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: 17 October. Accra and arrival of the first volunteer

Dr Danaë Sheehan writes: With the project set up complete we headed back to the civilisation of Accra. The vehicle was booked in for a service, the team needed supplies, and we had to pick up our first volunteer ringer from the airport. I was leaving the team here in Chris' capable hands and heading back to the UK. So, the evening flight into Accra saw the arrival of Mick Townsend to join the team, and after a brief hello to him at the airport, my departure. In just a few hours time, the team would set off on the long drive back to the north to begin the field work in earnest with the first round of counts and ringing at Damongo.

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