The hatching of Wader Quest: a charity to support wader conservation


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26 October 14

Rick Simpson, Elis Simpson

Rick Simpson
Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, England


Public Files

Back in the 1980s when Rick was in the UK Fire Service, he used his long night-shifts to plan a trip to see the last remaining Slender-billed Curlews Numenius tenuirostris on earth. That trip never happened; eventually the birds failed to return to their last outpost in Morocco; and it is now virtually certain that the species is extinct. He had failed in his quest to see a Slender-billed Curlew as he had not grasped the desperate nature of the situation. Somehow he imagined that there would always be a few to be seen in Morocco, but he learnt the hard way that tiny populations, especially of long-distance migrants, are very likely doomed to extinction.

So when we heard that the Spoon-billed Sandpiper Calidris pygmaea faced possible extinction, it was not long before we decided that we wanted to see one before it was too late. But the more we read about this bird, the more we were caught up in its plight and once we had attended a talk on this subject by Nigel Clark of the British Trust for Ornithology, we had evolved from birders keen to see a species before it became extinct, to conservationists determined to do our bit not to let it happen…… Download the PDF and read more about Rick and Ellis Simpson’s quest to conserve waders.