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.

Sunday 11/12/2011 The Nightingale team departs

Our very last attempt to catch today, before Bee, Ed and Nick head off to the nightingales, and what do you know, no luck! However, for the second time, the non-tagged bird 4 is found, in a different tree but almost the same spot as on the 9th.

After our trapping effort we have to say our goodbyes to Bee and Ed as they head off to look for bird 1 (just on the off-chance that it might be findable without a radio-tag) with a view to being collected by Oppong at the other side of the valley before heading for the nightingales. Japheth, Nick and I go on to search for birds 2 & 3.

Above photo: typical plantation/forest edge mozaic near birds 2 & 3

Above photo: hairy-breasted barbet

A short while later Nick is collected by Oppong, and the wood warbler field team once again becomes just the two of us! Oppong, Bee, Ed and Nick head off to Nsoatre to hopefully get some nightingale tracking in this evening.

Whilst tracking I decide at long last to take a sample of vegetation to take back to the house - it's a leafy twig from one of the trees used an awful lot by the wood warblers. Fingers crossed for my being able to identify it!

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