It's winter in the northern hemisphere and migratory birds head south. Some of them hibernate here in Yunnan. Many local wetland parks are the wintering grounds for the red-beaked seagulls in Kunming and black-necked cranes in Huize, Zhaotong and Shangri-La. The best time to watch and of course feed the birds is from November and March.
Seagulls in Kunming
Each year ten thousands of red-beaked seagulls migrate to Kunming from Siberia to flee from ice and cold. These seagulls have become an important part of local people's life here in Kunming. There are dozens of places in the city to watch them. The best ones include the Green Lake Park, Daguan Park, Haigeng Dike and Haigeng Park at the Dianchi Lake. It is also feasible to watch birds in the Yuantong Zoo in the city center and the Yunnan Wildlife Park just north of town.
Nianhu Lake in Huize County
Some 260 km northeast of Kunming, Nianhu was approved as a nature reserve for the black-necked cranes already in 1994. They populate the area from November to March.
Dashanbao Wetland close to Zhaotong
Dashanbao Wetland is a state-level nature reserve of Zhaotong City in Northeast Yunnan. Close to the Sichuan border and about 400 km north of Kunming City, it is located on an altitude between 2200 to almost 3700 metres. Dashanbao is a winter habitat as well as a plateau wetland. Inside the nature reserve, one can appreciate the majestic, steep Rooster Mountain Valley.
Caohai Wetland in Heqing County
With a protected area of 400 hectares, the Caohai Wetland Reserve is located only 40 km south from Lijiang. Migratory birds here include the black-necked cranes, common cranes, egrets, mallards, and rubber ducks.
Lashi Lake close to Lijiang
Lashi Lake is Yunnan's first wetland nature reserve and forms the base of the Natural Conservancy at an elevation of nearly 2500 metres. As a habitat of migratory birds, it is where Chinese merganser, black-necked cranes, and black cranes are protected. Lashi Lake is a very popular destination for Lijiang visitors.
Napa Lake in Shangri-La
In Tibetan, Napa means lake behind the forests. As a seasonal plateau lake, the Napa Lake is an ideal habitat of black-necked cranes in Shangri-La (Yunnan's north with an altitude of around 3300 metres). The Napa Lake is a significant plateau wetland, offering views of plateau meadows, snow-capped mountains and thousands of migrant birds.