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.

12th Feb: A sad farewell as we return home

Last ringing session before Bee and I head off today. It turned out to be one of the most varied sessions for species with lots of Afro-trops: Green Twinspot, Purple-throated Cuckooshrike, Hairy-breasted Barbet, Sharpe’s Apalis, Wester Nicator, Fraser’s Forest Flycatcher, Finch’s Flycatcher Thrush and Grey Longbill.
Chris saw a local boy using a catapult to shoot birds for bushmeat. We invited him over to see what we were doing at the ringing table in the hope that perhaps we could change some of his views. He helped us write down measurements and had a go at releasing the birds we had processed. We told him why we have come all the way to Africa from UK to study the birds, and why they are important. I hope maybe he will have seen something today that will change his thoughts on wildlife.

Off the Odwenanoma Mountain we had our last lunch and a swift pack and goodbye to Japheth before driving off the bus station at Nkawkaw. We said our farewell to Chris and Emmanuel in the busy bus station. It was otherwise an uneventful journey excepet for the large rock that presumably reshaped the underside of the bus as we crunched over it, and a marriage proposal for both Bee and I as we bartered for our taxi. After a dinner reflecting on the fantastic experience of wildlife in an amazing county, we said our sad goodbyes.

Above: Green Twinspot

Posted on behalf of Vicky

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