A chemical consultant with a passion for birds and mud

On many sunny days, Kai Pflug gets up around 5am, sometimes much earlier, and drives to Nanhui, carrying his big camera with a huge lens.

Filmed by Ma Xuefeng. Edited by Zhong Youyang. Translated by Wang Xinzhou. Polished by Andy Boreham.

On many sunny days, Kai Pflug gets up around 5am, sometimes much earlier, and drives to Nanhui, carrying his big camera with a huge lens.

“You might be curious about why my car is so dirty, but if you follow me and see where I drive to, you will know the answer,” Kai said.

One day in March, we spent a whole morning with Kai in Nanhui, the base for his passion.

“Nanhui is a fantastic place for birds, because it is on the migration flyway,” Kai told us.

“And it has wetlands and a lot of reeds, so my car always splashes with mud on my way finding birds,” he explained.

Ma Xuefeng / SHINE

Kai Pflug has some very heavy photography gear.

Kai Pflug, 53, from Germany, has lived in Shanghai for 15 years, working as a consultant for chemical companies. In his spare time, he is a bird photographer, a hobby he has pursued for four years.

So far he has identified around 300 species here.

Globally, there are more than 10,000 species of bird. China has around 1,300, about 500 of which have been seen in Shanghai. And among these, over 350 have been reported on eBird as having been spotted at Nanhui.

The coastal area, east of Dishui Lake, is the premier birding site in the city. It is on the East Asian-Australasian migration route. A large number of birds, such as the Japanese Paradise Flycatcher, Siberian Blue Robin and other birds use this flyway to connect their breeding grounds in the north in summer with their winter home in the south.

In 2018, Kai published a book, "Birds of Nanhui, Shanghai.”

“Watching for birds while traveling, and even just being outside, makes my time a lot more interesting,” he said. “And of course I know more about environmental protection since I started being interested in bird watching.” Kai said.

Kai Pflug

Blue and white flycatcher

Kai Pflug

Unspecified leaf warbler

Kai Pflug

Hoopoe

Kai Pflug

Reed parrotbill

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