Yancheng: A Journey to Find Fairies

If you wonder what the winter is like in Yancheng, I will say it is full of vigor, poetic feel and fantasy. When the glorious colors of the late autumn have yet to fade away, the vast land exploded with reed flowers along the waters. Elks, migratory birds, and cranes are like fairies for the winter, frolicking in the water and strolling in the fields. As tranquility whispers over the wetland, you can occasionally hear the deer bleating and the flocks of birds flapping their wings. What a hidden wonderland!

China Elk Park: A Trace Deep in the Forest

After a snowfall, the land is decorated with white and silver. In such a spectacular view, how can the scene of foraging elks trotting on the fluffy fallen snow only exist in fairy tales? In fact, you can see it at Dafeng Elk National Nature Reserve. Located on the coast of the Yellow Sea, the reserve for elks remains the largest in the world. With its vast woodland, grassland, swamps and water network, a natural habitat for wildlife is formed. Although the reserve in early winter is not as vibrant as in spring, not shaded in coolness as in summer, not as colorful as in autumn, it glows with tranquility, which has tremendous power to heal all ailments.

There is a 39-meter-high memorial platform in the scenic area to commemorate the return of 39 elks from the United Kingdom in 1986. From the top of the platform, you can have a panoramic view of the reserve. Similarly, on the deer-watching platform, a view of the vast field and wetland will also extend in front of you. Sometimes, herds of elks may emerge in the scene, wandering in the woods or around the ponds, a group of two or three elks either forage or frolic, undisturbed by the tourists and making themselves at home. When the dusk blushes the water, the swaying reed flowers afar are also glazed with crimson and gold. A few elks may also stop by, seemingly spellbound by the splendid sunset with you.

Yancheng Jiulongkou Scenic Area: Fairyland in the Wetland

Located in the Lixiahe area, the Jiulongkou (literally Nine Dragons’ Mouths) Scenic Area of Yancheng gained its name because of its landscape, where nine rivers converge from a small island in all directions like nine dragons fighting for a pearl. “With the bright sky and frozen clouds emerges the snow, christening the horizon with silver flowers and crystal trees.” As the sun and the moon take their turns in winter over the peaceful river winding to afar, colorful reeds will cheer up the snow-covered horizon, vast and distant.

   Every year, autumn and winter are the seasons for migratory birds to return to the south to rest and feed among the reeds. If you take a close look, you may come across the traces of reed parrotbills known as “pandas among birds.” With their hook-like claws, they sway themselves among the reeds like lively little fairies, pecking at the insects that feed on the reeds’ poles. The antique three-story building known as the “Nine-Dragon Tower” is distinctive with its yellow walls, green tiles, and interconnected corridors. You can appreciate the spectacular scenery of egrets frolicking above the blue waves from the tower.

Red-crowned Crane Nature Reserve: Dancing with the Cranes in the Snow

It would not be more suitable to use “dreamily” to describe Yancheng in winter. Between the purest blue sky and undisturbed fallen snow is the Red-crowned Crane Nature Reserve, where lives flocks of carefree cranes. Whether a solo performance or a dance of two, the cranes have made a unique winter landscape.

  With the fish in the lake and birds over the water, the Waterfowl Lake remains the best location to view red-crowned cranes up close. Meanwhile, the 18-meter-high Crane-Watching Pavilion with hexagonal cornices is inevitably an excellent choice to overlook the horizon. In the Paradise of Cranes, you can learn more about the environment and the breeding and nurturing of red-crowned cranes while enjoying the fun of research. Also, you can explore the secret lives of red-crowned cranes in different themed exhibitions.

As the winter replace autumn, another year has gone by. What about a healing and relaxing fairy-hunt trip to Yancheng?