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.

11th March

Chris Orsman writes: After a pretty productive past few days – including the British-ringed Garden Warbler – today was an enforced day of ‘rest’, as we were informed late last night that it might cause problems if we went into the field. The demise of a local chief appeared to have left a power vacuum and disputes over land. Was this why the army and UN troops were in town last night?! We suspect that they actually stopped by on their way to more serious issues at the Cote d’Ivoire border...
We instead headed east to spend some time in search of some more of the same thicket-y habitat that the Nightingales and Garden Warblers seem to like. We found some potential areas some way south of Techiman. Mainly farmland but with some promising looking scrubby patches, and the same kind of woody herbs as at the good site, creating a dense tangle 2-3 metres high.
Late for camping, our bed for the night was in Nkinkaso, at the only guest house there. Like our last place, again very cheap, but the difference here was this one really looked it! Just one night though thankfully!

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