The project

Our knowledge of ecology of migrants in their wintering grounds is extremely poor and severely hampers our ability to explain these declines and conserve this group of species. We lack even basic information about when birds arrive, the habitats they use and how they move around Africa.

The aim is to understand how Palearctic-African migrants use and move around the different vegetation zones found in West Africa, ranging from the semi-desert Sahelian region in Burkina Faso to the lush tropical rainforest in southern Ghana, and whether habitat change may impact them on their wintering grounds.

During the temperate winter of 2009/2010, using point count methodology and mist-netting, we recorded migrants along a degradation gradient at five different stations on a north-south transect. In 2010/2011 we plan to re-visit these sites as well as roving further afield to get a broader picture of migrant habitat use.

Ghana: 23 September. Back in West Africa

Danaë Sheehan (RSPB project lead) writes: After months of project planning, the time is finally here and I find myself once again in Ghana, this time to finalise all the ground arrangements in readiness for the field teams arrival at the beginning of October. I am met at the airport by a smiling Emmanuel – always good to see a friendly face when arriving at a busy West African airport at night! Along with Augustus Asamoah, Emmanuel had accompanied Phil Atkinson (BTO project lead) and myself when we visited in May for a project scoping visit - both work for the Ghana Wildlife Society (GWS). He helps me with the 3 enormous bags of equipment that I have with me and we head in the dark to the GWS head office to drop them off before I finally retire for the night. It's been a long day, but only the start of many.....

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