Familiar Chat

Publication name Publication Type Description File Attachment
Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2005 Familiar Chat

One third of the year has flown and we are once again approaching winter. The rains this year have been very disappointing and everyone in Gaborone and the surrounding area is having to comply with water rationing regulations..Birdlife Botswana has undertaken various projects and Pete Hancock writes about the 2005 Slaty egret study. Stephanie Tyler has completed her waterbird counts with very spectacular results from Lake Ngami. The tree identification course which was held by BLB was very successful and students can be seen diligently identifying samples supplied by Doreen . The Annual General Meeting will be held on the 14th May at the new Bird Life Botswana Offices and the guest speaker will be Warwick Tarboton. This is an event not to be missed and as many members as possible should attend. 

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2005 Familiar Chat

We had a most successful office opening in May where we gained much approval for what we have done and are planning to do. There were several important guests there, among who were the Minister of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism as well as two Permanent Secretaries in the ministries of Wildlife and the Environment. There were other government officials from DWNP and the public sector. An important guest was a senior lady from the British Embassy who is responsible for DFID. Altogether there were about sixty guests, who gathered outside our
new office and enjoyed drinks and snacks and listened to an excellent address from the Minister who said exactly what we needed him to say. Then Kabelo gave a PowerPoint presentation on progress and plans for BLB. Several outsiders approached us to join the Society and one of our corporate sponsors said that they hoped to adopt our IBA project as theirs. The Minister was particularly complimentary and said that he
hoped that his departments and ourselves would work closely together in the future. The ambience was most pleasant in the early evening under the large trees and stars, with lanterns twinkling above our heads

Remember – The Annual Dinner is on the 17th September and we have an exciting speaker. 

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2005 Familiar Chat

There is lots Page of lovely reading in this issue and once again thanks to all contributors. Any long or short pieces of news are gratefully received – please keep them coming. Due to the small amount of rainfall last rainy season and the long dry winter, there is very little greenery about and we are all hopeful of some rain – sooner rather than later. There is still an abundance of birds about I am always fascinated at the variety of species that live in or are regular visitors to our gardens. Did you know that many birds are much better songsters than most humans and this is despite the fact that they lack vocal chords. Rather, birds produce sounds in a structure called the syrinx, which mammals lack. This structure is suspended in an air sac at the base of the neck, and sounds are produced by exhaled air causing vibrations of thin membranes within the syrinx. Our branches in Maun and Kasane are being revived –thanks to Glen Stephen and Trish Williams. If any members are visiting Kasane, Maun or Francistown (Guy Brina) please contact the local branch as I am sure they would love to include you in any event that might be happening.                                                                 

The Editor
Daphne Goldsworthy
Email:daf@botsnet.bw

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-December 2005 Familiar Chat

2005 has been a very eventfull year. We have increased our staff one hundredfold welcoming Keddy Mooketsa to BLB as Administrative assistant. We also opened our offices in Kgale Siding and our patron Sedia Modise agreed to join us.

2006 will see another member of staff as we are joined by a Japanese volunteer who has been seconded to us for a two year period, we wish her a successful stay. Another visitor in our midst, not a member of staff but definitely a member of the bird community is an Osprey. It has been seen at the Gabs Yacht club and was here about the same time last year for about 3 weeks. Sadly we will be saying goodbye to

Avril and Eldrid Kasner shortly who have been strongly supportive of BLB whilst living in Lobatse. We have also recently learned that Brenda
and Brian Webster also from Lobatse will be leaving us after a very short relationship with BLB. Gremlins – or Santa’s elves were up to their usual mischief and my computer would not switch on after Xmas and the Chat was obliterated and had to be “reformatted”. I was unable to obtain some of the pictures that had been sent with articles and apologise to authors some of whose pictures have not been included. 

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Birdlife Kasane
Mike Lakin 3
National Bird
Nikki Bousfield 4
Nnwane Dam Anita Gilbert & Anthony Vodraska 5
Depletion of the Planet Quiz 6
Avian flu
Birdlife International 11
Chobe visit
Lucinda Briddes 14
Bird Ringing lake Ngami
Peter D’Arcy 15
Committee members 17
Events Gaborone-Maun-Kasane 18

The Editor
Daphne Goldsworthy
Email: daf@botsnet.bw

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2006 Familiar Chat

During 2005, Glen Stephens took on the thankless task of organising a programme of activities for Birdlife members in Maun. We are greatly appreciative of everything he has done and it is now time for some one else to take over. We welcome the offer by Doline Bridges to continue where Glen left off. Bennie van den Brink who was ringing Swallows in Notwane sent us this exciting message from Safring. An adult bird ringed on 31 January 2003 in Notwane, Gaborone was caught and released on 17 September 2005 at Kinroor, Prov. of Brabant, Belgium. Distance apart 8667 kilometres. The Editor Daphne Goldsworthy Email : daf@botsnet.bw.

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2006 Familiar Chat

Birdlife Botswana sponsored its regular “Winter Camp” at a location called “Dithopo Camp” just west and a little north of Lephephe. A departure from Gaborone by 3:00 pm on Friday afternoon got us to our destination in the Dithopo Camp just in time to setup camp in the magnificent yet rapidly diminishing light of the winter sunset. Harold and Geraldine Hester led a caravan of 4 other vehicles to the camp site with Anthony Vodraska and Anita Gilbert pulling up the rear. With three GPS among the group, 2 sets of car-to-car walky-talkies and cell phones, (not to mention detailed directions from Daphne, Mike and Chris who scouted the location the previous week) we were sure not to get lost or stray as the landmarks became few this close to the CKGR. Under the generous spread of a group of ancient Marula Trees, we set up a communal fire-pit and a ring of camp chairs, the individual tents and vehicles casually doting the perimeter. Among the campers were new BLB members attending their first camp: George and Paula Tutt with son, Nick, and Mark and Eugenie Skelton. Ant Snyman was on his second camp. Lucky with a break in the cold weather pattern, the group of 10 hardy and ready souls found that they could do without some of the ensemble of the cold temperature clothing. The campfire at night kept us close to its heat, but the days found us in shirt sleeves by 10 am. I did not find the need to break out the hot chocolate. 

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2006 Familiar Chat

Another busy year is drawing to a close. Congratulations to our conservation officer Kabelo Senyatso who has been appointed the first Director of BLB. Kabelo has impressed everyone with his excellent overall performance and has shown his dedication to the conservation of birds in the short time that he has been with BLB. We have said farewell this year to Avril and Eldred Kasner, who have been determined supporters for a number of years, and have returned to their home in Cape Town. They will welcome contact with anyone visiting. Calendars are once again available at the BLB shop at the craft market. This year we have limited supplies so please purchase early. There is also new stock of clothinglovely for Xmas presents. The Editor Daphne Goldsworthy Email : daf@botsnet.bw.

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-January 2007 Familiar Chat

Francistown Bird News Guy Brina We had a good look at another dead bird during at the Francistown BirdLife Botswana meeting, and once again it was master birder Nicky Bousfield who provided the roadkill. No, she didn't run the Mozambique Nightjar over with her vehicle, but she did stop and collect the recently hit specimen so we could all have a close look at the normally difficult to see nocturnal bird. It's fascinating how different many birds look when you get the chance to hold them. Birds in the hand seem much smaller as well. It is easy to understand why Nicky and many other serious birders enjoy netting and ringing birds for scientific research. It is also much nicer to release a live bird after
it has been examined and ringed instead of putting it back in a cooler box as we did with the nightjar. 

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2007 Familiar Chat

When I was asked to take over as editor of the Familiar Chat I was very apprehensive. However I have enjoyed every minute of producing the Chat, but as I am also the Treasurer for the association I feel that it is time to let go. The new editor will be Eugenie Skelton. Eugenie will need lots of support and contributions from the members, her email address is skelton@home.co.bw. We bid a sad farewell to Bruce and Polly Hargreaves who will be missed as their input on flora on our walks and talks was always valued. Whilst I was walking in our garden I
thought I saw a baby Chinspot Batis, with which the male and female were frolicking in our Pappea Capensis, but after double checking in the books I discovered it was a Fairy Flycatcher! The Pappea Capensis (Jacket Plum) is in full flower (again) and attracting hundreds of flies, small bees, wasps, butterflies, and other succulent insects. Apart from the delightful Fairy Flycatcher there are many other diners visiting.

The Editor
Daphne Goldsworthy 

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2007 Familiar Chat

Another year is nearly over and perhaps it is a good time to reflect on the status of birds in Botswana. The pressures on habitat are ever increasing and the proposed sugar cane plantation near Kasane is perhaps the greatest threat. 10,000 hectares of prime Chobe Forest presently supports several bird species endemic to the region, including the Miombo Rock Thrush, Green-capped Eremomela, Stierling’s (Barred) Wren-warbler and the Black-eared Seed-eater (Canary). It is here that a group of South African farmers propose to clear the Miombo and Baikaeia woodland to grow sugar cane, a product that is already in surplus world-wide. Birdlife
Botswana has made its standpoint clear and will do everything in its power to prevent the destruction of this important conservation area. Thankfully good rain has fallen over much of the country which bodes well for all flora and fauna as of course everything is interdependent. In our garden it seems to be a good breeding season for birds with the Familiar Chats having reared two families in the same storeroom boxes as they did last year. The Diderick Cuckoos are even more vocal than last year, the Weavers have built numerous nests high up in the Acacias, the Green–winged Pytilias have nested in the pergola creeper and the so the list goes on. Please renew your membership as it runs from January to December each year. A form is available on page 11. Remember too, that we greatly welcome contributions or suggestions. This is your newsletter and needs to reflect your birding interests, observations and ideas as well as being informative on Birdlife matters!

My email address is skelton@home.co.bw.
Eugenie Skelton - editor "

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-December 2007 Familiar Chat

Another year is nearly over and perhaps it is a good time to reflect on the status of birds in Botswana. The pressures on habitat are ever increasing and the proposed sugar cane plantation near Kasane is perhaps the greatest threat. 10,000 hectares of prime Chobe Forest presently supports several bird species endemic to the region, including the Miombo Rock Thrush, Green-capped Eremomela, Stierling’s (Barred) Wren-warbler and the Black-eared Seed-eater (Canary). It is here that a group of South African farmers propose to clear the Miombo and Baikaeia woodland to grow sugar cane, a product that is already in surplus world-wide. Birdlife
Botswana has made its standpoint clear and will do everything in its power to prevent the destruction of this important conservation area. Thankfully good rain has fallen over much of the country which bodes well for all flora and fauna as of course everything is interdependent. In our garden it seems to be a good breeding season for birds with the Familiar Chats having reared two families in the same storeroom boxes as they did last year. The Diderick Cuckoos are even more vocal than last year, the Weavers have built numerous nests high up in the Acacias, the Green–winged Pytilias have nested in the pergola creeper and the so the list goes on.

Please renew your membership as it runs from January to December each year. A form is available on page 11. Remember too, that we greatly welcome contributions or suggestions. This is your newsletter and needs to reflect your birding interests, observations and ideas as well as being informative on Birdlife matters!

My email address is skelton@home.co.bw.
Eugenie Skelton - editor 

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2008 Familiar Chat

The new year has continued to bring wonderful rain and with it a population explosion of seemingly everything. Of course that means a great breeding season for birds and indeed this summer has meant countless hours watching the comings and goings in the garden. The berries and caterpillars on the Grewia bushes, the clear vantage point from the half dead Peltophorum africanum and our small pond have been constant favourites for the birds and hence brought great birding to
our doorstep. My camera record reveals that in an hour a pair of Crombecs brought at least 6 insects to their nestling, including a moth, a spider, a caterpillar and several grubs. The Diderick Cuckoos continue to harass the Weavers and we see a Sparrow feeding a large and persistent Diderick baby! The Hoopoes have
taken to our lawn, the thrushes are back and I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many Marico Sunbirds. Everyone in the bird world seems to have babies and to be terribly busy. Anyway, I hope you have all enjoyed this birding summer as much as I have. Please renew your membership if you haven’t already done so (it runs from Jan to
Dec each year). A form is available on page 13. Remember too that, as ever, I greatly welcome contributions or suggestions. This is your newsletter and needs to reflect your birding interests, observations and ideas as well as being informative on Birdlife matters!

Eugenie Skelton – editor
skelton@home.co.bw

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