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.

10 -11 March

A second visit to our ringing site on the 10th of March was much more bearable weather-wise but not as exciting bird-wise, although we caught one each of Garden Warbler (another in late moult) and European Reed Warbler (with some singing in the shrubs later in the morning). My bird of the day was the rather drab-looking but little-known Baumann’s Greenbul, a skulking species which frequents understory and scrub across a wide area in West Africa, but with a very patchy distribution, whose vocalisations have only been described relatively recently. As ever with our site visits in Ghana the success we have is tempered by concern over the habitat and a large swathe of fallow scrub had been cleared next to the ringing site in the days since we arrived leaving us to wonder how long this at first rather unpromising-looking habitat will last.

Above: The until recently little-known Baumann’s Greenbul, Nsuatre

After scouting out more possible survey sites without much luck it came to our attention that the recent death of a local sub-chief had raised some tensions in the town over his successor and we were advised not to venture into the agricultural land until the funeral had taken place over the weekend, so we decided five mornings fieldwork had already given us a wealth of information and we are now off to look for other transition zone sites. Into the home stretch now with only a few short days and weeks left of roving but with the team on a high now we are raring to go. Until the next update.........

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.