Headstarting is a collaborative effort between WWT, BirdsRussia and the RSPB, and occurs as part of the International Arctic Expedition mounted each year by BirdsRussia under the leadership of Dr. Evgeny Syroechkovskiy.

Hmmmmmm Lemon cake! – 31 May 2011

31 May 2011
A misty and foggy start to the day. All three of us at Base camp continued with cleaning after breakfast, I copped the toilet and Simon the kitchen areas behind the cupboards and floor. We had to disinfect everything as we want nothing nasty to be anywhere in the base. The birds need it to be clean here if/when we get eggs. They are in a separate part of the building and that is where Nige is setting up incubators and other equipment, we are limiting access to this room. I must get Nige to explain all about what he is doing in there…..over to you Nige……

Well my day went like this… unpack, clean and disinfect, unpack, clean and disinfect, uc&d uc&d uc&d. I refer of course to unpacking and cleaning and checking our incubation and chick rearing equipment, all of which had been carefully wrapped and boxed before export from Slimbridge.

One incubator is turned on and is nearing incubation temperature. Watching the thermometer rise to the ideal incubation temperature and stay there is a simple but important relief. Outside the barometer falls and strong wind and heavy rain is forecast.  This means searching for birds will be very difficult. I predict more cleaning tomorrow and the day after. By the weekend my forearms will be like popeye’s and the incubation room cleaner than any hospital maternity suite!

Hi, Martin again! I headed out with Jochen to check the gravel/shingle ridges and pools, streams and low moraine hills. This was all the areas where the Spoon-billed Sandpipers had held territories before. It was rather bird less to begin with, the strengthening cold north wind hampering our ability to hear calls and birds stayed low. We found a male Mongolian Plover and a few waders flew over like Pectoral Sandpipers, Dunlin, Long-billed Dowitcher and a couple of Red-necked Stints. A pair of confiding Red-necked Phalaropes allowed close approach so we photographed them. It was very nice to be so close.

Long-billed dowitcher, Photo by Martin McGill

We checked all open water including a deeper lake with 70 Greater Scaup, 5 Tufted Duck and 15 Long-tailed Duck. I moved to avoid the eye watering wind and to have another scan of the duck flock and I spotted an adult male Lesser Scaup, a first for the region.

We carried on into the hills seeing Skylark and Buff-bellied Pipit and returned to the gravel ridges and rivers passing a Red-throated Pipit and then an Eagle flew in off the sea and past, it did not stop and headed into the hills. We later found out Igor had seen it too and a Bald/White tailed Eagle i.d discussion ensued. More research of the images I took needed.

Jochen and I headed back and got back at 1600, I spent two hours catching up with Nige and doing the blog. Simon and Pavel had been out looking for Red Knot, both returned happy, Simon had his pictures of them but Pavel had found a nest with two eggs. It was a cold and busy day I am now finishing up at 2230 to look at eagle images. Rain is forecast for the next few days.

Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis First record for area

Lesser Scaup, Photo by Graham Maples

Lemon cake Delicious munchicus (getting obsessed with food)

Hmmmm, Lemon cake

  1. Willa Reply

    I am so sorry not to be commenting on the birds but that cake! It’s perfect! Please tell me where you got that image, and where perhaps a recipe might be found?

    Thanks and viva sandpiper

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