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.

13th October 2010: starting the season - a team members perspective

Tina Mensah-Pebi writes: The second phase of the study of Palaearctic migrants over-wintering Africa; Burkina Faso and Ghana with partners from RSPB and BTO commenced on the early morning of Wednesday, 13th of October, 2010. Driving on an even and alternating jagged road from Accra, a team of four including the driver (Chris Orsman; Juliet Vickery, both RSPB and Ernestina Mensah-Pebi ; Abraham Dotche, both Ghana Wildlife Society) travelled 700 kilometres and passed the night in Tamale. The journey to Burkina Faso continued the following morning till the team decided to stop for birding upon the sight of a busy vegetation cover around the Nasia Bridge on the Sisim River. The first migrant bird for the season was spotted on a tree at the bank of the river close to the bridge – a Pied Flycatcher. Soon the team arrived at Ouagadougou and at NATURAMA office and we were warmly welcomed by the staff and management Dr. George Oueda and Mr. Idrissa Zeba.
Naturama head office in Ouagadougou
Initial meeting of the season

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