Napa Lake: Flights of Fancy
Updated: 2015-05-18 07:47
By Han Lianxian(China Daily)
The lake boasts spectacular scenery. [Photo by Peng Jiansheng/China Daily]
I was amazed to see whooper swans swoop over the lake. I watched spoonbills in 2001 and woolly-necked storks in 2011.
I first visited Napa Lake at the end of 1984, when bar-headed geese and various wild duck species clouded the sky while braving poachers' guns. The scene was spectacular. I've visited frequently since 2005, when transportation became easier.
Black-necked cranes rank among the world's most protected plateau birds.
They walk with royal stature, heads held high and wings spread gracefully. They even peck like aristocrats.
Their courtship is a spectacle. Males dance around females, wings casually drooping, before females dance back, wings extended. The climax comes when they take turns hopping and calling.
Females lay two eggs at a time. Food fights often lead to bloodshed. Only the strongest survive.
I made it a point to observe a family. The younger hatchling had lighter feathers and awkwardly searched for food. Parents served fish, shrimp and insects.