Request For Volunteer Ringers

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A request from the African Waterbird Ringing Coordinator

Hi ringers

Last year we tried to arrange a ringing expedition to the lake but unfortunately we could not put something together in the time that was available. As many of you know, the lake filled again this year and as such we are trying to put together another waterbird ringing trip to take advantage of the masses of birds that congregate at the lake when it is inundated. It falls nicely into AFRING's objectives and as such I am trying to use this as the primary motivation to organise an official expedition/course at the lake.

Together with Peter D'Arcy and Stephanie Tyler (Botswana ringers), the dates that we have set for a possible trip are from 3-18 December 2005 as lake levels may be good-ideal around this time. We are hoping to secure a blanket permit for all ringers that would be interested in coming along and at this stage it seems there is a good chance that the Parks and Wildlife Dept will issue one. Most of the trip hinges around the permit application so at this stage nothing is final - but there is a good chance that the trip will go ahead. Thus, in terms of your planning please bookmark these dates in the interim should you be keen on coming.

The reason for the two week period is that it should allow enough time to do as much ringing as possible (taking into account the possibility of rainy days) and that it will allow people to come and go when it suits them. We are hoping that as schools break up in early December (in SA at least) it will allow more people the chance to come along. No one will be obliged to stay for the entire two week period but, of course, if you want to then great! Current and prospective trainees would be encouraged to come as it would provide an excellent opportunity to gain some valuable waterbird ringing experience.

In terms of accomodation, camping is going to be the order of the day and everyone must supply their own camping equipment and food. I am trying to get some funding from AEWA which I am hoping I can use to subsidise at least some of the fuel costs, but should this not come through, everyone should be prepared to cover their own transport costs. If funding does come through, I would like to use the expedition as a training platform and part of the time at Ngami would probably be dedicated to this (i.e. sort of an ad-hoc southern African AFRING waterbird ringing course). In this light, I am trying to get Richard Hearn out from the UK (he is with the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and Duck Specialist Group) who is an expert duck ringer to provide some training and guidelines on duck trapping.

So, at this stage, if you are interested in coming, please let me have your names and possible dates you would like to be there. Once I hear from Peter re: the permit, and location of camping site I will inform everyone and, if everything is OK, I will put out a list of what to bring, directions, etc.

If you have any questions at this stage please let me know.

Regards Doug

Doug Harebottle
African Waterbird Ringing Coordinator
Avian Demography Unit
Dept of Statistical Sciences
University of Cape Town
Rondebosch 7701
South Africa
Tel. +27 21 6502330
Fax. +27 21 6503434
Cell. +27 82 7363087