A guide to autumn bird watching spots in Guangzhou

Updated: Apr 17, 2018 Print
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The early October signifies a cooling down in weather and also the favourite time of year for Chinese ornithologists. Each autumn, birds migrate across China from their breeding grounds in the north to their wintering grounds in the south. Guangzhou is an important stopping point on these natural highways and many species will rest long enough to be spotted by enthusiastic watchers. Here are five recommended places for bird watching in Guangzhou.

Nansha Wetland Park

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As one of the most important watersheds of the Pearl River Delta, Nansha Wetland Park annually attracts hundreds of thousands of birds. More than half of all migratory birds in Guangzhou choose this spot as a wintering ground, and more than 200 species have been spotted in the wetlands.

How to get there: Take Metro Line 4 and get off at Jiaomen Station, and then take Nansha Bus No 2 to get off at Xinken Staion or Baiwankuiyuan Station, then take Nansha Bus No 11 to get off at Nansha Wetland Park.

Liuhua Lake Park

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Heron Island in Liuhua Lake Park is a natural sanctuary, sheltering wild birds — including night herons, light-vented bulbuls and mallards — throughout the year.

How to get there: Take Metro Line 2 and get off at Yuexiu Park Station, and then walk about 1,000 meters to reach Liuhua Lake Park.

Haizhu National Wetland Park

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With abundant nesting resources, Haizhu National Wetland Park is a very important habitat for avian travelers. The rehabilitated environment and improved water quality draw a growing number of birds to spend winters here. A total of 142 species have been observed here, including herons, egrets and night herons.

Address: No 168 Middle Xinjiao Road, Haizhu district, Guangzhou

Baiyun Mountain

Baiyun Mountain is not only an ideal spot for exercise and recreation, but it is also a great place to observe many local birds. Thrush, the light-vented bulbul, and red-whiskered bulbuls are among the indigenous species. Birds like Streptopelia chinensis have also settled and flourished on the beautiful mountain.

Address: No 801 Middle Guangyuan Road

Wanzuitou Wetland Park

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The Guangdong Science Center is surrounded by the Pearl River on three sides and covers an area of over 20 hectares. Recent monitoring data has recorded more than 60 birds nesting in Wanzuitou Wetland Park at the Higher Education Mega Center. Its diverse ecology and environment lure countless birds here, especially over the winter.

How to get there: Take Metro Line 4 and get off at Higher Education Mega Center North Station, and then take Bus No 801 or No 202, get off at Guangdong Science Center Station.

A few things you need to know about bird watching

1. What equipment do you need?

(1) A telescope or a pair of binoculars

A 7x to 10x magnification pair of binoculars is all that is needed to enjoy a little bird watching. If you decide to use a telescope, you will probably need a tripod to stabilize it. Otherwise you will soon have very sore arms.

(2) A camera

Economic conditions permitting, serious twitchers can invest in a DSLR camera with rapid focus and powerful continuous shooting features. Equipped with a lens of 300 mm or above, the camera can capture flying birds at any moment.

(3) An illustrated handbook of birds, notebook, pencil and digital voice recorder

A handbook is useful to help identify the species of birds being watched. With a notebook and pencil in hand, you can promptly record the feature of the birds in the form of text and sketches. You can also record the songs of birds with a digital voice recorder and distinguish them later.   

(4) Appropriate outfits

Clothing should be darker colors and or have camouflage patterns in dark green or even dust gray, as most birds are easily disturbed by bright colors.

2. Things to pay attention to:

(1) Cover

Birds are very sensitive to the appearance of human beings, so bird watchers should always do their best to find suitable cover. Birds are very shy and will only act naturally if they feel there is no immediate threat in the vicinity.

(2) Time

Birds are usually most active at dawn and at dusk. Spring, Autumn and Winter are suitable seasons for bird watching in Guangzhou. The best time to view migrant birds is from October to March, while nesting season stretches from March until June.

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