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 25/10/2011 Bee's first fieldwork

Above photo: White-throated Bee-eater

Birgitta Büche writes: After a day in Accra and another day in the car to Nsoatre (dodging potholes easily big enough for me to sit in, and along bone-shaking bumpy dirt tracks) we, that is Chris, Japheth, Nick and I (Birgitta or simply Bee), went out into the field to explore the area. I was thrilled and overwhelmed; the variety of exotic birds is just mind blowing. I did not know where to look first. Everywhere there were bursts of colour and song and it seemed to me a miracle that Chris was keeping on top of things. Some of my favourites are definitely the White-throated Bee-eaters and the African Grey Hornbills and of course our migrants. In between all the new birds I got so confused that I asked Chris what that bird was that looked a bit like a Whinchat. "Whinchat" replied embarrassing! No but honestly, seeing "our" birds is awe-inspiring. I imagine them doing the same journey I did in an airplane all by themselves without any help, weighing less than the safety card in the seat pocket of my chair.

Above photo: African Grey Hornbill

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