A rare sighting

Heritage Expeditions passengers get a glimpse of the rare Spoon-billed Sandpiper.

Research suggests that current numbers of Spoon-billed Sandpipers is fewer than 200 breeding pairs, making them one of the most rare and critically endangered birds in the world.

So when passengers and a research team on a recent Heritage Expeditions/BirdLife International cruise in the Russian Far East located a previously unknown breeding ground, they were delighted.

Three eggs, a bird that seemed to be breeding and another lone bird were sighted at Olyutorskiy Bay on Russia’s remote Koryak Coast.

The Spoon-billed Sandpiper, which breeds in Northern Kamchatka and Chukotka, migrates 8,000 kilometres through Russia to Myanmar and Bangladesh each year. Its decline in numbers has been largely attributed to unsustainable levels of hunting, particularly in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Heritage Expeditions is a BirdLife Species Champion for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper and the line has scheduled another 15-day ‘In the Wake of Bering – Search for the Spoon-billed Sandpiper’ voyage on June 24, 2012.

What’s the most unusual animal you’ve ever seen in the wild?