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, 1st Oct, London – Ouagadougou

Just like last year, I am once again woken at 3am for my trip to Heathrow at 4, and, hard to believe, even more luggage than before.  This time we have so many more bits and pieces of essential equipment, to hand over to the team in Burkina for a new phase of our work in the Sahel.  Danaë is at the airport ahead of me having lodged at the Terminal 4 hotel overnight.  A fairly smooth check-in and a relaxed saunter to the departure gate, and it transpires that we’re actually booked in on different flights!  Only a half our apart, we were to meet in Paris and get the same onward flight from there.  With both flights slightly delayed, it was a close call for my later flight to make the connection, but with the latter also delayed we both made it in good time.  6 hours later we get to Ouagadougou via a short stop in Niger’s capital city Niamey, only to find that 5 out of our 7 pieces of luggage are missing!  A little further delay to fill out lost luggage forms, and we spot Aly and Bara waiting to greet us the other side of the glass doors at arrivals.  Before long we’re heading off to the Foyer guest house where some of the team are staying, and there we meet up with Oumar, Idrissa and Hussein, the rest of the Oursi crew.  We also meet Pierre and Soumilah, from Sourou and Higa IBAs, here to learn for the first time about the ringing that takes place at Oursi.  This is truly the start of a Burkina Faso ringing programme, with Aly and Oumar the trainers, Idrissa and Hussein the trainees, and new recruits Pierre and Soumilah. It is great to see the team, especially one so keen to get on with some more training at the start of the new season.  Danaë and I then head on to the Naturama office where we find Oppong and Roger after their marathon road trip north from Accra.  For Roger, a well seasoned traveller and volunteer all over Africa, this is his first visit to Burkina Faso.  Oppong’s first visit too, and with neither of them speaking French they did very well to make it!  After catching up with all in the Naturama office, we head to the hotel to settle in, grab some dinner and a short rest before heading back to the airport to meet PhD scientist Carlo, due in at midnight. We eventually turn in at 01:30.  Quite a long first day!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.