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.

Flight to Anadyr

Richard Smith writes:

Flight not till 7.30pm so we take a few hours to explore. We headed straight for the fast and efficient underground. We get to the centre and headed to the Kremlin (impressive in red and green brick, imposing with an air of dark history) and the Red Square (massive, the Kremlin to one side and an ornate orthodox church at the far end. The square stood as a field of liberation, triumph and finally peace).

We are in the airport in preparation to board the longest internal flight in the world. The rest of the expo team members are now with us, three Germans, two more Brits and two Russians.

Plane is only half full for the 8.5 hour flight and I sit with Tom, who has a great sense of  humour. I don’t manage a wink of shut eye but the view is incredible. Sitting up there at 25,000ft for eight hours not crossing one border, you start to get a feel for how big Russia is. Looking down on the snow capped mountains and frozen tundra that extends for miles in each direction, you get the feeling of desolation and no life. Then, as we near the eastern coastline, the ice is still solid and stretches out into the sea.

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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