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.
Liz hands over to Nigel before the flight

Incubating eggs safely landed in Anadyr

Today was miraculous: for the third time in the expedition, the helicopter flew as originally scheduled. This time, for the 1.5 hour flight from Meinypil’gyno to Anadyr, the helicopter carried the incubator, attached to a battery, and with a full complement of eggs. The charge of the
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Text messages from Nige – it’s all systems go!

17:52 (BST), Saturday 23 June @ Moscow Zoo Text message: I’m at zoo. Got through customs without a hitch. They x-rayed my bags but let me through. Please let all of our support team at Slimbridge know.   14:56 (BST), Sunday 24 June @ Departures lounge, Sheremetyevo Airport, Mosco
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Poster from Myanmar to Meiny School c Baz Scampion

Meinypil’gyno school and an incubator full of eggs

The team met with the schoolkids today. Sayam showed some funny shots of children playing in Bangladesh, as well as short video clips of mangrove delta Spoon-billed Sandpiper habitat, and bare feet walking on a sucky mudflat. This last clip raised giggles from these tundra-raised kids
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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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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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