Sunday, December 20, 2009

Common Bird Monitoring gains momentum

The European Roller is one of the migratory species being monitored (Photo: P Hancock)
BirdLife Botswana’s Common Bird Monitoring (CBM) project aims to establish trends in the numbers of birds in Botswana, even those which are not globally or nationally threatened, to provide an indication of the status of biodiversity in the country. It is anticipated that the information gathered will be useful for the Convention on Biological Diversity as well as within the country where it will inform conservation priorities in terms of species and issues.

The monitoring is conducted during February and November every year, and the November session has just been completed. Transects were conducted mainly throughout the Chobe, Ngamiland and Ghanzi Districts with lower coverage of other areas, and our sincere thanks go to all who participated. The good returns from the northern part of the country are largely due to the CBM co-ordinators within the Department of Wildlife and National Parks: Mothusi Jenamiso, assisted by BirdLife Botswana member Pete Laver, in Kasane; Zee Mpofu in Maun; and Lucas Matthys and Gloria Ndobano in Ghanzi.

The project only really started in February of this year, and since then the number of participants has increased markedly. However, it is too early for any trends to be determined; these will only become apparent after several years. Consequently we urge participants to prepare themselves for the February 2010 monitoring period. New participants are always welcome, to increase the national coverage. The counts are fun, and only take a morning twice a year. If you are interested in contributing, contact one of the co-ordinators mentioned above, or Justin Soopu at the BirdLife Botswana office in Gaborone (3190541) or Pete Hancock at the BirdLife Botswana office in Maun (6865618/74654464). We especially need more transects done in Central and Kgalagadi Districts.

Special thanks to the following for assistance with the November counts: Danae Sheehan (RSPB), Rumbidzai Kaparadza, Mothusi Jenamiso, Baldwin Mashaba, Thatayaone Rabakane, Kabo Kgopa, Cruise Mollowakgatla, Cedric Somotanzi, Martin Kays, Johnny Mowanji, Kambango Sinimbo, Kevin Grant, Lorraine Boast, Birthe Gjern, TJ Lesifi, Eugenie and Mark Skelton, Zee Mpofu, Gloria Ndobano, Pete Laver, Mike Soroczynski, Nicky Bousfield, Harold Hester, and Oreemetse Dingake. (Photos: D Sheehan)

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