As before the group are prioritising Palearctic migrants, taking biometrics, moult, age, feather, faecal and blood samples. The Palearctic are being colour ringed with light plastic rings of various colour combinations to increase resighting opportunities in the field. The Afro-tropical species are being ringed if possible and biometrics taken provided there is time, the data collected providing information on many species which have been seldom studied before.
Before ringing at the south side a few logistical matters became apparent when the nets could not be erected there due to lack of anchor points such as trees and vegetation to tie the net guys to. A quick raid of the hotels grounds for carpark edging blocks solved the problem, allowing a clear passage past the nets.
The last few days’ ringing efforts have resulted in Palearctics: Garden Warbler, Reed Warbler, Great Reed Warbler, Melodious Warbler, Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, and Whinchat. The most unexpected capture was Grasshopper Warbler, which is a species not thought to over-winter in this part of Ghana but was also recorded by the team in 2012.
Two new Nightingales and two retraps from previously years were also caught, one much to our astonishment and delight complete with a geolocator! Amazingly this Nightingale was originally ringed by Mark on 21/03/2011, retrapped by John 09/02/2012 when the geolocator was fitted, then finally processed by Vicky on the 07/02/13. The tiny device should be able to improve our knowledge of Nightingale migratory behaviour and identify the summer breeding grounds of this individual. The device was removed from the bird and the data will be retrieved on return to UK. There are eleven more geolocators out there so the group will continue to target the birds at Nsoatre throughout February.
Other interesting retraps on the 7th included: another Nightingale, originally ringed 31st October 2011, retrapped 17th November 2011, a Reed Warbler originally ringed on the 31st January 2012 and retrapped 23rd February 2012, a Great Reed Warbler from 23rd February 2012 and finally a Melodious Warbler from 18th January 2012.
Some Afro-tropical species also captured included Grey-backed Cameroptera, Red-faced Cisticola, Yellow- white Eye, Senegal Coucal, a variety of sunbirds including Splendid, Collared, Olive-bellied, Olive and Copper. The team celebrated with a few beers watching the Ghana v Bukina Faso match, the occasional power cuts adding to the suspense, a few shocking penalties lost Ghana the match but the Nightingale geolocator ensured the team went to bed feeling happy.
By Vicky Gilson