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 27th Sept - Burkina fieldwork begins

Whilst DanaĆ« and I amass equipment ahead of the start of our season, the crew in Burkina Faso are already well under way.  They had their first ringing session on the 17th of this month, and first bird caught was a garden warbler, closely followed by a common nightingale.  On Oumar’s birthday on the 22nd they managed just the one common whitethroat. Then, ringing on 25th and 26th at the lakeside “garden” produced 2 common chiffchaffs, 7 common nightingales, 1 common redstart, 4 common whitethroats, 6 western olivaceous warblers, 8 garden warblers and 19 melodious warblers.