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 29/11/11 Third wood warbler caught

Above photo: sunrise, and Emmanuel and Japheth are ready at the car for our next wood warbler

With Japheth back and our confidence with tracking increasing, we put a net up in a spot where yesterday we saw an unringed wood warbler. And bingo! After a half-hour of playback a bird is caught, and a few minutes later our third radio-tagged wood warbler is released. Brilliant!

On top of this capture success, we manage to see both other birds this morning – bird 1 for the first time!! This was foraging with an un-ringed bird in a bug-filled flowering tree by the river. Not identified it yet, but I think it might be a Berlinia species.

We manage to track and get fixes on bird 3 this evening. Hopeful to actually see it tomorrow!

Above photo: the GWS field vehicle, about to take us home...

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