Familiar Chat

Publication name Publication Type Description File Attachment
Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2011 Familiar Chat

Its a bitterly cold, unseasonably wet morning as I write this, making me think of global warming and the climate changes being experienced around the world. To keep a finger on the pulse of what is happening in Botswana’s bird world, please read Keddy’s report on page 5 and heed BLB’s plea to add your contribution to Bird Population Monitoring. Kabo Ditshane’s real life piece on page 4 tells us what birds meant to him as a small boy growing up in a village. It is thoughtprovoking and utterly honest. 

The articles on pages 2 and 8 reflect the growing interaction of BLB with children and rural communities - a good reflection of BLB’s core work. Keep warm & cheers ’til spring.

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2011 Familiar Chat

Greetings from a lovely warm Gaborone - what a sudden transition after a long cold winter. The migrants are returning and congratulations go to Ian White on being the first to spot the Yellow-billed Kite, south of Mochudi, in the hotly contested local competition! The A2 calendars are currently being printed and the A5 is nearly ready. We hope that these will be well received and a huge fund-raising success for BLB. 

Most important in November is Bird Population Monitoring - see Keddy’s report on pages 2 and 3 and please heed BLB’s plea to participate. Kabo Ditshane’s item on page 4 is in reponse to the great interest generated by his article in the last newsletter. Don’t miss it.

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-December 2011 Familiar Chat

To all those who took part in the November Bird Population Monitoring, a big thank you from all at BLB. Keddy will report back before the February count. Mark Bing’s count on his farm near Lobatse yielded most birds identified in any one transect and Gavin and Marjorie Blair counted the most transects. But even if you completed only one transect and identified only ten species, but did the count properly, we are very grateful.

Our Director, Kabelo Senyatso, returns to Gaborone after a four year absence in which he has achieved his doctorate after studying Kori Bustards at the University
of East Anglia in the UK. We congratulate him and welcome him home.

To all our Members I extend sincere good wishes for a restful and happy festive season and may 2012 be a very good year.

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2012 Familiar Chat

Its great to have Kabelo back permanently from the UK and we wish him great success in taking BLB to ever greater heights. Harold has retired, again, if we can believe that! His contribution to birds in Botswana is incalculable - Harold, from all the Members of BirdLife Botswana, a huge and heartfelt thank you for your
outstanding dedication and service to the organization. Don‘t ever go away!! It has been a long hot summer and with scarce rains in the south -east, migrants are already showing signs of pre-migratory restlessness. 

On our way to the recent camp in the Limpopo area, see page 9, large numbers of Barn Swallows, Carmine and European Bee-eaters as well as Purple and Lilac-breasted Rollers were gathered, avidly feeding on the insects near the road. Despite all the hardships and pressures on migrants they go to warmer climes with hopefully more food and less competition. We will miss them and hope that they return safely in Spring. To all those who did transects in February, thank you! We hope that you enjoyed doing it. Sometimes it isn‘t easy to find the time but it is for the benefit of birds and much appreciated. Results soon.

There are two excellent accounts of birds breeding in Members‘ gardens - don‘t miss Mike Soroczynski‘s Lilac-breasted Rollers on page 3 and Mary Lane-Jones‘ delightful Little Grebes on page 5.

Eugenie Skelton — editor

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2012 Familiar Chat

After 10 years as Vice-Chairman and Membership Secretary of BirdLife Botswana, Mike Goldsworthy decided to step down this year. We owe him a huge debt of gratitude for his dedication - his quiet backroom demeanour and efficiency ever-dependable.

Thank you Mike!

A new Board was appointed in May and Mike Barclay has stepped into the breach. We wish him every success and must all help to keep him busy enrolling new
Members and keeping us in the loop. BirdLife International celebrates 90 years of commitment to the conservation of birds and there will be a lot more about this towards the end of the year. Highlights in this issue include a fascinating new discovery that perhaps breaches the gap between dinosaurs and modern birds - see page 4. Don’t miss Nicky Bousfield’s account of breeding Fish Eagles in the Francistown area, page 3 and the well received WMBD celebration in Tlokweng on page 2.

Eugenie Skelton — editor


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Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2012 Familiar Chat

September 2012 Newsletter of BirdLife Botswana Familiar Chat Science and Technology, but more importantly educating our children to care for the environment, are the keys to a sustainable future on our planet. With this in mind there are a number of related articles in this issue. World Environment Day was celebrated in Mokhomma Village and BLB was there - see Yukiko’s report on page 2. The Spring Alive campaign of BirdLife International has come to 7 African countries and we are all asked to join in - see the item on page 8. Please register and note your 1st sightings of the specific common migrants listed. This is an ideal opportunity to
involve your children in basic bird identification. On a recent trip to the UK what struck me most was the emphasis on children and education. Excellent facilities and motivated parents and teachers are the order of the day. I have noted some observations on page 5. Local guide Peace Shamuka, had never seen a Greater Flamingo
on the Savuti Marshes - share his excitement on page 3. Flickr: Birds of Botswana

We encourage anyone interested in photography to register and submit photographs of birds in Botswana to our Flickr site. It is an excellent way for us to build a library of photographs and for Members to display their talents.

Please go to the site and look at some of these outstanding bird images. Access via www.birdlifebotswana.org.bw and click on ‘Flickr’

In This Issue

World Environment Day 2
Savuti Flamingo Sighting 3
‘Birds of a Feather’ 4
Some Observations - UK birding 5
Staff News 7
Special Offer 7
Waterbird Counts 7
Forthcoming Attractions 8
Kids for Birds 9- 11
Branch Events 12
BLB Committee 13
Membership Form 14 


Gihan Ilangoon was the first to see a newly arrived Yellowbilled Kite in Gaborone, about the 14th August. Our oracle, Chris Brewster says it was probably en route to South Africa. Sue and Steve Coleman were the second people to see a YBK a few days later. All three now enjoy bragging rights to spotting prowess and move to the top of the class. BirdLife International celebrates 90 years of bird conservation with a series of articles starting with ’Birds of a Feather’on page 4.

Please see the important Member information on page 8 and I look forward to seeing many of you at the annual BLB dinner on the 13th October. Eugenie Skelton —editor.

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-December 2012 Familiar Chat

The end of 2012 is upon us and looking back on the BirdLife year it has been full and productive for both staff and Members. There are several reports on the various projects undertaken by members of staff and I urge you to read them to familiarize yourself with the hugely important work being undertaken by our professional staff.

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2013 Familiar Chat

Hi Members,

March 2013 Newsletter of BirdLife Botswana Familiar Chat,Despite the dryness in the south/ east, birding has been wonderful this summer and is throwing up some intersting surprises. Do read .HYLQ*UDQW·VQRWHVIURP*KDQ]L page 3, for some unusual sightings. Our own small pond is an oasis for all the wild creatures and a source of constant delight. Mary and Mark Lane/Jones have a beautiful lily/filled dam in Mokolodi and share the joy of watching the comings and goings of water birds with their friends. 14 White)faced Ducklings hatched in January but sadly dwindled to just 4, courtesy of the terrapins we think. To compensate, a lone
female Comb Duck appeared, seemingly from nowhere, with 8 gorgeous babies, all doing well. The vicissitudes of nature! See 'RUHHQ·VS\WKRQLWHPRQSDJH 

This is my last edition as editor of the FC and I want to thank all my contributors over nearly 6 years. 

Thank you for making it so interesting and rewarding. The baton has been passed into the capable hands of Janet Woods modirelo6811@gmail.com. so please keep sending in your articles and items of interest . 


Eugenie Skelton ShopP

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-June 2013 Familiar Chat

Dear Members

It is easy to spend hour upon hour browsing the internet for interesting articles about birds. Feel free to send them for inclusion in future editions of the ‘Familiar Chat’, but I still need the local touch - please send items about what your local group is doing and I will ask the staff in the office to keep us informed about what is happening there.

The theme of this edition of the ‘Chat’ is birdsong. But I’m also trying to highlight the importance of BirdLife Botswana to conservation in Botswana by including articles on IBA’s and Bird Migratory Day.

I’ve tried to convert as much of the info as I can into beak sized portions, but I’ve put links or web addresses to items I think interesting, but which are too long to include. Double click on the ‘speaker’ symbols and see what happens!



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Familiar Chat Back Issues-October 2013 Familiar Chat

Welcome to the Familiar Chat! Since the last edition, we have had three bird walks – methinks the mornings were too cold for most sensible birds, but we did see much to interest us. By being a member of BirdLife and learning more about birds, you are part of an international community, expressing your commitment to helping conservation efforts all over the world. Birds don’t recognise international borders. Efforts being made to protect our migratory birds in Europe are highlighted, but recent information indicates we have our own problems in and around Botswana, with Grey Louries being found dead and accidental poisoning being suspected. Hundreds of vultures were deliberately poisoned in the Caprivi Strip area. Many pelicans have been found dead in the Savuti area. – indiscriminate use of pesticides is a possible cause. Rachel Carson first brought the possibility of a “Silent Spring” to our attention over 50 years ago. Progress has been made but we still need to be vigilant. International companies take advantage of marketing opportunities in less aware countries. BLB Director Kabelobelo Senyatso is negotiating with senior Government officials and Ministers to increase awareness and change policy in Botswana. His intention is to get the offending chemicals ‘off the shelves’ and to find sponsorship to initiate a programme with staff to monitor the situation. (Read more on p2) We need a WAKE UP call…….. Please start thinking about contributions (written or photographic) for the next edition and send them NOW! Janet (modirelo6811@gmail.com).

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-December 2013 Familiar Chat

Why is it important to support BirdLife Botswana? The BirdLife Africa Partnership has produced the first regional State of Africa's Birds (SOAB) report, launched at the BirdLife World Congress in June 2013 in Ottawa, Canada. The report provides a comprehensive overview of current and emerging environment and development issues in Africa as reflected from in-depth information on birds. A tenth of the bird species (2,355) in Africa are classified as globally threatened with some at the brink of extinction.

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Familiar Chat Back Issues-March 2014 Familiar Chat

What is Botswana’s National Bird? Ask around and you’ll probably get many different answers. The internet tells us Botswana’s National Bird is
the Lilac-breasted Roller – can the internet be wrong? A “reliable source” within BirdLife tells us the Lilacbreasted Roller has never been
the official choice. However, Botswana is soon to adopt the less colourful – but more stately, Kori Bustard. As one of the heaviest flying birds, it can weigh up to 20Kg.
It’s meat has long been considered as fit for chiefs only. These days, poaching is a serious problem and the species, like too many others, is endangered.

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