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, 2nd Oct. First day of training

After a gentle start with a team breakfast at the lean-to cafe next to the office – omelette in baguette as usual – we have a meeting at Naturama ahead of the start of the programme.  Whilst Danaë rescues our luggage in the afternoon, and meets film crew Toby and Roger (henceforth Roger Jr!) from their flight, others set off to the Monastery at Koubri, scene of last year’s triumphs of wood warbler catching.  We’re given the go-ahead by senior monk Alphonse to set our nets as we did before, and Aly and Oumar take the lead with the net site selection and installation. With nets furled, we’re ready to start early tomorrow.

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