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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.

Preparing the incubator room

Richard Smith writes:

I slept for 7 hours …amazing, and I feel a lot better for it, but once I open my eyes that’s it, its up time.

With the house clean and the way we wanted it, we started on what will be the incubator room. Using deep cleaning materials, the place started to sparkle. The the WWT polo shirts we wore are not quite the beige they were ……..disinfectant stains!

Room sanitised three times, incubators and kit sanitised, we were starting to get somewhere. It was almost a purpose-built facility! Calibration has begun.

Having been indoors all day, we decided we should just get a breath of fresh air before tea. So we headed over to the river to check on the open water that is increasing by the day. A couple of largha seals (similar to our common seal) were playing on the far side, with 150 of each of the following (give or take one or two): Harlequin Duck, Long-tailed Duck, Scaup. Also a flock of Pomarine Skuas headed east on migration. Totalling around 95, that’s the most I have ever seen in one go…..great finish to the day. Time for tea.

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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