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 01/11/2011 Whistle-stop transect

Birgitta writes: 4.30 am, the alarm clock is ringing, we have to get up. Everybody looks a bit worn today, yesterday‟s car journey and the late arrival has taken its toll. None the less we make our way to Pepease to do a transect and hopefully hear or see some Wood warblers.
I enjoyed Pepease more then Nsoatre. There are more trees in this area, which give it at least a touch of wilderness. But were where the Wood warblers? We did not see nor hear a single one. Maybe they have not arrived yet?

New birds for me at Pepease:
Woodland Kingfisher
Common Fiscal

Chris Orsman writes: We tried today to cram in the best wood warbler patches of both transects – to give ourselves the best chance of at least finding one with the limited time on this visit. Sadly, though, only one each of spotted and pied flycatchers were out at the farmed Pepease section, and no migrants at all back at the forested hillside.

Birgitta adds:
In the evening, we put up some nets for the next morning and had an early night. Although I was very tired, I could not go sleep. There were bats flying around the house and I listened to their calls, there were cicadas making a real racket and to top it all some animals started to scream its head off. It sounded like it was in great pain and by the noise, it made; I imagined it to be humongous. Therefore, I set out to find this beast but unfortunately, I did not see it. The next day I was told that it was a tree hyrax and as it is very small and weak it screams before it goes to hunt to scare away all the predators.
Although I did not see the tree hyrax I found some lovely moths and watched the bat hunt around the light (sorry moths!). Then I went to investigate another head slitting noise: some creature tried it‟s very best to sound like a jumbo jet. Finally, I found the villain. It
was sat, legs spread apart, over a hole the size of a tennis ball and with its enormous balloon like abdomen (quite ugly) it made this deafening noise. I watched it for a while with my fingers in my ears but then it detected me and whizzed into its hole with the speed of light. I still have no idea what kind of animal this was!

Above photo: One of the many moths at Odwenanoma

Above photo: This was the size of a paperback book!

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