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.

24 Jan: Two new Nightingales

Nightingale Team: A rewarding morning for us all, ringing just east of the core area in new habitat, though still within the patchy mosaic of scrub, crops and areas of plantation.  A small catch overall, mainly comprising European migrants, but with two new Nightingales included.  We’re puzzled by the lack of activity among the ‘residents’ but perhaps the very dry weather we are experiencing at present is playing a part; quite a few Afro-trops are in full moult, with little evidence of breeding activity at this point in time, among the cisticolas, crombecs and greenbuls.  Overall, Garden Warblers outnumber all the other migrant species put together. All of the Garden Warblers are moulting heavily and currently look rather dishevelled, with fat scores predictably low.

Posted on behalf of Ian

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