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.

More spoon-billed sandpipers, we celebrate with a beer – 6 June 2011

6 June 2011
Woke at 0630, Nige already up, we are rather mixed up as it is only slightly dark for a few hours. Off to breakfast, creamed rice and some pancakes to take out with us today. Got a plan for later and will see if we find more. Really hoping Nige gets to see a spoon-billed sandpiper today.

Making plans

After emailing WWT which takes ages, I collected the quad bike from Sveta who had been buying food supplies, checked who was doing what as the weather cleared, headed out at 1230 to drop Simon a long way (six miles) out on the spit passing lots of turnstones, red-necked stints and a red knot. The return journey gave up flocks of migrating long-tailed, arctic and pomarine skuas, a feature of today was tired flocks resting on the ground. I got back to pick up Nige and catch up with Jochen on the river systems to check out the singing male, we wanted to see if he had a partner. It was still windy and cold, the north wind carrying air over snow and ice from the mountains. We explored but found only the usual, Jochen had been here for 1.5 hours and heard it sing briefly.

After a couple of hours we had seen the bufflehead again, I decided to head back in, Nige and Jochen carried on searching. I spent an hour looking at the west end of the spit but saw only similar birds. I went back to collect the key from Nige seeing a nice group of seven red-necked stints. Nige was beaming, they had been watching a male spoon-billed sandpiper.

spoon-billed sandpiper, photo by Jochen Diershke

I will ask Nige to describe his first encounter for everyone when he gets a chance.

I took them back and we warmed up, it was the coldest I have been so far, got right into the bones, soon after we were gathered for dinner. Simon arrived at 2000 hrs, he had seen lots of waders but two curlew sandpipers were notable as they are scarce here, best of all was a male spoon-billed sandpiper, probably a migrant. Pavel and Egor had seen a mature male snowy owl in the hills and another pair of spoon-billed sandpipers, this makes a total of three pairs and two single males so far.

2345 hrs- still editing images, writing blog, finished latest postings and will attempt to send via a slow internet connection. I may spend another hour or two waiting for them to load. On the plus side we have a beer tonight, first one for nine days!!!!

  1. jEANNE Reply

    Hi Martin and the team.
    Congrats on finding the SPS’s
    You guys are doing a fantastic job.Its great to be able to read all about it, too.
    We can now appreciate the harsh conditions you have to work in.
    It must be soooo fantastic to be able to see all those birds and have such a good team to help with the ID of them all.
    Keep up the good work and the blogs are great.

  2. Roberta Reply

    Way to go Martin, sitting here with tears in my eyes reading these posts, brilliant news. Envious, yes, but somehow knowing they are there and that people are trying to save them is comforting.

    Agree with Jeanne it’s fab to follow all the team’s hard work on the blog.

    Good luck with the next phase.


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