Botany and Birds In the Wetlands

Nicholas Quirke was aware as he awoke on 20 June 2020 that his plan for the day had been to get on a train and go to Shanghai and getting up early and heading instead to the wetlands of the Yanqing Scenic area seemed a pale compromise to exploring another bustling big city and then heading to some of the most beautiful scenery in China. He was sure that he would get to these places and he settled back to enjoy the ride. To his continual surprise, even though he had travelled through the landscape before he was still filled with awe and wonder, to see the grandeur and the splendour of the mountains and just how the vista changed depending on the light they were bathed in. There was a mist lurking over the day which gave the views a sense of mystery and romance that he hadn’t experienced before. The wetlands, Yeya Lake National Park were famous for the diverse bird life and the botany and once he was in the open air, the views of the mountains stretching across the lake thoughts of city life completely dissipated. There were not many people about, sensibly, perhaps preferring to stay inside and away from any possible harm. Yet here where the air was fresh it felt as far away from any virus as he could possibly be. There were a number of modes of transport around the Park and as it was a novelty, and he had never ridden one before, they chose a tandem. This did afford some hilarious moments but it wasn’t long before they got the hang of it and worked out a good routine. They cycled round the lake, stopping to take in the views and the wildlife. Perhaps the most astonishing moment was when Nicholas observed a Giant Asian Hornet having taken on a dragon fly and apparently murdering it. They saw all manner of birds and pond life including some elusive crane, busy water bugs, mating dragon fly and spent some time identifying the flora. More than anything, to be cycling through this beautiful landscape, in the warm temperature with the views of the mountains and the peace and quiet was a really wonderful thing. It was about an hour and half to get back to the city and they made straight for a favoured restaurant, where they ate his favourite dish, stuffed lotus root. The eyes were clearly bigger than the bellies as they had to take two dishes home with them. Nicholas had enjoyed the ‘A Way Out’ game a lot, even though there had been some harsh criticism of his ability, and they completed another few stages, finally making Vincent and Leo’s escape before it was time to sleep.

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