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.

17th March

Chris Orsman writes: St Patrick’s day had to be a little bit whacky! We left Ouaga with Aly, Oumar and Mohammed for the short hop to Po, for the wedding of the year. Tim & Sophie’s that is. We pulled in at the town hall just in time. Tim looked smart in his cream suit, Sophie gorgeous in white, several very smartly dressed guests and, although I hate to say it, the ceremony was mercifully short. All done by 10am! All then headed back to a friend’s restaurant for the wedding breakfast, of chicken and couscous, salad and chips. Great to see the happy couple again (such a coincidence we could make it). And amazing what can happen when you volunteer for the BTO and RSPB!! Congratulations and all the very best to Tim and Sophie.

Tim and Sophie exchange rings at their wedding in Po

The 2010 Burkina team, from left to right, Mohammed, Oumar, Aly, Tim and Chris

Lots of thanks, best wishes and goodbyes later, Aly, Oumar and Mohammed headed for the bus station (they have important work to do back in Oursi!) Mark, Abraham and I headed to the frontier, and onwards back to Damongo, arriving late afternoon.
Good news from Jez and co – they caught two Pied Flycatchers this morning! Everything crossed for even greater success with future efforts, Jez!

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