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.

News from the field

Our indefatigable aviculturist in the field, Roland Digby, has been run off his feet but he’s managed to send a few short emails. I’m sure you’ll appreciate the news he has…

ROLAND (29/06/2014 18:13): The 2011 head-started bird (lime green 8), has laid eggs!! We’re sure this is her second breeding attempt of the year as it is now late and in the season, and the nest contained three eggs: two fertile and one infertile. The hatch date is expected between the 16th-17th July. .

ROLAND (05/07/2014 17:50): We have 9 chicks and 16 eggs hatching.

ROLAND (09/07/2014 08:00): We have 20 chicks to ‘head-start’

ROLAND (09/07/2014 22:19): We have 25 chicks to ‘head-start’

ROLAND (13/07/07 2014 00:30): We are raising 27 chicks to ‘head-start’. Twenty-six of these are doing really well.  One of the chicks is quite weak. It was unable to hatch on its own and needed assistance. I fed a small amount of ‘critical care’ through a pipette a few times before it started walking around properly and feeding itself. It is self-feeding quite happily now and putting on weight every day, so time will tell if it’s going to make it.

I have somewhere around 1,000 photos, Nature and scenery stuff and plots lots of spoonies, including lime green 8 and her mate. Not much luck with digi-scoping, firstly with the fog and then when the weather was good, the heat haze! I will keep trying once we are at the release pen and during the post-release monitoring period, to see if I can improve with that.

We hope to be moving chicks out today, just the last couple of finishing touches needed on the release pen. We’ll be moving the first two broods out around 5-6pm today, once the weather cools down a bit, yes that’s right, cools down a bit! It’s been roasting here for the last three days, but I’m sure the weather will return to its usual foggy self soon.

ROLAND (16/07/14 22:27): The weak chick is now a whopping 14.6g! This is very pleasing as it is a day before it’s due to go out to the release pen. The last eight chicks will be transferred from the indoor rearing set-up tomorrow, so this will finally make things a little easier, not being split between two places. I am knackered, but so far very happy with how things are going. First release planned for 27th, 2nd for 30th.

ROLAND (17/07/2014 00:48): Just spoke with Nikolai. Lime Green (08) has a chick that looks strong and healthy.

ROLAND (21/07/14 O8:00): All going largely ok. All birds in release pen now, which makes life a lot easier for all concerned. 25 of the 27 doing really well

This is wonderful news I’m sure you agree. The 2014 team are recording results beyond all expectation. Well done Roland and team. Well done!

  1. Rick Simpson Reply

    All very positive stuff, great to hear that lime Green 8 is doing a fine job in her first breeding season. Good luck to her and the head starting team.

  2. sharon kast Reply

    Well done and congratulations! Very impressive…

  3. M.K.Bhaskar Reply

    Excellent effort! Keep it up. I will be the happiest when I hear that the Spoon Billed Sandpipers start visiting as far south of India as Point Calimere!

  4. Elaine Charkowski Reply

    That’s great news! Thank you for helping to save the spoonies! Elaine Charkowski

  5. NigelH Reply

    Fantastic! Roland’s worth his weight in Spoonies.

  6. Helena Jefferson Reply

    Congratulation Roland on an incredible number of head-started birds safely fledged this year. What in incredible acheivment all.
    Congratulations also go to Lime 8 who I hope to see in Rudong in October when I help the Task Force with their incredible Chinese Survey work there. I can’t wait to see Spoonies again.
    It sounds as though the Spoonies are starting to outwit their natural preditors in Meino’ so congratulations to the Birds Russia guys as well for deterring them from being around the nests. A picture of Lime8 in all her Summer finery would be SO great Roland I hope some photos will be on sale to raise money for the captive breeding and Head starting projects.

  7. Peter Soper Reply

    Hi Roland + Team
    Well done + keep up the good work.

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