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.

Post-fieldwork discovery!

Mark Hulme writes: Alex and I then headed off for a week’s travelling in the south east of the country around Keta Lagoon where the rigours of 3 months of fieldwork finally got to me and I spent most of the time feeling unwell by the beach, but, ever-dedicated to my cause half-an-hour’s birding outside where we were staying threw up a Red-backed Shrike in the vegetable fields, a palearctic migrant not seen before in Ghana. A good omen for next winter perhaps……

Red-backed Shrike post-fieldwork, near Keta

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