Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bird Identification training course

(Photo: P Hancock)
If you can identify the bird above, chances are you don't need a bird identification course! However, if you are struggling, consider enrolling for the part-time bird identification course being organised by the Ngamiland Branch of BirdLife Botswana. This course, to be presented by Richard Randall and Johan van Jaarsveld, will take place on one Saturday every month, starting on Saturday 9th July. The course will be held at the Botswana Wildlife Training Institute in one of the classrooms, and will commence at 8 o' clock in the morning and run for the whole day. There will be a nominal charge of P110.00 per person for the course, to cover course materials, teas and lunches; members of BirdLife Botswana will however pay only P50.00 per person.

The number of participants is limited to 30, so it's first come, first served. Contact Pete Hancock at 74654464 to reserve your space. And by the way, if you thought the raptor at the top is an immature African Fish-Eagle, you were quite right!

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Slaty Egret Action Plan workshop

The beginning of March saw stakeholders from the Slaty Egret range states in Southern Africa converging on Maun to participate in a workshop funded by the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) to develop an Action Plan for conserving the globally threatened Slaty Egret. The workshop formed a logical follow-on from the baseline survey of the species done by BirdLife Botswana as part of the Okavango Delta Management Plan a few years ago. BirdLife has formed a partnership with AEWA to develop action plans for species that are common to both organisations, and Serge Dereliev and Evelyn Moloko from the AEWA Secretariat managed to secure the necessary funding to make this a reality.

Workshop participants (Photo: E Moloko)

The workshop was organised by Stephanie Tyler and facilitated by Serge Dereliev, and used the ‘problem tree approach’ to identify potential and real causes of declines which could then be ranked to form the basis for remedial action. From the expert inputs from the participants, the final action plan will be compiled by Stephanie, and funding secured to address the major issues.

During the workshop, participants managed to spend some time in Moremi where about 14 Slaty Egrets in total were seen! An unexpected plus from the field outing was information from a local guide working for Letaka Safaris of a previously unknown Slaty Egret breeding site! If any readers of this blog – especially professional guides - have other similar information on Slaty Egrets, please contact Pete Hancock.

Participants in the field looking for Slaty Egrets (Photo: E Moloko)

Thanks are due to Stephanie for all the work she put into organising the workshop, to Serge for ably facilitating the process, and to all participants for contributing generously their knowledge of the species. Dr Lucas Rutina from DWNP travelled from Serowe to participate in the workshop, and we especially appreciate the Wildlife Department’s support as they are our major partner in conserving the species in Botswana.