The AWC is an annual waterbird census carried out by volunteers every January (sometimes spills over to February) at various sites thoughout Asia. Analysis of data collected during AWC help Wetlands International, the organizer, in long term planning for the conservation of waterbirds and their wetland habitats.
Many years in the past MNS Miri has been quite diligent in conducting this yearly survey. Storm’s Stork (Loagan Bunut) and Lesser Adjutant (Lutong Beach) were a couple of our more memorable sightings that made quite a stir locally. Over the years with dwindling numbers of avid birders amongst our membership base, we had to do away with our participation altogether for several years.
We started again in 2008 with the revival of our small bird group. Several hundreds waders were sighted by our team in Kuala Baram back in January including several tagged waders and the ever elusive Malaysian Plover throughout the year.
This year again MNS Miri was involved in AWC. Birders, volunteers went out collecting data in places important to birds to record population figures. Collected data will be submitted to Asian Wetlands for collation to be used for population studies and conservation planning.
This is perhaps the best opportunity in the year to get involved in citizen science and enjoy nature. Many (we want more in the years to come) were involved in carrying counts in various places in Miri.
Over January several weekends were dedicated to this activy where members picked a day on which counts were organised. We spent a couple of hours outdoors and checkout some very interesting and some very elusive birds.
The following are the locations we covered. We gathered, we went out, and we counted. It was all fun all around. Amidst the "landas" wetness and angry clouds, sometimes blue skies did peeked out on several occasions.
KB Lagoon (South) 03.01.09
KB Lagoon (North) 04.01.09
Kpg Masjid (Prawn Farms) 10.01.09
Kpg Masjid (Kpg Masjid Proper) 11.01.09
Miri Marina (near Park Everly) 17.01.09
Kuala Baram (Vegetable Farm) 18.01.09
Loagan Bunut 24-25-26.01.09
KBaram Island 14.02-15.02
You don't need to have a Phd in Ornithology to participate, every count you do, you learn something new about waterbirds and birds in general. If you are lucky, you get to clock up a few "lifers" yourself as far as birding is concerned.
"Lifers" - that special bird you are only likely to see once in your lifetime.
Our list so far:
Reclaimed Old Miri River site (in front of HSBC) Dec 13th 2008:-
Pacific Golden Plovers (20), Common Greenshank(2), Marsh Sandpiper(1), Little Ringed Plover(1), Red-necked Stint(5), Long-toed Stint(1), Common Sandpiper(5), Wood Sandpiper(5), Little Egret(1), Great Egret(2), White-breasted Waterhen(2).
Kuala Baram Lagoon (South) Jan 03rd:-
Participants: Maye Yap, Nazeri Abghani, Sara Wong, Dominique Wan, Mary Foley, Mike Foley, Kyla Foley, Alyssa Foley
Birds: Kentish Plover (10), Lesser Sandplover(50), Sanderling(30), Red-necked Stints (20), Common Greenshank (1), Little Egret (2), Pacific Reef Egret ((White Morph)2)
Kuala Baram Lagoon (North) Jan 04th :-
Participants: Nazeri Abghani, Sara Wong, Mary Foley, Mike Foley, Kyla Foley, Alyssa Foley, Clarissa Loke, Md Ali, Siti Aisya
Birds: Kentish Plover (20), Lesser Sandplover(50), Sanderlings (50), Red-necked Stints (20), Common Greenshank (2), Little Egret (2), Pacific Reef Egret (1), Great Egret (1), Asian Koel (female-1), Dollarbird (1)
Kpg Masjid, Kuala Baram (Prawn Farms) Jan 10th :-
Participants: Steve Dexter, Nazeri, Amer, Sara
Birds:Straited Grassbird (1), Dollarbird (2), Black-headed Munia (in flocks), Common Greenshank (4), Little Egret (30), Intermediate Egret (20), Grey-tailed Tattler (2), Kentish Plover (2), Malaysian Plover (1 pair breeding), Common Sandpiper (4), Greater Sand Plover (1), Little Heron (1), Collared Kingfisher (5), Pied Triller (1), Cinnamon Bittern (2), Crake sp. (1), Black-crowned Night Heron (1), Black-shouldered Kite (2), Little Green Pigeon (50), White-breasted Waterhen (1), Yellow-bellied Prinia (1), Pied Fantail (1), Common Iora (5)
Kpg Masjid Proper, Kuala Baram Jan 11th :-
Participants:Steve, Nazeri, Amer, Sara, Anne, Mike, Mary, Kyla, Alyssa
Birds:Wood Sandpiper (1), Common Greenshank (2), Yellow-vented Bulbul (5), Common Sandpiper (4), Straited Grassbird (5), Dusky Munia (20), Sanderling (8), Kentish Plover (4), Great Egret (1), Red-necked stint (4), Greater Sand Plover (4), Lesser Sand Plover (7), Malaysian Plover (1, breeding, male), Yellow Wagtail (2), Little Egret (4), Chestnut Munia (60), Oriental Darter (6 - reported by Steve, along K. Baram road, flying overhead, at around 11am).
Miri Marina (Behind Park Everly Hotel) Jan 17th outing :-
Participants:Steve, Nazeri, Dominique, Mawang Bakak
Birds:Common Sandpiper (5), Intermediate Egret (1), Pacific Reef Egret (1xWhite morph, 3xBlack Morph), Striated Heron (2), Pacific Golden Plover (1), Von Schrenck's Bittern (1), Little Egret (1), Collared Kingfisher (5), Black-crown Night Heron/Javan Pond Heron (1)
We later moved to old Miri River site in front of HSBC (placed already reclaimed, will likely not be around next AWC):Wood Sandpiper, Little Ringed Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Little Egret, Great Egret, White-breasted Waterhen, Marsh Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper
Kuala Baram Peatswamp (Vegetable Farms) Jan 18th outing :-
Birds: Common Sandpiper (5), Intermediate Egret (1), Little Egret (4), Purple Heron (1), Pacific Golden Plover(60), Wood Sandpiper (4), Cinnamon Bittern (1), Dusky Munia (20), Chestnut Munia (100), Lesser Coucal (5), Snipe sp. (5), Magpie Robin (4), Yellow-bellied Prinia (4), Blue-breasted Quail (5), White-browed Crake (1), Yellow-vented bulbul (20)
Highlights in pictures:
1. Kuala Baram at the end of the day
2. Chinese Egret
3. Malaysian Plover (female)
4. Malaysia Plover (male)
5. Contemplating crossing one of the tributary of Batang Baram at the estuary, beware of crocodiles
6. Phew! We made it ... no crocodiles here today! A huge crocodile has been sighted here back in May is a resident of the rivermouth.
7. The troop after a succesful crossing of a muddy bay by the lighthouse peering at a Sanderling
8. A beautiful blooming Gloriasa Superba - Climbing Lily - Bunga Kembang Songsang (as identified by member Shamila K.) at Kuala Miri Baru.
9. Pacific Reef Egret (grey morph) in action.
10. Great Egret
11. Common Greenshank
12. Little Egret, Common Sandpiper in the background
13. Greater Sandplover
14. Mawang demonstrating how to attract the attention of White-breasted Waterhen
15. "Beautification" of the small river draining into the sea. It'll end up with blocks of big rocks!
16. A Malaysian Plover sitting on a pile of organic debris, wondering "Dang, where is my coralline sands?"