Birding in Hangzhou Bay Wetland National Park

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…


main entrance of Hangzhouwan Wetland Park…not open till 8am but you can bird around the outside



early autumnal colours at entrance



map of park….we entered from the right side of map and made our way to the jetty in the middle of the ponds on the left



while waiting for the gates to open, we saw lots of Chinese egrets



Little egrets were also common



Chinese Pond Heron

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.


fish displays at eye level


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.


museum of migratory birds



The buggy brought us right to the pond where the swans and ducks were and we walked from here to the jetty



interesting architecture in the national park



there are some bird enclosures where flamingos and scarlet ibises are kept…



south american parrots…more fun seeing them in Amazonia (see previous post) than in an enclosure



spotted dove



?arctic warbler



arctic warbler



interesting peacocks on one of the islands



long tailed shrike



beautiful colours of long tailed shrike



juvenile light vented bulbul


the pathways are well kept and easy to walk on

There were many water lily ponds and a lotus pond…the colours were quite spectacular..





dragonfly on lotus bud



this little ramshackle hut was used in filming a Chinese movie called ‘Caught in the Web’ by renowned director Chen Kaige



the movie still were there



the walkways were picturesque and featured in the movie





plain prinia



plain prinia singing



beautiful heart shped flower bed



white wagtail : leucopsis race



white wagtails sitting on fence….look at the cute face of the middle one!





lovely great crested grebe…



taking the boat back from the jetty to the main entrance was a relief from the hot late morning sun

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


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