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.

20 Jan: Tricky tracking

Nightingale Team: The noisiest night yet so there were a few sleepyheads this morning. We took the car to the trap site and started radio-tracking the two Nightingales we tagged yesterday as it was still quite overcast and too dark for the playback surveys. Bee has used the radio transmitter and receiver before on Capercaillie and whilst in Ghana so showed us the ropes. 
We tracked down one that was sitting in its usual habitat patch - amazingly close to other Nightingales. At 6.20am it was light so we kicked off the survey, first playing Nightingale call and croaks and then listening for a response. We repeated the survey approx every 25m.The transects took us through areas of scrub, maize, cassava, papaya, teak, plantain and bananas, and their responses always came where there was scrub. We had a count of 20 Nightingales in 2hrs 20mins.
We had just enough time to find the other Nightingale, which had settled nearby to where we’d originally caught it. A quick dash and pack after an early lunch, we just had time to freshen up. Bee came back from her wash looking rather flushed, after having opened the shower room door to find a Ghanaian chap having a good scrub! After Bee and I composed ourselves we moved back to Gladys’s in Nsuatre. We also discovered various beasties had also moved in - a few flat spiders, ants in the bed rooms and a skink in the loo. I hope that they will be quieter neighbours than at the last place!  We put up some nets to see if we could catch any, but succeeded only to catch thin air (usually quiet in the afternoons), but did have a good view of some Cattle Egrets and amused ourselves annoying mimosas (sensitive plants). We also did a repeat radio track of the Nightingales. The tracking is trickier than it looks - especially as the birds are at close range. Tomorrow we will do a play back survey of the north side - It’s nice to be busy!

Posted on behalf of Vicky

No comments:

Post a Comment

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