Bird Island---A Paradise of Birds

05,2008 Editor:at0086|

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The Chinese like to say that if the Qinghai Lake were a crown on the head of the plateau, then the Bird Island (Niao dao) would be the largest pearl on it. This island, in fact a large rocky peninsular that juts from the lake, is located in the northwest corner of the Qinghai Lake, near to the Buha River.
Bird Island, which lies northwest of Qinghai Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in China, is connected to the bank on one side whilst the others are surrounded by water. It encompasses two islands, one is Haixi Pi in the east, and in the west is the Haixi Shan, which is four times smaller than the former island but is where most of the birds of the lake congregate. When the spring and summer come, many birds fly from faraway mountains and deserts to breed here. In the noisiest months of April and May, their numbers can amount to ten thousand, 80% to 90% of which stop on the Haixi Shan and lay eggs there. With eggs interspersed all over the island, Haixi Shan is also called 'Egg Island'.
Species of Birds
The island holds its name due to the approximately 10,000 birds that, at different seasons throughout the year, migrate here from all over the world. Of the rarer species that can be found, included are Griffon vultures, Mongolian larks, black-necked cranes, bar-headed geese and giant swans. For those not ornithologically wise, there are more common varieties that can also be found including gulls, cormorants, egrets, sandpipers, skylarks, swans, geese, crows, minivets and many more. Because of the highly saline and cold waters, the huge lake teems with fish and it is this that makes it the perfect breeding ground for many of these species. The island has a number of bird watching pavilions and is nice to simply wander about, with the vivid and contrasting colours that are a part of the lake's scenery.
Best Bird Watching Time
The optimum time for bird watching is between March and July, when many of the birds migrate here to breed and take their summer holidays. If you can weather the cold and are an intent bird watcher, November to February are the time to catch the famed giant swans. The island also contains the Longbao Black-necked Crane Sanctuary, a conservation project for these protected species.
Then why does the island attract so many birds? Because it has a flat physiognomy and mild climate, and is close to the water, which produces rich float grasses and fishes. The environment here is also very quiet, so it is a natural space for the birds to reproduce and inhabit.
With the enticing natural scenery and so many beautiful wildfowl, Bird Island has been a must for many tourists traveling in Qinghai. The island has been listed as a national natural reserve mainly for the protection of birds here, but also provides an excellent place for the travelers and birdwatchers to visit.

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