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.

16 Jan: Looooooooooong journey

After a pleasant, albeit small, breakfast of sausage, egg and beans (got beaten to it by hungry students), the Yellow-billed Kite circling overhead the hotel patio helped introduce us a new friend, Iben from the Denmark Ornithological Society (DOF). She had overheard some bird talk at the table and was also working on a project with the GWS on a ringing project. Just enough time to twitch the Western Grey Plantain Eater and a few Cattle Egrets before we shared the car to GWS office -  it was sad to leave our new found acquaintance so quickly with so much to talk about.
Emmanuel (our driver) and Nick (co pilot and prince of part of Berekum!) accompanied us on the day long journey  through Accra, to Kumasi where we were to meet Bee, Chris and Roger. A few African Grey Hornbills, Hooded Vultures and Pied Crows wafted overhead as we motored by never ending stalls selling fresh fruit, tiger nuts, chilli boiled eggs and other groceries.  Finally we stopped to meet our new team mates, receiving a warm welcome before Ian and me, plus Bee and Oppong (our chef and driver) set off. Chris, Roger and Emmanuel went the opposite direction to the Wood Warbler site.

Our guest house, some 3 hours later, was fine with comfy beds and after some acrobatics, string and impressive use of a kitchen knife, my mozzie net was erected by Oppong. A quick fast-food dinner of fried rice and chicken in town and bed after a long tiring day. Roll on birds!!
Posted on behalf of Vicky

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