3 Days Guizhou Caohai Lake Birding Tour Experience from Kunming
On February 20, 2015, the second day of the lunar new year, we drove to the Caohai Lake (草海湖) which is located in Weining County(威宁县), Guizhou province（贵州省） and more than 500 kilometers far away from Chongqing City（重庆市）. Weining County is called Weining Yi, Hui, Miao nationality Autonomous County, situated in the mountainous area of Wumeng（乌蒙山区） in western Guizhou, which lies in the traffic and pharyngeal fortress of Yunnan province（云南省）, Guizhou province and Sichuan province（四川省）. The county is 2200 meters above sea level. It is one of the most important wintering places in China, and was promoted to national nature reserve in 1992. It is called “the sunshine capital, a hundred birds paradise”.
We left Chongqing at 8 am, and 10 o ‘clock in the morning we stopped to refuel in Tongzi County（桐梓县） of Guizhou province. More than one o’clock We were looking for a restaurant to eat in the west road of the Bijie city（毕节市）, but it’s failed. We arrived Weining County more than two o’clock. Across the county, we found the Langyu Caohai Lake hotel near the pier of Jiangwan（江湾码头） in the west. The hotel was set up before departure, and it was said to be the best hotel in the area. The Caohai Lake was on the south side of the hotel.
After putting down the luggage and having a rest at the hotel. More than four o ‘clock, ready to go out. The main concept of this season is watching black-necked cranes, and the mainly three periods of watching cranes are: in the morning before they left the habitat; at noon when they back to the lake for foraging; flying back to habitat in the evening. Although I have done some homework before I set off, only some place names are known and little information. A middle-aged man who appeared to be in charge of the hotel, said that this year’s warm winter attracted only few birds, and that Jiangwan pier was once a place to watch birds, but few birds now. We tried to call the phone number left on the Caohai Lake bird watching website, because we wanted to find a bird guide, the reply was all the people were on holiday, but still eager to tell us in the west of the jiangwan pier, there was a place for bird watching, we could look for it. Other bird watching points are in the countryside, and local farmers can find some places to watch birds, but they don’t have their specialties.
I Drove out of the hotel, and found the road by the lake, all the way west, about 3 kilometers, local people by the side of the road asked me whether to take boat, known this is Yinlong village（银龙村）, one of the bird watching points by online introduction. The boat went out to the lake and a small island appeared (a small patch of land in the lake), waiting for the sunset and the return of the weary birds. The bird was no return, only to take a tour of the lake and enjoy the scenery.
On February 21, 2015, I got up at 5:00 a.m. and arrived at Yinlong village at 6:00 am. This was the date time appointed by the boatman yesterday. We planed to watch the birds by boating, after arriving, the host said that he did not hear any bird song last night, and suggested to go to the bird watching platform. The weather is not good, though bird watching platform can see the black-necked cranes that inhabit the swamp with a telephoto lens, but it’s not easy to shoot, only when they flew away from overhead, took some candid photographs. The observation deck is a famous bird watching point in the Caohai Lake – Huyelin（胡叶林）.
I returned to the Hotel for taking a rest from Huyelin, and started again at 11 o’clock driving eastward, hoping to find other bird watching points for later or the next day shooting birds. Driving along the road by the lake for a while, into the city, passing the Xihai Pier（西海码头）, which is a very good place for watching flowers and boating in the summer time, and the largest standardized management pier in Weining County Caohai Lake . The price of boating here is clear: 120 yuan for the upper reaches, 240 yuan for the middle reaches, 360 yuan for the lower reaches . We did not enter the pier, continued to move forward, after leaving the city turn right.. The development of Caohai Lake tourism is mainly depending on a few piers, there is no Lake Road such as Lugu Lake and other lakes. Around the lake there are some villages can watch birds also, but outside the main road, it’s too hard to find it out without the guide of the locals. If you asked while looking for the place, you can never get the clear answer because even yourself don’t know where exactly you gonna to go, only know watching birds near Caohai Lake. Under the guidance of local villagers on the roadside, we came to another scenic spot on the lakeside, Caohai Village (Caohai Village, Baijiazuizi)（草海村白家嘴子）. Three black-necked cranes and a few ruddy shelducks were found in the farmland below the observation deck. The biggest harvest was the heron on the tree in the village.
Abandoned the idea of finding other bird watching spots and returned to the hotel for rest. Standing in the room balcony overlooking the Caohai Lake and Jiangwan pier.
At 5:30 p.m., i drove off to Huyelin again to shoot the black-necked crane. It didn’t disappoint me this time, though it was far away, but there were birds coming and dancing in the distance. The returning birds were getting closer and closer to us, but individual tourists and photographers kept getting closer to the birds, and as a result the flock of birds moved farther and farther away.
In the early morning of February 23, 2015, the weather was better than yesterday morning, but the bird’s habitat was farther from us. Was it because of the influence of the tourists yesterday evening?
I drove away resentfully, not far away, suddenly discovered that the sun went out from the clouds, scattering the rays on the lake, the lake was wide, soft and hazy.
I stopped for a while before driving back. With the surprise before, instead of going back to the hotel directly, I went to the lake from the Xingfu Town（幸福小镇） of Yinlong village and went back to the hotel along the side of the lake. A black necked Crane found in the side of the road, which also was the harvest.
I drove back to the hotel for breakfast and checked out, then filled up the oil, got onto the highway. All the way was basically smooth, and i retuned to Chongqing at 5 PM.
Chinese Version: http://lvyou.elong.com/5267728/tour/a4c39jqf.html