Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Camping at Kuala Niah Christmas Day


Where we were over the weekend, camped 2kms from the rivermouth, along the sandbar of Kuala Niah. The red arrow pointing to the direction of flight of flying foxes spotted that day. Map by GoogleEarth, Track by Musa Musbah.

It was drizzling all the way from where we left off, by the time we reached Kuala Niah, it was still raining. We waited by the shore knowing fully well the stories of the notorious crocodiles of Sg Niah ... eager to get out of the rain, ever so keen to cross Sg Niah. It was still raining then. All eyes were nervously focussed on any little log floating downstream with the landas as we boarded the tiny sampan.

By the time the boat arrived, after we safely made the crossing it was still raining. We then started walking on the sandy beach of Kuala Niah, the rain still hadn't let up. In fact it rained the whole day that day till we reached our first campdubbed "The Hilton". This was way back in December 2008 during our Coastal Long Walk.

I wanted to go back to Kuala Niah and camped on the beach in sunny weather in December, almost assured even then that there would be one glorious sunny day when we'd be back on it's shores.

Sure enough the drive out to the junction from Bekenu was all sunshine unlike how it was 2 years ago almost exactly. By the time we passed the little rickety wooden bridge adjoining the oxbow lake however, it started drizzling. Dark clouds were looming over from the South West. It looked to be another December wet camp-out on Kuala Niah, how "unexpected"!

And it did rain, buckets full by 6pm ... those who stayed behind to cook dinner were soaked. Rit, Erny and Nazeri were happily running around cleaning the 4 siakaps, mixing spices, moving items to less wet zones, keeping the fire going and keeping rain out of the coffee pot. All at the same time.

Those on the boat soaked to their skins too.

It was all but a half hour downpour just before sunset. By the time the rain stopped, we've the table laid, full to the brim with dinner items : steamed siakaps, grilled siakap, siakap masak asam and siakap singgang. These complemented by steamed squid, kelupis and lemang specially brought in for the occasion.

The folks who went on the boat trip came back in time for a steaming dinner of all the above mentioned items. Tall tales of giant sized flying foxes flying overhead in the thousands were related excitedly over dinner.

It was great camping from then onwards. Clear skies with gazillion stars overhead, the moon was a bit late but it did come around by 10pm. Gentle breeze filled the air, the only noise was muffled conversations around the roaring campfire. Kids were busing running around chasing the waves well into the nite.

And then more twinkling stars appeared in the clear nite skies. That made it worth all the rain earlier ... fantabulous!

The splendid weather continued till mid afternoon the next day.


Our campsite under the young casuarinas, the exact entry point to the Niah-Camp1 leg of the December LongWalk 2008.


A muted sunset on Kuala Niah beach, not unlike the one we saw back then either.


The after dinner lull at the campsite.


A male Olive-backed Sunbird found roosting a low branch at the Kuala Niah sandbar.


A female Olive-backed Sunbird on another low branch along the trail on the sandbar. Other birds seen was a pigeon sp. and owl sp. No crocodiles were spotted along the the water's edge ... there was a close call that turned out to be a large log flopping about in the water.


2am Cloud and stars above the pounding waves.


Campers fast asleep outside their tents.


Pre-dawn morning lite with sparkling stars.


View from under the tent as a new day approaches.


The next day along the shores of Kuala Niah holds promises of another great weather day.

Words and images by Nazeri Abghani.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey for the Sarawak Coast


A waderwatcher scanning the flats for interesting waterbirds.


A small segment of our extensive coastline, some are very important resting and refueling points for waterbirds as far as Siberia and other far-flung places of the northern hemisphere.

Project Summary:


The extensive coastline of Sarawak is one of the most important wintering grounds for waterbirds in Malaysia. Sarawak contains more Important Bird Areas (IBAs) than any other state in Malaysia . Several of these meet the Ramsar criteria as Wetlands of International Importance (Yeap et al. 2007). The west Sarawak coast regularly records some of the highest concentrations of migratory waterbirds in the country during the annual Asian Waterbird Census (AWC) (Li et al. 2009).

Despite this, the status of waterbirds and their habitats on much of the coastline is virtually unknown. There has never been a comprehensive coastal waterbird survey of Sarawak. Most surveys, such as that carried out between January-February 2006 during the annual Asian Waterbird Census (Mizutani, et al. 2006), and earlier studies (Edwards 1985, 1986a, 1986b, Howes, 1986a) have concentrated on the western part of coastal Sarawak. Other sites which have received some coverage include sections of the Kuala Baram coast and Brunei Bay (e.g., Howes, 1986b).There are AWC volunteer teams coordinated by MNS Kuching Branch and MNS Miri Branch members, and these, together with staff from Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) have provided consistent coverage of some sites since 2007.

The Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey of the Sarawak Coast proposes to survey waterbirds and wetlands habitats along the entire Sarawak coast in a comprehensive and systematic way. The results of this survey will provide a definitive account of the state of waterbird populations and wetland habitats in the state; and a baseline for future coastal wetland conservation efforts.

The field surveys will take place between October 2010 and March 2011, and will utilize the existing teams of AWC volunteers, and collaborations with State agencies. In addition, the project will seek increased partnership with State agencies such as Sarawak Forestry Corporation, Sarawak Forest Department, Sarawak Drainage and Irrigation Department, IBEC; input from the private sector from such companies as Sarawak Shell Berhad, Brunei Shell Petroleum (for work in Brunei waters); and NGOs such as Wetlands International.

Initial surveys to locate key waterbird concentrations will be done by boat and/or plane. Follow-up counts will be done either by boat, or via land access.

Project Objectives:

1) Conduct a survey of the entire coastline of the state of Sarawak to identify key waterbird sites and to identify and count waterbird populations during the northern winter period of October 2010 to March 2011.

2) Produce a report on the findings of the survey which can function as a basis for future policy and management strategies for wetlands and waterbirds in Sarawak.

3) Build capacity of members, participating stakeholders and volunteers in waterbird identification and monitoring and wetland habitat surveys.

4) Increase awareness of the importance of the Sarawak coastline for waterbirds and wetland habitats at local, national and international levels through CEPA, training, publications and sharing of output with stakeholders and relevant organisations.

5) Forge working relationships in matters related to waterbird biodiversity and wetland habitat conservation between MNS and other NGOs, government agencies, schools and universities, and private corporations in Sarawak and other areas of Malaysia.

6) Document the process of the survey, from initiation to completion, as a model for replication in other areas of Malaysia.

The project itself is designed to take place within a 12-month period. However, there are several ways in which it will contribute to the ongoing conservation of Sarawak’s coastal wetlands and waterbirds:

1. It will help to improve AWC coverage in future years by:
a. Identifying priority sites
b. Capacity-building skills and experience among volunteers, and by enlarging the volunteer-base
c. Involving more agencies in collaborative surveys

2. It will provide key baseline data for efforts
a. to protect important sites, such as Bako-Buntal Bay
b. to designate new IBAs and
c. to strengthen claims for Ramsar site status
d. by the government to gazette and protect important wetlands

3. It will raise awareness of the importance of wetlands for humans and wildlife in the media, schools and the public. This will have an ongoing positive influence and should lead to increased MNS membership in Sarawak.

4. The project will provide a valuable blueprint for similar coastal surveys of other parts of Malaysia

The Sarawak Waterbirds Survey (SWS) team would like to call on volunteers for the survey of the following sectors (please refer to the survey map):

Trip 1 = 01-05th December 2010 : Sector 1 to 4
Trip 2 = 07-11th December 2010 : Sector 11, 12
Trip 3 = 15-20th December 2010 : Sector 13, 14, 15
Trip 4 = 27-31st December 2010 : Sector 16, 17 based in Pulau Bruit
Trip 5 = 07-12th January 2011 : Sector 29 to 36 based in Miri
Trip 6 = 13-17th January 2011 : Sector 22 to 28 based in Bintulu
Trip 7 = 19-25th January 2011 : Sector 5 to 10
Trip 8 = 05-13th February 2011 : Sector 37 to 40 based in Limbang/Lawas
Trip 9 = 21-27th February 2011 : Sector 18 to 21 based in Mukah


Southwestern sectors, please click on image for a larger version. The circle represents current available data on the presence and numbers of waterbirds in the area. This project will be able to update the distribution map of a significant portion of the coastline of Sarawak.


Northeastern sectors, please click on image for a larger version. The least studied portion of the coastline, this project would enable to contribute significantly to scant existing data in key sectors such as the Limbang-Lawas areas.

For those interested to participate in surveys of sector 1-21, please contact Anthony Wong of MNS Kuching Branch.

For those interested to participate in surveys of sector 22-40, please contact Nazeri Abghani of MNS Miri Branch.

In your email please state the sectors that you are interested in and the dates that you are available, we'll follow-up with the rest of the pertinent questions.

Anthony and Nazeri will answer any relevant questions you may have and put you through to Daniel Kong (Field Coordinator) and/or Rose Ngau (Field Logistics) once you've decided to be a part of the survey team for each sector.

As this is a wide-spread survey covering the entire coast of Sarawak, we'll need as many volunteers we can get.

So, we'll see you in the field!

This project is partly funded by Malaysian Nature Society Merdeka Fund, Shell Sustainable Grant 2011 and Hornbill Skyways.


REFERENCES:
1. Mizutani, A., Kato K., Tanaka K., Ichikawa, T., Mawek Z., Auby I. (2006) A Report of Wintering Waterbirds Status Along the West Coast of Sarawak – Results of AWC 2006. Sarawak Forestry Kuching, Sarawak
2. Sebastian, A., (2005) Waterbirds Count in Western Sarawak. Suara Enggang 3 (May-June):23-25
3. Gregory-Smith, R., (1999). Status of Waders, Terns and Ardeids in Sarawak, 1994-96. Sarawak Museum Journal LIV(75):276-287
4. Edwards, P. J. and Haxby, J. B. (1989) Evaluation of Sarawak Wetlands and Their Importance to Waterbirds. Report No. 5 – Pulau Bruit Revisited. Report No. 47, AWB, Kuala Lumpur.
5. Edwards, P. J. and Parish, D, and NWPO (1986a) Evaluation of Sarawak Wetlands and Their Importance to Waterbirds. Report No. 2 – Western Sarawak. INTERWADER. Publication No. 6, Kuala Lumpur.
6. Edwards, P. J. and Parish, D, and NWPO (1986b) Survey of the Western Coastline of Sarawak to Evaluate the Status of Wetlands and to Identify Key Sites for Migratory Waterbirds – Preliminary Report INTERWADER. Report No. 3, INTERWADER Kuala Lumpur.
7. Howes, J. and NWPO, (1986a) Evaluation of Sarawak Wetlands and Their Importance to Waterbirds. Report 3: Pulau Bruit. INTERWADER Publication No. 10, INTERWADER,Kuala Lumpur
8. Howes, J. and NWPO, (1986b) Evaluation of Sarawak Wetlands and Their Importance to Waterbirds. Report 4: Limbang-Lawas Districts of Brunei Bay. INTERWADER Publication No.14, INTERWADER, Kuala Lumpur



MNS-BCC Waterbirds Group/Dec 2010
Maps by Anthony Wong
Photographs by Nazeri Abghani

Monday, November 29, 2010

Weekend Events

Our weekend events started off tame enough with a short session on sunset photography at Bungai Beach. It later evolved to searching and making photographs of fireflies at Kpg Pajuang Kelulit neat Kpg Kuala Suai after a short dinner in quaint Bekenu town.

Other than the blinking fireflies, we also spotted two crocodiles at the edge of the water in the same canal, a juvenile and perhaps that of a young adult. The river's lined with healthy looking mangoves, several trees had displaying fireflies. The first day ended quite late in drizzling rain on the way back to Bungai Lodge, our abode for the nite.

The morning started off very early with another session on landscape photography. A few short minutes of breakfast followed by a portrait session with several local villages willing to pose for us. We continued the session in Bekenu town market, some folks were curious others thought we were filming for a Korean tv series perhaps prompted by the gear we were lugging with us.

We arrived Niah NP about lunchtime and set to get ready for a bit of trekking in the park when the afternoon light gets softer. The walk into the park was leisurely and pleasant. We reached the trinkets shelter around 5.30pm. Another photography session continued at the longhouse 20minutes away followed by a short foray into the main caves, by then it was already close to 6.30pm.

We hurriedly walked back in the direction of the jetty in completed darkness aided only by our little torchlights, a few last chirping of birds returning to roost and the occasional skylight when the canopy opens up to a glorious clear nite sky filled with stars.

We reached the jetty shy of 8:30pm, we made frequent stops along the way to appreciate the dark nite in the forest fully.

We continued with stargazing and watching a resplendent half moon at our hostel all the way into the morning, 3am to be exact!

Bleary-eyed the next day, we conclude our weekend event with a hearty breakfast at Batu Niah town, a 20minutes drive away.


The compounds of Niah National Park. The Park is undergoing some upgrades to further improve the facilities available for tourists and local visitors.


A star trail at Niah National Park, we were shooting into the late hours of the nite.


Rock formation fronting Bungai Lodge, operated by Pak Bujang of Kpg Bungai who lives across the road from the lodge.


Danish and Pak Gabak who's approaching 80 years of age though not many family members are aware exactly the date he was born. He is eldest of seven siblings, youngest is Pak Lamat who is 64 years old who was also at the tamu.


The view from Bungai Lodge.


Sunset on Bakam Beach on the way to Bungai.

Written and photographed by Nazeri Abghani/Nov 2010

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

ASIAN WATERBIRD CENSUS 2011 in Miri


Checking out the birds at Kuala Baram Lagoon, 2009.

Asian Waterbird Census, AWC is an annual waterbird census carried out by volunteers every January (sometimes starts mid December and 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.

The census has 3 major objectives:

1) to obtain information on an annual basis of waterbird populations at wetlands in the region during non-breeding period of most species, as a basis for reviewing of sites and monitoring populations

2) to monitor on an anuual basis the status and condition of wetlands

3) to encourage greater interest in waterbirds and wetlands amongst the public and thereby promote the conservation of wetlands and waterbirds in the region.

The census is mainly undertaken by volunteers from various sources with the community. The sites covered include rivers, lakes, reservoirs, tanks, swamps, coastal areas, mangrove and mudflats, reefs or beaches.

Waterbirds counted during the census include all waterbirds and birds associated with the wetlands habitat.

The census is coordinated in each country by a volunteer national or regional organisation, in Malaysia it's the Malaysian Nature Society. The coordinator is responsible for building up the network of volunteers, sends out count forms, liase with participants, receives and collate forms after the census and compiles and disseminates national reports.

The official dates for AWC are any dates between 9-31st January, however counts from December and February are still accepted from poorly known areas.

MNS Miri Branch has a small band of birdwatchers who will be participating in AWC this year covering the following tentative sites listed below, participation in the census is sought from all branch members and the public interested to know more about waterbirds and birds in general.

MNS Miri Branch AWC tentative sites for 2011:

25-26th Dec Kuala Sg Niah, Kuala Sg Sibuti,
31st Dec-02nd Jan Kpg Awat-awat, Lawas,
08-09th Jan Pujut 7-Go-Kart Lakes Area,
15-16th Jan Curtin University Lakes Area,
22-23rd Jan Kuala Sg Baram-Kpg Masjid Prawn Farms,
29-30th Jan Kuala Sg Baram-Kpg Batu Satu ,
05-06th Feb Pulau Bawai
12-13th Feb Loagan Bunut National Park
19-20th Feb Sibuti WS

Most of these sites are revisits from past year's census (an important monitoring component of AWC) with two new sites (Kuala Sg Niah, and Kpg Kuala Sg Sibuti) added for 2011.

Some of our past AWC highlights :
Lesser Adjutant in Sundar, 2010.
Malaysian Plover, Grey Plover, Wandering Whistling Duck, Oriental Darter in Miri, 2009.
Plovers in general in Kuala Baram, 2008.
Lesser Adjutant in Lutong, 2002.
Storm's Stork in Loagan Bunut, 2001.

This year we are spending a bit more time over at the coastal wetlands in and around the greater Miri area, we are hoping to include schools and some youngsters into our survey team this year as part of awareness raising on AWC amongst schoolchildren.

Members and the public who are interested to participate in this largely citizen's effort can email nabghani@yahoo.com for further details.

Schools interested to participate as part of a school project are encouraged to send enquiries.

Please check AWC updates on http://miribirding.blogspot.com

Thursday, November 4, 2010

MNS Firefly Survey and Monitoring Workshop


CFZ Firefly Survey team after having concluded a survey of Sg Nyalau, Kpg Kuala Nyalau last October. Photo by Sara Wong.

The MNS Miri Branch together with MNS Conservation Division, would like to invite participants to the MNS Miri Firefly Survey and Monitoring Workshop to be held in Miri, Sarawak from 11-12th December 2010.

Venue : Kelab Shell Petroleum, Lutong
Date : 11 and 12th December 2010

Our main resource for the course will be Sonny Wong, Senior Conservation Officer, MNS Conservation Division and Dr Mahadimenakbar Mohamed Dawood, Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation, University Malaysia Sabah. Musa Musbah, Project Executor for CFZ Survey Northern Sarawak will also share his experiences to date with Sarawak fireflies.

Participants are expected to cover their own travel and accommodation expenses for the duration of the course, they will be provided materials and relevant group meals. Transport to and from fieldsites will be provided by the organisers.

MNS Miri Branch under the funding of the Congregating Firefly Zone Survey Northern Sarawak 2010 by MNS Merdeka Fund, is currently compiling a baseline data on congregating firefly zones (CFZ) of the mangrove lined rivers in Northern Sarawak.

The project started in August 2010 at the branch level and will continue until April 2010. The project aims to create a CFZ directory for Northern Sarawak which hopefully will eventually culminate in a number of candidate locations suitable as targets for conservation or rural eco-tourism development.

MNS Miri Branch welcomes contribution from other Branch members in East Malaysia, UNIMAS, UMS, government agencies as well as members of the public to help in the compilation of the CFZ in Northern Sarawak. It is also hoped that this work will be replicated to other regions in Sarawak as well as in Sabah. The directory will be made available to the respective State Governments for conservation of the firefly and the mangroves habitat or potential eco-tourism activities.

This particular workshop organised in Miri hopes to share the experiences and enthusiasm to date on the firefly survey and monitoring work in a two day classroom sessions and one evening fieldwork session.

We hope at the conclusion of the course participants will have had good exposure about firefly conservation in Malaysia and several concrete ideas and steps to further improve the collective work in CFZ in Malaysia in general.

It is also our fervent hope that the sharing of experiences on methodology and practical learnings during the course will spur further activities in firefly survey and monitoring in Sabah and Sarawak.

Please contact the organiser for further information:

Nazeri Abghani, MNS Miri Branch
nabghani@yahoo.com or please call 085-453185/016-8542212

(Program details are available upon request).


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

November News and Updates

Dear Valued Members,

Two more months till the end of 2010, and we're going full steam ahead with our activities! Here's what we've planned for this month:

Nov 6: Congregating Firefly Zones + Miri Reef Check Community Outreach

We will be educating the general public on two of Miri's least known secrets: fireflies and coral reefs. There will be art and coloring activities for children, presentations from our resident firefly and reef experts plus lucky draw prizes to be won. This event will be held at Pustaka Miri. The program is as follows:

1000 - 1200 hrs: Children's Art and Coloring Contest
1400 - 1515 hrs: Talk on Congregating Firefly Zones by Musa Musbah
1515 - 1600 hrs: Talk on Miri Reef Check by Lim Yung Lin

There is also a firefly photography session at Kampung Pejuang Kelulit at 6 - 10 pm. Places are limited and open to members only. Kindly liase with Nazeri or Musa after the outreach event.

Nov 11: Wildlife in the Garden: Appreciating the Flora and Fauna of Piasau and Panaga Camps

Time: 7pm
Venue: Hornbill House, Piasau Camp





Hans Dols, a member of the Panaga Natural History Society with years of experience in observing, documenting and conserving wildlife, will share a photo presentation of the wildlife he and his colleagues have observed over the years on the Panaga camp just over the border in Brunei. Come join us to learn how to tell a magpie robin from a bulbul, or a cobra from a wolfsnake. Various Piasau camp "nature nuts" will also be on hand to answer questions about the camp's nesting pair of hornbills, and observations of wildlife closer to home.

Nov 27: Overnight Stay at Niah National Park

We will be spending one weekend at Niah National Park for a day of birdwatching and a night of collecting firefly larvae and also searching for other nocturnal denizens of the park among other things.

Activities:
Sat, 27th November
0800 hrs Birdwatching along the likely very wet Madu Trail
1600 hrs Trek to Caves and back returning late in the dark
2100 hrs Late dinner at Batu Niah Town

Sun, 28th November
0630 hrs Early morning walk to Batu Niah town for brunch
1200 hrs Checkout and return to Miri

This trip will be at cost, participants equaly share cost of accomodation and other expenses. Open to members and non-members. Non-members are encouraged to make a small donation to the Branch activity fund.

ADVANCE ANNOUNCEMENT OF OUR DECEMBER ACTIVITIES

More details will be furnished in our December update:

Dec 11-12: Congregating Firefly Zone Workshop

Sat 11th Dec
Saturday morning arrival or participants, registration at KRP
1400 - 1800 hrs: Classroom Session
1800 - 2200 hrs: CFZ Survey Sg Adong (tentative)

Sun 12th Dec
0800 - 1200 hrs: Classroom Session/Discussion
1400 - 1700 hrs: Way forward

Dec 25-26: Camping at Kuala Niah

We'll be spending a weekend camping at Kuala Niah at the estuary of Sungai Niah, one of several major rivers in Miri. There's a small village nearby so we won't be all too lonely if it gets too quiet.

Sat 25th December
1200 hrs Travel by road to Kuala Niah (4WD recommended, carpool is an option)
1600 hrs Set up Camp
1800 hrs Dinner (BBQ Siakap if we are lucky)
2000 hrs Explore the beach or watch out for bright eyes on the sandbar or in
the murky waters of Sg Niah or try our luck at estuary fishing or just stargaze if the nite sky is especially clear

Sun 26th December
0600 hrs Early morning beachwalk in a Southerly direction and back
1200 hrs Lunch and break camp
Return to Miri.

This will be a shared cost trip, particpants share equally all expenses incurred for the trip. Participants are expected to bring their own sleeping bag and maybe share tents. Suitable for children.

If you have any inquiries, kindly e-mail us at mnsmiri (at) yahoo.com.

To all our Hindu members and friends, MNS Miri would like to wish you a Happy Deepavali!

Friday, October 8, 2010

BORNEO INTERNATIONAL BEADS CONFERENCE 2010



The Borneo International Beads Conference 2010 is taking place this weekend in Miri, Sarawak. Various programs have been organised for this first ever occasion in Miri. Please visit http://www.crafthub.com.my/ for details on what's on offer.

BIBCo promises to be a weekend of total immersion in a vibrant bead culture.
Attend formal lectures by acknowledged experts in the field.
Get down to the real thing in hands-on workshops.
Meet indigenous Orang Ulu ladies with centuries of bead-tradition behind them.
Browse your fill at the Bead Exhibition and Bazaar.

Objectives of BIBCo:
To improve the earning power of home-based cottage workers in Sarawak
To preserve the Sarawak bead tradition
To encourage the production of top quality beads and beadwork in Sarawak
To promote competent modern design in beads and beadwork
To facilitate creative interaction between Sarawak’s artisans/designers and their international counterparts

Friday 8th Oct

1200 hrs Conference Registration
1400 hrs Setting up and ‘soft opening’ of Beads Exhibition & Sales
1700 hrs Visit Bead Exhibition at Miri Pustaka Library

Saturday 9th

All day: Bead Exhibition, Demonstrations & Sales

Session 1 : Chair Datin Valerie Mashman

0830 hrs Conference Paper 1 Ms Reita Rahim "Organic materials used as beads by Malaysia's indigenous peoples"

0910 hrs Conference Paper 2 Mr Ipoi Datan "Pre-historic and early historic beads of Borneo"

1000 hrs Official Opening by Dtk.Patinggi Tan Sri Dr.George Chan,Minister of Tourism Sarawak followed by Morning Tea

1115 hrs Conference Paper 3 Ms Eileen Paya Foong "An Uma Pawek Family's Heirloom Beads@

1200 hrs Lunch Break at Loon Jin Restaurant

Session 2: Chair YM Datin Raja Fuziah Tun Uda

1400 hrs Conference Paper 4 Dr Cheah Hwei Fen "Nyonya Beadwork"

1445 hrs Conference Paper 5 Dr Poline Bala "Kelabit/Orang Ulu value beads conservation"

1530 hrs Afternoon Tea Break

1800 hrs Board Transport to East Valley Golf Club

1900 hrs Gala Dinner at East Valley Golf Club, graced byDt.Patinggi Tan Sri Dr. George Chan

Fashion Show by Von Jolly Couture

Sunday 10th Oct
All day: Bead Exhibition, Demonstrations & Sales

Session 3 : Chair President of WCC Mdm.Usha Krisha

0900 hrs Conference Paper 6 Mr Jamey Allen "The heirloom beads of Island South-East Asia"

0945 hrs Conference Paper 7 Mrs Heidi Munan "Borneo Bead culture in the 21st Century"

1030 hrs Morning Tea Break

1100 hrs Conference Paper 8 Ms Nor Azmah "Making ceramic and glass beads in Malaysia"

1200 hrs Lunch Break at Loong Jin Restaurant

Session 4 : Chair President WCCAPR, Mdm. Surapee

1400 hrs Conference Paper 9 Ms. Yekti Kusmastono "From shards to art - antique beads, recycled glass"

1445 hrs Conference Paper 10 Dr David Baradas "Beads in the Philippines"

1530 hrs Afternoon Tea Break

1615 hrs ‘Meet the Speakers –Show and Tell’; Informal discussion Session – show your best beads to the experts!

1730 hrs Conclusion of BIBCO 2010

There'll be plenty of interesting wares on display and sale!



Maiden be-decked with all manner of beads on opening day at the conference.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

October News & Updates

Dear Valued Members,

We hope you have enjoyed the Hari Raya holidays with family and friends, while being surrounded by delicious and glorious food! Now that the festivities are over, we have planned a few exciting activities for our members this month.

Here are the upcoming events slated to take place in October:

Oct 9: CFZ along Kuala Nyalau

This is an overnight sunset cruise along Sungai Nyalau to check out fireflies (among other things). There are only limited seats available so book your place as soon as possible. Interested participants must bring a life-jacket.

Our member conducting his assigned task (photo credit: Faye Osman).
This is a working trip, therefore participants are expected to be able to conduct small assigned tasks while in the boat.

Oct 18 - 23: Mount Murud trek

This trek is now fully subscribed. Participants will trek from Ba'kelalan to Church Camp via Lepo Bunga before attempting the climb to the highest peak in Sarawak.

Oct 30: CFZ along Sibuti

This is a cruise along Sungai Sibuti to check out fireflies (and certain reptiles!). This outing might be an overnight trip. Again, there are only limited seats available, as we can accommodate only a small number of people in the boats. 

Our participant recording GPS waypoints (photo credit: Faye Osman).
As with all our CFZ trips, participants are expected to conduct assigned tasks while we are traversing the river.

There are also other bird-watching related events taking place this month:

Oct 08 - 09: Sarawak Bird Race 2010 by MNS Kuching

Oct 15 - 17: Borneo Bird Festival by Borneo Bird Club and Sabah Tourism

Oct 23 - 24: Festival of Wings by KSNP, MNS, Selangor Bird Group, MNS BCC-WG

More details can be found in our birdwatching blog.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Election Results from the 63rd MNS AGM, Gunung Ledang Resort, Johor


70 years of MNS, the 63rd AGM was the only the second AGM where a new President was elected and duly installed.

These are the results of the 63rd MNS AGM at Taman Rimba Lagenda Ledang, which
ended around 1950 hours yesterday , 25 Sept 2010 (votes garnered in brackets):

1) President:
Tan Sri Salleh (239)
Dr Maketab Mohamed (333)

2) Vice Presidents:
Dato' Prof Dr Zaini Ujang (208)
Jeffrey Phang (465)
Kalaimani (410)

3) Council Members:
Harban Singh (516)
Kanitha (505)
Catherine Yule (497)
SM Muthu (418),
Prof Ahmad Ismail (413)
Datin Nazriyah (336)
Henry Goh (309)
Omar Kadir (299)

"Congratulations to the new Council members and thanks to the outgoing Council
members.

Thanks to all MNS members who participated in the voting process
either by postal voting or in situ voting.

Let us now close ranks and forget our differences and work together for the betterment of Mother Nature and the Environment", our new President's message to all MNS members.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT FROM HQ : HAVE YOUR SAY!

Postal Ballot Forms will be mailed to MNS members and you will needto send the form back to MNS HQ by 23 September 2010 if you are notable to attend the 63rd MNS Annual General Meeting.

Ballot forms can be delivered by hand on 25 September 2010.

Theforms must be sealed in the envelope provided by MNS. All forms must be signed by MNS members. Members must write andsign their name on the outside of the envelope provided by MNS.

Members can raise matters for discussion during the 63rd MNS AnnualGeneral Meeting by writing in to MNS Honorary Secretary, Dr CheahSwee Neo. Her email is jessie1303@gmail.com and the letter or emailmust reach MNS by Friday, 17 September 2010.

CHECK YOUR MEMBERSHIP SUBSCRIPTIONClause 66 of MNS Rules and Regulation states that “No member shallbe entitled to vote at any meeting unless all subscription due by him/herto the Society in respect of the year in which meeting is held have beenpaid in full not less than one week prior to the meeting and he canproduce a receipt from the Society proving this fact, if his right to vote is

Borneo’s Husband-and-Wife Mountain Gods Look Down on Illegal Logging

The news that Norway has sold all of its shares in a Malaysian timber company it accuses of illegal logging has brought back memories of one of the best experiences of my life, and of a pair of sad brown eyes I wish I had not seen.

My distant cousin with the beautiful dark eyes was lonely, anxious and unnaturally thin. I felt certain that she would die a sorry death.

I had found the forlorn gibbon in a tiny cage in a logging camp in the Kelabit Highlands of Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo in September 1998. Just a few days earlier I had seen gibbons as they should be seen — swinging through the treetops — and had been lucky enough to hear them warbling and whooping their territorial calls from on high. The music they make is unforgettable.

But after nine days of walking through the pristine forest where I encountered these and many other wonders, my journey had ended with a shocking vision of the future.

I was in the highland forests on an Malaysian Nature Society expedition to record the natural history of an area that had long been proposed as a new national park. Our team included biologists and geologists and local guides who knew the forest inside-out.

Our schedule was tough and our backpacks were heavy but we still recorded 26 mammal species and 67 birds, including the endangered Sun Bear and Helmeted Hornbill, in just over a week. We found orchids and pitcher plants that exist nowhere else on Earth other than the mountain forests of Borneo.



Batu Lawi from Gunung Murud. (Image : MNS Pulong Tau Expedition)

The highlight for me was seeing the fabled twin peaks of Batu Lawi – a sandstone mountain that the local people revere as husband-and-wife gods who are the original parents and protectors of all highland people.

A couple of days after we had climbed the Batu Lawi’s female peak, I took this photo (above) from the summit of Sarawak’s highest mountain Gunung Murud. From there we could see that logging roads were already approaching Batu Lawi. Having denuded much of Sarawak’s lowlands, the timber companies were closing in on the riches that remained in this isolated area.

Our expedition report (PDF) urged the government of Sarawak to include Batu Lawi in the national park – but when Pulong Tau National Park was finally gazetted seven years later in 2005, the Kelabit gods were left on the outside, looking in. These ancient protectors were now the vulnerable ones.

As we descended towards our expedition’s end-point in the village of Ba Kelalan we saw just how well advanced the campaign to extract Batu Lawi’s timber was when we found ourselves in a logging camp. It was here that we discovered the caged gibbon.

She may have been a pet but more likely she was destined for the pot, for wherever logging companies go, their workers hunt for bush-meat. A few months later the US Wildlife Conservation Society would publish a paper in Science that conservatively estimated the wild meat trade in Sarawak to exceed 1000 metric tonnes a year. It said that in 1996 workers in just one logging camp there killed more than 1,100 animals — totalling 29 metric tons.

I saw red dusty soil of the recently cleared forest reflected in the gibbon’s haunted eyes and realised that this particular primate would never again swing through the trees. Nor would she ever again disperse the seeds of forest trees whose fruit she ate, species like the ecologically important strangler figs that I was studying elsewhere in Borneo.

The creature’s capture was both an insult and an injury to an ancient forest. Gibbons are supposed to be protected species in Sarawak but laws count for little in remote areas where there is big money to be made from natural resources.

There was nobody about to talk to about the gibbon but we saw vehicles and equipment emblazoned with the logo of the Malaysian logging giant Samling, which had been allocated the area’s logging concessions. And it is in this very area that Samling stands accused this week of “extensive and repeated” breaches of Sarawak’s state regulations.

Norway’s State Pension Fund pulled its investment out of the company after its Council on Ethics concluded in a detailed report (PDF) that Samling’s activities had contributed to “illegal logging and severe environmental damage” both in Malaysia and Guyana.

Samling Global, which operates more than 1.2 million hectares of logging concessions in each of these countries, refutes the allegations.

But the Norwegian report includes satellite imagery of the area around Batu Lawi, which the authorities in Sarawak had approved as an extension to Pulong Tau National Park in May 2008. This meant all logging there should have ceased but the red areas of the image, taken in May 2009, indicate extensive logging within the Batu Lawi reserve area (white line).


Satellite image from May 2009 showing intensive logging inside the Batu Lawi reserved area.
(Reserved area marked with white line). Logging areas are coloured red. (Image : Norway State Pension Fund)


Norway’s pension fund is one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, so its move to withdraw its investment in Samling on environmental grounds is noteworthy. But even with 8 million kroner (US$1.25 million) in Samling shares, the NPF investment represented just 0.37% of the company’s total worth.

The Malaysia’s Star newspaper quoted a source who said: “The investment fraternity may consider the exit of NPF from Samling as no big deal given its insignificant stake, however, NPF accusations on Samling Global can to a certain extent affect the stock in the long term.”

Nongovernmental organisations such as the Bruno Manser Fund say the move will put the spotlight on logging companies that for years have been accused of infringing the rights of indigenous people.

But unless many other investors adopt the ethical stance of the Norwegian Pension Fund we can probably expect business as usual in Borneo.


Posted by mikeshanahan


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Boom in dam-building for hydropower devastates tribal peoples' lives


A dam in progress. Image by (c) Survival International 2010.

To mark the UN Day of Indigenous People, Survival International has released a new report highlighting the devastating impact on tribal people of a massive boom in dam-building for hydropower.

Drawing on examples from Asia, Africa and the Americas, Survival’s report “Serious Damage” exposes the untold cost of obtaining ‘green’ electricity from large hydroelectric dams.
A rapid increase in global dam-building is currently under way.

The World Bank alone is pouring $11bn into 211 hydropower projects worldwide.

The impact on tribal people is profound. One Amazonian tribe, the Enawene Nawe, has learnt that Brazilian authorities plan to build 29 dams on its rivers. Across the Amazon, the territories of five uncontacted tribes will be affected.

The Penan tribe in Sarawak face eviction to make way for a dam, and tribes in Ethiopia could be forced to rely on food aid if a dam being built on the famous Omo River is not halted. One man from the Omo Valley’s Kwegu tribe, said, ‘Our land has become bad. They closed the water off tight and now we know hunger. Open the dam and let the water flow.’

Hundreds of Brazilian tribespeople will gather this week to speak out about the controversial Belo Monte dam, which threatens several tribes’ land and vital food supplies.

Survival International´s report can be downloaded: http://assets.survivalinternational.org/documents/373/Serious_Damage_final.pdf

Source :
WRM Bulletin No. 157 August 2010.

This monthly Bulletin of the World Rainforest Movement is also available in French, Spanish and Portuguese. Editor: Ricardo Carrere

WRM International Secretariat
Maldonado 1858 - 11200 Montevideo - Uruguay
email: wrm@wrm.org.uy
http://www.wrm.org.uy/

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Introducing the new MNS Miri 2010/2011 Committee

The recent MNS Miri AGM last month saw the appointment of both fresh and familiar faces for the new 2010/2011 EXCO.

Now that the dust has settled and our recently elected committee members have officially assumed their respective roles, let's get acquainted with them.

Chairperson
Faye Osman

Faye's involvement with MNS began in 2008 after her relocation to Miri from Kuala Lumpur. At the time, she had simply wanted to make new friends and fill her (almost non-existent) social calendar with activities. Little did she know, she would eventually grow fond of the unique biodiversity Sarawak has to offer. She especially loves exploring the outdoors and interacting with the locals.

Faye possesses a bachelor's degree with a double major in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Prior to her move to Miri, she had led the abiding life of a corporate employee. Now, she concentrates on her most challenging task yet: working on her domestic and parenting skills full time.

During her leisure, she reads fantasy novels (Brandon Sanderson is her all-time favorite author), creates art with acrylic paints and listens to podcasts.


Vice Chairperson
Anura Dason

Anura has always been involved with MNS indirectly through volunteer work since his move to Miri. He officially became a member two years ago.

Anura graduated with a bachelor's degree in Geology from the University of Malaya. He has been peering into the Borneo offshore subsurface ever since.

He enjoys traveling to meet new faces and learn about foreign culture (he hopes there will be many more adventures to come!). An epicure at heart, Anura never shies away from a good home cooked meal. His other interests include listening to music, indulging in the arts, playing bowling and watching movies.


Secretary
Puteri Shariza Megat Khalid

Puteri Shariza’s initial involvement with MNS dated back in the year 2007. She officially became a member in 2009. Her first contact with nature occurred when she was a little girl who followed her late grandmother around the kampong shrubbery to gather herbs and plants. Since then, she harbored an interest in nature appreciation, preservation, and conservation.

Puteri Shariza is an IT Analyst by profession and a nature lover by passion. She holds a bachelor's degree in Information and Communication Technology, and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Business Administration.

Her interests (other than adoring nature) are reading, cycling, and gardening.


Treasurer
Ernyza Endot

Ernyza has never, ever been a treasurer (even in high school)! This newly elected MNS treasurer sure has lot to learn, but welcomes the challenge of managing the branch finances with open arms. She joined MNS as part of her plan to save the world (but her ultimate world-saving-plan is, er, classified).

Ernyza holds a bachelor's and master's degree, majoring in Geomatics Engineering and Geomatics Information Systems respectively. Despite her background in Geomatics, she harbors a deep interest in Astronomy. She often gaze at the sky with her second-hand 72mm lens defragmenter telescope in her backyard, while trying to spot comets and planets.

Her other part-time interests include beach-walking, hiking, playing netball and, sometimes, being a couch potato on weekends (while racking her brains on how to save the world, of course).


Auditor
Peter Pillai

Peter is a master's degree holder in Information Technology.

He (along with his partner-in-crime, Sara Wong) leads the Saturday morning hikes in Lambir Hill National Park. His main reason for hiking is because it will balance out his love for eating (and also spare his budget from buying larger clothes). Of course, hiking is a good exercise to increase cardiovascular and muscular health too.

Peter gets bored easily by hiking at the same place every weekend. He makes attempts to vary his hike locations, thus he travels extensively.


Committee Member
Musa Musbah

Musa is a trained biostatigrapher, specializing in nanoplankton. He has previously worked with Sarawak Shell Berhad for the past 35 years, in the geological services department.

He is one of the senior local Malaysian biostratigrapher that has provided quality biostratigraphc services to Development and Exploration asset of Shell. He has vast experience with databases set-up and maintenance. He also familiar with GPS and its uses.

Musa spends his free time casting his fishing rod into the nearby rivers, with the hopes of landing a big catch. Now that he is into his retirement years, he devotes much of his time to the 'Congregation Firefly Zone Survey' project, in which he acts as project executor.


Committee Member
Nur Ziana Abdullah Sani

Ziana joined MNS during her university days in Penang. She began her association with the Miri branch after her move to Sarawak.

Ziana graduated with a bachelor's degree in Zoology in 2003, and obtained her master's degree in Environment Biology in 2006 from University Science Malaysia. She currently works as a science officer with Limbang Division Health Office.

Her interest includes watching movies, reading, playing games (farmville is her favorite), listening to music, and travel.


Co-opted Committee Member
Nazeri Abdul Ghani

Nazeri graduated from Columbia University, New York in 1990 with a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering. He currently works as a geophysicist, imaging the subsurface for Sarawak Shell Berhad.

Nazeri's first MNS involvement was with the Selangor branch in 1994. He became an MNS Miri member since its first inception in 1996.

His interests include photography, birdwatching, trekking and walking. He is claustrophobic and thus happiest in open spaces far away from the crowd or zooming fast in an open top convertible.

Nazeri is currently involved in the 'Waterbirds and Wetlands Habitat Survey of the Sarawak Coast' joint project between MNS BCC group, MNS Kuching and MNS Miri.


Co-opted Committee Member
Kumareson Paranthaman

Sunday, August 15, 2010

MNS-BCC Waterbirds Group Vacancy : Field Coordinator


The Malaysian Nature Society – Bird Conservation Council Waterbirds Group will conduct a survey of the entire coastline of the state of Sarawak to identify key waterbird sites and to identify and count waterbird populations during the northern winter period of October 2010 to March 2011.

Position: Field Coordinator

The Field Coordinator position (Part/Full Time) will run from Aug 2010 – July 2011 and can be based either in Kuching or Miri.

Primary duties:

1. Coordinate all aspects of the project, including specific responsibility for:

a) Plan aerial, boat and land-based surveys
b) Set-up and deploy field survey teams
c) Maintain a database of volunteers, survey details, community outreach and training programs
d) Coordinate training and public awareness events
e) Document project
f) Coordinate, store and analyse data
g) Create and maintain good relationship with community representatives within survey sectors
h) Liaise with media and produce press releases, etc
i) Write reports : weekly reports to BCC-WG, coordinate and input to interim reports, final reports
j) Keep accounts for the spending of project funds

2. Answerable and report directly to BCC-WG Chairperson (and/or his representative) on all aspects of the project work

3. Liaise with volunteer bird group coordinators in Kuching, Miri, Sibu, Mukah, Bintulu, Lawas, Seria and Bandar Seri Begawan ( Brunei )

4. Liaise with agencies, institutions and corporations and potential co-funders within and outside Sarawak (attend relevant meetings workshops, etc).

Requirements:
-Previous experience in environmental field survey work, engaging agencies, institutions and corporations at the highest levels, preferably in Malaysia or Southeast Asia.
-Very good strategic and planning/organizational abilities, with an aptitude to work on own initiative with minimum supervision and to stay on task.
-Malaysian national resident in Sarawak
-University degree in a related field or equivalent practical experience. Good written and oral communication skills in English and Bahasa Malaysia . Additional languages will be an advantage.
-Good interpersonal and leadership skills, innovative thinking, versatile ability to work in a team and independently.
-Willingness to travel and work outside office environments, as required.
-Ability to work effectively at all levels, with above-mentioned institutions, governments and non-government agencies and build excellent working relationships.
-Familiarity with and interest in waterbirds and wetland habitats an advantage
-Experience in scientific report-writing an advantage
-Computer literate
-Use of GPS in field and storage of GPS data an advantage

Please send your CV to:

Anthony Wong
BQ204, 1st Floor, Batu Kawah New Township (MJC),
Jalan Batu Kawa ,
93250 Kuching,
Sarawak

Tel: 082-463803 Fax:082-462803
Hp: 013-8333163

Email: antwong@sareaga.com

Applications will be dealt with in the strictest confidence.

Friday, August 6, 2010

MNS Miri Branch August Updates and News

Dear Valued Members,

Our new 2010/2011 EXCO members will sit together this weekend to come up with new and exciting activities for the upcoming months. In the meantime, the following events are currently being scheduled for August.

EVENTS

1. Weekend Wader Vigil

Come with us as we keep vigil for migrant waders and other waterbirds expected to reach our shores by this time of year during their Autumn migration south to Australia. All are invited to checkout the early arrivals, some should probably still be in their vibrant breeding summer colours. Typical waders seen at this time of year are the Lesser and Greater Sandplovers, Greenshanks and Common Redshanks.

Date: 7th August, 14th August 2010
Time: 6.30 - 9.00 am
Location: Meet by the makeshift shack on the main Kuala Baram Road 100 m from the right turn to Crocodile Farm.

2. Rainforest Action Network Film Screening

Join us as we screen two films that tell the story of Indonesia's rainforest (courtesy of the Rainforest Action Network), Green and Orang Rimba.

Green is a highly-acclaimed documentary that tells the emotional story of a female orangutan in Indonesia. You will understand the story of deforestation through her eyes and how the everyday products we buy here at home are affecting the habitats of the beautiful creatures like her.

Date: Wednesday, 11th Aug
Venue : Steve's Residence, 8-9pm, BYO Snacks and Drinks

Orang Rimba tells the story of a group of indigenous people whose lives are also affected by deforestation, deep in the heart of Sumatra. Listen and watch to their version of how their lives have changed with progress.

Date : TBA (September)
Venue : Steve's Residence, 8-9pm, BYO Snacks and Drinks

The date and location of this film screening will be announced soon, so please check the blog for details in the next few days.

3. Lambir Weekend Hikes

Hike with us every Saturday in Lambir Hills National Park. We often go beyond the main trails to venture into the deeper parts of Lambir. Currently, we are building our fitness on the trails with the aim of summitting Bukit Lambir in late September or early October.

4. Bario Wader Merdeka Weekend

Travel with us on a long extended weekend photographing, recording and video-taping all manner of waterbirds in the paddyfields of Bario in their autumn migration. We are expecting Wood Sandpiper, Common Moorhen and other early migrants that regularly make their stopover in Bario this time of year.

These flight options are still available (as of 06th August):
Miri-Bario Sunday, 29th August; Bario-Miri, Wednesday 01st September

MASWings flights Miri-Bario-Miri RM185/return, book your own tickets;
Accomodation RM70/person perday full board at De Plateau Lodge, including airport transfers.

This trip will have a flexible itinerary, main focus will be waterbirds of course.

4. MNS 63rd National Annual General Meeting

This year's AGM will be hosted by MNS Johor Branch 25th September 2010, Taman Rimba Lagenda, Taman Negara Johor, Gunung Ledang.

For more details, please check out MNS AGM Link.


NEWS


We are proud to announce that we have been awarded the MNS Merdeka Fund for two proposed projects:

  1. 'Congregating Firefly Zone Survey for Northern Sarawak' by MNS Miri
  2. 'Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey of the Sarawak Coast' by MNS BCC-Waterbirds Group, MNS Kuching and MNS Miri Branches.
It looks like a very busy year ahead for MNS Miri!


REMINDERS

A quick reminder for the upcoming MNS 63rd Annual Meeting. Interested participants are encouraged to book their tickets to Johor as soon as possible. For more information, kindly follow this link.

The date to our Mount Murud trek in October is fast approaching! We have three more places up for grabs. Those interested in participating will need to pay RM300 deposit to MNS Miri and book their tickets to Ba'kelalan quickly as seats are limited. Please contact us for more details. To our confirmed participants, please get yourselves into shape for the trek. It will certainly not be a 'walk in the park' ;)

To all our Muslim members and friends, MNS Miri wishes you a good and prosperous fasting month ahead.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Weekend Hike at Lambir National Park

Greetings MNS members!

Our intrepid MNS Miri outdoor enthusiasts will be hiking to Dinding waterfall at Lambir National Park this Saturday. This hike will be led by Peter Pillai.


Details for the activity are as follows:

Date: Saturday, 31st July 2010
Time: 7 am at Taman Awam (for those who wish to carpool) or 7.30 am at Lambir Park HQ.

The hike duration will typically take around 6 hours return depending on pace. The trail will be undulating for the most part, with several uphill and steep sections along the way. A reasonable amount of fitness is required to tackle this hike.

For those who wish to participate, please bring along the following items:
    • Water to last for the whole 6 hours (3 liters is adequate). Alternatively you can refill your bottles at Dinding waterfall, but please use water purification tablets for this purpose.
    • Energy gels and electrolytes to replenish your sodium levels. These will prevent you from getting muscle cramps due to excessive sweating.
    • Insect repellent.
    • High energy food (nuts, granola bars, chocolates).
    • Shoes with good traction (flip-flops and sandals are strongly discouraged).
    • Rain jacket or poncho.
    • Swim gear if you wish to take a dip in the waterfall.
    • RM10 for park entrance fee.
    • A sense of humor and a can-do attitude! :)
      Interested parties kindly contact mnsmiri@yahoo.com.

      Community Education Program with Lambir Hills National Park


      Lambir Hills NP.

      The CEP with local stakeholders for Lambir Hills NP will be conducted as per 2010 plan from 31st July to 03 August 2010 at the following venues:

      Schedule:
      1. Rh. Turan, Sg. Buri - 31.07.2010
      2. Rh. Ree, Sg. Buri - 01.08.2010
      3. Kpg. Sg. Rait - 02.08.2010 (to be confirmed)
      4. Rh. Semburu, Sibuti - 03.08.2010 (to be confirmed)

      The program is scheduled to start at 7.30pm at the above venues; SFC, NREB and MNS participants are expected to gather at Lambir Hills National Park before the planned 7pm departure.

      There will be a 30-45mins powerpoint presentations from SFC (Lambir Hills National Park), NREB and MNS Miri reprsentatives. The presentations will cover Lambir Hills National Parks, Rules and Regulations pertaining to the park as well as appropriate topics from NREB and MNS Miri.

      Members interested to participate to please email mnsmiri@yahoo.com

      Sunday, July 25, 2010

      New committee line-up for MNS Kuching Branch too!

      Sarawak has been fortunate to be to be the only state where the Malaysian Nature Society has two branches. With its expansive geographic cover, this is deservedly appropriate for Sarawak, an almost absolute necessity considering all the facts.

      MNS Kuching was formerly established September 1996, while MNS Miri was formally registered March of the same year after a short informal existence as Miri Natural History Society. Close cooperation between the two branches, sharing of pertinent information and strategy, working together on important issues have been the hallmark of the two branches as torch bearers of Malaysian Nature Society in Sarawak.

      This year the two branches conducted their annual AGM within a week of each other in Miri and Kuching respectively.

      Last Saturday saw MNS Miri successfully intalled new members to the Branch committee (see previous post).

      This weekend, 24th July 2010, in Kuching, MNS Kuching successfully conducted their AGM and Roadshow in the city and have come up their committee line-up for 2010-2011.

      Here's an excerpt by Zora Chan (immediate past Secretary, MNS Kuching) which appeared on http://mnskuching.blogspot.com :

      "On behalf of the Branch Committee for the term 2009-2010 and immediate past chairperson, Rebecca D'Cruz, we would like to record our sincere thanks to you for your continuous support in MNS and its activities. It has been a pleasure serving the branch. We just held our AGM this morning and followed by MNS 70th anniversary roadshow at the Mango Tree Restaurant. Both events went smoothly. Reports and minutes of the AGM would be sent to you all soon in separate emails.

      Chairperson : Cheong Ah Kwan
      Vice-chairperson : Yeo Siew Teck
      Secretary : Sunita Shamsul
      Treasurer : Jacinta Wong-Schneider
      Committee Members:
      Cynthia Hazebroek, Dr Chin Saw Sian, Chi'en Chi'en Lee, Rahim Bugo, Donald Tan and Lim Jin Bing

      Collin Cheong has been appointed as the branch's internal auditor.

      Congratulations to your new appointment.

      We thank the newly elected team for dedicating their time to serve the branch for one year and all the best to you all.

      Love Life, Love Nature"

      All the best to the two MNS branches in Sarawak!

      Nazeri Abghani/25th Jul 2010

      Monday, July 19, 2010

      MNS Miri Branch New EXCO 2010-2011

      We now have a new line-up of committed members for MNS Miri Branch Committee for 2010-2011 at the conclusion of our successful AGM conducted at Baraya Laut Resort near Miri, 4-6pm 17th July 2010.


      Members cheerfully posing in front of the AGM banner sponsored by Baraya Laut Resort.

      Twenty eight people attended the gathering, and twenty attending members elected their new EXCO to serve for the coming term:

      Chairperson : Faye Osman
      Vice-Chairperson : Anura Dason
      Secretary : Puteri Shariza Megat Khalid
      Treasurer : Ernyza Endot
      Committee Members : Nur Ziana Abdullah Sani, Musa Musbah

      The meeting also saw the formal establishment of three focus groups within MNS Miri to complement outreach efforts by the Branch in addition to their core assigned activities.

      CFZ (Fireflies Survey) : Musa Musbah
      MNS Miri-Reefcheck (Coral Reef Survey) : Kumareson Paranthaman
      Birdwatching (AWC and Birdwatching Outreach) : Nazeri Abghani

      The meeting ended with BBQ in slightly wet drizzling rain amidst high spirits and aspirations for the new committee.


      Musa supervising the bbq, Aju and the ganghad the time of their life trying to get the fire going on a drizzly nite.

      The evening concluded late into the nite after "Fireflies in Miri" presentations by Musa Musbah, "Birds on Campus" by Nazur Riza Norkaman, and last but not least "Trekking Baram" by Sara Wong.


      Members patiently waiting for their dinner.

      Our Branch has grown from a 35 member grouping in mid 2007, to 98 members presently with a wide range of activities conducted in and around Miri.

      The successful election of a new fully charged committee will ensure further growth of MNS in Miri.

      MNS Miri,
      19th July 2010
      mnsmiri@yahoo.com

      Tuesday, July 6, 2010

      MNS Miri Branch July Updates and News



      02nd International Firefly Symposium, 02-05th August 2010.



      Dear Valued Members,

      It's been a manic June as well, the same as April and May, so manic to the point that we missed June's updates and news! The 2 weeks Gawai break didn't help!

      We'll try to catch up with this July's update.

      A warm welcome to our latest new members : Edward, Haidar, Dr Adeline, Cecilia and Chee.

      Members, please don't forget those brilliant suggestions on what activities you'd be partial to volunteer for and would like to see offered by MNS Miri Branch.

      AGM is upon us again, I urge all members to attend the AGM. Better still offer your time, expertise and vision to EXCO to forge forward with the Branch.


      A. PAST EVENTS
      =============

      1. Kinabalu Triple, 14-16th May Kinabalu National Park
      It was a long weekend, especially for the climbers! But we all had fun. The climbers successfully hoisted teh Tapir up to the summit. Our astronomers and birdwatchers captured the imagination and engaged 40 scondary school students and their teachers that weekend with birdwatching, stargazing (we saw one or two amidst Ranau cloudy nite) and rocket launches.

      a. Mount Kinabalu Climb Arriving, 14th May
      Sara, Faye and team successfully scaled the mountains amidst unusually windy weekend.

      b. Birdwatching with Students at KNP (extention of WMBD 2010 in Sabah)
      Nazeri, Musa spent the day with MNS Sabah EXCO and members to enthrall the children about Sabah endemics at Kinabalu Park. A first collaboration between the two branches.

      c. Astronomy with designated Kundasang School 15-16th May
      CK Lim, Kong fully engaged the children with stellar objects as well as water rocket building and launch.

      Check out the write-up on our blog. Tapir on Mt Kinabalu appeared on the The Star newspaper.

      2. SFC Conservation Education Program at Loagan Bunut, 22-23rd May
      We unfortunately were unable to participate nor send any of our NEC guys over to participate.

      3. Short Sojourn in Long Lamai, 28th May-01st June
      Sara, Faye, Sian and Wee Ming spend the extended weekend with the Penan community at Long Lamai, spend sometime with the kids you-youtubing and face-booking at e-Lamai as well as explore the nearby villages and waterfalls.

      4. Visit to Turtle Conservation Center, Kpg Mangkok, Setiu 29th May
      Nazeri had the opportunity to visit this small center that conduct amazing conservation and outreach work on river turtles along Sg Setiu (part of the Setiu Wetlands) by Prof Chan and Pelf Nyok. If you are looking for examples effective grassroots action at work, please check them out. The river turtles couldn't have anyone more qualified to speak on their behalf.

      5. MY Garden Birdwatch, 5 and 6th June, in your own garden and backyard
      Though this wasn't as big a big we expected in Sarawak mainly due to the long holidays, a few of our members successfully birdwatch and their backyard and submitted their sightings. MNS Kuching kicked off a grand training session at the Sarawak Biodiversity Council premises with more than 240 students.

      6. MNS National Roadshow, Pustaka Miri, 19-20th June
      The Branch pulled this off without any major hitch and successfully hold an exhibit of branch activities, offered mini-talks at the Pustaka as well as conduct a free fieldtrip to Tusan for fossil hunting.

      The President spoke of our push for the next few years to an audience of more than 150 people including representatives from several local press including RTM1; Kumar presented the MNS Miri-Reefcheck Project; Charlie, William engaged participants on fossils and geology at Tusan Beach the next day.

      The President also had an opportunity to engaged our young members from Curtin University at a group sit-down dinner held at Kelab Rekreasi Petroleum, Lutong.

      7. SFC CEP Program with SK Kelapa Sawit near Lambir 26th June
      Puteri, Sara, Faye, and Musa were on hand to engage the children during their program by officers of SFC and Lambir Hills National Park.


      B. UPCOMING EVENTS
      =================

      1. Sg Miri Fireflies with Musa, 10th July, Kpg Padang Kerbau Jetty (PM)
      Musa will be checking out fireflies along Sg Miri with a few interested members. If keen, please contact Musa directly. This is a shared-cost activity. Please contact Musa for details.

      2. MNS Miri Branch AGM 17th July, 4-6pm at Baraya Laut Resort, Beraya
      Please refer to the official annoucement on this blog. Members are encouraged to attend the program put forth by the current committee. Members who are interested to run for any of the EXCO positions are encouraged to do so, please contact us for more details.

      3. International Firefly Symposium, 02-05th August, Holiday Villa, Subang
      Musa will be attending this program to enhance his firefly knowledge as preparation for potential work in the area. Please read our Sarawak Fireflies blog http://sarawakfireflies.blogspot.com/ for attractive rates for members.

      4. MBBG Kuala Baram Lagoon Vigil, 14-15th August, 21-22nd August (AM)
      Weekend vigil for migrant waders and other waterbirds ecpected to reach our shores by this time. All are invited to checkout the early arrivals, some should probably still be in their vibrant breeding summer colours.

      5. MBBG Bario Weekend for Waterbirds 28-31st August
      A long weekend photographing, recording and video-taping all manner of waterbirds in the paddyfields of Bario. We are expecting Wood Sandpiper, Common Moorhen and other early migrants that make their stopover in Bario. Flights $185/return; accomodation $70/person perday full board.

      6. Advance announcement :
      a) Trek/Birdwatch Gunung Murud, 18-23rd October 2010
      This trip is confirmed, final costing is being finalised. Fly Bakelalan, trek Mt Murud, fly Miri via Lawas. Opportunity for extended birdwatching at Church camp for those who suffer from fear of heights (like Nazeri). We have 4 more places open. Participants will be ask to send in their deposits by end of July.

      We will be hiring guides and porters as required.

      7) Trek/Birdwatch Nepal, April/May 2011
      Details can be viewed at MNS Miri Events on Facebook. Further details will be shared with members once Air Asia published their cheaprates for 2011. Expected costs MYR$4000.


      C. OTHERS
      =========

      1. A big THANK YOU to members who've taken the time to renew their membership.
      Those who havent, please do so at your earliest convenience. Please contact us if you require assistance or more information on how to renew your membership painlessly and hassle free.

      You can now bank in to either Maybank (Account No: 012138304679) or HSBC (Account No: 305194920108) beneficiary name "Malaysian Nature Society".

      Please email notifications to membership@mns.org.my

      Please take time to renew your membership, your Society needs your support. If you need assistance, please contact us.

      2. Please keep updated with Branch activities via our blog and Facebook
      Do keep abreast with weekly activities via our blogspot especially for those quick events, they normally crystalize by Thursday latest.

      Go to http://mnsmiri.blogspot.com/

      For Facebook, please search for "MNS Miri".

      We need writers and pictures for our blogs, Pencinta Alam, Malaysian Naturalists ... blog contributors are welcomed.

      If you think you are not great at writing, just jot something down anyway, we've got folks who can help you put out a nice story for the blog. If you have articles, write-ups and pictures to share, please don not hesitate to contact us.

      These stories or pictorials can be uploaded in any of one our blogs.

      Please email any comments, suggestions to mnsmiri@yahoo.com or leave your comments on this blog.

      3. Binoculars for beginner/intermediate birders

      We have recently taken delivery of 15 units of 8x40 BAK4 prism binoculars from our suppliers. Members who has booked a unit or two to please contact Nazeri for payment and delivery.

      Those who've booked but haven't pick up:
      Steve Dexter 2xunits
      Remli Adenan 1xunit
      Anne King 1xunit
      Maye Yap 2xunits

      The binoculars are available for sale to members and non-members, please email Nazeri for details.


      A rugged, rubberised BAk4 prism equipped value for money bino.

      Thank you and kindest regards,
      Nazeri Abghani
      on behalf of MNS Miri Branch Committee

      Monday, June 28, 2010

      A new venue for our upcoming AGM 17th July 2010


      Surround view of the beach from the top of the cliff.


      How to get to Baraya Laut Resort : Drive from Miri towards Bakam/Bekenu, drive past Kpg Beraya Lama junction, past Sg Beraya Bridge, past Beraya Baru Beach junction (right), immediately past Kpg Beraya Baru junction (market visible, left). Baraya Laut Resort is on the right, it's yellow/orange guardhouse visible from the road immediately past Kpg Beraya Baru junction. There's a small signboard on the right. Turn right and drive up the gravel road. On the map, Miri is NorthEast, Bekenu SouthWest direction.

      We have recently discovered a well hidden gem flushed with that sophisticated ambience, elusive understated elegance, unhindered seaside vistas and a whole chunk of secluded sandy beach ... Baraya Laut Resort.

      We have found the perfect spot to hold our 2010 Branch AGM!

      Ernyza, our AGM focal point this year might infuse other interesting activities other than our usual presentations post AGM.

      Our tentative program:
      16th July Friday:
      [Pre-AGM activities 1 ]
      1600hrs Check-in
      1800hrs Sunset and birdwatching
      2000hrs Dinner at Sin Chiong
      2200hrs Stargazing or Beachfishing or Nite Beachcombing according to taste.

      17th July Saturday:
      [Pre-AGM activities 2 ]
      0630hrs Meet at Resort
      0700hrs Beachwalk/Birdwatch or explore the compound after breakfast
      1200hrs Lunch in Bekenu
      1300hrs Leisure to explore the surroundings or soak in the ambience of the place.

      [AGM program proper]
      1600hrs Start of AGM
      1) Confirmation of 2009/10 AGM minutes
      2) Confirmation of Meeting Agenda
      3) Chairman's 2009/10 Report, Acceptance of Chairman's Report
      4) Treasurer's 2009/10 Report, Acceptance of Treasurer's Report
      5) Election for 2010/11 EXCO
      6) Short Welcome speech by Incoming Chairperson
      7) End of AGM

      [Post AGM activities 3 for those staying for dinner]
      1800hrs Start of BBQ and group dinner
      2000hrs Mini-Presentations and discussions (20 mins each):
      1) Musa on CFZ Firefly Survey Northern Region, Merdeka Fund Application under MNS Miri
      2) Nazeri on Waterbirds Survey Coastal Sarawak, Merdeka Fund Application under BCC-WG
      3) Open slot for any members who wants to share
      2100hrs Stargazing or Nite Beachcombing or Nite Fishing according to taste

      18th July Sunday:
      [Post AGM activities 4 for those staying overnite]
      0630hrs Beachwalk or Surfing according to taste after simple breakfast
      1200hrs Checkout / Lunch at Bekenu

      Puteri will be conducting the AGM as Acting Secretary.
      Ernyza will be in charge of F&B for the AGM assisted by Anura and Amalia.
      Nazeri will be focal point for presentations.

      The Resort is equipped with small items to tide over your stay. There is a small kampong nearby that can perhaps fulfill your other needs, in any case Bekenu town is only 10 minutes drive away.

      Frontal view of the main bungalow.


      Side view of the bungalow.


      View of the front sitting room from the sundeck.


      The sitting room with the expansive view of the skyline.


      Plenty of glass panels all around for an unobstructed 360 degree view of the surroundings.


      Soaking in the scenery from the elevated sundeck.


      The well apportioned kitchen comes complete with a refrigerator, gas stove and dining table, perfect for a family breakfast.


      The beach.


      Soon to be opened cliffside chalet expected completion Oct 2010. This is the view from the daybed, sans lacey curtains and pillows.


      Silhouette of a romantic hide-away, it has a jacuzzi with a skyview when ready by Anura Dason.


      Sandstone cliffs fringe the beach all the way to Tusan onwards to Tanjong Batu, Peliau and Bungai ... beachcombers' heaven.


      Twigs in the sand.


      A abandoned structure, a perfect anchor for the seemingly endless horizon.


      Reflection of first light on a billowy cloud formation.


      Sunset by Anura Dason.


      All members to please email mnsmiri@yahoo.com to confirm your attendance to our AGM, please state which programs you intend to participate in:

      Pre AGM 1 : Joining Friday evening activities
      Pre AGM 2 : Joining Saturday morning activities
      AGM only : Joining AGM only 4-6pm
      Post AGM 3 : Joining group dinner and presentations
      Post AGM 4: Joing Sunday morning activities
      ALL : If you are going to be with us the whole weekend.

      Costs:
      Accomodation charges which not covered by our Branch AGM budget will be on a shared basis based on usage and number of attendees. Presently the Resort charges $150/nite for 5 adults and $15/head for additional adults.

      Here's to a successfull AGM!