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.
32 eggs safely in an incubator at Meinypil’gyno base camp, 22 June 2016. Photo by Roland Digby.

News from the field: An almost full incubator, a breakdown and T8!

A quick update to let you know that the team in Russia now has 32 eggs, not all the collection trips have gone smoothly with the quad bike transporting the last clutch breaking down at the western oil drills, and another headstarted bird, White T8, has been spotted. Roland has let us
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News from the field: More eggs and some good and bad news from the western oil drills

Update just in from Roland: the western area of Meinypil’gyno is proving good for pairs this year, a bird from the 2014 headstarting cohort has been spotted and 20 eggs are in the incubator. On the 15 June, a small team including Nikolai, Egor and Roman and Sveta’s family, heade
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First egg collection of the 2016 expedition, 13 June 2016.

News from the field: First eggs collected in Russia

Egg collection at Meinypil’gyno is underway and another headstarted bird has been spotted – White E7, headstarted just last year. The first eggs required for the headstarting programme were collected a couple of days ago, on 13 June. Three clutches have been collected so far tot
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Light green A1 back at the breeding grounds on 8 June 2016. Photo by Egor Loktionov.

News from the field: Dry conditions, a bear and the first photos

As reported in the last blog, conditions this year are unusually warm and dry. While these conditions have been good for breeding habitat in some low-level areas, conditions are too dry in many of the key areas used by breeding Spoon-billed Sandpipers in recent years at Meinypil’gyno.
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Evgeny Syroechkovskiy

News from the field: Birds returning to the breeding site discovered in 2015

Our latest update comes from Evgeny Syroechkovskiy, Director of BirdsRussia and Head of the Arctic Biodiversity Conservation Centre of the All-Russian Institute for Nature Conservation. Evgeny reports that although spring came early on the breeding grounds this year with relatively wa
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Steller's eiders in Norway, March 2016 (Kane Brides/WWT)

News from the field: White MA is back!

As mentioned in the last blog, we were really hoping to see the Spoon-billed Sandpiper marked White MA (white leg-flag engraved with the letters MA) this year. He was headstarted by Roland and the team in 2013, has been seen and photographed in the flyway, and returned to successfully
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The fifth headstarting expedition is underway and love is in the air at Slimbridge (possibly…)

We have just heard that Roland (WWT) has arrived safely in Meinypil’gyno, Chukotka, along with colleagues from BirdsRussia, to begin the 2016 expedition to monitor and ‘headstart’ Spoon-billed Sandpipers at this important breeding site. It’s a long journey from Slimbridge, via London
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The 2015 headstarted birds move to their wintering grounds

A fourth bird from our 2015 cohort of headstarted birds was resighted n 16 November, this time in the Gulf of Thailand. Although the image is a little grainy the bird was identified as: P7 (pink left), a bird that was last seen in Chukotka on 3 August, aged 27 days old. The observer M
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Headstarting continued: more great news from further along the flyway

The physical component of headstarting for me finished on 2 August, but the reality is that work never stops with any aspect of this project. There is always planning and preparation for the next year and, most excitingly for me, there are the reports from further along the flyway. On
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Hitting the ground running

Together with ‘SBS in China’ I am leading a group of international wader experts (Guy Anderson from RSPB, Richard Hearn from WWT, Ewan Weston from Highland Ringing Group and David Melvile from New Zealand) who have come to China to help Professor Chang Qin of Nanjing Normal University
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