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.

Monday 16/01/12 pm. Meeting up with Ian,Vicky and Oppong

After a call from Augustus, we get the first draft of the satellite image of the study site emailed from the remote sensing centre at Legon. It looks useful, and should be a good guide as to which directions we need to explore to find the probable best habitat beyond the present borders of the study area.

Earlier on we heard from Nick, who has remained back in Accra, that Ian and Vicky had arrived safe and sound, and at mid-morning Ian called to say that they’re on their way to meet us. After an amazing late lunch with our awesome landlord, we head over to Nkawkaw to link up. After a brief meet and greet, we swap vehicles and drivers, and Bee swaps with Nick to head over to the nightingale site with Ian, Vicky and Oppong. This leaves Japheth, Nick, Roger and me with driver Emmanuel. With a food shop needed, there’s no cooking for Emmanuel tonight, so we grab some fried rice from a fast food stall at Abetifi. Not the best meal ever. I won’t survive long on this kind of diet, so I hope Emma is up for the catering challenge this time around. Only time will tell...

Chris O

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