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.

Incubating eggs safely landed in Anadyr

Liz hands over to Nigel before the flight

Liz hands over to Nigel before the flight

Today was miraculous: for the third time in the expedition, the helicopter flew as originally scheduled. This time, for the 1.5 hour flight from Meinypil’gyno to Anadyr, the helicopter carried the incubator, attached to a battery, and with a full complement of eggs.

The charge of the incubator itself was handed over with great relief by Liz B to Nigel J, who if all goes well, will bring them to Slimbridge to hatch. I noticed the same concentration on Nigel’s face, as he held the incubator in his arms and off his lap throughout the flight to minimize chopper vibrations, as Liz had shown in the buggy on collection runs to the nest.

Great thanks and kudos to Liz, and best of luck to Nigel, as like the Olympic torch being carried to London, the incubator is relayed to Slimbridge. The next leg, Anadyr to Moscow, is planned for Thursday 28 June.

Having reached the goal of egg collection for conservation breeding, many of the team left Meiny with the egg copter, i.e. Christoph, Thomas, Sayam, Liz B, Liz M, both Richards and me. We seem to have spent all our luck on heli flights, as onward tickets to Moscow are unexpectedly extremely scarce right now, and most of us face an extended stay in Anadyr. The silver lining is good birding prospects in the area, and beluga whales already sighted in the sea.

Back in Meiny, Nikolay, Roland, Juri, Pavel, Egor, Phil and Baz are kicking the headstart program into gear. The WWT group and other team members had worked very hard over the last several days, in bad weather, to put the release pen together. The evening before we left, the whole team turned out to pull a second net over the 20-meter pen, shore up the sides, and have a small celebration, Russian-style. The pen is nearly complete, so stay tuned for their news.

Signing off as Meiny blog coordinator, I thank you all for listening, it’s been a great pleasure!









Egor lifts the eggs into the copter c Karin Eberhardt

Egor lifts the eggs into the copter c Karin Eberhardt

Team celebrating at the release pen site c Sayam U  Chowdury

Team celebrating at the release pen site c Sayam U Chowdury

  1. Judith Freeman Reply

    Well done everyone. You’ve done a brilliant job. Look forward to seeing the new chicks back at Slimbridge when they hatch. Have a safe trip home. Best Wishes

  2. rose marie Reply

    Such an exciting mission and such a great team!
    It’s been a pleasure to read about this egg’s collection.
    Many thanks and take care
    rose marie

  3. Ken Tucker (AKA Turnip) Reply

    Hi Karin – what a heartening post. Such an achievement by all of you in difficult conditions. I hope you enjoy the wildlife-watching in Anadyr while you’re waiting to get out. Well done on your work so far and good luck back in Myanmar. I’m sure you will inspire pupils and villagers there with your tales, just as you have in Meiny. I look forward to hearing about the progress of the Headstart Programme from Roland and Co and the return journey of Nigel back to Slimbridge. You should all be proud of your achievements. Good luck and thank you for keeping us informed. Ken

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