In the middle of mist covered mountains and pristine lakes, I felt like I was in paradise. As we strolled around the park-the fresh, mountain breeze filled my lungs with freshness and rejuvenation. My visit to Hong Kong Wetland Park, situated in Tin Shui Wai of New Territories was truly unforgettable!
This 60 hectare park is a wetland park offering recreated habitats for a variety of waterbirds and other wildlife. There were many hides and observation decks to observe the wildlife and opportunities to view different biodiversity in the mangroves, streams, mudflats, ponds, reed-beds and grasslands.
A lovely Common Rose (Pachliopta aristolochiae) was feeding on these flowers near the entrance of the wetland, welcoming us to the trail that we would explore and find teeming with flora and fauna. It has been voted to be the National butterfly in Singapore- its lovely red and white patterns reminded me of home.
The first bird I spotted was a Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) and a serene Chinese Pond Heron (Ardeola bacchus) . The Little Heron seemed to be the most abundant bird at the wetlands. Since it was not migratory season in Hong Kong, there were not that many flocks of birds to be seen.
My family and I sat in on one of the tallest observation deck in the wetland for a long time, observing the Egret. I appreciated its slender neck that it outstretched to find food, and its graceful body movements as it ventured through the mudflats. We also saw a bit of its violent behavior, as a territorial bird, warding and chasing off other Little Egrets quite hastily!
For the most part, the biodiversity in Hong Kong was pretty similar to that of Singapore. However, I did spot some new species of birds, butterflies and dragonflies.
This lovely dragonfly which looked very similar to the Yellow-Barred Flutterer that I have seen in Singapore- and it fluttered around just like a butterfly. It is called the Variegated Flutterer (Rhyothemis variegata).
On the information boards, we saw this curious little spider. I’m not sure of the exact species. I’ve found a new love for spiders after attending Dr.Linda’s talk on spiders and their amazing behavior (even though I’m a bit afraid of them).
Among the grass, we saw many little, shy birds that seemed to be feeding on insects. We soon found out it was a new species I had never seen before- a Dusky Warbler (Phylloscopus fuscatus), which is a type of leaf warbler.
In the mudflats, I spotted this cuckoo bird- a Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis). They are non-parasitic and are crow-like birds with copper colored wings. It feeds on snails and other animals on the ground. I have seen them in Malaysia and India.
What I loved about this wetland is that despite being so close to human residences the wetland was home to rich biodiversity. The efforts made by the government to recreate habitats and this haven for flora and fauna is great.
We saw two Tropical Swallowtail moths that I haven’t seen in Singapore in a long time, since the last population outburst of them that I was aware of.
We also visited the Butterfly garden and the mangrove boardwalk. There were many butterflies fluttering around. This one I believe is the Blue Spotted Crow butterfly (Euploea midamus singapura) as it had a few blue spots on its wings.
Among the bushes, a flash of color caught my eye. It was a beautiful butterfly species of the Genus Rapala (I’m not sure of the exact species, if you can ID it please click the link on INaturalist). The purple, iridescent color on its wings looked as if someone had sprinkled pixie dust on it!
The mangroves were rich with marine life- from crabs and fish to this Giant Mudskipper (Periophthalmodon schlosseri). These mudskippers feed on crabs, prawns, insects and can even snack on other smaller mudskippers! Burrowing deep in the mud to lay eggs and take care of their young protects them from predators such as water snakes.
A really interesting and new spotting for me was this adorable Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis). I spotted it from inside a cafe where we relaxed after our walk. I rushed outside alone to take photographs of it, but unfortunately it was already swimming further away. The Little Grebe mainly feeds on aquatic invertebrates and fishes, and usually dives underwater to catch prey. I observed it diving underwater to catch its prey many times before it surfaced back.
And with that spotting, we came to the end of our walk at Hong Kong Wetland Park. We enjoyed some drinks at the cafe, admiring the gorgeous mountains for the last time before we set off on the pleasant journey back to our hotel on the light rail and train.
If you plan to visit Hong Kong, do not miss this wonderful place. It is very child-friendly, with many interactive posters and exhibits indoors as well. We saw many school groups come to the wetland centre and I could not help but think it was quite like Sungei Buloh Wetland reserve (missing the wild crocodiles, of course.) I can’t wait to visit Hong Kong again, to revisit this place and also many other nature reserves across the country that is home to such unique biodiversity.
HONG KONG WETLAND PARK
Address: Wetland Park Rd, Tin Shui Wai, Hong Kong
Opening Hours: Open all days at 10am to 5pm. Closed on Tuesdays (except public holidays and the first two days of Chinese New Year. Ticket office open 9-30am to 4pm.
How to get there: We traveled by public transport by taking the MTR West Rail Line to Tin Shui Wai Station. We then followed the exit signs to transfer to the Light Rail at Tin Shui Wai station. You can take the light rail 705 or 706 and alight at the Wetland Park Light rail Station. Cross the platform and follow signs to the Wetland Park.
Fees: Standard adult ticket is $30, Half price $15 for full-time students, children aged 3-17, senior citizens aged 65 and above. Free for children below 3.
What to bring: Water bottles, snacks, raincoat, camera (with protective waterproof cover) lunch if you are visiting in the afternoon (since there are no restaurants nearby, especially for vegetarians)
What to wear: Comfortable clothing suitable for hiking, trainers/running shoes.