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-Friday 13th -14th Oct 2011 - paperwork & equipment

Chris Orsman writes: Spend pretty much all Thursday trying to get our permit to work in Ghana sorted out. It’s primarily for working within the national parks and forest reserves, and we may need to visit some of these during the season. Also, as an official document from the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Department, it could help open doors when discussing permissions with local chiefs to work on their land.
Called Abraham, our driver/chef from last season – he’s set and ready to head out into the field on Monday. Great!
Start trying to make sense of all the equipment left at the offices after last season. All seems to be in order, although will probably need extras of this and that when later in the season we will be operating as two teams. Most important is that we get an extra set of ringing gear. End the day compiling a simple spreadsheet of all rings used over the last two seasons, and accounting for all the mist nets too – essential to keep on top of this as a licensed bird-ringer!! Add to this a list of bits and bobs for the next “waves” from the UK to bring over the next few weeks.
In the end all equipment is checked and ready to go on Monday. But are we...?

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