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.

The lost posts: Escape from Meina

This post got lost in the ether between Meinypil’gyno and Slimbridge but Phil since managed to rescue it from his hard drive when he got home.

Phil writes:

At Meina, Pavel and Egor had located a brood of Grey-tailed Tattlers in a survey of the mountain streams and the nest of a Harlequin Duck. The first Glaucous-winged Gulls had joined the thousands of Vega and Glaucous Gulls to enjoy scraps of salmon around the village, but generally waders were already itching to head south.

Just as I had made myself comfortable for another week at Meina, an unscheduled window in the weather allowed a helicopter to sneak in from Beringovsky. This meant a hurried pack and goodbye, then away.

As I left, we flew over the western survey area where four SbS territories were located. It was a shame that we couldn’t spend longer here as there was so much potential to find more pairs. I would like to think that there are one or two still to be found here in future years.

I looked down on three bears running across the tundra as they heard our chopper while the sea was full of White-winged Scoters and Kittiwakes. A few Grey Whales spouted and several Belugas as we reached Anadyr.

In Anadyr, the airport area that was blanketed in snow when we last saw it, was now a lush green. Mosquitoes filled the air, so a hike to the mountains allowed me to locate a Great Knot with chicks. The adult was ringed in China, so that was a very exciting find for us. Many fledgling passerines were also in evidence: Yellow Wagtails, Buff-bellied Pipits, Lapland Buntings and Bluethroat. Sandhill Cranes called across the valley, while Dusky Thrushes and Dusky Warblers carried bugs to nests tucked in the willows. One surprise was a pair of Pallas’s Reed Buntings nesting in dwarf alders.

Soon it will be ‘Common’ Reed Buntings and ‘Common’ something else, when actually it is the birds here that are still common!

Phil Palmer (Bird Holidays)

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