Here’s an update from Roland Digby regarding the current state of play in Meinypilgyno.
The extensive flooding made for a trying start to the 2014 breeding season. However, it appears that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper population in Meinypilgyno may have stabilised at around 12 pairs, the same as last year, although more birds are breeding in higher areas because of the flood water.
Compared to last year, we have not been able to cover anywhere like the same amount of ground. Many areas are still only accessible by foot and some areas to the north and west will not be accessible for some time yet.
As of 13th June, the river mouth was re-opened after being closed by winter storms. It was due to be dredged, but the local fishermen decided to dig out a channel themselves and let the force of the backed up river do the rest. The flooding across the region has now started to subside.
Egg collection also began on the 13th June. Incubators are working well, a portable AC unit has really helped to stabilise them and the sun has even been shining!
In total we’ve collected 32 eggs, seven first clutches and two replacement clutches. Of the collected eggs, 28 have been candled and of these: one was infertile and two were dead, the embryos having died around 9-10 days old. There was one other egg that didn’t look quite right and this will be checked again in a few days to see the outcome.
We expect our first clutch of eggs to hatch somewhere around the 5th July.
We should also add that Nikolai was able, after a lot of searching, to find the nest of the spoonie Lime 8 (see previous blog post for details of this extraordinary bird) and her mate, now fitted with the leg-flag 21.
As we have been collecting eggs, Pavel and Egor have been trapping the adults and fitting leg-flags. This has been done for all of the nests we’ve collected from (bar one) including one other that wasn’t collected but the adults were still caught and flagged.