The Tongli National Wetland Park opened a few days ago. Covering an area of over 1,000 hectares, it is regarded as a “green lung” of south Suzhou and an ideal home for different kinds of birds. As of the end of March, 2018, there are 10 orders, 37 families and 183 species of birds which have been registered, 92 species being new comers. Among them, 79 species are provincial protected birds and 16 species like Mandarin duck, Pelecanus crispus, goshawk and crested honey buzzard are second-class national protected animals.
Strolling along the plank road in the fir woods of the park on a summer morning, you will surely be attracted by the singing of egrets on the tree tops, but you may not notice that the plank road is 20 centimeters higher than usual in order to give small and medium-sized animals passages to cross the plank road.
The bird-watching cottages are located in the unfrequented north-east corner of the park, where there are large ponds providing an abundance of food which has attracted a great number of water birds. Statistics show that over 60 species of birds inhabit here, including 18 types of snipes, 8 types of egrets and 26 types of passerines.
The wetland park not only offers a habitat with good ecological environment for birds, but also is a treasure trove of botanical resources. Investigations show that in the park are 91 families, 247 genera and 301 species of plants including many endangered and protected wild ones.
The water channels connecting the Chenghu Lake and the Baixian Lake have substantially increased the wetland’s flood discharge and water retention capacity. And the inflow of the fresh water from the Chenghu Lake has greatly improved the water quality of downstream areas. The lakeside ecological restoration project of the Chenghu Lake and the Jijiadang Lake has restored vegetation communities of 11,500 square meters, repaired embankments of 2,350 meters as well as completed a desilting project of 350,000 cubic meters. Now the Chenghu Lake has become one of the major wintering areas of wild geese and ducks in Suzhou.
In winter, people can not only see red-billed gulls, yellow-legged gulls, reed buntings and Chinese penduline tits, but also find rare great black-headed gulls, Mergus albellus and ochre-rumped buntings. Falcated ducks which take up nearly 1 percent of its world population come here to spend the whole winter. In recent years, Pelecanus crispus, which is rated as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, has been seen for many times.