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.

Thursday 27/10/2011 A day for flycatchers

Chris Orsman writes: Today's transect takes in a start of mature fallow scrub, then active arable plots, patchy teak, plantain and cocoa plantation, on through part of the local cemetery, and finally more arable and wetter valley-bottom scrub near the southern edge of the town. 4 spotted, 2 pied, and one red-bellied paradise flycatcher are recorded, and with the last 2 spotted flycatchers a willow warbler sang and foraged in the same tree. No nightingales this morning – we might have expected 3 or 4 on this route at times last season. Still a little early. And no sign of any melodious warblers at all, pretty common and vocal here on all visits last year.

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