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.

Saturday 14/01/12 Leaving for the field

All goes to plan and we leave Accra by 0900, and after a shop in Mpraeso for groceries we make it to our digs mid afternoon.

Straight out into the field to show Roger the lay of the land. The whole place seems a whole lot drier, not surprising considering the desiccating effects of the harmattan winds, and large parts of fallow have been burned. There’s a strange arid, dusty stillness about the place, and scarcely a bird to be seen or heard. I hope things improve tomorrow.

Chris O

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