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.

Monday 15th Oct. One tag found, another up a tree?

This morning at the monastery we find a third bird has indeed shed its tag by moulting its tail. It happens to be the one of last Thursday’s birds, and the same tag that was dropped after just one day by the bird caught on the 7th.  We also confirm that, after Roger and Japheth’s suspicions yesterday, a fourth tag has fallen, but for some reason we cannot find it.  We were not expecting to find the other dropped tags quite so easily, but seeing as we did, here we begin to think that something is up – and indeed, it is. It appears to be stuck up a tree!  A good shake of those branches that we can reach changes nothing, so for the time being we concede defeat.
Quite by fortune whilst tracking one bird later in the morning, I spot the colour rings of another, and it’s the bird that has shed the tag in the tree, so at least we know it’s still around.
As a solution to our culinary woes, Oppong takes over at his new friend Denise’s Koubri services to rustle up some fried yam, chicken and his tomato salsa.  Very much appreciated, although it appears that we end up paying twice – once for the ingredients, and then again for the finished meal.  We can’t have that happening too often!

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