I was initially introduced to the work of the Global Flyway Network in 2009 when I took up a position of assistant warden at Broome Bird Observatory, Western Australia. After a year spent sharing the amazing birds of the region with guests and visitors and assisting Chris Hassell and Adrian Boyle wherever possible with shorebird research I was offered the opportunity to join them in China.

I went on to visit the Luannan Coast in China, on behalf of GFN, each spring for five years to survey, watch, count, record and enjoy the shorebirds stopping off at this unique staging site. I hope that the thousands of band and flag re-sightings we collected over the years, and the story they help to tell for each bird, will continue to contribute to fascinating research and go some way to help protect the area in the future.

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Matt Slaymaker scanning for colour bands and flags in China. Photo: Adrian Boyle

As a life-long birder I have been fortunate to travel extensively and work or volunteer with a wide range of non-profit organisations. This includes running banding stations in North America, joining a 3-month expedition to survey previously un-surveyed sites in the Colombian Andes, working at bird observatories in Sweden and Denmark, re-sighting colour-ringed Ruff in the Netherlands, surveying Bitterns in the UK, assisting a Corncrake re-introduction project in the UK and more.

Recently I have been experimenting with a ‘proper’ job and currently work as a Senior Ornithological Consultant in the UK. However, I hope to be back on the mudflats on the Luannan Coast soon, watch this space…