CAPTURING CRANES AT NAPAHAI
Napahai, Yunnan - 27 April 2009
Translated by Wong How Man
Migrating birds arrive in the autumn and leave in spring. Where do they come from? Where are they heading to? Would they be coming again next year? Throughout time, this has been a riddle for people with an interest in science or just the romance of nature. Legend has it that 2,000 years ago, a palace consort in the kingdom of Wu tied a red string onto the leg of the swallow to find out whether the same bird would return the following year to its nest above her window.
Napahai is a wetland paradise in Shangri-la of southwest China, bordering the Tibetan plateau. The pristine state of this ecosystem provides an ideal wintering home for the Black-necked Cranes. Every year as weather on the high plateau turns bitterly cold, over 300 Black-necked Cranes migrate from the north to here. As the breeze of spring kisses the new greening grass, farmers begin tilling the soil and sowing barley seeds. These spiritual birds of the plateau, as if hearing a calling from the North, begin their mass migration. Seeing the silhouette of them flying further and further away, we cannot help but ask where they are heading.