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.

Bad news! – 14 June 2011

14 June 2011 Martin took a break from blogging today and handed the reigns over to Nigel Jarrett for the day. We got an upsetting message from Nigel yesterday. It comes on top of all the stresses of trying to build a safe rearing facility for one of the world’s rarest birds in a very
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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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Rising water levels causing concerns – 12 June 2011

Sunday 12th June Martin reports: A bright sunny day. Today we headed out onto the spit with the quad bike. Simon and I took a radio and did a range check. It was connecting to about 2.5kms. We rode the 15kms to the end of the spit stopping off to check marshy ground adjacent to the la
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Gull-fest – 10 June 2011

10 June 2011 I went to breakfast without Nige and Simon, we had a lot of planning and set up a meeting at our place to discuss immediate issues. Nicolai thinks the birds in the study area are 4-5 days away from laying eggs, we all agree that it is best that we stand down until then to
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Tequila, it makes you miss breakfast! 9 June 2011

9 June 2011 Oh dear….late start, missed breakfast, I was trying to email WWT when Liza knocked, she had brought porridge for the larry lightweights who had not got up for breakfast, the Pacific air and tequila had taken its toll. Apart from the reaction to celebratory spirits on
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Happy birthday Pavel! 8 June 2011

8 June 2011 Usual routine for morning, I head out in the afternoon with Nige heading east to the base of the spit, a broad sweep of gravel interspersed with creeks and pools. We set off on a route but have to walk around many stretches as they are too deep. Eventually we reach the lak
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Mating pairs! 7 June 2011

7 June 2011 Getting out to search for more SBS, today? We have established a routine this week it is likely to change when we search for nests but it is… Get up after very late night to bed…some of us 0300 in the morning or get up early 0600-0630 largely due to slow intern
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A day to remember, we’ve spotted the spoon-billed sandpiper! – 5 June 2011

5 June 2011 It is still very windy and cold but less so than the last few days, after breakfast I got ready and picked up the Quad bike (ATV) from the storage container. I headed west of the village to check the spits that had thawed to see if any Spoon-billed Sandpipers were present,
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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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The bird has finally landed – 2 June 2011

2 June 2011 Awful weather, stayed in until late afternoon when I set off in the gale and rain with Simon for the corrall, we were overtaken on a slightly different route by three of our teammates on the two quad bikes who were also heading for the same destination. I decided to head b
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