It’s the bird-watching season at Dongzhai Port Nature Reserve

By Ding Xin / / Updated: 19:00,18-December-2021

Alongside the ongoing work to protect Hainan's mangrove swamps and the rewilding of Dongzhai Port's local ecological environment, the number of species and wildlife in Yanfeng Town's national nature preserve has continuously been increasing. From around 180 species when record-keeping started, the variety of birds spotted on the outskirts of Hainan's provincial capital Haikou has grown to 218 species. Now that it's overwintering time for the migratory species, this spectacular natural display has been attracting nature lovers and photographers alike.

Flying egret /CHEN WEIDONG

The flock of egrets at Dongzhai Port/ CHEN WEIDONG

The flock of egrets at Dongzhai Port/CHEN WEIDONG

At around 6 pm on December 7, the gloaming red of the sky heralded flock upon flock of birds returning to their winter homes in the mangrove swamps of Haikou's Meilan District. After a day spent feeding, the big white egrets, small and agile red-billed starlings, garganey ducks, and lesser sand plovers were ready to go to sleep.

Hurrying home for the night / CHEN WEIDONG

Rush Hour Traffic Jam at Dongzhai Port / CHEN WEIDONG

Per an introduction, by Feng Erhui (Dongzhai Port  Nature Reserve Administration, forestry worker) the birds head out every morning to forage. As the night falls or the tides come in, the egrets start their return journey to the brackish swamps of the nature preserve. At this time of year, the hour immediately before and after sunset (about 6 pm) is the golden hour for bird watching everything from groups of majestic egrets to other avian residents including those who live at Dongzhai year-round.

Egrets in flight against the backdrop of the Haiwen Bridge / CHEN WEIDONG

Red sun, white bird /CHEN WEIDONG

Mangroves are a variety of salt-tolerant trees mostly found in brackish coastal waters of tropical and subtropical regions. Lush and leafy with well-developed root systems, mangroves can effectively prevent the erosion of coasts and seawalls by waves. For this reason, they are sometimes called "coast guards".

Taking a break/ CHEN WEIDONG

A bounty of birds/ CHEN WEIDONG

According to the Haikou Forestry Bureau's spokesperson, it is planned for Haikou to plant around 12 hectares of mangroves along the coast of Dongzhai Port between 2022 and 2025, restore about 320 hectares of existing mangrove, and continue to implement new projects in Meilan District's Sanjiang Bay for another some 80 hectares of mangrove forest.



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