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.
First fresh salmon c C Zockler

Camping in the West

We cross the First River several times at different locations with a small rubber boat to get our luggage and three people across to the coastal spit. Egor waits for us at a spot across from the end of the west end of the spit with the quad bike that had been transported earlier with
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Arctic Hare c Phil Palmer

An amazing day!

Today was just one of those days. Cold, drizzly and a long chilled hike to Ankavye, an area that has become my local patch. Ankavye is a hard area to work as the colder weather here makes things happen a week later than in Meinypil’gyno. Together with various team members, we had alre
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Beautiful Veins c R D Smith

Beautiful veins

The past four days have been particularly tense and nerve-wracking for me.  On Friday I set the first clutch of spoon-billed sandpiper eggs in the Hemel incubator (the same machine that was causing grief in an earlier post, but has now been coaxed into running at a stable 37.5°C).  Em
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Two new pairs of birds and one new pair of team members

Good news: two new pairs of Spoon-billed Sandpipers were found over the last two days. Sayam and Tom found one in the western delta with a female ready to lay, and Phil and I found one on a spit on the south shore of Piculnej Lake, where they have never been recorded. Today the first
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Transporting the first clutch

First Clutch

The day’s plan of beginning to construct the release aviary were disrupted mid-morning when Nikolay found us to say he had a complete clutch of four eggs and their incubation had begun. Richard H., Liz B. and I piled in the buggy with Nikolay driving and the portable incubator plugged
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First Nest of Spoonbilled Sandpiper c Christoph Zoeckler

First Nest and Surplus of Males

We found the first nest today, but will wait a few days before collecting the eggs to ensure we have the full clutch. Most pairs are still in pre-nesting stages and patience is needed. Over the last few days we have been encountering more and more lonely males desperately displaying,
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Teddy wakes up c Phil Palmer

Expedition to the east

Expedition to the east Our four-man survey team camped two nights at Ankavia, 12km east of Meinoypil’gyno, to survey an area another 6 km on to the south east. We had to cross a narrow strait between Lake Peculnej and Yandatavey inlet, littered with icebergs that flowed off the lake,
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Red Knot incubating (c) Baz Scampion

Red Knot Update

Pavel writes: The Red Knot breeding population in Meinypil’gyno, only 10-12 pairs, is unique in that the birds breed on the coastal plain rather in the mountains and higher ground, as does the rest of the known population. It is likely the southernmost breeding site for this species i
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Arctic Skua chasing a Vega Gull off its turf (c) Sayam U. Chowdhury

Sayam’s Arctic Shots

Click image for full-size
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Dummy Run (c) Richard Hesketh

Egg collection “dummy run”

Liz Brown writes: As we approach the time when the first spoon-billed sandpipers will begin to nest, it is becoming increasingly important to test all the equipment that we will use with their eggs.  This led the WWT team to conduct a field test of the three different portable incubat
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