Birdlover's journal: Struggling with COVID-19 quarantine
By Chen Chen
After a seven-day quarantine period because of the rising COVID-19 cases in her city, Fang Qiaoran, an experienced birder based in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, finally went out and took up her old habit.
These are photos she took of an endangered bird species called black-faced spoonbill. For the last five years, Fang has been recording the spoonbill every year when it stops by her city during migration.
"The first picture is a teenage bird, probably born last year. Its beak is not completely black like an adult. Also, an adult has breeding plumages. That's the long hair behind its neck and a ring of orange-colored feathers at the bottom of its neck," Fang said.
As someone who is eager to include more bird species into her already four-digit personal birdwatching record, Fang spends most of her post-retirement time in the wild, across China. But that was before the pandemic hit. For the last two years though, she still managed to travel to meet her bird friends from time to time, until March.
"I was grounded, for the first time," the 59-year-old recalled, referring to a seven-day temporary lockdown starting March 14 due to the coronavirus. "I've never been not able to watch birds for so long," she said.
The marginal effects of the pandemic have been bearable to her though. Cleaning, sorting out old bird photos, watching TV. "Busy, too. No time to feel upset," she said.
Now, despite the fact that Shenzhen has reopened, residents are not encouraged to leave the province that includes Shenzhen, as the virus is still spreading in many parts of the country.
But she did manage to travel to another nearby city and take some pictures of another bird species: common ringed plover.
She was considerate enough to point out the only common ringed plover in the red circle among a flock of little ringed plovers.
The birder is looking forward to the day when the pandemic is finally over, so she can travel wherever, whenever, to enjoy the sight of the agile creatures once again.