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, 10th May – last news of season 3 from Oursi

Having now finished the fieldwork programme for 2011-12, Aly and Oumar have sent in the final data sets.  Ahead of any analysis, of great note are the large numbers of sedge warblers that they have caught this year.  This is largely down to the heavy rain in the previous two wet seasons, and reduced pressure of grazing on the lake shore, leaving a lot more marginal vegetation to survive well into the dry season. With no sedge warblers caught (and only one seen) in season 1, and 3 caught in season 2, this third year they’ve managed 262, and all from January to May.  Of these, one was a control from (i.e. originally caught and ringed in) Germany, and another from Italy.  Also, of 33 European reed warblers in late winter/spring, one was caught, just a couple of days ago, from Spain.  A great way to round things off!