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.

27th Jan: Quality if not quantity

Nightingale Team: Ringing south of the road this morning, strangely virtually no birds except for another Nightingale, two Great Reed Warblers (impressive in the hand) and a Whinchat. Quality if not quantity. Our eighth Nightingale in 11 days.
The Whinchat is of special interest to me since starting a BTO Whinchat project on Salisbury Plain two years ago. This is the first time I have had a chance to observe this species in ‘ winter’ habitats to think about the behaviour and ecology of the species here. Also nice to study the plumage characteristics of this individual at this point in time mid-way through the winter. This species can be tricky to age (and sex in some individuals), though this particular female still retained juvenile wing coverts.

More on the Whinchats later.

Just time to say: hats off to our two volunteers, Bee and Vicky. Both great each day with a seemingly inexhaustible sense of purpose. Their skill and dedication to tasks is invaluable to the project and we are privileged to have them on board. Thank you both!

Posted on behalf on Ian

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