Wuxi Taihu Lake is one of the largest freshwater lakes in China and an important wetland ecosystem with rich bird resources. According to statistics, there are 173 species of birds in the Taihu National Wetland Park, belonging to 16 orders, including nationally protected animals such as spot-billed pelican, Chinese egret, mandarin duck, kite, and white-naped crane. Every winter, tens of thousands of migratory birds gather here, either passing through or staying, with common birds including great egret, intermediate egret, common moorhen, and wild duck.
To observe these beautiful creatures up close, my two friends Page Lew and Wilbur Rose and I decided to take a bird-watching trip to Taihu Lake in Wuxi. We all love nature and photography, and we usually use cameras to record the demeanor of various wild animals. This time, we specifically chose the owler1 night vision binoculars from the Chinese brand Wildguarder, a professional night vision binoculars that can observe the movements and details of animals clearly in the dark. We wanted to take this opportunity to test the performance and effects of this product and also enjoy the fun of night bird-watching.
We set off in mid-November, taking a plane to Shanghai Hongqiao Airport and then transferring to a high-speed train to Wuxi Station. We took a taxi from Wuxi Station to the entrance of Taihu National Wetland Park and then walked into the park. We had booked a homestay in the park online in advance, and the room was clean and comfortable with a view of the lake outside. After we put our luggage away, we set out with our binoculars and cameras.
There are several trails and boardwalks in the park, along the lake or through the reed marshes, where we can enjoy different views and ecosystems. We walked along a boardwalk for a while and saw several white egrets searching for food by the water. Their bodies were as white as snow, their long necks elegantly curved, and they dived into the water quickly to catch prey. We observed them with the owler1 night vision binoculars for a while, and the image was very clear and stable, allowing us to see the details and eyes of the white egrets. We also took several photos with our cameras, and the results were excellent.
Continuing on, we saw a group of black-necked cranes on a small island. They have black bodies, red heads, and love to move around in grassy areas. After observing them for a while, we saw a Great Cormorant hovering in the air. It is a nationally protected animal and a symbol of the Taihu National Wetland Park. Its mouth is very big and can hold a lot of fish and shrimp. We used the owler1 night vision binoculars to track its flight path and saw it suddenly dive down to the water surface, open its mouth to catch its prey, and then fly back up into the air. This scene left us in awe and we took some amazing photos.
We walked along the lake to a bird watching pavilion where we met some professional bird watchers and volunteers. They used binoculars and cameras to record the birds in the lake. We talked to them and learned that there are many other rare birds in this area, such as Yellow Bitterns, White-naped Cranes, Black-necked Cranes, and Egrets. They also told us that night time is the best time to observe nocturnal birds such as owls, night herons, and falcons. They recommended using the owler1 night vision binoculars to observe these elusive creatures because they are very sensitive to light and easily disturbed.
We followed their advice and decided to continue bird watching at night. We rested at the inn for a while, then went to taste Wuxi’s cuisine. Wuxi is a representative city of the Jiangnan water towns and a birthplace of Su cuisine, with many specialty dishes. We searched for Wuxi cuisine online and found many recommended restaurants and dishes. We selected a few that we were interested in and tried them out.
First, we went to Xishengyuan for Xiaolongbao and wontons. Xiaolongbao is one of the top ten famous snacks in Wuxi, known locally as Xiaolong Mantou. It is famous for its thin skin and rich broth, filled with meat and soup. It tasted very fresh. Wontons are also one of Wuxi’s favorite breakfast foods, with a variety of types. We ordered Kaitang wontons and mixed wontons. Kaitang wontons are made with shrimp skins and dried shrimps to add flavor, while mixed wontons are mixed with special seasoning. Both wontons were delicious, with thin skin and large filling, and a refreshing taste.
Then we went to Sanfengqiao for Wuxi spare ribs. Wuxi spare ribs, also known as “Wuxi meat bones” in the local dialect, originated during the Guangxu period of the Qing Dynasty. It is one of the most famous signature dishes in Su cuisine and a source of pride for Wuxi people. Its characteristics are red sauce, tender meat, rich juice, and a salty-sweet taste. It was very tasty, but also a bit too sweet for our taste, as it may not be suitable for Wuxi people’s taste.
After dinner, we changed our clothes and went to enjoy Wuxi’s night scenery. Wuxi is both an ancient water town and a modern new city. At night, the lights and waters complement each other, creating a different kind of beauty. We searched for Wuxi’s night scenery online and found many recommended places. We selected a few that we were interested in and went to see them.
First, we went to Qingming Bridge Ancient Canal. This is the most characteristic historical and cultural district in Wuxi and one of the longest artificial canals in China. At night, the bridge and the water are illuminated with colorful lights, forming beautiful scenes. We walked along the canal, admiring the ancient buildings and modern commercial areas on both sides, feeling the traditional and fashionable aspects of Wuxi. We also took a canal boat ride to see Wuxi’s night scenery from the water, which was very special.
Then we went to Taihu Square. This is a large square in the center of Wuxi and a good place for leisure and entertainment. There is a huge music fountain on the square, which releases water columns of different colors and shapes at every hour, accompanied by music and lights. The surrounding buildings, such as Suning Plaza and International Financial Center, are brightly lit and dazzling. We walked on the square, took some photos, and felt the bustling and vitality of Wuxi.
Finally, we went to Ludi Mountain. This is the tallest peak in the center of Wuxi and the best photography spot for Wuxi’s night scenery. From the top of the mountain, we could overlook the whole city and Taihu Lake, which was very spectacular. We used owler1 night vision binoculars to view landmarks such as the Ferris wheel, Lihu Bridge, and Jiangnan University, as well as the ethereal lights and reflections on Taihu Lake. We recorded these beautiful scenes with our camera and admired the beauty and charm of Wuxi.
After this day, we had a deeper impression and understanding of Wuxi. Wuxi not only has a long history and culture, but also has modern development and changes. Wuxi not only has beautiful natural scenery and ecological environment, but also has unique cuisine and flavors. Wuxi not only has a gentle and peaceful daytime atmosphere, but also has a charming night flavor. Wuxi is a city worth visiting and experiencing multiple times.