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.

A dedicated team against a shocking decline

Christoph writes:

It is always fascinating to see a pair of Spoon-billed Sandpiper displaying and chasing each other across the sparse tundra vegetation, despite a very reluctant spring and conditions that are still very cold. It is also reassuring to see these fragile little creatures returning to their familiar breeding grounds in Meino. It is now my fourth time to stay in this remote coastal fishing village, but it has been shocking over the past 10 years to follow the decline from a viable 80 pairs to only 12-15 in recent years.

I am privileged to lead this important mission this breeding season and I am grateful to see so many talented and dedicated members of our team present, though a little concerned about our last member Sayam who is waiting in Anadyr for good weather! Let’s hope the birds return in good numbers to allow us all to fulfil our conservation work successfully. Let’s also hope that spring will warm up the tundra a little bit more!

  1. NigelH Reply

    Hi Guys

    Thanks for all the news. It’s taken me a few days to catch up – while you’re dealing with bears, snow & ice, I have problems just remembering to register for updates from the new site. Maybe I’m not the only one – anyone else out there? So it’s too cold outside for the birds, and too hot inside for the incubators – maybe you should try a high-tech solution like opening the window!

    Will be following your progress closely – best of luck!

  2. Phil Agland Reply

    Hi Christoph, following all the news with great anticipation. Did you get my note for China? Environmental series is going ahead and I shall be featuring Spoonie as one of the 5 feature species (along with Snow Leopard…). Would like to hand deliver a letter from the children of one of the schools in Chukotka to a school in Yankou in Jiangsu Province this autumn. With a projected audience of up to 100m, it’s a chance to get Spoonie into the national psyche.
    Fingers crossed for another successful summer…

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