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.

Wednesday 23/11/2011 Splitting the team

Chris Orsman writes: Last night we finally plucked up the courage to split the team in two. In the last few days I’ve managed to convince myself that I’ve heard wood warblers calling on a couple of occasions, so we need to go and check our site in the Mampongtin Hills. And with 7 nightingales tagged, Bee and Chas have plenty to be getting on with, even if they don’t catch more! Leaving them in Oppong’s capable catering hands, Japheth and I head for Mpraeso with driver Emmanuel promising to cook when required...

After a trouble-free trip, our camp to start the visit is back on the wonderful Odwenanoma Mountain. We plan to make the most of any time here, as certainly we will need to find a camp or lodgings much closer to the expected study site should we catch any wood warblers and therefore need to track them twice or more daily. On this first night we collect some tea, bread and bananas, get the local canteen to boil water for our flask, and hey presto we have a breakfast ready for the morning.

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