One late-March morning, Jin Weiguo put on his rubber fishing suit and climbed on to a boat lying anchored on the broad mudflats of Chongming Island, Shanghai, with a bamboo basket, a mist net, a rope and a black umbrella.
For the next two months, the boat will be his temporary home. As tens of thousands of shorebirds make a stop at the wetlands at the mouth of the Yangtze River on their long hard journey from Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia to Western Siberia, it is time for Jin and his colleagues to launch their busiest spring bird-catching season.
Everyday, from early morning to 3 pm, he will deploy his mist net, place several wooden birds - the lures -behind it, hide behind his umbrella, start imitating the different calls of the shorebirds by blowing his bamboo whistle, and wait for his targets to fall into his trap.
The Shanghai Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve is a major stopover for migrant shorebirds on the East Asian-Australian migratory shorebird flyway. (file photo: China Daily)
At 49, however, Jin is not a poacher even though he has been hunting birds like this from the age of 12. Working with the Shanghai Chongming Dongtan National Nature Reserve since 2001, he catches birds only for the reserve's regular operations of banding shorebirds.