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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.

Trekking through the hills – 18 June 2011

18 June 2011

Nige and I spent the day searching for nests with Jochen, each day we partner, go it alone or form a group to search, we covered several over hills, marsh and gravel,  and employed a treble transect technique, forming a line with the three of us spaced out and walking the hillsides and bogs back and forth.

Martin and Nigel off in search of spoon-billed sandpipers in the hills

I will introduce Jochen Dierschke to explain how the day went.

Jochen Dierschke

Jochen – This was my third day for me in a row spending all day in the moraine hills, this time accompanied by Martin and Nigel.

Looking at the ground, you think you know every  square centimetre in the territory, looking around, you think they  can nest anywhere … so we walked up and down possible breeding areas in two territories, not much to report, other than the occasional sighting of the red necks of Lapland buntings.

Lapland bunting, photo by gobirding.eu

After hours of searching I suddenly flushed a spoon-billed sandpiper from the ground. Although the bird flew off, it was the most action we had seen in the last few days, so we backed off and tried to find the bird. It turned out that it was the now solitary partner of the predated female from two days ago. We moved on to the next territory, but again no luck. We did however find a white-fronted goose’s nest with three eggs.

On the way back home, we had to cross the same river, where a few weeks ago, I got soaked. A valuable lesson was learned that day… if there are scaup swimming on the road, it’s too deep for hip waders! The crossing was easy, until the last ten metres, Martin took the lead and on tiptoes we just managed to cross with dry feet. This makes the way home more direct, from now onwards a lot shorter!

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