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.

Arrival in Moscow

Richard Smith writes:

R2L2, the WWT-backed rearing team, is complete: The Bossman Hesky (Richard Hesketh), the Brains Mackley (Liz Mackley) and the Brawn Smithy (me!) have been joined by our Kiwi counterpart and wader-rearing extraordinaire Mother Hen Brown (Liz Brown). SBS Expo is well under way and the adventure begins.

Get to Moscow and breeze through security (shirt, tie and the words “work for Moscow University” work a treat) and out into the 30 degree heat to by rapidly transported away by taxi, with all our kit and me riding shotgun with the Drive. Five lanes of traffic hard and fast in low gears scything through gaps and booting it on to the next.

Apartment on 15th floor looking out over Moscow. 3 hours in front of London. I get 3 hours sleep due to motorway outside the window.

First bird in Russia…………….Swift, my favourite!

3/4 of R2L2: Richard Hesketh, Liz Mackley and Richard Smith at Slimbridge

3/4 of R2L2: Richard Hesketh, Liz Mackley and Richard Smith at Slimbridge

The final 1/4 of R2L2: Liz Brown
The final 1/4 of R2L2: Liz Brown
Richard started his career at WWT Slimbridge before moving north to WWT Caerlaverock. Richard Smith spent two years on the avicultural staff at Slimbridge and three years as a Reserve Warden at Caerlaverock, contributing to research on whooper swans and barnacle geese. Along with other Richard and Liz Mackley, he has been on an expedition to Iceland to research whooper swans. Most recently he has been leading a team of 12 jobseekers in conservation work for Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. He spends much of his time outdoors, birding, kayaking and surfing.

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