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.

Tuesday 13/12/2011 Final day with the Wood Warblers

It’s the final morning of wood warbler fieldwork before departing for Accra, and the air is still hanging with a dusty smog. It’s not reducing visibility too much, but again it prevents the sun from really breaking through, even well into the morning. We’re just tracking today, but even so we manage to locate 10 unringed wood warblers. 5 of these are in the “new” spot where bird 4 was caught, so they're not on part of yesterday's survey route. Although no sign of bird 4 itself, both tagged birds 2 and 3 are still traceable, the tags having thus far lasted 18 and 14 days respectively, so both better than tag 1.

Above photo: Japheth tracking bird #3 in middle of forest patch

Above photo: typical view of canopy frequented by wood warblers

There is again a sense today that there are more birds around than previously. Maybe I shouldn’t be heading back to the UK just yet! It’s certainly something we need to note for seasons to come. It could be that a new wave of wood warblers, such as it appears, would be catchable and taggable. Then again all of these birds may be moulting just as bird 4 was and therefore not taggable, but it would be interesting to find out nonetheless.
Unfortunately however the flights are already booked, and besides of course we are looking forward to seeing our friends and families again in Accra and beyond. Back at the house we’re soon packed and tidied up after our 2 week stay. After a quick call to the landlord we hand things over to the caretakers Christie and Grace, and wish them well for the Christmas season before bidding them au revoir until the New Year

Above photo: final look at the hazy view from the house before departure

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.