The following largely unconfirmed records have all been published for interest only in Bulletins of the African Bird Club.
from ABC Bulletin 23.1
A Greater Frigatebird Fregata minor was seen at Ghaghoo Diamond Mine, on the north-eastern boundary of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, on 3 December; it stayed until the next morning. A Spotted Crake Porzana porzana was found at Phakalane Maturation Ponds in Gabarone on 6 December. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus were reported from Drotsky’s Cabins, in the Panhandle, on 10 December. At Lake Xau, in central Botswana, a Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus, three Montagu’s Harriers C. pygargus, two African Marsh Harriers C. ranivorus and three Chestnut-banded Plovers Charadrius pallidus were observed on 8 November. A Caspian Plover C. asiaticus was reported at Tuli Wilderness Camp, in the Tuli Block, on 22 October, and a group of five at Lake Xau, west of Mopipi, on 8 November. A second calendar year Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was at Lake Ngami on 29 September.
from ABC Bulletin 22.2
The second Red-necked Buzzard Buteo auguralis for the country, and the sixth for southern Africa, was an adult photographed near Kasane Forest Reserve, in the north, on 2 January; the first was a juvenile in Chobe National Park on 11 July 2014 (Bull. ABC 22: 98). Single European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus were reported from Maun on 20 February and Crocodile Pools, near Gabarone, on 14 March. A male South African Shelduck Tadorna cana was located on the Makgadikgadi Pans in early January - a rather unusual record for this area. Following rains in early April, at least eight Knob-billed Ducks Sarkidiornis melanotos were seen at Mpaythutlwa Pan, in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, whilst several Red-billed Teals Anas erythrorhyncha were at Letsoloago Pan. A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos was foraging at a waterhole in Moremi Game Reserve on 28 - 29 January. A European Reed Warbler Acrocephalus scirpaceus was ringed at Maun Letaka Manor on 25 January (and re-trapped on 1 February), with another mist-netted at Lake Ngami on 28 January.
from ABC Bulletin 22.1
The following were reported in June–December 2014. The first Pied Wheatear Oenanthe pleschanka for Botswana, and only the second for southern Africa, was photographed c.1.2 km west of Chobe Game Lodge, near Kasane, on 1 December. A Red-necked Buzzard Buteo auguralis photographed in Chobe National Park on 11 July was initially thought to be the first for the country and for the southern African subregion, until other photographs materialised (e.g. from Kalagadi Transfrontier Park, south-west Botswana, in June 2001 and two others from the Caprivi Strip, Namibia); the species normally ranges to south-west Angola.
A Eurasian Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was at Kasane on 7 December. An immature Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus in Northern Tuli Game Reserve, eastern Botswana, on 26 November was apparently the first for the subregion in 2014, following three records in 2013 (one in Botswana in February and two in South Africa in May and December). An overwintering White Stork Ciconia ciconia was at Lake Xau on 20–21 August. Three Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum were at Kasane Seep on 11 July; presumably the same three were seen regularly on Sedudu Island in July–September. In Maun, a pair of Rosy-faced Lovebirds Agapornis roseicollis, part of a feral population, was nest prospecting on 23 November. A Schalow’s Tauraco Tauraco schalowi and six Trumpeter Hornbills Bycanistes bucinator were observed at Mowana Lodge, Kasane, on 10 October.
Scarce Palearctic waders included Sanderlings Calidris alba at Broadhurst sewage ponds, Gaborone, on 24 October, on the Nhabe River in late October (one) and with African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris on a sandbank in the Chobe River within Chobe National Park on 5 November (one); two Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa at Nata Sanctuary on 23 August; a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus at Lake Ngami on 25 October; Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus on the Boro River north of Maun on 26 October (one), at Kasane sewage ponds on 4 November (three) and at Limpopo Lipadi Game Reserve in the Tuli Block on 20 November (one); and a Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres at Lake Ngami on 25 October, with another on a sandbank in the Chobe River near Kasane on 17 November. An immature Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was photographed at Shakawe, in the north, on 2 November.
In late December, 17,700 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni, a globally significant number, were counted among c.30,000 waterbirds at Lake Xau. Also there were two Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola, a Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula, a Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata, two African Crakes Crex egregia, an Osprey Pandion haliaetus and six Yellow Wagtails Motacilla flava, amid 1,100 egrets Egretta sp. A Collared Palm Thrush Cichladusa arquata was present at Nata Lodge in late December; although recorded previously in Nata village, this species is rare away from Kasane.
from ABC Bulletin 21.2
The following were reported in January - May 2014. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was regularly seen in a Maun garden on 24 March - 9 April. Single Martial Eagles Polemaetus bellicosus were reported from the Botswana Defence Force camp at Pandamatenga on 1 February and Chobe National Park (=NP) on 21 February. An Amur Falcon Falco amurensis was observed in Chobe NP on 21 February. Eight Wattled Cranes Grus carunculatus were counted on Jao and Kwetsani Flats on 28 January, and eight in Nata Sanctuary on 2 March, with three there on 30 March. A Striped Crake Aenigmatolimnas marginalis was photographed at Boro Pans, c.10 km from Maun, on 29 - 30 March. Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were seen in Chobe NP on 16 March (one;) and Nata Sanctuary on 30 May (eight;). A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos was photographed near Third Bridge, in Moremi Game Reserve, on 8 - 10 April. A Schalow’s Turaco Tauraco schalowi was discovered south of Mogotho campsites at Khwai on 28 April; this is the southernmost record of the species. About a dozen Common Quails Coturnix coturnix were counted at Potswane Pan, west of Masetleng Pan, on 20 - 21 May. A Yellow-bellied Greenbul Chlorocichla flaviventris in a Phakalane garden, near Gaborone, on 29 May, was well out of range; the nearest area where the species occurs regularly is along the Limpopo at Parr’s Halt, though it may be found as far as Buffel’s Drift. Also well out of their known ranges were a Burnt-necked Eremomela Eremomela usticollis near Kgokge Pan, east of Ncaang, on 19 May and a group of 10 - 12 Magpie Mannikins Lonchura fringilloides at Savute on 14 February.
from ABC Bulletin 21.1
The following were reported from the period July - December 2013. At Mahalapye sewage ponds, 66 Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa were counted on 27 July. Another good count was that of 191 Cape Vultures Gyps coprotheres near the breeding colony at Mannyelanong Game Reserve, south of Gaborone, on 1 December. At least 1,000 vultures, mainly White-backed G. africanus and Lappet-faced Torgos tracheliotos, were poisoned in Botswana during the six-month period. A Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla was observed in a small channel off the Chobe River on 2 August. In the Okavango Delta, a Denham’s Bustard Ardeotis denhami was seen in Moremi GameReserve on 7 September, with another there on 3 December. A Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum at Pete’s Pond in Mashatu Game Reserve on 23 October was well outside its normal range. A small flock of Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus was reported from the Central Kalahari Game Reserve near Letiahau Waterhole on 13 September, with a single at Gaborone Dam on 22 October. A Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres was reported from the Linyanti Swamps, in the north, on 22 October. A Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus photographed at Lake Ngami on 24 August, whilst single Black-headed Chroicocephalus ridibundus and Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus were seen at Lake Xau (=Dow) in July.
Grey-backed Sparrow Larks Eremopterix verticalis and Lark-like Buntings Emberiza impetuani were common at Gaborone Dam in October - November and two Mountain Pipits Anthus hoeschi were photographed there on 2 November. A Collared Palm Thrush Cichladusa arquata and a Common Myna Acridotheres tristis were seen at Nata Lodge, in the north of the Makgadikgadi Pans, on 16 November; the former species was first recorded at Nata village in November 2004. A shrike that was initially reported as a Souza’s Shrike Lanius souzae, at Kasane Sewage Works on 2 June was in fact an immature Fiscal Shrike L. collaris.
from ABC Bulletin 20.2
The following were reported from the period September 2012 - June 2013. Large counts of Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus included 750 - 800 at Lake Xau on 11 January, with 600 there in early April; a flock of 114 was at Letsibogo Dam on 17 January. There were several records of long-staying Ospreys Pandion haliaetus along the Savuti Channel in Chobe National Park (=NP), with two in late September - early October, one in early November, two, possibly three, in mid December, one on 29 January and one in February. A ringed Osprey was seen at Matsweri Camp on the Khwai in late November and one was at Kasane Seep in early January and again on 24 March. A European Honey Buzzard Pemis apivorus was in Chobe NP on 16 March. An immature Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was observed in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve on 20 February. A pair of Bat Hawks Macheiramphus alcinus was regularly seen roosting and hunting before dawn along the Thamalakane River in Maun in October; one was encountered near Xigera Camp on 6 January. African Goshawk Accipiter tachiro was also regularly observed along the Thamalakane River.
Records of Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola. nordmanni included c.875 in Savuti on 27 November, just one along the Chobe River between Kasane and Ngoma on 21 January, a flock of 76 at Lake Xau on 11 January, 250 at Bokaa Dam on 27 January and 400 at Nxai Pan NP on 10 March. Common Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula were recorded at the Thamalakane River above the Boro confluence on 1 October; in Savuti in mid December (one) and at Lake Xau on 11 January (one). Single White-fronted Plovers C. marginatus were at Maun Sewage Ponds on 5 January, at Xigera Lagoon in the Okavango Delta on 7 January and at Lake Xau on 11 January; four were at Kasane Seep on 8 January, where they have been seen regularly, with three photographed there in mid January In early April, 25 were at Lake Xau, where at least 400 Chestnut-banded Plovers C. pallidus were also present. A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos was reported from the Shinde area of the Okavango on 20 March. Two Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata were near Matsebe Island, Savuti, in mid December, with a Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa on the Thamalakane River above Island Safari Lodge, Maun, on 21 September. At Lake Xau, there were at least 21 adult Caspian Terns Hydroprogne caspia on 11 January and 16 in early April; four were seen on the Chobe River between Katchikau and Kavimba on 26 January and one on Jao Flats on 28 January. A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was at Lake Xau in early April.
A Schalow's Turaco Tauraco schalowi was observed at old Sedudu Gate, Chobe NP, on 13 October and at Chobe Game Lodge on 16 October. At Pandamatenga Farm 50, a Denham's Bustard Neotis denhami was seen on 26 February, with two there on 15 March. A Green-backed Honeybird Prodotiscus zambesiae was caught by a cat in Maun but released unharmed on 21 March. A Souza's Shrike Lanius souzae was discovered at Kasane Sewage Works on 2 June; there are apparently few confirmed records for the country despite the fact that this species is currently observed fairly regularly in the Caprivi. Also in early June, a leucistic Burchell's Starling Lamprotornis australis was reported from the Kwai area.
from ABC Bulletin 20.1
An Angola Pitta Pitta angolensis, photographed in a Maun garden in late December 2012, is a new record for the country. A Karoo Thrush Turdus smithii was also observed in Maun, on 14 October; this is well outside its usual range in south-east Botswana. Other notable records being assessed by the Records Subcommittee of BirdLife Botswana include an Eastern Nicator Nicator gularis at Kasane in December and an Isabelline Wheatear Oenanthe isabellina at Lesoma, near Kasane.
An unprecedented movement of flamingos appears to have occurred in Ngamiland and into the Chobe area, mostly of Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor, with a small number of Greater Flamnigos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus: considerable numbers were reported in early September, after years with only odd stragglers noted in the area, the most impressive being two flocks of >1,000 individuals at Xigera Lagoon. In late November, two European Turtle Doves Streptopelia turtur were reported from the Savuti area: one along the Savuti Channel, opposite President’s Camp, with another 25 km away at a waterhole at Ghoha Hills Lodge. Also of interest was a Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata at Savuti marsh.
from ABC Bulletin 19.2
Noteworthy reports from the period January - June 2012 are mostly from the south-east. These include 1,200 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor seen at Bokaa Dam on 6 May; a Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus at Lion Park, south of Gaborone, well outside its usual range in northern Botswana, on 3 June; 1,500 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni at Bokaa Dam on 6 February; a White-fronted Bee-eater Merops bullockoides at the Crocodile Pools, Ngotwane, on 11 May, with another at Kumakwane on 10 June; and a Wahlberg’s (Sharp-billed) Honeybird Prodotiscus regulus - an elusive species in Botswana - just north of Hildavale, near Lobatse, on 24 June. Two White-fronted Plovers Charadrius marginatus were at Bokaa Dam on 13 May, whilst eight Stark’s Larks Spizocorys starki were observed at Tswaiing Pans on 17 May.
In the north-east, two Great Snipe Gallinago media were present at Moremi Game Reserve on 13 February, whilst in the southwest there were 20 Stark’s Larks at Malalaleng, near Tsabong, on 9 April, and a Mountain Pipit Anthus hoeschi and a Sickle-winged Chat Cercomela sinuata at Morwamosu Pan 5 April.
from ABC Bulletin 19.1
In August–December 2011 the following were reported. Fourteen Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor were at Bokaa Dam on 29 October. Single Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were observed at Kasane from 28 September to 2 October, on the Okavango River near Shakawe in November and at Gaborone Dam on 18 December, whilst a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was seen at Savuti, Chobe National Park, on 17 August. An adult male Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus was at Xorodumo Pan on 22 December. A nest of a Lizard Buzzard Kaupifalco monogrammicus at a farm at Pandamatenga has been documented. Long-crested Eagles Lophaetus occipitalis are not uncommon in the Okavango Delta, but one at Kasane on the Chobe River on 30 September was of note and so too one well out of range at Francistown on 30 October. An early Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus was noted at Xorodumo Pan on 1 October.
Lake Xau, which has been dry for more than 30 years, is again receiving water from the Boteti River and has attracted many birds, including a Wattled Crane Grus carunculatus on 30 September, and 600 White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus, 60 Pink-backed Pelicans P. rufescens and 1,970 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni on 22–23 December.
An out-of-range Chestnut-banded Plover Charadrius pallidus was seen at Bokaa Dam on 21 August and White-fronted Plovers C. marginatus were reported from the Chobe River on 1 October and at Kasane on 22 October. Uncommon waders included single Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola at Lake Xau on 30 September, at Bokaa Dam on 29 October and at Mogobane Dam on 6 November; four Sanderlings Calidris alba at Bokaa Dam on 29 October; and a Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata at Nata Delta on 9 October. A Red-necked Phalarope Phalaropus lobatus was seen in Moremi Game Reserve on 25 September; although this species is now an annual vagrant to the west coast of southern Africa and also is regularly recorded along the south coast, there are very few inland records in the subregion. At Kasane, 18 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were seen on 11 November. At Boscia Lagoon, Linyanti, a Ross’s Turaco Musophaga rossae was present on 9 August. A Verreaux’s Eagle Owl Bubo lacteus was photographed preying on a Purple Swamphen Porphyrio porphyrio at Savuti in Chobe National Park. Other birds of interest included a Pennant-winged Nightjar Macrodipteryx vexillarius at Kasane on 16 October and a pair at Ghanzi in mid December; an Alpine Swift Tachymarptis melba in Moremi Gorge on 16 October; and a group of Burnt-necked Eremomelas Eremomela usticollis at Dqae Qare Game Farm, Ghanzi, outside the species’ expected range, on 28 December.
from ABC Bulletin 18.2
In January - May 2011 the following were reported. Almost 200 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were at Lake Ngami on 6 March, with 1,000 Great White PelicansPelecanus onocrotalus and 50+ Pink-backed Pelicans P. rufescens also there. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was reported in Maun in January. Single Denham's Bustards Neotis denhami were seen at Orapa Game Park in mid January and at Pandamatenga Farm on 21 January. A Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus was reported at a pool c.10 km south of Sepupa on the western side of the Panhandle in mid January, whilst a Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos was observed in Chobe National Park in March. A Gull-billed TernSterna nilotica was claimed from Lake Ngami on 29 May. Also of note was an immature Klaas's Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas near Tshabong on 28 March.
An influx of Dusky Larks Pinarocorys nigricans occurred in south and south-east Botswana in February - March, when many small groups were reported, with one as far south-west as Tshabong on 28 March. A Heuglin's Robin Cossypha heuglini was ringed in Francistown on 26 March (one had also been caught there in April 2010) and two were trapped at the same site on 1 May; a pair was also reported in a garden c.1 km distant - these records represent a westward range extension in eastern Botswana. A group of Burnt-necked Eremomelas Eremomela usticollis was discovered near Kang on 21 May; the Kalahari is outside the expected range of this species.
In May - November 2010 the following were reported. A Black Stork Ciconia nigra was seen at Mashatu, in the Tuli Block, on 6 May and 8 August; a group of seven was at Nata Sanctuary on 24 - 25 August and one at Coombe Farm, on the Limpopo River, on 1 October; most sightings are of singles or pairs, often with young, but seven together is unusual. Notable wildfowl records in south-east Botswana included eight Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor at Bokaa Dam on 22 July, two White-backed Ducks Thalassornis leuconotus at Mogobane Dam on 26 September, 45 Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa at Bokaa Dam on 22 July, 13 at Gamoleele Dam and one at Jwaneng Sewage Ponds on 16 July, 18 at Mahalapye Sewage Ponds on 17 August, and seven at Sojwe Pan on 21 August. A Common Shelduck Tadorna tadorna, a presumed escape, was seen at Gaborone Game Reserve on 30 July and was still present on 21 September.
Single Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were seen at Nata Sanctuary on 8 September and in Moremi Game Reserve near the Khwai River on 13 September. Some 785 Chestnut-banded Plovers Charadrius pallidus, including a pair with one young of c.1 week old, were seen in the north of Sowa Pan, Makgadikgadi system, on 24 - 25 August; this is the second highest count at this site. A White-headed Lapwing Vanellus albiceps was reported from Stevensford Game Ranch on the banks of the Limpopo River, c.13 km east of Martinsdrift Border Post, in early October; this appears to be one of the westernmost records in this part of the species' range. A Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus, a Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata and a Whimbrel N. phaeopus were on the Nata River near Sowa Pan on 25 August; a Eurasian Curlew was also present on 8 September. A Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus was located at Phakalane Sewage Ponds, Gaborone, on 17 October. In Nata Sanctuary, 29 Caspian Terns Sterna caspia were observed on 25 August.
Sightings of Schalow's Tauraco Tauraco schalowi in the Kasane area were reported from Mowana Lodge on 23 September and Marina Lodge on 29 November. A Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audeberti was seen on 3 September at Shakawe, in the Okavango Panhandle; this is the 13th record for Botswana. A Bushveld Pipit Anthus caffer and a Long-billed Pipit A. similis were identified in the Lokgokgotho Hills south of Gaborone on 31 October.
The following records are from October 2009 - June 2010. Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis were at Maun sewage ponds on 19 March (one and at Sojwe Pan on 8 May (38). The major influx of African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus into South Africa in November–January, with some birds remaining until May, was also noticed in Botswana, with additional sightings being reported from Masetlheng Pan on 9–16 December (one), Bokaa Dam on 13 March (one), Thagale Dam on 2 May (five) and Gaborone Dam on 6 June (one).
Single Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were at Gaborone Dam on 3 February and near Francistown on 5 March and single European Honey Buzzards Pernis apivorus at Kasane on 19 December and Thagale Dam on 23 January. A Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus was seen at Nata Sanctuary on 26 March. In Chobe National Park, 15 Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni were counted on 16 March, 60 the next day and 30+ on 18 March.
Seven Wattled Cranes Bugeranus carunculatus were in Nata Sanctuary on 23 December and two on 26 March. At Bokaa Dam, 180 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were observed on 10 January, with 75 there on 14 March—all had left by 20th; one was at Thagale Dam on 23 January. A Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula was at Thagale Dam on 2 May and another at Shadishadi Pan on 8 May. Two White-fronted Plovers C. marginatus were at Maun sewage ponds on 10 March and another two at Tshwaane Pan in 2323D3, outside of the species' expected range, on 4 April. Maun sewage ponds attracted a Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos on 6 March and Phakalane sewage ponds an African Skimmer Rynchops flavirostris on 12 October.
A male African Emerald Cuckoo Chrysococcyx cupreus was near Maun on 27–29 December. At Mogobane Dam, 150 Common House Martins Delichon urbicum were noted on 18 April. A White-browed Robin Chat Cossypha heuglini was mist-netted in Francistown on 24 April, well outside the species' normal range. Warbler records include a River Warbler Locustella fluviatilis at Crocodile Pools, Notwane, on 12–20 March, a Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla at Xakanaxa on 23 December and two Garden Warblers S. borin singing from dense cover in the Kopong Hills on 3 January, with one at Crocodile Pools on 10 January. Finally, two Croaking Cisticolas Cisticola natalensis were observed at Kazuma Forest Reserve on 14 February.
The following records are from May 2009 - early January 2010. Single Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis were observed at Lobatse sewage ponds on 26 July, in the Nata River close to Nata Delta on 7 September and on a small pan near Ghanzi on 26 November. Some 56 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus, including brown immatures, were counted along the Boteti River between Makalamabedi and Samedupi in late July; c.42 were at Shashe Dam on 26 July, with 55 there on 23 January, and 43 at Nata Delta on 10 August. A single Pink-backed Pelican P. rufescens was seen along the Okavango River between Mohembo and Shakawe on 18 July; 45 were noted along the Savuti Channel between Mantswe Pan and Zibadianja on 17 July, one at Bokaa Dam on 10 January, and 13 at Shashe Dam on 23 January.
An African Openbill Lamelligerus anastomus at a pan in the extreme south-west in November, was well out of range; there was a large influx of this species in South Africa at the same time. Another was at Thagale Dam, north of Mochudi in the south-east on 23 January; this is only the third record for this region of Botswana. Two Black Storks Ciconia nigra were seen at the Crocodile Pools in Mokolodi Nature Reserve on 6 December. Large flocks of c.300 Woolly-necked Storks C. episcopus were noted in Moremi Game Reserve in early January. A single White Stork C. ciconia, probably from the South African breeding population, spent the winter at Malema Pan in Khama Rhino Sanctuary; two were at Mokubilo Pan on 30 July and one was at Lake Ngami on 17 August. Unusual in south-east Botswana, a Saddle-billed Stork Ephippiorhynchus senegalensis was at Mokolodi Nature Reserve, near Gaborone, in late October–early November. Few Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus were seen in July, other than four at Phakalane sewage ponds, near Gaborone, on 5th, three at Ramotswa sewage ponds and one at Thagale Dam on 12th, and 52 at Bokaa Dam on 26th, a single at Rysana Pan on 31st, with 300 at Nata Delta on 10 August; on 18 October there were 80 at Bokaa Dam. In mid December c.100,000 Lesser Flamingos Phoenicoenias minor were in the country, including c.60,000 along the edge of Sua Pan and 10,000 at Nata Sanctuary.
Two Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor were at Phakalane sewage ponds on 5 July, one at Bokaa Dam on 18 October, and eight at Thagale Dam on 23 January. White-backed Ducks Thalassornis leuconotus were seen at Mogobane Dam on 22 July (one), at Lake Ngami on 29 July (174) and at Mokolodi Crocodile Pools on 6 December (two). At Thagale Dam, 260 Southern Pochards Netta erythrophthalma (with 670 at nearby Bokaa Dam) on 23 January represents a good count. July counts of Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa included two at Phakalane sewage ponds on 5th, five at Jwaneng sewage ponds and 77 at Moshupa Dam on 20th and three at Lobatse sewage ponds on 26th; one was at Mokolodi Crocodile Pools on 6 December and 32 were at Sekagwana Dam, near Modipe Hill, in late December–early January.
An Osprey Pandion haliaetus was at Lake Ngami in late December. Three Hooded Vultures Necrosyrtes monachus were at a Giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis carcass and four at a pan in Moremi game reserve on 9 August, with six between Xakanaxa and Paradise pools on 15 September. Lappet-faced Vulture Aegypius tracheliotos records included three south of Ghanzi on 28 May, a pair nesting in the Central Kakahari Game Reserve in May, one near Gaborone on 12 July, one with White-backed Vultures Gyps africanus near Mopipi and two near Rakops on 31 July, one near Samedupi on 1 August, two in Khutse Game Reserve in September and one at Nxai pan on 9 September. Single White-headed Vultures Trigonoceps occipitalis were seen at the Khwai River on 9 August and in KhutseGame Reserve in September. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was photographed along the Old Matsiloje road south-east of Francistown on 22 November. A juvenile Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was seen at Gaborone Game Reserve on 21–22 December and a Pallid Harrier C. macrourus in Khutse Game Reserve on 28 November. A pair of Black Sparrowhawks Accipter melanoleucus was between Crocodile Pools, Ngotwane, and Ramotsa on 7 July and one was also regularly seen near Maun in late December–early January. Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni were seen in Khutse Game Reserve on 28 November and a Eurasian Hobby F. subbuteo north of Sua in early December.
African Crakes Crex egregia were frequent along the northern edge of Lake Ngami in late December. An estimated 2,000–3,000 Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus were at the same lake in August. In early December, c100 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were 20 km east of Sua Spit within Nata Sanctuary, Makgadikgadi Pans; a group of 4–8 was seen at Segakwana Dam, in the south-east, on 24 and 26 December, 180 at Bokaa Dam on 10 January, and one at Thagale Dam on 23 January. A Caspian Plover Charadrius asiaticus at Lake Ngami on 17 August was early. Thirty-six Ringed Plovers C. hiaticula were at Bokaa Dam on 18 October. At Nata Delta, a single Chestnut-banded Plover C. pallidus and four Bar-tailed Godwits Limosa lapponica were seen on 10 August. Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus were present along the Kwando River in the Caprivi on 27 October (one), at Mowana on 1 November (two), and at the sewage works west of Gang in early November (one). A Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres was at Bokaa Dam on 19 September, with two there on 18 October. Caspian Tern Sterna caspia records include two at Lake Ngami in late December, one at Phakalane sewage ponds in early January and two at Bokaa Dam on 10 January. Due to high water levels, there were few records of African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris, but on the Okavango River, where levels were dropping by mid July, two were observed between Mohembo and Shakawe Lodge on 18 July and ten between Phillipo Channel junction, one at the Nxamaseri turn-off and three on the Phillipo Channel on 19 July; at least one was at Mowana Lodge, Kasane and on the Chobe River within the park on 26–27 August.
An African Cuckoo Cuculus gularis was calling at Ngotwane, south of Gaborone, on 28 September—a very early date. Also there, a Klaas’s Cuckoo Chrysococcyx klaas was calling on 29 September. Of note was a pair of Grey-headed Kingfishers Halcyon leucocephala at Kumakwane, in the Gabane Hills, on 1 November; this is a summer visitor mainly to northern Botswana. A Black Cuckooshrike Campephaga flava south of Gaborone on 25 September is an early record. A single Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea on a lawn at Chobe Safari Lodge, Kasane, on 12 November was only the fourth record for Botswana. Along the Thamalakane River in Maun, 5–6 Thrush Nightingales Luscinia luscinia were heard in early January.
The following records are from February–May 2009. In south-east Botswana, three Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis were seen at Kgoro Pan on 15 February. Five Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa were observed at Gamoleele Dam on 17 January, six at Moshupa Dam on 25 January, one at Hildavale, south of Lobatse, on 15 February and three at Kgoro Pan on the same date. A pair of South African Shelducks Tadorna cana and a single White Stork Ciconia ciconia overwintered at a pan within Khama Rhino Sanctuary and a group of 100 Red-billed Oxpeckers Buphagus erythrorhynchus at Segakwana, near Modipe, north-east of Gaborone, were of note.
Raptors included a European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus at Ngotwane, near Gaborone, on 12 April, two Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotos at Kgoro Pan on 15 February) and three at Tau Pan, in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, on 3 March, with a pair nesting east of Deception Valley, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and three at a road kill just south of Ghanzi on 28 May. A pair of Western Banded Snake Eagles Circaetus cinerascens was seen on three occasions near Seronga in April–May. About 60 Wattled Cranes Bugeranus carunculatus were counted on the Boro floodplain in the Okavango, near the buffalo fence, on 30 May.
Four Pectoral Sandpipers Calidris melanotos, observed at Lake Ngami on 14 February, stayed until at least 19th. In mid January, a Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus was reported from near Xakanaxa, Moremi. A Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa was seen on an open pan c.2 km from Kwetsani Camp, in the Okavango, on 23 March and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus c.20 km south of Kasane on 26 February. On 12 April, a Lesser Yellowlegs T. flavipes was photographed in Moremi Game Reserve; this is the first record for Botswana and only the fifth for southern Africa. Records of European Rollers Coracias garrulus included c.17 along the Nata–Maun road in mid February, four along the A1 north of Artesia and four at Marakalo Ranch in late March.
The following records are from July 2008–January 2009. At Shashe Dam, in eastern Botswana, 42 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus were counted on 3 August whilst 14 were observed at Lake Ngami on 27 July and six on the Boteti River near Samedupi on 3 August. In the Okavango Delta, c.57 Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula were noted on the Jao / Kwetsani flats on 4 August. At two breeding colonies in Moremi Game Reserve, 132 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis were seen at Xaxanaka Lediba on 13 August and 25 at Gadikwe Lediba on 14 August. Over 1,500 African Openbills Anastomus lamelligerus were observed on the Chobe floodplain near Kasane on 3 July, with a Black Sparrowhawk Accipiter melanoleucus along the river on the same date. In December, a Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus, hunting over Impalila Island, and an African Hobby Falco cuvierii were noted. On 21 December, a male Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus, 12 Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni and 300 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were found on Dautsa Flats, west of Sehitwa.
In the south-east, a total of 119 Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa was seen at five sites in July. A single Fulvous Whistling Duck Dendrocygna bicolor was at Bokaa Dam on 20 July and single White-backed Ducks Thallasornis leuconotus at Thagale Dam on 20 July and Sojwe Pan on 12 August. A Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla was seen at Planet Baobab near Gweta, north of the Makgadikgadi, in late November. On 12 December, c.100 Chestnut-banded Plovers Charadrius pallidus were seen at Rysana Pan and 23 at Mopipi Dam, where over 4,000 waders and terns were counted, including 1,000 Black-winged Pratincoles, 1,500 Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus and two White-fronted Plovers C. marginatus. A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos, 304 Black-winged Pratincoles and a Caspian Tern Sterna caspia were at Bokaa Dam on 18 January.
In the Makagadikgadi Pans, 31 Chestnut-banded Plovers and three Caspian Terns were seen between Sua Spit and Nata Delta, in the north of Sua Pan, on 10 August. A flock of 500 pratincoles, most of which were Black-winged Pratincoles, was at Mopipi Dam, in the south of the Makgadikgadi system, on 30 November. In Moremi Game Reserve, a Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus seen at Xakanaxa on 18 November was possibly the same as that seen on 21 August at Dead Tree Island. At Maun, a Garganey Anas querquedula was seen at the sewage ponds on 20 January, whilst a Thick-billed Cuckoo Pachycoccyx audebertii was of note in November. At Lake Ngami c.28,500 waterbirds were counted on 14–16 December, including 550 Fulvous Whistling Ducks, 200 Black-winged Pratincoles, two Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola, a Pectoral Sandpiper, ten Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and 18 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris.
Pink-billed Larks Spizocorys conirostris were numerous west of Rysana Pan and at the edge of the central Kalahari Game Reserve in mid August. A Rosy-throated Longclaw Macronyx ameliae was found on the Jao / Kwetsani flats, in the Okavango, on 4 August. Ten Bronze Mannikins Spermestes cucullatus were drinking at a garden pool in Francistown on 31 October; this is outside their usual range. Two Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis were also seen in Francistown, consolidating their hold in east and south-east Botswana. A trip along the border with Namibia, east of Mohembo, on 17–18 December produced an African Hobby, a Corncrake Crex crex in 1821B, pairs of Mosque Swallows Hirundo senegalensis at three locations, Purple-banded Sunbirds Cinnyris bifasciatus in 1822A2 and 1822B1, and six Sharp-tailed Starlings Lamprotornis acuticaudatus.
The following records are from the period November 2007–April 2008. Three South African Shelduck Tadorna cana at Lake Ngami on 3 February were the first at this site since the 1970s, and well north of the species’ usual range in south-east Botswana. Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa also occurs mainly in the south-east where 56 were seen in January at various sites; of note were 51 at Jwaneng sewage ponds, one at Sojwe Pan on 15 January and another in the Moshaweng Valley near Kotoloname on 18 January. White-backed Ducks Thallasornis leuconotus bred at Lake Ngami, with numerous broods seen in late January; this species was also seen on the northern arm of Ntwetwe Pan in the Makgadikgadi on 30 January.
A flock of 17 Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum was seen at Nata Sanctuary in Sua Pan in the Makgadikgadi system on 13 March. Other noteworthy records included a Black Stork Ciconia nigra south of Kasane, a male Pallid Harrier Circus macrourus at Nata Sanctuary on 3 January, a Denham’s Bustard Neotis denhami at Tale Pans, south-west of Lake Ngami, on 4–5 February, a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus and a Eurasian Curlew N. arquata at the Botsash site on Sua Pan in early January and a Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola in the Linyanti on 24–26 November. Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni were recorded at Thagale Dam, 50 km north of Gaborone, on 15 January (one), at Sojwe Pan on 13 January (four) and flocks of up to 500 at Lake Ngami on 31 January – 4 February and at Masalanyane Pan, near Sehitwa, on 16 February.
Along the Namibian border, between Mohembo and the Linyanti, an African Hobby Falco cuvierii, a pair of Grey-headed Parrots Poicephalus fuscicollis, a Shelley’s Sunbird Cinnyris shelleyi and four flocks of Sharp-tailed Starlings Lamprotornis acuticaudus were recorded on 9 – 14 February. Shelley’s Sunbirds continue to be reported from the Chobe area.
A Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava was at Thagale Dam, on 15 January. In the southern Kalahari, between Tsetseng and Dutlwe, Buffy Anthus vaalensis, Plain-backed A. leucophrys and Long-tailed Pipits A. longicaudatus were identified on 21–23 April.
The following records are from the period June - December 2007, with one from March. On 22–23 July, 834 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus were counted on the Chobe River and its floodplain, 19 Pink-backed Pelicans P. rufescens at Shashe Dam, and 180 Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus and 31 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor at Bokaa Dam. Some 50 Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula were on the Boro River on 14–15 July, 16 on Jao Flats on 17 July, and seven on the Chobe River on 22 July. On 17 June, 63 Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa were found at three sites, the largest count being 44 at Jwaneng Sewage Pond.
Jackal Buzzards Buteo rufofuscus have been noted at least four times since August. Of interest was an Orange River Francolin Francolinus levaillantioides heard near Oodi in November. During waterbird counts in the Okavango in July, 68 Wattled Cranes Bugeranus carunculatus were recorded at six sites. Common Quail Coturnix coturnix and Burchell’s Coursers Cursorius rufus were observed at Lake Ngami on 29 July; the latter species was also found at Tshane Tshane Pan.
Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola were reported from Bokaa Dam on 22 July (one), where there was also a White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus, and in the Liyanti at the mouth of the Savuti Channel on 24 November (two). Two Caspian Terns Sterna caspia were seen at Shashe dam on 30 September. African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were observed on the Okavango River near Shakawe on 7–8 August (39) and on the Chobe River on 22 July (42). Large numbers of Grey-headed Gulls Larus cirrocephalus were recorded, including 377 on the Chobe River on 22–23 July and 161 at Nata Delta.
A survey of Short-clawed Lark Certhilauda chuana in south-eastern Botswana in November–December found the species to be common on fallow fields north of Gaborone around Oodi and Kopong, between Molepolole and Thamaga and between Molepolole and Hatsalatladi, and further south around Ranaka and Ntlhantlhe. Two Tree Pipits Anthus trivialis were discovered at Chanoga, on the Boteti River south-east of Maun, on 18 November; this species is rare this far south. A Bokmakierie Telophorus zeylonus was near Nnywane Dam north of Lobatse on 9 March and a Southern Boubou Laniarius ferrugineus was heard along the Gamoleele River near Molepolole in December.
On 8 September, the first Rose-coloured Starling Sturnus roseus for Botswana was photographed at Mowana Safari Lodge, at Kasane in the north, amongst a large group of Wattled Starlings Creatophora cinerea on the golf course; this irruptive species very rarely strays south of North Africa. Further down the Boteti at Leroo le Tau good numbers of Cape Sparrows Passer capensis were noted from 23–25 September; this sparrow is scarce in northern Botswana.
The following records are mostly from the period December 2006 - early June 2007, with a few from earlier. Totals of 3,206 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus and 49 Pink-backed Pelicans P. rufescens were at Nata Delta on 30 January, with another seven of the latter at Sua Spit on 11 February. On 2 January a Black Stork Ciconia nigra was seen at Dopotta, Tuli Block, and four in nearby Majale; two were at Coombe Farm on the Limpopo on 2–3 June. At Sua Spit, in the Makgadikgadi system, there were an estimated 100,000+ Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor on 11 February, together with 500+ Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus. In early March an aerial survey was made of the flamingo colony on Sua Pan. With the lack of rain and intense heat during late January and February only 1,000–2,000 chicks remained, huddled around an already abandoned nesting colony; no adults were on nests.
Away from the northern wetlands, a Fulvous Whistling Duck Dendrocygna bicolor was at Bokaa Dam on 21 January and three at Sua Spit on 11 February; a count of 500 was made on the Chobe floodplain in January. There were 831 White-backed Ducks Thalassornis leuconotus on the Boteti River and 204 on the Thamalakane River near Maun during January. The total count of Maccoa Ducks Oxyura maccoa in south-east Botswana in January was 91 birds at four sites. Knob-billed Ducks Sarkidiornis melanotos rarely breed in the south-east, exceptions being in the wet summer of 1999/2000, so two ducklings in the Kopong Hills on 4 March 2006 are of note. On the Chobe floodplain 3,559 were seen in late July 2006. A male Northern Pintail Anas acuta was observed in Chobe National Park on 2 February.
Two nests of African White-backed Vultures Gyps africanus were seen with well-grown juveniles on 23 September 2006, between Phitsane Molopo and Metlojane in the south-east, whilst in northern Botswana 172 nests were located in an aerial survey. At least 20 nests were seen near the Limpopo River at Coombe Farm on 2–3 June. A male Western Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus was at Lake Ngami in early January and two were reported from Nata Sanctuary on 30 January, where four Montagu’s Harriers C. pygargus were noted in the month. A single Pallid Harrier C. macrourus was seen further south at Sua Spit in early February. Black Sparrowhawks Accipiter melanoleucus were seen in March/April at three sites in south-east Botswana: near Kanye, at Ngotane near Gaborone and near Mogobane. Jackal Buzzards Buteo rufofuscus were observed near Kanye on 21 January (one) and near Lobatse (a pair). Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus were reported from near Francistown in early January, on the Chobe River near Kasane on 27 January and in Chobe National Park, where two were seen in early February. The only significant group of Wattled Cranes Bugeranus carunculatus was on the Jao Flats, Okavango Delta, where 56 were present on 27 January. There were 12 Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum at Nata Sanctuary on 30 January and two at Sua Spit on 11 February; this species was also seen at Kazuma Pan on 31 January and at Savuti waterhole, on the western side of Savuti Marsh, on 6 February.
There was a count of 210 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni at Bokaa Dam on 21 January and of over 1,000 at Lake Ngami in the second week of January. In the same month, two White-fronted Plovers Charadrius marginatus were at Bokaa Dam, one at Lake Ngami and eight at Maun sewage ponds. Also at Bokaa Dam in January were five Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus. The only sightings of Chestnut-banded Plovers C. pallidus were in the Makgadikgadi system where 14 were at Nata Sanctuary on 30 January and eight at Sua Spit on 11 February. There was a count of 59 Common Ringed Plovers C. hiaticula at Bokaa Dam on 21 January. African Wattled Lapwings Vanellus senegallus are scarce in south-east Botswana but three were seen at Lobatse on 28 October 2006 and 8–12 on 23 January. Single Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus were reported from Dopotta, Tuli Block, on 5 January 2006, Gamoleele Dam on 21 January 2007 and along the Chobe River on 8 April. In the southern Okavango Delta, 14 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa were seen on 26–27 December and 10 at Lake Ngami in the second week of January.
A single Grey-headed Gull Larus cirrocephalus was at a small pan near Sojwe Pan on 21 May 2006, five at Nata Delta and 30 at Sua Spit on 10/11 June 2006, with three there on 8 October. Small numbers bred at Lake Ngami in late October. In 2007, 98 were counted at Nata Delta on 30 January and 65 at Sua Spit on 11 February. An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull L. fuscus was photographed in the Linyanti in December and two immatures were at Lake Ngami in early January. A flock of 38 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris was on the Boteti River on 28 January.
Two Grey-headed Kingfishers Halcyon leucocephala were at Dopotta, in the Tuli Block, on 30 December, one near Kazungula in early January and two on the Jao Flats on 27 January. Also at Dopotta, hundreds of Dusky Larks Pinarocorys nigricans were present on 28 December–9 January, with up to ten seen together. The summer drought may have resulted in the appearance of three groups of Grey-backed Sparrow Larks Eremopterix verticalis near Mogobane Dam on 15 April, well away from their usual range. In the south-east five Orange-throated Longclaws Macronyx capensis were on grassland north of Kgoro Pan on 15 October 2006.
Highlights of a trip in south-west Botswana in late April - early May included a pair of Burchell’s Coursers Cursorius rufus at Tshane Tshane Pan, c.100 Stark’s Larks Eremalauda starki at Swart Pan, c.12 in two locations in the Nossob Valley within Botswana, and c.40 at Tshane Tshane Pan, pairs and small groups of Pink-billed Larks Spizocorys conirostris noted on six occasions in dune slacks, a Plain-backed Pipit Anthus leucophrys near Sita Pan, a pale Tractrac Chat Cercomela tractrac at Swart Pan and a pair of slightly darker chats at Tshane Tshane Pan, with a total of 39 Dusky Sunbirds Cinnyris fuscus at the northern boundary of Mabuasehube Game Reserve (part of Kgalakgadi Transfrontier Park), probably representing an influx into Botswana.
Records from June - December 2006 include the following. In July, in the Gaborone area, were 31 Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus, including a pair with a 10–14 day-old juvenile, at Bokka Dam and nine at Moshupa Dam. On the Boteti River, in the southern Okavango Delta, c.1,000 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus were seen on 28 July and at Lake Ngami some 342 in late July. The highest winter count of Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula was of 27 on the Jao/Ketswane Flats, in the Okavango, in July. A large winter flock of 213 White Storks Ciconia ciconia was at Sojwe Pan on 11 June and 94 were at Lake Ngami on 20 August. Along the Chobe River, between the old Chobe National Park entrance and Ngoma Bridge, more than 16,000 birds were counted in July. A total of 92 Yellow-billed Storks Mycteria ibis, over 10,000 White-faced Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna viduata and 3,500 Knob-billed Ducks Sarkidiornis melanotus were of note. One Fulvous Whistling Duck Dendrocygna bicolor was seen at Ramotswa sewage ponds. Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa numbered 17 at Bokaa Dam, ten at Gamoleele Dam, one at Bathoen Dam and eight at Jwaneng sewage ponds.
An adult Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was seen in the Tuli Block on 18 June. Surveys by air in northern Botswana revealed 172 nests of White-backed Vultures Gyps africanus, nine nests of Lappet-faced Vultures Torgos tracheliotus, 12 nests of White-headed Vulture Trigonoceps occipitalis and many nests of other raptors and storks. In the south Jackal Buzzard Buteo rufofuscus sightings have been more frequent, with birds noted near Otse and Lobatse. A flock of Wattled Cranes Bugeranus carunculatus was observed along the Boteti River and another flock of 17 at Mea Pan in May.
Few unusual waders were seen in this period, but there was a Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus at Chanoga on the Botetii River on 11 August, three Sanderling Calidris alba at Sua Spit in the Makgadikgadi system on 8 October and a Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus at Lobatse sewage ponds on 3 November. There were seven White-fronted Plovers Charadrius marginatus at Sua Spit on 11 June and 8 October and one at Shashe Dam on 1 July, whilst seven Chestnut-banded Plovers C. pallidus were seen at Sua Pan and 46 at Mea Pan, including 19 juveniles. Four immature Lesser Black-backed Gulls Larus fuscus were at Lake Ngami on 29 August.
A dead Pennant-winged Nightjar Macrodipteryx vexillarius was found at Phakalane, just north of Gaborone on 15 September; this is far south of its usual range. In November a Broad-billed Roller Eurystomus glaucurus was seen just north of Lobatse, the first record of this migrant in south-east Botswana. Also outside their known range were Bradfield's Hornbill Tockus bradfieldi, Spike-heeled Lark Chersomanes albofasciata and Dusky Sunbird Cinnyris fuscus in the Groot Laagte area, north of Ghanzi, on 28 August.
Since the discovery of South African Cliff Swallows Hirundo spilodera nesting at Ramatlabama in 2000, a further four colonies have been located in south-east Botswana, the most recent being c.50 pairs on a derelict house at Papatlo, north-west of Ramatlabama.
The excellent rains in December 2005 and early 2006 throughout the country brought some bonuses. In the north there was a good influx of crakes, with African Crakes Crex egregia and Spotted Crakes Porzana porzana recorded from Sua Spit in the Makgadikgadi system, and numerous African and Striped Crakes Aenigmatolimnas marginalis in the Okavango Delta, whilst in the south-east Melodious Larks Mirafra cheniana, Cloud Cisticolas Cisticola textrix (new for Botswana) and Bokmakieries Telophorus zeylonus were observed between Pitsane Siding and Kgoro Pan. A Red (Grey) Phalarope Phalaropus fulicarius was reported from Nxai Pan and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve.
There were 41 Black-necked Grebes Podiceps nigricollis at Kgoro Pan in south-east Botswana and a single at Pitsane Pan on 11 January; in the Makgadikgadi system three were seen at Nata Sanctuary and 11 at Sua Spit on 3-4 February. Particularly exciting was the location of six breeding colonies of Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula in the Okavango Delta in March-May 2006. Nests had eggs and chicks, and were sited in reedbeds and on palm islands. In 2005 known colonies were not in use, but again the good rains seem to have acted as a stimulus to breeding of Slaty Egrets in 2006, often alongside Rufous-bellied Herons Butorides rufiventris and Squacco Herons Ardeola ralloides. A Black Stork Ciconia nigra was noted at Dopotta in the Tuli Block on 3 January 2006 and another in the Dopotta River on 17 March. An estimated 81,474 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor (c.40,737 pairs) and 24,380 Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus (12,190 pairs) were counted from aerial photographs of the breeding colonies in Sua Pan on 28 January. Maccoa Duck Oxyura maccoa, usually found only in south-east and eastern Botswana, bred in the Makgadikgadi Pans and a single bird was seen on Mea Pan in the south of the system in May.
An Osprey Pandion haliaetus was seen at Gaborone Dam in the Yacht Club area in December 2005, and up to three were on the Boteti River above Samedupi in mid-January. Two Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum were noted at Sua Spit on 14 February, whilst on 25 February eight were seen flying to roost in a reed-bed near the inflow of the Semowane River into Sua Pan. Recent evidence suggests that a pair of Blue Cranes Anthropoides paradisea had nested in the Makgadikgadi Pans up to 2002. As most records of Thrush Nightingale (or Sprosser) Luscinia luscinia come from the north and east of Botswana, a record of two in the Kopong Hills on 4 March is of interest. So too the occurrence of Pale Flycatchers Bradornis pallidus south of Gaborone.
Records from the period January 2005-January 2006 include the following. There was a high count of 166 Great Crested Grebes Podiceps cristatus at Bokaa Dam, in the south-east on 24 July. At Letsibogo Dam, in eastern Botswana, there was an exceptional count of 450 Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax carbo on 1 July. Counts at just eight roosts in the Okavango Delta in July-August produced over 1,200 Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula or dark egrets, presumed to be Slaty Egrets (and not Black Herons E. ardesiaca), the majority of these at just four roosts. On 1-2 July, 23 Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens were seen at Letsibogo Dam; six nests were occupied. At a ’heronry’ on islands in Lediba la Dinonyane near Kananain in the Okavango Delta, 33 Pink-backed Pelican nests were counted on 13 September, with adults incubating on most. There were also 20 nests of Marabou Storks Leptoptilos crumeniferus and 592 nests of African Openbill Storks Anastomosus lamelligerus. One Black Stork Ciconia nigra was seen on the Thamalakane River in Maun on 23 April and three along the Tati River at Francistown on 11 February.
An estimated 10,000-12,000 Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor were nesting on Sua Pan in late January 2005. On 2 March, some 5,000-10,000 birds were still there, seen from Thlapama Hill near Mea Pan. Apart from small numbers of Lesser Flamingos at dams and sewage ponds in east and south-east Botswana, there were c.300 at Bokaa Dam on 3 December and c.400 at Lake Ngami in mid December, plus 330 Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus.
A young Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres, fitted with a satellite-tracking device at Waterberg, Namibia, spent two weeks in the western part of the Okavango Delta in mid 2005. Lake Ngami, in north-west Botswana, flooded for the second consecutive year. On 26 July and 7 August there were 33 and 46 White Storks Ciconia ciconia, respectively. These were presumably European birds staying on. In September there was a single Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus. In mid December, when the lake was drying, there were 750 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus, 67 Pink-backed Pelicans, flamingos (see above), many waterfowl including 6,400 Red-billed Teal Anas erythrorhyncha, an Osprey Pandion haliaetus, c.15 Lesser Kestrels Falco naumanni, 1,000 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni, 30 Common Ringed Plovers Charadrius hiaticula, 60 Caspian Plovers C. asiaticus, five Grey Plovers Pluvialis squatarola and 12 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa.
Two Corncrakes Crex crex were ringed in Maun at the start of December. Two Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica pavonina were near Maya Pan, in Moremi Game Reserve, on 21 May and one was south-east of Mmatshumo, in 2125B4, in September 2005. About 300 Chestnut-banded Plovers Charadrius pallidus, two Greater Sand Plovers C. leschenaultii, a Grey Plover, four Sanderling Calidris alba and a Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata were at the drying edge of Sua Pan and in drying pools in the River Nata, in the Nata Delta, on 12 August. At Bokaa Dam there was a Black-tailed Godwit on 25 September and three Grey Plovers and two Black-winged Pratincoles on 3 December.
Records from the period August 2004-March 2005 include the following. At least three breeding colonies of African Openbill Anastomus lamelligerus, comprising many thousands of individuals, were found in Phragmites in the northern part of the Okavango Delta between August and October.
In December-January, some 114,970 waterbirds were counted throughout Botswana. Almost 95,000 of these were in the Okavango Delta with more than half (58,500) at Lake Ngami. Of particular significance at that lake were 5,200 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus, 980 Greater Flamingos Phoenicopterus (ruber) roseus, 20,000 Red-billed Teal Anas erythrorhyncha, 4,750 Knob-billed Ducks Sarkidiornis melanotos, 4,200 Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus, 1,000 Black-winged Pratincoles Glareola nordmanni, 500 Caspian Plovers Charadrius asiaticus and 240 Whiskered Terns Chlidonias hybrida. Amongst the many waders on the mudflats were 21 Black-tailed Godwits Limosa limosa and two Eurasian Curlews Numenius arquata, plus at various times Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres, Common Redshank Tringa totanus, Lesser Yellowlegs T. flavipes and Terek Sandpiper Xenus cinereus (the latter three still being adjudicated by the records committee). Throughout the delta a total of 233 Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula was seen, including one flock of 63. The Thamalakane and Boteti rivers also supported large numbers of birds (14,036) and of particular note were 1,666 Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor, 543 White-backed Ducks Thalassornis leuconotus, 1,150 Southern Pochards Netta erythrophthalma, three or four Ospreys Pandion haliaetus, a Eurasian Curlew, four Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus, a Ruddy Turnstone and 23 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris. Two more Ospreys and three single Green Sandpipers Tringa ochropus were at various sites in the delta. The Chobe River floodplain produced three Black-tailed Godwits amongst 6,500 waterbirds in January, and two Denham’s Bustards Neotis denhami.
In the Makgadikgadi Greater and Lesser Flamingos Phoeniconaias minor were breeding in January. Also of note in the north of Sua Pan were six Grey Crowned Cranes Balearica regulorum, a Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus and 63 Caspian Terns Sterna caspia. At Letsibogo Dam, in eastern Botswana, there was yet another Osprey in January. In the south-east, Bokaa Dam produced 300 Black-winged Pratincoles, a Black-tailed Godwit, a Ruddy Turnstone and a Terek Sandpiper in December–January, and two African Skimmers at the end of February-a very unusual species in southern Botswana.
Other records, not yet accepted by the records committee, all in October-February, include Botswana's second Garganey Anas querquedula at Lake Ngami on 23 February, a Greater Spotted Eagle Aquila clanga near Kasane, an Augur Buzzard Buteo augur and a Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus on the Limpopo, a Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos at Bokaa Dam, a pair of Crowned Hornbills Tockus alboterminatus and Angola Swallows Hirundo angolensis in the Linyanti and at Kazungula, and a Whinchat Saxicola rubetra at Kasane on 17 February. In March, an adult Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus was seen at Stevensford Lodge, on the Limpopo River, on 19th, a Black-tailed Godwit in Chobe National Park on 6th and a Pectoral Sandpiper at Stanley's Camp, in the Okavango, on 13th.
A Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus was claimed from the south-east, on the Botswana side of the Limpopo River near Stevensford Lodge, north of Sherwood, on 28 August 2004. In the Kwando River Concession, in the north, four Angola Swallows Hirundo angolensis were present on 29 September; this appears to be the first record for Botswana.
Records from November 2003–March 2004. A female Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae was seen near the old gate linking Chobe National Park to Kasane, in mid-January. Other interesting species in mid-January included Corncrake Crex crex and Thrush Nightingale Luscinia luscinia along the Chobe River. An adult female and a juvenile Olive Woodpecker Dendropicos griseocephalus at Mowana Lodge, Kasane, on 15 November, represents a first record for the country; previous sightings in the area were made across the Chobe River in the Eastern Caprivi, Namibia, and near Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. The first Isabelline Shrike Lanius isabellinus for southern Africa was found at Kaa game viewing area, on the edge of Gemsbok National Park, on 19 March; numerous Red-backed Shrikes L. collurio and Lesser Grey Shrikes L. minor were also present. Northern Grey-headed Sparrows Passer griseus were recorded around Mowana Lodge, Kasane, on 14-16 November.
Records from June-October 2003. Successful breeding by four pairs of Pink-backed Pelicans Pelecanus rufescens at Letsibogo Dam, in the east, during the dry winter months was the first breeding record for this species away from the Okavango Delta and the Makgadikgadi Pans; nine fully grown young were present on 28 September. The Chobe River was rich in waterbirds in July-August, when 23,896 individuals were counted. Water had backed up the Chobe River from the Zambezi so that the Chobe was flowing upriver and into Lake Liambezi. On the western Chobe floodplain, over 2,250 Great White Pelicans Pelecanus onocrotalus (9% of the southern African population), 104 Intermediate Egrets Egretta intermedia , c700 African Spoonbills Platalea alba, c5,565 White-faced Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna viduata , 1,925 Fulvous Whistling Ducks Dendrocygna bicolor , 1,756 Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma and 1,000 Collared Pratincoles Glareola pratincola were counted. A new colony of Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula was discovered in the Jao area of the Okavango Delta, with 20-30 pairs breeding in June-July. Single Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were on the Okavango River near Shakawe in mid July, at Kasane sewage ponds on 24 August, and at Letsibogo Dam on 11 September. There were unconfirmed reports of a Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture Gyps rueppellii and a dead White-winged Flufftail Sarothrura ayresi in the Okavango. The buff-coloured inland race of White-fronted Plover Charadrius marginatus was seen at Letsibogo and Shashe Dams and in the east on the Motloutse River during the winter. Two Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus at Bokaa Dam near Gaborone on 11 August were of note, being a rare species inland and for the early date. Three Caspian Terns Sterna caspia were seen at Kavimba, on the western Chobe floodplain, on 24 July. A count of 157 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris was made on 7 August on a sandbank on the Okavango River near Mohembo. Swamp Nightjars Caprimulgus natalensis were heard at three locations on the western Chobe floodplain near Satau on 20–22 August. A flock of c50 Horus Swifts Apus horus was seen at Talana Farms, in the east, on 1 June. A Shelley's Sunbird Cinnyris shelleyi was claimed from Mowana Safari Lodge, Kasane, in the extreme north-east, on 18 October. There was an unprecedented influx of Stark’s Larks Eremalauda starki into eastern Botswana, from Bobonong across the Zimbabwe border in the Tuli Circle, in June-October, the most notable record being that of a flock of c300 on 29 July. Three Stark's Larks were seen at Kazuma Pan, in the north-east, on 24 August; like the records from Bobonong, this is c1000 km beyond its usual range in the Karoo and Namibia. Also in the Tuli Circle, an influx of Lark-like Buntings Emberiza impetuani took place from March onwards.
Records from the period October 2002–March 2003. A Great Bittern Botaurus stellaris was reported from the Guma Lagoon area, in the west of the Okavango Delta, in February. During waterbird surveys in the Delta in January–February, 278 Slaty Egrets Egretta vinaceigula were seen entering mixed roosts at dusk. Up to 400 Woolly-necked Storks Ciconia episcopus were observed in Moremi Game Reserve in early January. A male Garganey Anas querquedula in eclipse plumage was seen on the Boteti River near Maun during the surveys; this constitutes the fifth record for the country. Single Ospreys Pandion haliaetus were seen on the Chobe River, at Kasane sewage ponds, on the Okavango River near Etsatsa Island (on 7 February), and at Letsibogo Dam in the east (on 16 February). Single Pallid Harriers Circus macrourus were observed in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, at Nata Sanctuary and at Tale Pan. A European Honey Buzzard Pernis apivorus was at Winteroord, northern Tuli Block, on 9 March. Two Spotted Crakes Porzana porzana were near Maun and a Corncrake Crex crex was in the north-west of the Delta; both are rare in Botswana. A Baillon’s Crake Porzana pusilla was found at Mohembo, in the north, during February. Some 54 Wattled Cranes Bugeranus carunculatus were noted in the Delta, whereas on the Chobe River a Grey Crowned Crane Balearica regulorum was seen. A notably large flock of 210 Wattled Cranes was seen c50 km north-east of Gumare in the Delta on 19 April. Flocks of 102 and 78 African Skimmers Rynchops flavirostris were seen in the north and south of the Delta, as well as several smaller groups of 3-6 birds, in early January. A Black Saw-wing Psalidoprocne pristoptera was observed at Dopotta, northern Tuli Block, on 3 October; this is only second record for Botswana. In the south, six Eurasian Reed Warblers Acrocephalus scirpaceus were trapped in December and February at Phakalane sewage ponds near Gaborone, where the species is regularly recorded from November to March. A flock of 60 Sharp-tailed Starling Lamprotornis acuticaudus was c25 km north-east of Beetsha, on the northern side of the Okavango Delta, on 22 April. Common Mynas Acridotheres tristis continue to spread, with records from established areas in Lobatse and Gaborone, and now also in Mahalapye. Twelve Parasitic Weavers Anomalospiza imberbis were at Nxamaseri, northern Botswana, from 9 to 14 October. An influx of Lark-like Buntings Emberiza impetuani into eastern Botswana occurred from March onwards, with a few records from the north where the species is uncommon; the combination in these areas of low rainfall and late rains, producing seeding grass, had presumably caused this influx.