In transit on the thin green line

Passage migrants at Mai Po Marshes, Hong Kong SAR

maipo-spoonbills-and-aptsFrom the floating bird hides at Mai Po, looking towards Shenzhen

Image by Katherine Fletcher at

Flightpathproject has just returned from Mai Po, where migratory birds are in transit along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway in their thousands. There is poetry in their names: gadwalls and godwits, snipes, stints and sandpipers, tattlers and turnstones.

It’s a challenge, holding the thin green line of marsh, mangrove and mudflats on the border with mainland China. Does the wetland protect the birds, or do the birds protect the wetland?

Their next stop: Australia and southern hemisphere summer.

800px-maipo_bridgeFloating boardwalk, Mai Po

Image by Larco at

More about Mai Po


Flying for Life

Flying for their lives:

‘Every year, millions of shorebirds fly between Australasia and the Arctic. But for many, this will be their last flight…’

Take an extraordinary journey along the East Asian-Australasian Flyway with Ann Jones.

Article and images at

The strangeness of flight:

…You stand there
by the strangeness…
…you stare like an animal into
the blinding clouds
with the snapped chain of your life,
the life you know:
the deeply affectionate earth,
the familiar landscapes
slowly turning
thousands of feet below.

from Flying by Mary Oliver


In-flight reading #I

wisdom birds red small

This beautiful book! Especially the story of Peter – the domesticated Dutch red knot – in the chapter ‘Disappearing Fantasies: The Emergence of Migration‘.

Also: The Snow Geese by William Fiennes; Elizabeth Bishop’s collection of poems Questions of Travel; articles about magnetism and (separately, but connected) push/pull factors; Sujata Bhatt’s poem The One Who Goes Away; Birds of Thailand by Craig Robson; the International Women’s Development Agency’s Annual Report 2013 on working with groups of Palaung, Karen and Shan women on the Thai-Burma border.