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.

10th Feb: Pepease Wood Warbler Site

Has a good hour’s drive down through Mpraeso to determine presence of Wood Warbler through point count surveys, the site chosen through a predictive model which determines the areas likely to support Wood Warbler. Sure enough after some impressive off road driving on some rough tracks, and over a few rickety wooden bridges, Chris spotted one.

The plan was to check out another site afterwards but unfortunately the car broke down, but no matter –this is Africa, a local man with a woolly bobble hat saw our difficulties and mended the car right there at the roadside. Once fixed the journey down the rough track continued (gingerly) but it was too late to do a second survey so we contented ourselves with trying to catch some of the Nightjars that sit on the sandy tracks near the guesthouse. Unfortunately they were just a bit too twitchy on the windy moonlit night. 

Above: The car being fixed

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