Napa Lake: Flights of Fancy

Updated: 2015-05-18 07:47

By Han Lianxian(China Daily)

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Napa Lake: Flights of Fancy

[Photo by Peng Jiansheng/China Daily]

Black storks, roughly the same size as the cranes, started to proliferate around Napa when it became a natural reserve in the 1980s. More than 130 of the creatures spend the winter there. Their bright-red beaks and feet, black and purple bodies, and white bellies are striking.

They appeared less elegant than the cranes. They'd whoosh around to whip up food and brusquely gulp down morsels.

Yet they were graceful in flight. They glided deftly, with their necks straight and wings spread.

I saw thousands of crows near the lake in the winter of 2011. While the species flocks, it's rare to see such mass murders.

They came to eat fish.

Napa Lake shrinks in winter.

Villagers irrigate so their flocks and herds can eat.

The rapid water-level drop leaves fish stranded.

They snap trawl from shallow water.

It's pitiful to see so many fish die in 10 days. Even vultures can't eat them all.

Masses rot.