Mud Spa for Chinese Crested Tern

There’s only one reason and only one mission to visit Fuzhou, and that is to see the critically endangered Chinese Crested Tern. Joined by Bonnie Chan, Davis Kwan and Victor (Faizai), the “Famous Four” hired a guide in China- “China Wild Tours” who took us to see this rare tern on the summer of May, 2013!

The Minjiang Estuary in Fuzhou, Fujian Province is probably the most reliable site to see the Chinese Crested Tern, but getting to the mudflat area wasn’t easy at all! The walk to the mudflat took over 45 mins just one way! The trail was mostly mud and it was a struggle to walk with mud knee deep! Nonetheless, we managed to stride to our destination!

The beginning of a long long walk! -photo by Bonnie Chan

The beginning of a long long walk! This part was fairly easy! -photo by Bonnie Chan

Not easy to stride in mud

Not easy to stride in mud

It was worth the long muddy walk as Minjiang Estuary produced some quality waders which included the White-faced Plover, Ruddy Turnstones, Red-necked Stints, Grey-tailed Tattler, Kentish Plovers, Sanderlings, etc.

ruddy turnstone in breeding plumage in Fuzhou

ruddy turnstone in breeding plumage in Fuzhou

sanderling on mudland

sanderling on mudland

White-faced plover, quite a few in Minjiang

White-faced plover, quite a few in Minjiang

At the mudflat, we saw many Great Crested Terns, but it takes a queer-eye to find a Chinese Crested Tern! The easiest way to distinguish the Chinese Crested Tern will be by the bill- being yellow with a black tip!

greater crested terns in Minjiang estuary, Fuzhou

greater crested terns in Minjiang estuary, Fuzhou

We scanned high and low but there was no sign of the rare bird! :-/ As we were about to give up, a small flock flew in! Yes, Chinese Crested Terns! They landed pretty far from us! We had no choice but to wade slowly towards them for a better view!

mud spa- photo by Bonnie Chan

mud spa- photo by Bonnie Chan

Chinese crested tern

Chinese crested tern

chinese crested tern in fuzhou

Chinese crested tern in Fuzhou

The sun was about to set and so we had to leave the mudflat, which meant another 45 minutes of muddy walk out! We went back again the next morning, left for lunch, returned for noon session and walked out again! :-/  The mud was really good for my feet- came back with smoother skin! 🙂 🙂

Presumed to have extinct, The Chinese Crested Terns were later discovered at Mazu Islands in 2000. Birdlife and other NGOs involved have placed mega efforts in bid to bring the birds back from near extinction! Click here for more details about their work!

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