Editor’s note: Jinzhou is one of the busiest bird migration routes in the world, as well as home to countless bird-lovers. Protected Area of Great Bustard of CBCGDF – Jinzhou director Yu Lian is one of them. Since Yu Lian has got in contact with birds in 2013 for the first time, he has been unable to forget these beautiful figures. He picked up the camera and began to trace the figure of the birds, making their beautiful gestures become a piece of publicity card of Jinzhou. Yu often feels lucky to live in Jinzhou. Because Jinzhou is one of the main routes for migratory birds in China and many rare birds migrate through Jinzhou every year and even lived through the winter to breed in Jinzhou. Yu Lian has photographed rare species including red-crowned crane, black-headed gulls, white-headed cranes, oriental white storks, great bustard, Larus relictus, and white cranes, among which the Jinzhou Forestry Bureau has not recorded Larus relictus and white cranes before. It is Yu Lian that recently began to cry for Xiaoling Estuary, hoping more people pay attention to this rare treasure.
Two days ago, I just saw the latest planning map of the Xiaoling Estuary area through the Internet. Except for a large port, the Xiaoling Estuary area is also planned a large industrial park, densely extended to northern Jinzhou Bay International Airport. This is only the recent planning of land use, there is also the long-term planning use whose scope has been extended to the north, almost connected to Jinzhou urban area. I say to myself, this must not do, Xiaoling Estuary has important ecological value, not suitable for large-scale development.
I have been observing and protecting the Xiaoling Estuary area for 7 years. It is rich in topography, with large tidal flats, wetlands, shrubs, grasslands, and alkaline grass beach on high ground. There is a great variety of plants and animals. It is an important breeding ground, wintering ground, and migratory stopover ground for birds. It also plays an important role in the global bird migration system. If developed on a large scale, it will cause significant ecological losses, which are irreparable.
I knew about the Xiaoling Estuary firstly because of the overwintering gray crane, a gray crane is an animal under national second-class protection, which will overwinter at a large population in Xiaoling Estuary. Every year they will come in late October or early November and leave around March 10 in the next year. The migration pattern was something like this. I kept watching them, picking them up and sending them away every year, and gradually getting familiar with them. Every year, the first group of overwintering cranes coming back is about 50 or so, which should be the same group. Every year they come back, they mingle with four white-headed cranes, which are thinner, shorter, and in better shape than the gray ones. They are national first-class protected animals, more precious than cranes, so I pay more attention to them. While coming back, they first do not settle down in the large alkaline grass beach of the estuary, but in the large grass beach of the west of Xiaoling Estuary. When they settle down and observe the surrounding environment, they will fly to the alkaline grass beach of the estuary for food. This is the best time to photograph cranes. I often take my friends who love photography and stand on the riverbank to photograph them from afar. My friends always say that cranes look best in a wetland environment, especially on such a beautiful red beach.
The red beach at Xiaoling Estuary is a big dining table for many water birds, especially when the cranes just come back. It is not certain to see something. Gray cranes have the habit of singing. They sing when foraging, when playing, and when communicating with other cranes in the sky. When there are white cranes, red-crowned cranes, and other precious cranes flying over the sky, they will be attracted by the sound and fall down together to forage with the gray cranes. Five recorded species of cranes have been observed in Xiaoling Estuary. They are white-headed cranes, grey cranes, red-crowned cranes, white cranes, and sandhill cranes. There are only nine cranes that have been observed and recorded in China, and more than half of them can be seen at Xiaoling Estuary. Among them, the white crane is a critically endangered bird worldwide, while the red-crowned crane and the white-headed crane are endangered birds worldwide. All these three species are the first-class national protected animals. Sandhill cranes and cranes are both classified as second-class national protected animals. Among them, sandhill cranes are mainly distributed in America, and the observed records in Asia are extremely rare. For cranes, the Wetland in Xiaoling Estuary is an important overwintering and migratory stopover site. It is worth mentioning that the Xiaoling Estuary is the northernmost overwintering site for white-headed cranes. Every year, more than 10 white-headed cranes and gray cranes mix together to overwinter in the Xiaoling Estuary. It is self-evident that the Xiaoling Estuary is of great significance to the crane’s wintering and migration.
The Xiaoling Estuary area is an important overwintering ground for the great bustard. The great bustard is a national first-class protected animal, a large ground-dwelling bird, and the largest bird among all flying birds. The maximum weight of the adult male bustard can reach 22 kg, usually around 18 kg, and it is a very precious migratory bird. In January of 2018, while organizing the national synchronous survey of the great bustard, CBCGDF has mobilized thousands of volunteers to conduct trawl synchronous survey in the spot of more than 40 bustards for four days, also found only more than three hundred bustards. It is not to say that there are only more than three hundred great bustards in China, but it can be seen that the number of this kind of migratory birds is on the verge of extinction. In January 2018, 51 great bustard species were found in Jinzhou, accounting for about 1/7 of the total. The observation quantity is stable, and the records are detailed, which makes it the area with the best investigation effect. After the investigation, the results of the investigation attracted the great attention of CBCGDF, which immediately decided to set up “China Protection Area of Great bustard Jinzhou” in Jinzhou to protect the great bustard overwintering here. In the three years since the establishment of the Protection Area of Great Bustard, we have carried out statistics on the wintering number of the great bustard. From the winter of 2017 to the spring of 2018, there are 51 great bustard wintering in Xiaoling Estuary of Jinzhou. Winter 2018 to spring 2019; 52 great bustards overwintering in Xiaoling Estuary, Jinzhou; 2019 winter — 2020 Spring; There are 72 great bustards in Jinzhou over the winter. The number of great bustard wintering increases steadily and the protection effect is good.
At the same time, Jinzhou Great Bustard’s wintering place has a high scientific value. For example, the great bustard is a large ground-dwelling bird, which usually does not like the Marine climate. However, this place is only 2-3 kilometers far away from the coastline. What caused this is unclear. For example, in our cognition, the great bustard has a special love for leguminous plants, and the overwintering bustard in Xiaoling Estuary especially likes to eat peanuts, which is also a mystery we do not know. These observations are of great value to ecological research.
Original Chinese article:
By / Liu Xiling (Volunteer)
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