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.

Thurs 08/12/2011 An un-taggable tail

Above photo: the team can't resist snapping the sunrise

On Thursday we pop the nets up at the latest new spot. We get a response from the playback straight away, and after about 45 minutes (including changing the playback from song to just call!) we ensnare our fourth wood warbler. But, there’s a problem! Close inspection reveals that it has no central tail feathers. These are vital for us to be able to attach a radio tag, so after all that effort we cannot put the radio tag on! One positive from this is that if the bird was close to moulting these feathers, had they been present and we’d attached the tag, it may have been dropped within a day or so anyway. Also, with time running out for this phase before the Christmas break, we’re also running out of opportunities to get much data from a newly placed tag.

Above photo: wood warbler wing showing extent of moult

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.