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.

20th & 21st March

Chris Orsman writes: In the event we had two mornings of ringing, largely because on day 1 Mark’s new net caught 8 out of a total 12 new Garden Warblers – a great result. Adding an extra net to the first on morning two we caught a further 8 new Garden Warblers, one retrap from the previous day, and 2 new Nightingales. Of the Garden Warblers a few were still in moult and not carrying much in the way of fat reserves, so not yet ready to head far north. The two Nightingales were well loaded with fat deposits, suggesting they had been around a while, and getting ready for a big push northwards.

A (young?) male Collared Sunbird at Nsuatre

An adult male Vieillot’s Black Weaver, Nsuatre

With lots of very interesting data to pore over, it got us thinking that a re-visit to the wooded Mampongtin hills might show signs of some passage too, so we headed south east.

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