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.

14th March

Chris Orsman writes: Abes dropped us off this morning a couple of kms outside of town, and Mark led the team on a walk off-road into the well-wooded surrounds. Finding a shady spot for the ringing site, passing a couple of calling Pied Flycatchers on the way, we then set up three nets, scattered around the edge of an open area. Playback of the calls was started at two of the net sites, and we set up the office and waited.
We hadn’t waited long before the quite unexpected happened – a Wood Warbler was singing nearby! Quickly we arranged my mp3 and a small amp to try and entice this fella (for surely he was a male!) down from the canopy and into the net. Well, we tried. And failed!!

Nat stylishly covering up against the Damongo sweat-bees

A long and very sweat-bee-infested morning eventually produced one African Paradise Flycatcher – the wrong species but very lovely nonetheless! No Pied Flycatchers (or Wood Warblers) this time, but Jez was far from discouraged, and was looking forward to trying again in a different spot in a couple of days time.
With Tina very helpfully deciding to stay in Damongo to assist Nat and Jez with some transect work, for Abraham, Mark and me, it was time to pack up again and head to Burkina.

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