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.

Tuesday 16th Oct. A storm strikes

A poor morning of ringing, with only 3 birds caught, and no migrants.
Oppong and I head into town this afternoon for a few sundry items, including a dongle to attempt to get some sort of internet connection.  Whilst in the city centre, we notice several market stall holders packing things away somewhat early, and looking skywards.  Is the rain coming, I ask?  No, the wind, they reply.  Sure enough, some seconds later the wind picks up and the visibility drops, as a dust storm hits the city.  With our chores done, Oppong drives us back out of town, struggling to manage the steering at times with the strong gusts swirling around.  Folk on bicycles with large loads are having the worst of it.  We make it back to let Japheth and Roger go tracking, but then as darkness falls and they return – having got a soaking in the field – so the heavens open over Koubri. The high winds and heavy rain are short lived, but enough to cause concern over the survival chances of the tagged birds overnight.
Oppong rustles up another fine batch of red-red,  this time at a reduced cost, seeing as we did get the beans and plantain ourselves!  After those rains though, the temperature has plummeted at Denise’s cafe, and for once, I wish I were wearing another layer – most unusual for this time of year.

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