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.

Friday 28/10/2011 First migrant catch

Birgitta writes: "Yippee a net full of yellow weavers!

Wow, are they nice!

Ouch, they bite...and they claw...

PLEASE let go of the net!

I don't think I like weavers!!..."

No honestly, they are wonderful and I love them just like I love Blue tits and Great tits. We had a fabulous morning and were able to ring:

3 Veillot‟s Black Weaver
10 Black-necked Weaver
1 Grey-backed Camaroptera
1 Olive Sunbird
1 Green-headed Sunbird
1 Little Greenbul
1 Blue-billed Firefinch
1 Green Crombec
1 Whistling Cisticola

And most exciting of all:
1 Garden Warbler
1 Common Nightingale

Green-headed Sunbird ♂ (which is definitely not green-headed!)

In the afternoon, we went for a walk to explore some other part of Nsoatre. Although we saw a good number of bird species, we encountered no migrants. None the less, I had a great time with four lifers:

Pin-tailed Whydah
Cardinal Woodpecker
Green Wood Hoopoe
Broad-billed Roller

Above photo: Male Pin-tailed Whydah

Back at the hostel we found our chef busy cooking; the bar was playing Ghanaian Hi-life and Hip-life music, with the occasional Rap song or Daddy Lumba tune thrown in. No matter whether you want to or not, within minutes you will find yourself tapping the beat with your foot or nodding your head to the rhythm. All day long, the bar (which has never seen any other customers than us) is playing music from enormous loudspeakers and as it was Friday night, we decided to have a little dance. Everyone joined in and we all had a great time, Oppong is now known as "snake hips"!

Above photo: Oppong lets his hair down

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