Qinghai Lake and Bird Islands
Located 150 km west of Xining, Qinghai Lake is the largest lake in China. It is a salt lake at 3,205 m (10,515 feet) above sea level in a depression of the Tibetan Plateau. Nearly 30 rivers and streams empty into Qinghai Lake. The lake encompasses 4,340 square kilometers with a storage of over 77.8 billion cubic meters of water. The perimeter of the lake totals more than 360 kilometers. The lake often remains frozen for three months continuously in winter.
Qinghai Lake is sandwiched between Hainan and Haibei Tibetan Autonomous Prefectures in northeastern Qinghai. The lake is located at the crossroads of several bird migration routes across Asia. Many species use Qinghai as an intermediate stop during migration. At its northeast end are the "Bird Islands" (Cormorant Island and Egg Island), which have been bird sanctuaries of the Qinghai Lake Natural Protection Zone since 1997. Every March and April, when ice starts to melt, over 20 kinds of migrating birds fly to the Bird Islands to breed. During the months, flocks of birds cover the whole sky over the islands and bird eggs can be found everywhere. The visitors can hear the warbles of birds from miles away.
Since 2002, Tour of Qinghai Lake Cycling Race has been launched every summer in July and August, which got the full support from the International Cycling Union. This has become an important event of the season in this region. More info can be found at http://www.tdql.cn/english/index_en.asp
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