Familiar Chat

Publication name Publication Type Description File Attachment
Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2008 Familiar Chat

With the winter solstice almost here, we are half way through winter already! The current mild temperatures make birding a pleasure, so do get out as much as you can and submit your bird sightings to our Tickbird website. By following the easy steps in Pete’s article on p 3 even the most technologically challenged readers
can make a real contribution to bird conservation in Botswana. BLB is looking for a dynamic, capable young person to market the organization. The candidate will preferably be a Batswana citizen with good communication skills, be selfmotivated, presentable and dynamic. Contact Harold Hester for more information. Details p 12 Mike Goldsworthy has had beautiful membership badges made, sponsored by Magnum Freight. These are available at the Broadhurst shop (Members P50, Life Members free). Do purchase them and wear them proudly. Please renew your membership if you haven’t done so (it runs from Jan to Dec). A form is available on the website or page 13 of the previous newsletter. I greatly welcome all contributions or ideas as the newsletter needs to reflect members’ interests as well as being
informative on BirdLife matters! Forthcoming editions will feature a special children’s section to reflect our growing number of young members. 

Eugenie Skelton – editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2008 Familiar Chat

It has been a year since I took over the reins of the Familiar Chat and to herald the season of rebirth I decided to cast off the old feathers and bring in a new look! Hope you like it. I just love Spring with its promise of more birds, lots of breeding activity and the freshness of new flowers and foliage.. The sunbirds are thrilled too, twittering amongst the Acacia mellifera (meaning honey-bearing) and Aloe marlothii blooms and the Magpie (Longtailed) Shrikes are a delight with their musical whistling delivered from the tops of tall trees. 

In this issue, don’t miss the new children’s page or Pete’s report on the Trans-Okavango Bird Transect carried out last spring. The first report from our strong new branch in Jwaneng is on page 7 and we are delighted that Ghanzi now has a branch too, under the leadership of Lorraine Boast (from Cheetah Conservation), and Kasane is under the new leadership of Lyn Francey and Pete Laver. To all our BirdLife branches, may you grow from strength to strength and we hope to see many of you at the Annual Dinner on the 18th October. See the adjacent column for details.

Don’t forget to send me your ideas and contributions - I would love some feedback!

Eugenie Skelton


Our first page specially for younger readers, features on page 11. Our thanks go to Doreen McColaugh for her ongoing dedication to Environmental Education in
Botswana - there can be no one better to produce our children’s page! September 2008 Newsletter of BirdLife Botswana Familiar Chat 


BLB Annual Dinner At the Hesters, Mogorosi, Plot 30A, Notwane
19:00 for 19:30
Saturday 18 October 2008
Smart casual
P160 per head
Guest speaker: Graham McCulloch Ten Years of Boom & Bust - Extraordinary Bird Behaviour on Sua Pan

Tickets available at the BLB shop, and Crafts, in the Craft Centre, Broadhurst .

Numbers are limited so please buy your tickets early

In This Issue

September is the month of the Trans-Okavango Bird Transect.

This annual scientific expedition is the brainchild of Maun businessman, Lars Elvenes, and provides the opportunity for BirdLife Botswana and the Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre to collect monitoring data from throughout the length of the Okavango Delta. The Okavango Delta is regarded as an Important Bird Area (IBA) following BirdLife International criteria:

  • It supports significant populations of globally threatened birds such as the Wattled Crane, African Skimmer and Slaty Egret
  • It supports significant populations of birds with small ranges or restricted to limited habitats e.g. Greater Swamp Warbler, Arnot’s Chat, Coppery-tailed Coucal, Chirping Cisticola etc.
  • It supports large numbers of congregatory waterbirds, and has more than 0,05% of the global populations of some species such as Great White Pelican, African Darter, African Openbill, Marabou Stork, Saddle-billed Stork, African PygmyGoose and Lesser Jacana.

The Trans-Okavango Bird Transect provides an opportunity to monitor many of these key bird species. Globally threatened birds Information was collected on every globally threatened bird seen; however sightings of Wattled Cranes and Slaty Egrets were relatively few. Comprehensive and very useful information was obtained
on the African Skimmers which breed at this time of the year – on exposed sandbanks mainly along the panhandle but other sites were identified along the Phillipo Channel and at Xigera Lagoon too. When breeding, this species is susceptible to disturbance from boats unless the drivers take care to avoid creating a wake
which can sweep over the sandbanks and flood the nests. Numerous new breeding sites were identified during the transect. The Trans-Okav"

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-December 2008 Familiar Chat

2008 has come and almost gone ! The Board of BirdLife Botswana wish all our readers and supporters a most restful and happy Festive Season and good
wishes for 2009. Even when times are tough, remember the birds and I promise you they will carry on singing and delighting us with their presence! In this issue, don’t miss the report on the wonderfully generous donation from Debswana’s Jwaneng Mine that will go a long way to help in the conservation of Botswana’s special bird, the Kori Bustard. Ikakanyeng Nyambe of the Cape Vulture Environmental Club writes on her lifealtering trip to Kenya on page 3, there are delightful items from members from pages 6 to 10 and the second special children’s page is on page 11. Don’t forget to send me your ideas and contributions - I would love some feedback!

Eugenie Skelton - editor"

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2009 Familiar Chat

Summer is on its way out and what a bumper season it has been! Wonderful rains have really soaked the ground and the bush is thick and full of fruit and berries. I don’t think I have ever seen so many varieties of butterflies and insects and of course that means a bumper year for birds with plentiful food for hungry babies. The Grewia bushes have put on an extra flush of flowers and fruit and many leaves are tightly wrapped with silk threads enclosing juicy larvae. The birds are having a good time! Harold writes of his trip to New Zealand, on page 3, and the silence of the forests there, quite different to Botswana where we are blessed with so much activity and birdsong. Don’t miss Nicky’s delightful notes from Francistown on page 5 — her insights into bird behaviour are based on a lifetime of close observation and love of birds. Protecting Africa’s IBAs, on page 8, talks of Kenya & Zambia, but relates closely to our own experiences and has messages for us too. In closing I once more ask for feedback and contributions. I really would love to hear from you. Eugenie Skelton — editor skelton@home.co.bw

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2009 Familiar Chat

The relatively serious content of this newsletter reflects the global concern for the state of the world and the importance of birds as indicators of it. In addition it
reflects the growing change from a ‘social’ club to a scientific organization, part of a much larger international movement. Most content has been generated by staff
and BirdLife International, however, I can’t stress enough the importance of our members young and old, new and longstanding, to the running and success of the organization. 

Therefore I ask yet again, for birds’ sake, for more of your stories, ideas and feedback. Don’t miss Keddy’s report on page 2, of the delightful World Migratory
Bird Day celebrations, and Molebi’s reports on his travels to England on pages 5 and 6. On page 8 there is news on the latest Red Data lists. It is not all gloom - there have been some great conservation success stories - saving birds from extinction, giving hope and pointing the way forward. It is up to us all to get involved with
BLB initiatives such as Common Bird Monitoring, Tickbird and the Familiar Chat!

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2009 Familiar Chat

It’s funny how the collective mind works - just a few weeks ago, Mark and I were talking about the yellow morph of the Crimson-breasted Shrike and how we would love to see one. Then a BLB member, quite out of the blue, told me she thought she had seen one in Mokolodi, hotly poohpoohed (sp?) by her husband. Never-the-less every Sunday (Dogsday), on our walk through the Mokolodi bush we still look for it. Then in Maun, up pops the bird, photographed by Ken Oake, adjacent, and a huge amount of excitement is engendered when those who attended the BLB board meeting saw it too. See Ian White’s pic, taken on another day, on BLB’s Flickr site. I am yellow with envy. All I saw in the Cape was crows (oh and some fabulous flamingos). In this issue look out for the story on the predicament of Lake Natron’s flamingos on page 4 and the plight of vultures in Africa on page 7. It is up to us all to get involved with BLB initiatives such as Common Bird Monitoring (see page 8), Tickbird and the Familiar Chat, so please sign up, turn up and turn on for birds in Botswana! Eugenie Skelton — editor skelton@home.co.bw

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-December 2009 Familiar Chat

Looking back at the 2009 birding year brings many happy recollections - many outstanding Sunday walks to out of the way places and many, many new faces, often from other parts of the world. Some folk are just passing through but most are in Botswana to add their expertise, share their experience and enrich lives - their own and others. International exchange and commitment to far-reaching reforms to slow global warming is easily the most important issue in the world today. Don’t miss the press release from BirdLife International on page 2 which spells out the 5 key actions BLI want the world’s political leaders, meeting in Copenhagen, to take.

If you are reading this electronically, do double click on ‘click to advance’ below the adjacent bird for a delightful power point presentation on the persistence and resilience of birds — we have a lot to learn from these wonderful creatures that we love and need to protect in every way we can.

I wish you all a happy and safe festive season and I hope to see you in 2010.

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2010 Familiar Chat

Despite the lack of unity and concrete agreements reached at the Copenhagen conference last December (UNFCCC), it seems a number of world leaders are seeing
the light and there appears to be a renewed determination to make real changes to the way we do things (too little too late?). Never-the-less, please follow the news on page 6, and read about the CAP conference hosted by BirdLife Botswana in Kasane on page 8, where climate change was the overarching concern. On a more personal note, I am delighted to report seeing a Greyheaded Kingfisher near our new home in Mokolodi 1, only the second time I have seen it. The first was on the 1st November BLB Sunday walk in the Gabane area and I will never forget how excited Chris Brewster was to have spotted it – a rare visitor to Gaborone. Seeing its gorgeous chestnut breast and softest grey head again brought a great thrill to me. I probably wouldn’t have got the bino’s out to see it properly if I hadn’t attended that walk!

Please renew your membership if you haven’t already done so and send me your F Chat contributions!

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2010 Familiar Chat

A highlight of the BitdLife Botswana year, and quickly becoming a tradition, is the annual World Migratory Bird Day celebrations. This year’s event was even bigger than last year, attracting more than 500 schoolchildren and nearly 50 teachers! Reaching the hearts and minds of our youngsters, the future custodians of our fragile planet, is of inestimable value. Please read Keddy’s report on page 2 and 3 to see the impact BLB is having. Well done Keddy! There are wonderful personal
accounts of Member’s observations and successful interactions with our feathered friends, some of whom may have perished without human intervention, on pages 6 to 9. Please enjoy the stories and contribute your own for future publication in the Chat. It is these items that make the newsletter truly a members’ forum.

Please renew your membership if you haven’t already done so. Your subscriptions are greatly appreciated and much needed and we ask that Members encourage new recruits to join BLB to further the cause of bird conservation in Botswana. 

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2010 Familiar Chat

Our annual BLB dinner will be on Sat 25th September, 19:00 for 19:30 at the Gaborone Golf Club. The guest speaker will be Mark Anderson of BirdLife SA. The cost is P150 and all Members are invited to attend. It should be an excellent affair and is one of the main events on our calendar. Please buy your tickets early to avoid disappointment - on sale at the BLB Office in Kgale Siding or at the shop in the Craft Market, Broadhurst. There will be eight people to a table so you may reserve
your table when purchasing your tickets. There are only 80 tickets, sold on a first come, first served basis. For paid up Members we have a camp planned from Thursday 30th September to Sunday 3rd October. The venue will be on the Limpopo River in the Tuli area. Interested Members please let Mike Goldsworthy know. See more details on page 9. Please renew your membership if you haven’t already done so. Your subscriptions are greatly appreciated and much needed and we ask that
Members encourage new recruits to join BLB to further the cause of bird conservation in Botswana. 

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-December 2010 Familiar Chat

Another year is coming to an end and it is time to reflect on some of the highlights for BLB. Doubtless the highly successful hosting of the Council of the African partnership (CAP) meeting in Kasane in March, involving 23 African member countries stands out. However, an area that delights me is the huge improvement in the involvement of school children in birding activities - the World Migratory Bird Day celebrations in May included more than 500 children and the recent World Bird Festival (see page 10) was an exciting event for the school children of Otse and Mogobane. Lesego, Keddy and Yukiko are to be congratulated on the enthusiastic
way they are reaching out to the youth, the most important sector of our community. To all those who have contributed to the Familiar Chat over the past year I say a big THANK YOU and please keep on sending me your articles. Let us all encourage new recruits to join BLB to further the cause of bird conservation in Botswana. I wish you all a very happy Festive Season - take care and I hope to see  you at the next walk or meeting.  

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2011 Familiar Chat

This quarter’s Chat features two articles by Peter D’Arcy and one from Nicky Bousfield on bird ringing - a fascinating and hugely challenging activity. If anyone is interested in learning more about this or would like to join a ringing session, please contact Peter at darcybotswana@yahoo.com Also don’t miss Mike Brook’s interesting item on herons in Notwane and Bob Izzett’s delightful piece inspired by watching the goings on at his bird table at SSKA site office. An important request - If you are reading this, please drop me a line at the email below, sms me on 75652974. We need to know.

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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