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.

House-keeping and spring-cleaning

Richard Smith writes:

First thing I headed out to the slag heap, the highest point by thirty feet for miles around. It’s a great vantage point with good views of a section of ice-free river that grows by the day. Good numbers of Harlequin and Long-tailed Ducks but the best views were of the local population of House Martins zipping around the still warm slag heap at head height or lower. They are plumper than our own and the white rump extends higher up the back; happy inquisitive little characters.

Today we intended to clean the house and prepare the incubation room but instead had to move house.

All the kit had to be moved once again, to a place six houses down the same lane, a house that would have been our second choice but, once we had moved furniture and started to sweep and clean, it quickly became apparent that this was probably the better choice, with more room and less clutter to move.

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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