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 12th Oct. The team departs

Carlo left at 4am this morning, back to Washington DC.  The rest of us have a later-than-usual breakfast before heading to the office.  Thandie and Danaë have a final meeting with Idrissa, Nana and team.  After a quick lesson in, erm,  how to cut up polystyrene boxes (!) for the Oursi chaps (to pack frozen samples in for dispatch to the UK) I head back to the hotel to complete some paperwork before Danaë leaves later.
The afternoon consists of various comings and goings, with Thandie heading back to Accra ahead of the PAO congress in Tanzania, Toby & Roger Jr off to the UK, and Danaë also leaving for Tanzania.  We hear from Oumar that chauffeur Daniel’s paperwork is still not in order, so they will have to stay another night to leave early tomorrow.
Rain begins to fall at about 1730, and just as Roger, Oppong and Japheth arrive from the field, the heavens truly open.  Plans for al fresco dining at the Source du Sahel, a favourite cafe near the Foyer guest house, look truly in jeopardy!  Rain stops by 1900, so we head out for that final meal with the Oursi squad.  Another busy day in Ouaga rounded off nicely.  With all the training done and dusted, it’s now time for those that remain, Roger, Japheth, Oppong and me, to focus on the wood warbler fieldwork.

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