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: 15-18 November. Accra, goodbye to Mick, hello to Ian!

Danaë Sheehan writes: The team is back in Accra for a couple of nights before heading back to Damongo. The last few days have been tough going - Nat having been in hospital with a bout of malaria (a real problem in these parts), and both Emmanuel and Mick with malarial symptoms. Having worked extremely hard for the last month, Mick has now come to the end of his stint and flies back to the UK, to a comfortable bed and a well earned rest! In his place is Ian Dillon, who has taken a break from his usual work at the RSPB for a months sabbatical to work with the team. As with Mick's arrival, Ian only gets a few hours rest from his flight before the team again heads north for the second round of counts.

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