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: The First Chicks

On the 5th July the first eggs began to pip, 5 days on and we have 14 chicks so far! The eggs are weighed regularly throughout incubation to track their progress but as due date approaches they are checked carefully for the first signs of hatching. At around 19 days of incubation the
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White-billed Diver on Lake Pekul’neyskoye. Photo by James Phillips.

News from the field: A Close Encounter with the Loons

Update from James Phillips who is now back in the UK There are certain iconic birds that capture the imagination, that define a given landscape or habitat or are just emblematic of those beautiful remote wild places that we all on occasion dream about. The White-billed Diver or the Ye
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'Spoon-billed Bagpiper'. Photo by Jodie Clements.

News from the Field: A Full Incubator

Spirits are high now the incubator is full and the River mouth is finally open! This year a grand total of 35 eggs have been collected by Nickolay and Ivan, 31 before the re-lay cut-off date (21st June) allowing females the chance to lay a second clutch and males to rear their own bro
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A full clutch of Spoonie eggs, waiting for collection. Photo by Jodie Clements.

News from the Field: The First Eggs

The first few eggs are safe in the incubator, but the search for more nesting pairs continues… Finding Spoon-billed Sandpiper pairs has been a little tricky this year. Normally very site loyal they tend to nest in the same place every year but with the heavy flooding many birds have b
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Lime 38 singing. Photo by Jodie Clements.

News from the Field: We’ve arrived! And so have the Spoonies..

We’ve finally reached Meinypil’gyno and already can’t wait to get stuck in to the 2018 season! Our journey from Heathrow to Meina has taken 5 days, with a short delay in Moscow and a 1 day extra wait for the helicopter at Anadyr. Being met by Russian staff at Moscow and Anadyr h
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Spoon-billed Sandpiper in Meinypil'gyno. Photo by Roland Digby.

News from the Field: Initial Report

Preparations in Russia have begun for the 2018 breeding season! Most of the headstarting team are already in Meinypil’gyno awaiting the return of the Spoon-billed Sandpipers. This year the headstarting team welcomes a new member. Jodie Clements has been working with the Slimbridge Spo
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Lime green U6, 31 July. Photo by Roland Digby.

News from the field: Final update from Roland

Update from Roland Digby This will be my last update because, as I type, I’m finally waiting for my helicopter which should be here around 12:00 hrs local time. Things have been going well since the release with the birds growing and losing any remnants of down on their heads as
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First spoon-billed sandpiper just about to leave the release aviary, 28 July 2017. Photo by Roland Digby/WWT.

News from the field: The release!

Update from Roland Digby At around 12:00hrs, all 30 of the 2017 cohort of headstarted spoon-billed sandpipers were released. Around three hours before the release all shelters were removed from the pen and dishes moved to the front near the entrance. We’ve adopted this approach
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Headstarted male White 0C with chick Light green U6 feeding along edge of marsh, 24 July 2017. Photo by Nikolay Yakushev/BirdsRussia.

News from the field: Chick of headstarted pair spotted

Update from Roland Digby On the 24 July, Ivan reported seeing a spoon-billed sandpiper with a white leg flag around 200m north of the release pen. Being aware that the headstarted pair White 0C and U6 had recently hatched two chicks (Light green U6 and Light green V6) from a replaceme
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Obligatory bear photo from the Monument Marsh, 18 July 2017. Photo Roland Digby/WWT.

News from the Field: Moving to the release aviary and the obligatory bear photo

Update from Roland Digby On Friday 14 July, we finally got the first couple of broods of birds out into the release aviary. Because of the storm we couldn’t put the birds out as early as we’d hoped (Wednesday 12 July), so the first couple of broods were a bit older than th
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