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.

Saturday 29/10/2011 A change of scene

Birgitta writes: Today we drove further north to do a transect at Fentanta and I saw lots more birds for my Ghana bird list:

Yellow-fronted Canary
Common Wattle-eye
Tropical Boubou
Blue-bellied Roller
Splendid Glossy Starling
Klaas' Cuckoo
Copper Sunbird
Olive-bellied Sunbird
Red-headed Quelea

Above photo: Chris and Nick at Fentanta

Chris Orsman writes: Out at Fentanta, a "control" site some distance west of Nsoatre, we got off to a promising start with a whinchat at point count 1. A little further on we had a pied and a spotted flycatcher from the same spot, a further spotted flycatcher 10m up a Bombax tree, and later again a third was joined in a smaller tree by 2 yellow wagtails. Our only nightingale was hanging out in the same fallow patch as the common wattle-eye, tropical boubou and a brown-crowned tchagra. Towards the end a point count from a small mound in a mixed arable plot gave good views of another two yellow wagtails in some sparse stunted chilli plants, and a second whinchat surveyed us from a nearby perch on the edge of some cassava.

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