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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.
Headstarted Spoon-billed Sandpiper taking its first steps into the big wide world!

News from the Field: The Release

After months of planning, preparation and implementation. The moment we’ve all been waiting for… Over the last 2 weeks these precious little chicks have grown into totally independent fledgling Spoon-billed Sandpipers. They’ve learn to feed themselves, know what is good to eat, where
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Spoon-billed Sandpiper Announcement

It’s with great pride and sadness that we announce the successful breeding of the first spoonie chick at Slimbridge and the first ever anywhere in the world, however the bird has sadly died. Just as we were about to officially announce the news, it died of a tragic flying injury that
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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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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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Soaking up some winter sun. Photo by Jodie Clements.

Slimbridge Spoonies: New Year, New Hope.

Preparations for next season are well underway! Here’s a brief summary of what the Spoonies have been up to post breeding season. Since our last update in July the captive Spoonies (and the team) have been very busy indeed. Once it was established the breeding season was over the bird
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Lime 43, an adult Spoonie satellite-tagged at Meinypil’gyno, north-east Russia, now moulting in Jiangsu on 19 Sep 2017. The back-mounted tag and fine tag aerial are only just visible. Photo by Chi Yanqing.

New mission underway to tag Spoon-billed Sandpipers

Update from Guy Anderson, RSPB Its October again, and the brief Arctic summer is well and truly over. The annual cycle of Arctic-breeding waders mirrors the tides that many see every day outside the breeding season. The boreal winter is low tide – birds settled in their wintering quar
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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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