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.

Thursday 22nd March: Preparing to leave

Returned to Accra last night, and with my flight back to the UK this evening today has been the usual last-minute panic of making sure all lose ends are tied up – although this time I’m leaving Japheth and Roger to continue tracking until the 31st, as we think the tags will last until then. The main worry has been getting the paperwork sorted for the export from Ghana and then import to the UK of our biological samples (a few feathers etc). Japheth patiently spent hours at the Wildlife Division offices waiting for a simple signature on the export permit. Even 2 hrs before the airport check in, back at the hotel Roger and I were labelling the samples appropriately for transit, according to the terms of the import licence! Eventually job done, and I can now relax when I get to the airport!!

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