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Francistown Branch

Background and history

Early in 1995, Pat Nurse organised the first meeting of the Francistown Branch of BirdLife Botswana, and for the next five years she was the driving force behind what was then known simply as the Francistown Bird Club. The 50 birders who attended that first meeting decided to adopt a more informal approach than the one employed in Gaborone. Instead of electing a committee and chairman, a steering group was formed consisting of Pat, Grant Buckmaster, Stewart Lombard, Dr John Pridgeon, and Jenny Barnes.

The group organised monthly meetings and outings and agreed to take over the Wetlands International African Waterfowl counts that Barbara Meadows had started at Shashe Dam. Biannual counts at the Francistown sewage ponds, Nata Sanctuary and at Mokobela and Mea Pans were soon added to the club's list of activities. Within a few years the steering committee dropped away and Pat Nurse took on the title of chairman.

 
 

When Pat and her husband John retired to South Africa at the beginning of March 2000, Ray and Val Lovett took over as co-chairmen. One of their main contributions was organising an extensive bird survey along the banks of the Tati River north of Francistown that will be flooded when the Ntimbale Dam is built. That survey will allow future studies to determine how the man made lake affects the local bird populations.

After two years in charge, the Lovetts returned to their home in England. Guy Brina ran the branch with a great deal of help from Nicky Bousfield for a number of years. Mike Soroczynski is now the branch Chairman.

Peter D’Arcy, who is based in Mahalapye, is one of Botswana’s keenest bird ringers. He is always keen on recruiting new converts to this activity.

For more details please contact BirdLife Botswana or email blb@birdlifebotswana.org.bw

The branch secretary is Mike Soroczynski who can be contacted at mikes@africancopper.co.bw


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