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.

Friday 16th March: Finding the 3 new birds

Whilst Nick and I headed off to get stuck into some habitat mapping, Roger and Japheth set about tracking the 3 new birds. Unfortunately, Nick’s bird, number 8, proved very difficult. The signal was there but the bird seemed very mobile, so was not seen after early morning and mid-day attempts. Not such a problem with birds 9 and 10, and in fact a big bonus was spotting recently-lost bird 7 with bird 9. Perhaps even better still was that Roger and Japheth caught up with bird 5, for the first time since it was ringed on the 15th Jan!! A pretty good morning all told. In the evening Nick and I had a go looking for “his” bird #8, and we found it within about 10 minutes, teaching Japheth and Roger a lesson in tracking! (Just kidding guys! We got lucky, and the tag frequency had changed a bit).

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