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.

An update from Baz

As you all might have guessed by now, Nige and the eggs are in Moscow waiting for a flight back to the UK.After a very tense week … largely incommunicado … we are now back in contact – planning the logistics of flying the spoon-billed sandpiper eggs back to the UK.

You might think this would be straightforward – drive to airport in Moscow, check in, take eggs onto plane, fly to Heathrow, takes eggs off plane, drive to Slimbridge, job done.

But it’s nowhere near as simple as this, believe me.

To get the eggs onto the plane in Russia and back to the UK, you first of all need loads of licenses and paperwork – export permits, import permits, health certificates, airway bills, and proforma invoices.

And people need to arrange all of this…

You need an incubator full of eggs – obviously! But you also need incubator plans B and C if, for whatever reason, incubator plan A fails. So you need a backup incubator. And if that fails, you need a “hot box” – which is nothing more sophisticated than a box filled with foam eggs trays and a hot water bottle!

And people need to arrange all of this…

To power the incubators you also need batteries, jump starters, and universal adaptors. And back-up batteries, back-up jump starters, and back-up universal adaptors. And you need permission to carry these on the aircraft back to Heathrow.

And people need to arrange all of this…

You need to book all the flights. And re-book them … and re-book them … and re-book them … depending on whether the eventual plan is A or B or C or D or E etc.

And people need to arrange all of this…

As you will now realise, we have faced a continually changing situation over the last few days and weeks and uncertainty has become the norm. Nige and Liz Brown will candle the eggs later tonight. And then we will all find out how successful the first but very, very big step of this year’s Herculean effort has been.

And then we will let you know who these special people mentioned above are …

And thank them  

  1. NigelH Reply

    Thanks Baz, I’m now imagining a control room in an underground bunker with a big map on a table, on which young ladies with long sticks are moving models of planes, helicopters, incubators and probably Nige & Liz. Stirring stuff! Seriously, it must be as stressful at Slimbridge as in Russia, and the people who organise the logistics definitely deserve recognition.

  2. Ken Tucker (AKA Turnip) Reply

    I’ll sleep better when those eggs have been candled.

    There really is so much more involved than it first appears, isn’t there? I thought bringing back eggs rather than chicks was supposed to be easier! So much closer. Let’s hope that amazing team can get them all the way back before too long.

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