Familiar Chat Back Issues-September 2008

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
editor

NEW FOR KIDS!

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 

IF ANYONE CAN CAN

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
TRANS-OKAVANGO
BIRD TRANSECT 2
FOLLOW YOUR BEAK 4
BIRDLIFE PROJECTS 6
JWANENG BRANCH TAKES OFF 7
‘A WALK IN THE PARK’ 9
KIDS AND BIRDS 11
STAFF NEWS 12
BRANCH NEWS 14
COMMITTEE 15

In This Issue
NEWS FROM BIRDLIFE INTERNATIONAL5 

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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