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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.

Spoony and friends – the breeding waders of Meina

Blog from Guy Anderson (Nature Recovery Unit, RSPB) While searching for spoonies on the tundra around Meina, we often bump into other waders rushing through their short breeding season. Some of these share much of their year with our spoony friends. Red-necked, Long-toed and Temminck’
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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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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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spoon-billed sandpiper (c) Richard Smith

Earliest Record Ever

The morning is bright with a strong and cold south-west migration-friendly wind. The first of the Terns have arrived, Arctic Terns flying along the coast on their elaborate wing beats. Christoph took the WWT group out on to the tundra in search of a good site to build the rearing avia
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Quad bike in the snow (c) Christoph Zockler

Red Knots and Computer Chips

Karin writes: Light snow in the morning turned to clear blue skies in the afternoon. Christoph, Phil and Tom took the last chance to cross the thinning river ice to the alongshore spit, to sip hot tea by a spit-top fire while watching birds migrate north along the coast and whales fee
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Close encounters of a spoon-billed sandpiper kind – 13 June 2011

13 June 2011 Martin reports: It was a public holiday for locals; another gorgeous, sunny, but still cool day for us. Simon went off with Pavel and Egor catching red knot for ringing and trying to locate nests. They spent all day out there using a mist net to catch them. Poles are carr
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More spoon-billed sandpipers, we celebrate with a beer – 6 June 2011

6 June 2011 Woke at 0630, Nige already up, we are rather mixed up as it is only slightly dark for a few hours. Off to breakfast, creamed rice and some pancakes to take out with us today. Got a plan for later and will see if we find more. Really hoping Nige gets to see a spoon-billed s
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When will they arrive? – 1 June 2011

1 June 2011 Simon walked 24 miles today, all alone on the spit, he saw a leg flagged red knot that had been marked in the area previously, he had three red knot territories and had also logged a western sandpiper. I went with Jochen for a walk into the moraine hills to check two terri
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Hmmmmmm Lemon cake! – 31 May 2011

31 May 2011 A misty and foggy start to the day. All three of us at Base camp continued with cleaning after breakfast, I copped the toilet and Simon the kitchen areas behind the cupboards and floor. We had to disinfect everything as we want nothing nasty to be anywhere in the base. The
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Off to find the breeding grounds – 28 May 2011

28 May 2011 After breakfast we walked out with Pavel leading and everyone else following to check all the last breeding territories of Spoon-billed Sandpipers, we checked the gravel spits and ridges where a few Turnstone were seen and Dunlin heard to the low moraine hills and slopes,
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