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.

Getting ready…

Karin writes:

After moving house with the aid of the ‘go anywhere’ vestikhod, the unstoppable Russian Caterpillar, and a few good card games while waiting for it to arrive, the WWT team spent the afternoon cleaning and disinfecting what is to become the Incubation Facility.

Set up in a home that had kindly been vacated by a local family, the two Richards and two Lizes began with dustpan and brush before applying disinfectant to walls, floors and ceilings. The incubator room, which needs to be completely bio-secure, is treated to a double dose. When the first Spoon-billed Sandpipers arrive, the squad aims to be well ahead of the game: equipment and rooms clean, incubators tested and calibrated, and the facility in top shape to receive its precious charges.

Meanwhile the rest of the team continued to survey for birds passing by and settling onto the tundra, and explored the landscape in which the SbS will soon show up. Notable sightings today were over 150 Red-necked Phalarope, over 1000 Pomarine Skua, at least four White-billed Diver, and at the great lake, a Green-winged Teal.

Harlequin duck (c) Christoph ZocklerRed-necked phalarope (c) Christoph Zockler

Karin Eberhardt first saw the Spoon-billed Sandpiper on a tidal mudflat in Myanmar’s Gulf of Mottama. As a volunteer with the Bird and Nature Conservation Association (BANCA), the Myanmar BirdLife partner, she advises on approaches to alternative livelihoods for bird hunters, raising public awareness, and cooperative management of the Gulf of Mottama as it is designated a RAMSAR site. Based in Myanmar for over 12 years, she is a consultant to conservation and/or development projects. She brings to Meinypil’gyno’s students a response, from schoolchildren of Myanmar, to their conservation message of last year.

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