Mai Po Nature Reserve is an internationally significant wetland which is actually a flat shallow estuary, at the mouth of Sham Chun River,Shan Pui River and Tin Shui Wai Nullah. Its 380 hectare area with diverse habitats provides a conservation area for mammals, insects, amphibians, reptiles and over 380 species of birds, some of which are highly endangered.
During the field trip, we visited five different habitats, including fishponds, mangroves, reedbeds, freshwater ponds, gei wai(tidal shrimp ponds) and mudflat. The trip not only helped us understand more on how organisms interdependent and interact with their physical environment to form an ecosystem, but also allowed us learn about how sustainability and stability is applied under the effective management of WWF-Hong Kong.
This 400 ha portion has made a special contribution to local wildlife, particularly waterbirds, and the local community. Besides supporting the livelihood of around 300 fishpond farmers, fishponds also act as natural sponges to trap and store excessive rainwater which helps preventing flooding. Most importantly, they act as roosting and feeding sites for waterbirds, including the endangered Black-faced Spoonbill Platalea minor. As complete drain down of the ponds in winter for harvesting attracts large number of migratory birds, including egrets and herons to feed on the small-sized fish and shrimps at the bottom of the pond. Along each separate fishponds, we saw water turbines. The water current created can increase the oxygen concentration, which favorites the growth of fish and shrimps under the water. Besides waterbirds, the vast numbers of Chironomous (non-biting midges) at fish ponds attract wildlife which ‘ feed on the wing’ such as swallows, dragonflies, and at dusk bats. Eurasian Otter Lutra lutra, which feed mainly on fish, has also been recorded around fish pond areas. Moreover, we saw some big...