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.

Tuesday 11th Oct 2011 - Ghana Wildlife Society, Accra

Chris Orsman writes: So disappointed with the breakfast this morning! The hotel price includes it, and a boiled egg and 2 slices of bread will not suffice! I made sure I got at least part of my money’s worth by drinking far too much tea. Words will be had...
First trip to the office today, and great to see Augustus and Tina again. Had a long chat with Tina about the forthcoming season, and us working together again, but then eventually she confessed that she couldn’t join us this year. I was so disappointed! How will we cope? Especially as Nat too is otherwise engaged, now back in the UK for his studies. Well, we will just have to soldier on somehow.
Augustus told me about a place near the Volta dam which he thinks may be worth considering for migrants, particularly nightingales. It’s not far from a spot we passed through last February, and I remember thinking just how potentially good it looked. Many gentle-sloped hillsides are blanketed with this 3-5m high scrub, much like the ever-more fragmented coastal scrub where the team have ringed at Brenu, and have had some success with nightingales, garden warblers and spotted flycatchers. We resolve to head out there tomorrow.
Augustus also introduced one of Tina and Nat’s replacements, Japheth, who I met last year. He’s keen to get stuck in, and also has quite a lot of ringing experience, which will be helpful if we’re going to put in some extra effort this year to catch some of our target migrants.

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