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Wader Quest…

…kicks off Thursday

Husband and wife team, Rick and Elis Simpson have set themselves a marathon task, to see as many wader species as they can in a twelve month period. The project is called Wader Quest and starts on November 1st 2012.

But, this is not just another world twitch, this is a twitch with a twist. There are two very serious aims behind this quest. Firstly, as they will be travelling on six continents in search of their waders, they will inevitably come into contact with communities that live alongside the main wader habitats. It is Wader Quest’s stated ambition to engage with as many of these communities as possible with a view to raising awareness about the problems this group of birds face today, By telling people about these bird’s incredible journeys they hope that people will see those little brown birds that run around the mud as being the amazing birds that they really are. They also hope to visit existing conservation projects and promote their good work, both through the quest itself, media coverage and the resulting book.

There can scarcely be a birder that is not acutely aware of the Spoon-billed Sandpiper’s struggle for survival and the WWT captive breeding programme that is in place and it is this which will be the beneficiary of the second aim of the quest, to raise money.Rick and Elis hope that people will follow their quest which will probably start at Titchwell in Norfolk, UK (a Slender-billed Curlew somewhere might change their minds!) and from then on to various countries the world over starting with Thailand, the UAE, closely followed by the USA- Florida and California, Gambia, Australia and New Zealand. After that it is all a bit flexible, but southern Africa and South America are in their sights, As people follow the quest on the website and blog http://www.waderquest.org, the couple hope that they will be inspired to be generous and make a donation, via a JustGiving link labelled `click here to save a spoonie’ on the website, to the captive breeding programme.

The pair is at pains to emphasise that all donations via the site will go to help the programme and none will be used to finance the quest itself. That is not to say that backers would be turned away. There is a budget for the quest and it will be an exciting mission, but with additional funds some of the more remote species such as St. Helena Plover would become feasible.

So, follow Rick and Elis as they journey across the globe in search of waders and read their updates about the people, places and birds that they encounter, match their enthusiasm and dedication to the cause with your generosity by making a donation to help save one of the most enigmatic of these birds, the Spoon-billed sandpiper.

4th July 2014