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.
Arctic Skua chasing a Vega Gull off its turf (c) Sayam U. Chowdhury

Sayam’s Arctic Shots

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Dummy Run (c) Richard Hesketh

Egg collection “dummy run”

Liz Brown writes: As we approach the time when the first spoon-billed sandpipers will begin to nest, it is becoming increasingly important to test all the equipment that we will use with their eggs.  This led the WWT team to conduct a field test of the three different portable incubat
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Searching for Spoonie in the fog (c) Christoph Zockler

Pair-bonding and nest-starting in a reluctant spring season

Christoph writes: The nice weather that allowed Sayam to join our team did not last. We are back to fog and cold wind and the snow piles in the village have still not melted. But all this does not seem to deter our SbS. We encounter daily displaying pairs and singing males all over th
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Longest Birthday Ever (and a hat trick of Eider)

Richard Smith writes: After the fog of the day before, on 6 June the sun quickly burned through the clouds and turned the day into a real scorcher. Most people headed into the hills in small groups to try a pin down some more SbS territories. But it was so warm most creatures were in
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Displaying Ruff while waiting in Anadyr (c) Sayam U. Chowdury

From Chittagong to Chukotka

Sayam writes: I was sitting on a boat under the full moon in the mudflats of Myanmar when Christoph invited me to join the 2012 Spoon-billed Sandpiper expedition to Chukotka. Saying ‘yes’ immediately was the easy part, as the Spoon-billed Sandpiper has a precious place in my heart. Th
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Tundra ponds open for ducks (c) Karin Eberhardt

One day of spring for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper

Karin writes: After several straight days of fog, frost, flurries and snow, which dusted the hills yesterday morning, today was like the first day of spring. The skies turned blue, clear, sunny, and warm – that is, until the sea fog rolled in an hour ago. In the moraine hills, t
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Spoonie reflects (c) Thomas Noah

Photographs by Thomas Noah

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Spectacled Eider (c) Phil Palmer

Birding with Spectacles

Waking to freezing fog, nobody wanted to go out. By noon I needed fresh air so I worked my way along the hills overlooking the lake. By 16.30, I had walked 9km and seen nothing. A calling Spoon-billed Sandpiper broke my duck but the walk home seemed destined to be long and cold. After
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A dedicated team against a shocking decline

Christoph writes: It is always fascinating to see a pair of Spoon-billed Sandpiper displaying and chasing each other across the sparse tundra vegetation, despite a very reluctant spring and conditions that are still very cold. It is also reassuring to see these fragile little creature
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The troublesome Hemel incubator, running at 38.3°C when it should be 37.5°C (c) Liz Brown

Unexpected problems in the arctic – It’s too hot!

Liz  Brown writes: On leaving New Zealand a little over two weeks ago, I carefully packed all the thick polar fleece, merino wool and thermal layers I could fit into my allotted 23kg baggage allowance. I never expected to arrive to such amazingly warm and well-insulated houses! My thi
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