A Spotlight Of The Mai Po Marshes

Charles Lam/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr
Charles Lam/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr
Photo of Sally Gao
23 August 2016

The Mai Po Marshes are a 270-hectare nature reserve in Yuen Long district in Hong Kong, situated in the North-Eastern new territories. Officially called the Mai Po Nature Reserve, the area is managed by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and provides refuge for hundreds of species of migratory wetland birds in the city of Hong Kong. During the Autumn and Winter, the tens of thousands of birds descending on the wetlands are a sight to behold.

Charles Lam/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

The marshes are part of the Inner Deep Bay that is designated as a Ramsar site, or ‘a wetland site designated for international importance’. Every year, 90,000 migratory birds seek refuge in these mudflats.

The birds feed on the shrimps, crabs, mudskippers and small fish among the mangroves, providing great opportunities for bird-watchers and wildlife photographers in the Spring and Autumn.

Charles Lam/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

Over 380 bird species are known to take shelter in the Mai Po Marshes, including Kingfishers, Herons, Cormorants, Egrets, Black Kites and Avocets. Altogether, they account for 72 percent of the bird species in Hong Kong. Among them, there are around 35 endangered species, most notably the Black-faced Spoonbill. Experts estimate that there are only around 1,000 Black-faced Spoonbills in the world, making Deep Bay crucial to the continued existence of the species.

Black-faced Spoonbills | Darren Bellerby/CC BY 2.0/Flickr
Charles Lam/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr
Charles Lam/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr
Charles Lam/CC BY-SA 2.0/Flickr

Access to the area is restricted for conservation purposes. A number of organized guided tours run throughout year, lasting for around 3 hours and costing $120 per person. Make your way to the reserve via the MTR to Yuen Long Station. From there, visitors can take a 15 min taxi ride to reach the reserve.

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