Update from Nikolay Yakoshev
We are anxious to share the early news from the field season. The first team of four scientists has safely arrived in Meinypil’gyno in far eastern Russia. The team, spearheaded by BirdsRussia, surveyed the local habitat and made the first sighting of two returning spoon-billed sandpipers last weekend. This year it appears that the risk of flooding may be much lower than in the last couple of years, giving hope for a successful breeding and headstarting season for this charismatic bird.
Incredibly, the champion male spoon-billed sandpiper, which was the subject of several press releases last year, Lime 07, was sighted today. He already seems well paired with a mate, an unflagged female, and we are hopeful for a successful breeding season for this bird. Lime 07 carried a satellite transmitter the farthest of all birds in the history of our observations. It allowed us to track the entire route from the breeding area to the wintering grounds. The tracking last year led the team in Indonesia to make the first record of the spoon-billed sandpiper in that country. We are delighted to see our friend return to us after such an amazing feat.
This field season, over 25 scientists from half a dozen countries will work across three different locations in the Chukotka region. Furthermore, our experts, with the support of the Chukotka Administration, are continuing our local community engagement in three villages towards the creation of a Nature Conservation Park provisionally called “The Land of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper”.
This week, we are expecting the arrival of the second batch of field workers in Meinypil’gyno. The expedition team this year will continue to monitor the species in the field, run the headstarting programme and, for the first time, establish a genetic field station that will test non-invasive methods for DNA extraction for further analysis. Stay tuned for more news from the field.
The field work in Chukotka in 2019 is supported by RSPB, NABU, MHS, WCS, WWT, Bennet Lowell and Bird Conservation Fund and other sources in Russia, including the Chukotka Administration.