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: Marooned in Meino

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:

Last weekend, the Heritage Cruise arrived with lots of friends on board. Evgeny & Lena Syroechkovsky with their close friend Sasha, Debbie (Director of Conservation at WWT) and some of my old birding pals from the UK. I think they were quite shocked as I hadn’t seen two of them for over 20 years!

Being self-funded, I was hoping to blag a free ride home on the ship, but alas there was no room. So at the moment I am stuck in Meina. Thankfully the Spoon-billed Sandpiper partnership are working to assist me but I know that nobody will feel sorry for me as I am surrounded by Spoonie chicks, a wonderful landscape and other super birds. So I am making the most of things as there is a still lot to do. Both Red-necked Stint and SbS chicks are thriving with the SbS taking bigger flies and bashing them into something they can swallow.

First I went catching mosquitoes for the new arrivals. Waving a net about while looking at Siberian Rubythroat, Buff-bellied Pipits and Bluethroat is something I could get used to!

Yesterday, we took an SbS egg back to a nest in the far west. It had been incubated here away from foxes and having started to hatch, we returned it to Mum and Dad so they had a chick to hatch naturally. Nursing the egg during a 2 hour drive at 5 mph, we saw a White-tailed Eagle, Pacific Golden Plover and the first Red-throated Diver chicks of the summer; all in freezing foggy conditions. The coastal fog even confused a Crested Auklet that headed inland!

After a boat ride across Lake Vaamichka, I watched Nikolay and Roland replace the egg safely.

Waiting until 2pm each day in case a helicopter comes will limit survey work for me, but hopefully there will be other nice things to report.

Phil Palmer (Bird Holidays)


  1. Ken Tucker (AKA Turnip) Reply

    Glad the post (as well as you if you are back with your hard drive) made it through. Very interesting. I wonder how that chick is doing now?

    • Phil Reply

      yes me too. I had heard that it became very cold and wet after I left but my Russian freinds have found 2 new broods of SbS since. These were from territorial males that we knew about but who’s nests were not located. (they can be a nightmare to find in difficult terrain).
      We do not need to find every single nest & it is wonderful to hear such news as we had feared that these broods may have been taken by the Long-tailed Skuas that descended on the area as I left.

      My next hope is that I can see some of them in Myanmar this January.

  2. Sharon Reply

    Thank you for the attempt, keep up the great
    work Great work.

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