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: 24-25 September. Equipment, meetings, meetings, equipment...

Danaë Sheehan writes: Plenty to organise and several meetings to attend – a busy two days. Aside from the huger amount of equipment that we had sent out already, and that I had brought with me on the plane, there is still lots of bits and pieces to buy locally. First however, I am introduced to the brand new project field vehicle – a lovely shiny Toyota Hilux (it won't stay so clean for long...). I am introduced to Eric Kudjoe, the driver who is going to be working with the field team in Ghana – he is obviously very proud to have such a lovely new truck! We fix the project partner logos to the vehicle doors and head out into Accra to source the last few bits of field equipment – primarily camping gear that the team working in Ghana will need when they work in the forests. We also have a hard top fitted to the back of the truck so that the equipment is well covered (and secure!), protecting it from all the dusty roads. A power cut considerably delays this process, but the resourceful mechanics persevere with the help of a hacksaw and finally manage to fit it just before it gets dark. All this frenetic activity is interspersed with meetings with GWS, Legon University, the Ghana Ringing Scheme and the Wildlife Division, sorting out staff and budgeting issues, bird rings, and Government Research permissions. More and more loose ends getting tied up and the project really coming together.

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