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Dongtan Nature Reserve Records 118 Overwintering Tundra Swans


Last year, 60 or so Tundra Swans spending the winter were recorded at Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve for Birds, setting a record number in the nature reserve’s history. Recently, a small-scale water bird survey showed that the number of the Tundra Swans inhabiting and spending the winter at Dongtan nature reserve has reached 118, hitting a new high once again. According to a worker at the nature reserve, as the survey did not cover the whole area, the real number may be more than 118.
As a level-2 animal under national protection, the Tundra Swans come to Chongming Dongtan to spend the winter in October every year, and fly back to Northeast China and Siberia in Russia for breeding. Recently, on the broad beach in Dongtan it is often seen that the Tundra Swans are wandering freely in the sun and foraging for the corms of a plant, sometimes flocking with other birds such as bean geese.
As the number of the Tundra Swans continues to rise, the nature reserve has strengthened its daily monitoring of the birds. Wu said that Dongtan Nature Reserve conducts the surveys of water birds 18 times annually, twice in March, April, May, August, September and October and once in each of the rest of the months. In each survey, the staff members of the nature reserve would take different survey routes in groups of 2 or 3, and use the 20 times to 60 times monocular telescopes to directly count the number, with the survey scope covering the whole nature reserve and each survey lasting 3 to 4 hours. “As the birds have strong migratory capacity and the nature reserve covers a large area, even the synchronous monitoring in the whole reserve can not completely guarantee that the birds are not counted repeatedly or missed in the monitoring. In actual surveys, we can only try our best to avoid repetition and omission. "
The survey of the water birds conducted a few days ago was small in size, only covering an area of about 4 square meters in the area for ecological restoration, which is also the area where the Tundra Swans are concentrated. "The whole area of Dongtan reserve is over 240 square kilometers and the number of the Tundra Swans cannot be fewer than 118.” It is learnt that the survey of the water birds for December in the reserve will be carried out in the near future, when the number of the overwintering Tundra Swans is likely to break the record again.

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