Peak season underway for West Lake water birds
Now is the season for water birds on West Lake to incubate eggs. The abundance of aquatic plants in the lake’s lotus area often attracts them to lay eggs there.
For years, local government has fenced in the lotus area to protect plants from fish biting under water. However, such protective fencing harms water birds — sometimes the part above water separates chicks from their mothers.
Last week, National Bird Protection Week, organizers created five exits from the fence and paved panels to provide chicks with bridges between the lotus area and the outside world.
The panels are made of bamboo tubes. Alongside, a platform was set up to offer birds an area to relax. A couple of nationally protected birds live in the lake.
West Lake is renowned for the undulating lotus flowers that bloom every summer, alluring cavalcades of visitors from Zhejiang and other provinces. To keep birds away from tourists, the panels are set at least 10 meters away from the lake’s banks, and organizers always remind people not to feed them.
In 1992, Chinese government introduced National Bird Protection Week to rally people to protect birds across the country. Hangzhou government has implemented myriad policies and activities to care for local birds.
The lush vegetation and islets make West Lake a paradise for water birds. Tranquil nesting spots, fresh air, serene water and enriched aquatic animals attract mandarin ducks, grebes, cormorants, egrets and herring gulls.
Solitary Hill is highly recommended for watching water birds. The hill is actually an islet connecting Bai Causeway and Beishan Street. This area is ablaze with pink lotus flowers during summer and plum blossoms in winter.
The slab-paved road at the northern side of Solitary Hill might be the best location to appreciate both blooming flowers and birds at the same time.