We had our last Nightingale of the trip, four Reed Warblers and a Melodious Warbler. The final bird ringed was a fetching African Pygmy Kingfisher. The trip total for Palearctic migrants were as follows: 28 Nightingales, including three geolocators recovered and three other retraps from previous years, 48 Reed warblers, including one Dutch-ringed bird and four retraps from previous years, 49 Garden Warblers, including one Dutch-ringed bird and five retraps from previous years, 9 Melodious Warblers, 9 Whinchats, 8 Pied Flycatchers, 5 Grasshopper Warblers, 5 Willow Warblers, 4 Great Reed Warblers, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Wryneck and 1 Red-necked Nightjar, 168 migrants ringed in total.
The following morning before heading to the airport to return home, gluttons for punishment, we had an early start to try to catch a glimpse of Standard-winged Nightjar. The bird failed to show although Long-tailed Nightjars were very evident, but the group had a pleasant ringing session nonetheless in a much changed Alice’s Triangle, the remnant rain forest we visited last year changed to a more open area dominated by cassava and plantain cultivation.
Thanks to the RSPB team Chris O, Roger, Japheth and Derek for their hospitality and good company! After some exchange of equipment the BTO team then headed off to the airport back to the UK. The team helped to achieve the objectives of the trip in retrieving Nightingale geolocators, the data held within them to be analysed back at BTO HQ to reveal the secrets of the Nightingales’ Journeys across Africa to their European breeding grounds, and hopefully their movements during the winter as well. The ringing project, through retraps and the analysis of samples, will help provide yet more information on Palearctic bird distributions in Ghana, and their movements from the country, as one Garden Warbler did, captured several times over-wintering in Ghana then recaught in the breeding season in the UK in Kent and then this year Ghana again within metres of its original capture location.
It is hoped funding can be found to support the next few years of the BTO side of the project which has so far provided much information on migrant birds in Africa, and which is helping to inform their conservation.