900 and Leica M9P 35mm summilux
Having the luxury of a whole day free in Hangzhou after my meetings, my local contact recommended visiting the Hangzhou Bay (or Hanghzouwan) Wetland National Park about 2 hours east of our hotel, the North Star Expo Hotel. I’d already birded in Xixi wetland park(see earlier post) and the famous West Lake and botanic gardens before so was game to travel further afield this time.
Sunrise in late summer Zhejiang province is at 530am so we set off from the hotel at 545am and most of the road was highway with only the last 20km being on traffic light strewn local roads taking as long as the highway section. Total distance about 120km. We arrived outside the gate of the HZBWNP at 740am only to be told by the guard that it only opened at 8am…..national parks should never have opening and closing hours! So we milled around a bit outside the park where there was a large canal and we saw a few things…..egrets, herons and even a spotted woodpecker flew by…
It turned out that this was not just a wild wetland park but a carefully manicured and planned area in which paths were well maintained and laid out, buggies were available to move people around and boats to cruise the waterways too. It was really very well maintained and just after the entrance there is an interesting display of local fishes…you walk in a passage surrounded by large glass windows allowing you to see into the surrounding ponds with their fish….quite fun.
There was even a museum of migratory birds with some stuffed displays of local birds. We paid a brief visit to the museum and then hopped on to a buggy to bring us to the water forest area where the swans, pelicans and flamingos were. Even though it was only 830am by this time, the sun was getting hotter….we started our walk proper from the ‘swan lake’ with the objective of getting to the pier where we could take a boat back to the entrance.
There were many water lily ponds and a lotus pond…the colours were quite spectacular..
Whilst this wetland park was interesting and a great way to spend a morning, the birds I saw were not that spectacular and perhaps when the migratory season is truly in season, it would be better. It’s also a long 2 hour journey away and it might be better to visit either the botanic gardens next to Westlake or the Xixi wetlands much nearer to Hangzhou.
Thanks to KC for help in IDs