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 day of exploring the tundra

Richard Smith writes: I woke with the sun streaming in all the windows (there are no curtains) at 2.30am local time. It hadn’t even got dark! At 3.10 though a large flock of White-fronted Geese fly past my window and 20 minutes later a flock of Sandhill Cranes headed in the same direc
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In record time

Karin Eberhardt writes: Never in the history of the spoon-billed sandpiper expeditions has the journey from Moscow to Meinypil’gyno been as swift. The town of Anadyr, Gateway to Chukotka, is notorious for weather and bureaucratic delays. But thanks to Nikolai’s quick logistical
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Helicopter to Meinypil’gyno

Richard Smith writes: 3 hours sleep is all I got… Nikolay greeted us and told us we were Team Ironman from now on due to last nights mammoth performance… we have gained a little respect. I wandered out about 6ish and picked up my first Pacific golden plover and long-toed s
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Anadyr

Richard Smith writes: At Anadyr we fly out over the Bering Sea to line up for landing. Its solid as far as the eye can see. Landed 11.30 local time. We all get through customs smoothly. Then we sit and wait in the airport for our paperwork to be checked and transport to arrive. By 12.
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Flight to Anadyr

Richard Smith writes: Flight not till 7.30pm so we take a few hours to explore. We headed straight for the fast and efficient underground. We get to the centre and headed to the Kremlin (impressive in red and green brick, imposing with an air of dark history) and the Red Square (massi
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3/4 of R2L2: Richard Hesketh, Liz Mackley and Richard Smith at Slimbridge

Arrival in Moscow

Richard Smith writes: R2L2, the WWT-backed rearing team, is complete: The Bossman Hesky (Richard Hesketh), the Brains Mackley (Liz Mackley) and the Brawn Smithy (me!) have been joined by our Kiwi counterpart and wader-rearing extraordinaire Mother Hen Brown (Liz Brown). SBS Expo is we
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Spoon-billed sandpiper marathon report

Huge congratulations to Nigel Hewston, who ran the London Marathon in aid of the spoon-billed sandpiper. You can still support Nigel at www.justgiving.com/sandpiper Now that he’s caught his breath, he’s posted a report of his race. I won – hope you’ll be cheering for me at
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One of our spoon-billed sandpipers gives its first adult call and some sadder news

Our flock of spoon-billed sandpipers are showing clear signs of maturing. All the birds have started to moult from juvenile into their first winter plumage, which is a polished silvery white like a suit of armour. During a recent evening feed all the birds were being particularly nois
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New footage of the spoon-billed sandpipers

Enjoy this video of the birds enjoying a splash in the pool in their new room    
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The sandpipers move to their new enclosure

Nicky writes: It has been a particularly exciting week at spoon-billed sandpiper HQ. After a couple of weeks’ preparation work, the 2nd wintering room was ready for the birds to move into. The heaters were cranked up to optimum temperature, the heat lamps hung, the pool filled with ci
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