Thursday, January 28, 2010

This Weekends Activities in Miri

Sunrise over the Kuala Baram Mudflats, 0640hrs.

Thursday, 28th January
Kuala Baram Checking Out Raptors and Birds

Meet : Shell Office Lobby
Time : 1530 hrs

We are zipping around Kuala Baram area for a couple of hours to look out for raptors and other birds with Swee Seng, Carol, Nina and David from the visiting MNS Selangor Bird Group.

Saturday, 30th January
Lambir Hills Trekking

Meet : Taman Awam OR Lambir Hills NP
Time: 0800 hrs or 0830 hrs

Sara and crew will be doing another climb up Bukit Lambir, must be like a walk in the park literally for these guys after these few weeks. Please contact Sara directly.

Saturday, 30th January
AWC Kuala Baram Lagoon (near Crocodile Farm) I

Meet : Shell Office Lobby or Kuala Baram Road (before the turn to croc farm)
Time : 1600 hrs 0r 1630 hrs

We'll be checking out the waders and other birds at the Kuala Baram sandspit, walking in a northerly direction. It'll be for a few hours up till sunset. Bring insect repellant.

Sunday, 31st January
AWC Kuala Baram Lagoon (near Crocodile Farm) II

Meet : Shell Office Lobby OR Kuala Baram Road (before the turn to croc farm)
Time : 0600 hrs or 0630 hrs

We'll be checking out the waders and other birds at the Kuala Baram sandspit, walking in a southerly direction towards the boat-making yard. It'll be for a few hours up till 1000 hrs. Bring insect repellant and a wide hat.

Please sms 0168542212 or comment on this entry if you are interested to participate in any of the above activities.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Lessons from "Forest Plantations" from Uruguay

Uruguay: A place where the lies about plantations are all too obvious

Everywhere in the world where large-scale monoculture tree plantations are established, their arrival is preceded by a series of promises used to trick the local population into welcoming these ventures. After a few years have gone by, people start to realize that these promises are not kept, and that things are actually even worse than before. But by then it is of course too late. The companies have taken over the area and set up their plantations.

The town of Tranqueras, in the northern Uruguayan department of Rivera, is perhaps one of the most notorious examples of this deception. Before the advent of tree plantations, Tranqueras was known as the “watermelon capital of Uruguay”, because the sandy soil in the surrounding area was ideal for growing this particular crop.

Of course, Tranqueras did not live by watermelons alone; a number of other crops as well as livestock were also raised in the area, for the most part on small and medium-sized family farms.

Today Tranqueras has been renamed the “watermelon and forestry capital” of Uruguay, although you would be hard pressed to find a watermelon grown in the area, since all of the suitable soil has been taken over by vast pine plantations. In the town itself there is a large sawmill where the pine timber is processed.

If all of the promises about job creation and development had been true, Tranqueras would be booming today, since the employment generated by the plantations would be combined with the employment provided by the sawmill.

This is a far cry from the reality in Tranqueras, however, as the testimonies gathered during a visit to the region in November 2009 reveals:

“There is no sign of the prosperity that the plantations were supposed to bring to Tranqueras. On the contrary, there used to be two banks, two petrol stations, an agricultural cooperative, a rice mill, a pasta factory, a tax office, and other things.

Today almost all of that has disappeared. Tranqueras has grown, but in what way? In the number of people, with unskilled labourers, who earn unskilled labourer wages, and have unskilled labourer mentalities.

A population with a primary school education, whose greatest aspiration is to have a tree to prune. Is that progress?” According to the local inhabitants interviewed, 90% of the jobs created by the plantations involve seasonal, unskilled manual labour.

Perhaps the situation can be summed up best by the testimony of a beekeeper, who gives classes in beekeeping as a potential alternative source of income outside the plantation industry.

“We have to learn to live with cancer,” she said, referring in this way to the pine and eucalyptus plantations.

“We have no choice, which is why we have to try to get what we can out of this cancer.”

In this case, they can merely try to make the best of a bad situation by producing honey, taking advantage of the flowering of the pine tree plantations (which only supply pollen) and the eucalyptus plantations (which are better suited for honey production, but are relatively scarce in the area).

Referring to the plantations as a cancer is a particularly apt metaphor, given the fact that their spread has severely affected the health of local ecosystems and the survival of the local population.

Every person interviewed, without exception, stressed the impact of the plantations on the water supply.

One local resident noted that “the streams and rivers are shrinking and wells dug eight to ten metres down have gone dry.”

Another reported, “It is plain to see that the soil is drying up. Areas that used to be marshes are now dry and you can drive over them in a car.”

The scarcity of water makes it impossible to grow any other crops, and people find themselves forced to sell their land… to the very plantation companies that caused the problem.

For example, there are some local residents who would like to start up an organic vegetable farm, “but the problem is that we have no water. Twenty-metre-deep wells have gone dry, and today you have to dig semi-artesian wells, 60 metres deep, which costs at least 4,000 US dollars.”

Watermelon farming has disappeared as well, “because there is nowhere to plant them and because there is no water.”

What’s more, the little water left is contaminated, both by the toxic agrochemicals used on the tree plantations and by the enormous amount of pollen produced by the pine trees, which all end up in the area’s waterways.

One person told us that “the water is poisoned. I know someone who rented a field near the plantation and he had to give it up because the animals wouldn’t drink the water, and if they did, they died.”

A local government representative from Tranqueras described the situation this way: “When they start up a plantation, the first thing they do is kill everything that’s living. Work teams head out with containers of poison and a spoon, 14 or 15 people working about seven metres apart; every five steps or so they stop and dump a spoonful of poison. And so the whole countryside is filled with poison, and when it rains the poison gets washed into the waterways and leaks into the aquifer.

Around two years ago – I don’t know if it was from an overload of pine pollen or because of these poisons or because of very low temperatures – a lot of fish suddenly died.”

The pollen problem “is terrible in July and August and up until September. It gets in everywhere, under the doors, all over the furniture, in pails of water, which turns to slime. You see dead fish in the river covered with a layer of pollen,” recounted a local resident.

“There are a lot of cases of conjunctivitis and allergies caused by the pine pollen,” added another.

As for other species of flora, “under the pine trees nothing survives, everything dies.” This problem is especially obvious to beekeepers, whose bees have access to nothing but pine and eucalyptus trees for producing honey.

With regard to fauna, there have been serious impacts resulting from both the use of toxic agrochemicals and the alteration of local ecosystems.

“Partridges, armadillos, lizards, etc., etc., they all died from the agrochemicals sprayed on the plantations, sometimes from planes,” reported a local resident.

In the meantime, other animals have migrated to the area. Wild boars have become a veritable plague, to the extent that “you can’t keep sheep anymore.”

“Boars can cover up to 50 kilometres in one night, and there are people who start out with 90 sheep and end up with 15 because of the boars, which sometimes even attack calves. The problem gets worse every year, and while there are usually around five or ten boars in a herd, you sometimes see as many as 50.”

There has also been an upsurge in the fox population, which has obviously had an impact on livestock production. Native bird species like owls have also disappeared, as a result of poisonous chemicals and other changes in the ecosystem. According to one person interviewed, “there is a kind of beetle that the owls used to eat but now they have turned into a plague because of the disappearance of the owls.”

From a social viewpoint, the expansion of tree plantations has led to the expulsion of the rural population. A local resident told us, “Before the plantations there were around 200 families living in the countryside and there was a school with around 100 kids. Now, after the plantations came, there are 150 abandoned houses and the school was left with four students, and finally shut down.”

One former rural resident recounted how the plantation company offered to buy his land for more than its market value, and he decided to sell. He moved to the town and tried to get a job on the plantation. Things did not turn out as planned: the money from the sale of his land was “eaten up” by basic living expenses and he ended up in the urban poverty belt that has grown up around Tranqueras.

When it comes to employment, not only do the jobs on the plantations pay extremely meagre wages (“barely enough to eat”), but salaries for sawmill workers are equally poor.

“You leave for work first thing in the morning, at 6:00, and get home at 6:30 in the evening, and we make 10,000 pesos [roughly 500 dollars] a month, the same as 10 years ago,” commented one sawmill worker.

The fact that tree plantations are now almost the only source of employment in the area makes many people hesitant to speak out against the industry. As a local family farmer explained, “The people who have work don’t complain. But when it comes to people who don’t depend on the plantations, they all complain.”

After more than 20 years of plantation-based “development”, the “forestry capital of Uruguay” has just one paved street – the town’s main street – and it does not even have sidewalks. This means people are forced to walk on the road, running the risk of being hit by a car or truck.

The situation is concisely summarized by the following comments from local residents:

“How have the people benefited? People had to leave the countryside and move to the city. Some of them work on the plantations, not because they like it, but because there’s nothing else. The benefits are for the people who come from the outside and for people who have money. The young people here have no future.” “The cost of living has gone up, buying power has gone down, and there are more poor people now.”

To the disgrace of those who continue to support the FSC certification scheme, the plantations owned by the leading forestry company in the area (FYMNSA) have been FSC certified for years.

Meanwhile, transnational forestry giant Weyerhaeuser is in the process of obtaining the FSC “green label” for its plantations here through the certification company SGS, which is slated to conduct its main evaluation during the last week of January 2010.

Given the FSC’s past record in Uruguay, there is little doubt that the granting of the FSC label will be a mere formality, and the people of Tranqueras will not only have to “learn to live with cancer,” but also put up with its greenwashing.

Testimonies from interviews conducted by Grupo Guayubira in November 2009,
World Rainforest Movement

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You've come a long way baby!

We've come along way since our inception March 1996. Though Malaysian Nature Society celebrates 70 years formation in West Malaysia this year, both branches of MNS in Sarawak, MNS Kuching and MNS Miri have only been on Bornean soil for 13 years plus a few months give and take.

MNS is the oldest membership-based and driven environmental conservation non-governmental organisation in Malaysia, perhaps the only one in Sarawak!

"Look back to surge ahead with foresight!" - Anon.

MNS Miri Branch members monthly figures from 2004 to 2009.

MNS Miri Branch members as of 31st May from 1996-2009.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Another event this Weekend

Saturday, 23rd January : Morning
Lambir Climb, (Loop Trail and Pantu Waterfall)

Meet: Taman Awam Miri 0800hrs OR Lambir Hills NP 0830hrs.

This weekend, Sara and troop will attempt the Loop Trail with a stop to Pantu Waterfalls. Those interested to test their mettle to contact Sara directly. Please wear appropriate footwear for this walk, and looking at the season perhaps a light poncho would be appropriate in case of unexpected downpour.

This weekend's events in MNS Miri

A Little Egret catching prey in the shallows.

Saturday, 23rd January : Morning
AWC 2010 Curtin University Area II

Meet: Sarawak Shell Office Lobby 0600 hrs OR Curtin University Guardhouse 0630 hrs.
Actual birdwatching: 0700-1000hrs

To be led by Nazeri. Bring your favorite birdbook, bino and notebook. We are counting waterbirds and any other birds associated with the wetlands. Come do your bit of citizen science for birds and conservation of bird habitat, come rain or shine. Last week Musa, Steve and Sara recorded Oriental Darters, Grey Wagtials, Yellow Wagtails, Wood Sandpiper, Pacific Golden Plover, and Black-winged Kite among others.

Saturday, 23rd January : Afternoon
AWC 2010 Kpg Masjid Area I (Prawn Farms)

Meet: Sarawak Shell Office Lobby 1500 hrs OR ASEAN Bridge Tollgate 1530 hrs.
Actual birdwatching : 1600-1900hrs

To be led by Nazeri. Bring your favorite birdbook, bino and notebook. We are counting waterbirds and any other birds associated with the wetlands. Come do your bit of citizen science for birds and conservation of bird habitat, come rain or shine. Another good place for Oriental Darters, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Osprey, Black-winged Kite, Malaysian Plover, and Chinese Egret.

Sunday, 24th January : Morning
AWC 2010 Kpg Masjid Area II (Surrounding Marshland)

Meet: Sarawak Shell Office Lobby 0600hrs OR ASEAN Bridge Tollgate 0630hrs.
Actual birdwatching : 0700-1000hrs

To be led by Nazeri. Bring your favorite birdbook, bino and notebook. We are counting waterbirds and any other birds associated with the wetlands. Come do your bit of citizen science for birds and conservation of bird habitat, come rain or shine. See above for typical birds in the area. There will be some walking involved, please wear comfortable shoes and a hat.

Please email MNSMiri or sms 0168542212 to participate. Please refer to AWC 2010 for location of the above sites.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

MNS 70th Anniversary Celebrations and then some

The Malaysian Nature Society has been contributing towards the protection of Malaysia’s natural heritage since 1940. MNS, as both a membership-based and membership-driven organization, has played an instrumental role in securing the protection of many key habitats as well as national and state parks in Malaysia.

Last year, MNS was recognised for its contribution to the country in the area of the environment by being awarded the prestigious inaugural Merdeka Award for our Belum-Temengor Conservation Initiative. This and other achievements of the Society have aptly demonstrated not only our passionate determination for nature conservation but also the importance of our members and their support in achieving our goals.

As we forge ahead into the future, MNS strives to remain relevant, focused and steadfast to our mission while continuously improving the way we attain our long term goals, positively elevating our profile as well as our way of working.

Also last year, MNS proudly unveiled our new 12 year long term plan and guide, "MNS Strategy Plan 2008-2020" which came about after a prolonged 2 year consultative process. With this plan, we hope to move forward together with our members and the Malaysian public towards a common goal : to champion nature conservation while holding true to our mission,

To promote the study, appreciation, conservation and protection of Malaysia's natural heritage.

This year, we our 70 Years Anniversary! Numerous events and activities have been planned nationwide to celebrate our 70 years of work together with our members and the public.

These events are put together as a way to say thank you to all for 70 Years of support for the work that we do; as well as a vehicle to increase the general awareness to some of our key focus in the country.

1. Press Conference (23rd January 2010)
· To announce and promote the events of MNS 70th Anniversary
· To launch the 70th logo

2. Book Launch – Limestone Hills & Caves of Kinta Valley (23rd January 2010)
· Launch at MNS HQ/Nature Owlet, followed by presentation to the public and branch
· Resources: working with Nature Owlet, Perak & Selangor Branch

3. FIFA World Cup Exhibit (29th January 2010)
· MNS project with Coco cola to be displayed, exhibition is at Mid Valley Megamall

4. Book Launch – Mangroves of Kuala Selangor (2nd Feb 2010)
· In conjunction with World Wetlands Day. Sponsored by HSBC
. To be launched at Kuala Selangor Nature Park. Officiated by YB Elizabeth Wong

5. Raptor Watch (13-14th March 2010)
· Our 11th year, to promote our 70th anniversary and launch the MNS-TM KPA project.
· All branches encouraged to attend and be part of the MNS exhibition. Speaking slots are available to branch
. Co-organised with Melaka/N9 and Selangor branch.

6. World Water Day - National Youth Conference on Water (22nd March 2010)
· Conference targeting youth and students to be held tentatively in University Malaya

7. Earth Day (22nd April)
· Events being developed that will showcase the 70th anniversary.

8. World Tapir Day (27th April)
· Public Lecture on Tapir Conservation by Carl Traeholt at MSN HQ.

9. World Migratory Bird Day 2010 (8-9th May)
. "Migrating Raptors", a talk and slideshow by MNS Raptor Study Group at Pustaka Miri and selected rural schools.
. Birdwatching trips around Miri.

10. Heavenly Weekend with the Stars (14-16th May)
. Joint MNS Miri and MNS Sabah in Kundasang
. Astronomy Camp and Stargazing

11. World Biodiversity Day (22nd May)
· Kuching Branch to organize the Penrissen Range IBA launch in conjunction with the World Biodiversity Day, in partnership with Borneo Highlands Resort.
· Kedah Branch to organize Environmental Education Conference
. Details pending.

12. World Environment Day (5th June)
· Events being developed that will showcase the 70th anniversary.
· Selangor Branch at Bukit Kiara Forest Reserve
. MNS Open Day in conjunction with World Environment Day.

13. World Oceans Day (8th June)
· Launch of the Sustainable Seafood Guide in collaboration with WWF Malaysia.

14. Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race (ten. 19-20th June)
· Being developed that will showcase the 70th anniversary

15. 70th Anniversary Roadshow MNS Miri Branch (19-20th June)
· In conjunction with World Environment Day. Theme: Marine and Coastal Conservation, Pustaka Miri. Talks and slideshows (Fossils in Miri; Dolphins in Sarawak; Reefs in Sarawak) as well as a fieldtrip to Tusan Cliffs to look for fossils the next day.

16. MNS Kuching Branch – Trees for Life (July)
· Date TBA, Venue at Sama Jaya Nature Reserve

17. 2nd International Firefly Symposium (2-5th Aug)
· FRIM as main organizer, MNS as co-organiser. MNS to present a paper on Kg. Kuantan.

18. Merdeka Day (31th Aug)
· Activities being planned to associate MNS with our Malaysian identity

19. MNS National AGM (25th Sept)
· Hosted in Johor, Lagenda Ledang Resort
· Election year for Office bearers.

20. International Conference (8th & 9th October 2010)
· 2 day International Conference, special international guests, 300 pax, titled “Challenges & Solutions to Tropical Biodiversity – 70 years and Beyond
· 1st announcement in Jan 2010, 2nd in June 2010

21. Royal Dinner (10th October 2010)
· Dinner and presentation of Awards, 800 pax.
· Awards to be given out to selected corporates and supporters

22. Borneo Bird Festival (15-17th October 2010)
· A 3-day public event at Sabah, organized by Sabah Tourism Board, co-organised by MNS and supported by BirdLife International.

23. 3rd Wetlands Link International (WLI) Asia Confernce (20-24th Oct 2010)
· 50-80 international participants. To be held in Kuala Selangor in conjunction with Festival of Wings 2010.

24. Festival of Wings (23-24th October 2010)
· 2 day annual public event at Kuala Selangor Nature Park

25. 70th Anniversary Coffeetable Book Launch (November)
· Book launch & exhibition

Malaysian Nature Society look forward to welcome more organisations and individuals to become members of MNS; to be our partners in some of our projects as well as generously volunteer time and resources in the many programmes we offer nationwide.

Together we can fruitfully work towards ensuring the protection of Malaysia’s fragile natural wonders for perpetuity, for our grandchildren and their grandchildren to come.

Event listings provided by:
Communications Division,
MNS Dec 2009,

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This weekend's events in MNS Miri

Saturday 16th January : Trek Bukit Pantu, Lambir Hills National Park

Meet: Taman Awam or Lambir Hills NP HQ
Time: 0800 HRS or 0830 HRS respectively depending on your preferred meeting place.

This will be a 6km trek up Bukit Pantu, come prepared with good shoes, water, snacks, leech deterrant and perhaps a poncho in case of rain. Sara leading.

Sunday, 17th January : AWC 2010 : Curtin University Area

Meet : Curtin University Guardhouse
Time : 0600 HRS

Bring your favorite birdbook, bino and notebook. We are counting waterbirds and any other birds associated with the wetlands. Come do your bit of citizen science for birds and conservation of bird habitat. Musa/Steve leading.

Brown Shrike.

Email or sms Musa at 0168746127.

Raptor Study Group descending on Miri

An "MNS-BCC Raptor Study Group & ARRCN Raptor Identification Workshop and Survey" is being planned to take place in Kuching by the MNS-BCC Raptor Study Group and ARRCN , 20-21st March 2010 in Kuching, Sarawak.

In relation to the workshop, there'll be the following visits by members of the Raptor Study Group with the objectives of conducting recce for raptor migration routes, and familiarisation visit to birding sites in and around Northern Sarawak.

1) Kho Swee Seng, Carol, Nina and David Lai will be covering Miri and Bario 28th January - 02nd February 2010

a) Kuala Baram and Miri, Thursday, 28th Jan
b) Bario, Friday-Monday, 29th Jan- 01st Feb
c) Lambir Hills National Park, Monday-Tuesday 01st Feb-02nd Feb.

2) Lim Aun Tiah will descend on Bintulu, Similajau NP and Niah NP between 22nd March - 25th March

a) Bintulu and Similajau National Park, Monday-Tuesday, 22nd - 23rd March
b) Niah National Park, Wednesday, 24th March
c) Miri, Thrusday, 25th March

MNS members, raptor afficionadoes and birdwatchers from the northern region are hereby invited to join them on the above dates. It's not often opportunity like this surfaces for folks in and around the northern region, why not make a bee-line to the sites above and get a detailed low down on raptors and birds in general for the guru themselves.

Depending on the level of interests and distribution of raptors in the area, we may be organising a second Raptor workshop here in Miri during the autumn migration Aug/Sep 2010.

If you have any further questions, please email them to

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

MNS Bird Conservation Council (MNS BCC) Meeting

Background to the establishment of MNS-BCC

"When Birdlife International appointed Malaysian Nature Society as the Birdlife Malaysian Partner, it was felt that MNS should set up a Bird component within the MNS to present a strong case for MNS tobe accepted as a full Partner.

MNS Council set up a small group comprising of Professor Avadhani, Dr Lim Boo Kiat, Kanda Kumar to hold discussions and to set up a Bird Committee similar to the Councils Committee on Education and Parks. This group, whose name was yet to be given, headed by Professor Avadhani appointed Kanda as Secretary to draw up rules and regulations for the "Bird Committee". Feedback on the formation of the group was invited from MNS Branches and members.

The final outcome was the setting up of the MNS Bird Conservation Council (BCC) and crafting of the terms and references of the BCC. It was hoped that ultimately a staffed bird section would be set up within the Science and Conservation Department of MNS in the future.

MNS Council approved the setting up of BCC in 1995.

The first BCC meeting was held 21st December 1995 with Kanda Kumar elected as Chairman, and Glenda Noramly as Secretary. At the time it was deemed unnecessary to elect a Treasurer."

The background above is by Kanda Kumar.

BCC, now with a few new faces, some very familiar stalwarts and additional representatives from the Branches met for the first time after a long spell at MNS HQ on the 09th January 2010.

Present at the meeting were : Dr Calvin Loh, Executive Director MNS; Yeap Chin Aik, Head Conservation Division; Kanitha Krishnasamy, Senior Policy Officer, Conservation Division; Tan Chin Tong, Conservation Advisory Council Chairman; Ooi Chin Hock, BCC-Chairman; Phang Fatt Kow, Kedah Branch Rep; Nazeri Abghani, Miri Branch Rep; Dave Bakewell, Penang Branch Rep; Allen Jeyarajasingam, BCC; Mohd Rafi Kudus; Glenda Noramly, BCC; and Mee Cheng, Selangor Branch Rep.

Mohd Rafi Kudus was appointed as the new Chairman of BCC at the meeting. All present thanked Ooi Chin Hock for all the hard work he's done over the past years as Chair.

A few salient points that came out from the BCC meeting were:

1) BCC to explore a change of name to reflect it's current role within MNS
2) BCC to remain under the Conservation structure hand in hand with the CAC. BCC Chairman or his representative will be invited to attend to attend CAC meetings.
3) BCC to explore restructuring exercise to align it's objectives and roles within MNS as a whole and the birding community specifically.
4) Raptor Study Group, Waterbird Group, Hornbill Project, Raptor Watch, AWC efforts remain independent mainstays of volunteers with representatives sitting on BCC.
5) BCC wide activities to be streamlined to fall under the following broad headings : Fundraising; Projects; Communications and Publications; Malaysian Issues ie. Bird_i-Witness, Checklists etc; Education, Training and Outreach.

The objectives of BCC remains by and large the same:

a) To promote interest in birds, bird conservation activities, formulate and carry out educational programs. The BCC will support, assist, and wherever appropriate provide its expertise to various project leaders/volunteers on conservation activities.

b) To comment on bird conservation policies and programs Nationally and Internationally.

c) To raise funds for bird conservation

d) To assist and develop Branch Bird Groups

e) To assist other NGOs or Government bodies in bird conservation

f) To maintain the Malaysian BIW database and up to date checklist of birds

g) To prepare for publication bird reports, bird related research papers, news of interest to MNS members or general public with regards to bird conservation or matters of ornithological interest.

Here's looking to BCC, hopefully BCC will play a more visible presence in the eyes of the public and MNS members in furthering the interest in birds, bird welfare and bird conservation.

Next task: to get all BCC in one room for their mugshots!

Friday, January 8, 2010

ASIAN WATERBIRD CENSUS 2010 : Go-Kart/Senadin Lakes Sunday, 10th Jan

Our first site of for AWC 2010 is the lakes dotting the area near the Miri Go-Kart Circuit just after the Pujut 7 Roundabout and Bridge. There's a series of lakes in the area that supports a localised small number of waterbirds. Past casual surveillance of the area has yielded several niceties, there could be a few more waiting to be sighted.

Date : Sunday, 10th Jan 2010
Time : 0630-0900 hrs
Meet : Go-Kart Circuit Parking Area

Musa will be focal point for this census with Sara, Steve assisting. Members interested to participate to please email Musa or call/sms 0168746127.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Lambir Climb this Saturday 09th January

Happy New Year to all!

Sara will be leading a short walk this Saturday (about 4km) in Lambir Hills National Park. This will be a test-your-mettle session for those who are planning to scale Mount Kinabalu during our MNS Miri-MNS Sabah joint do in May. The intention is to slowly increase the distance walked/climbed to build up stamina over the next few months till D-day. Our ultimate aim is to conquer Bukit Lambir before attempting Mount Kinabalu summit climb.

Anyone interested are welcomed, whether you're climbing Mount Kinabalu or not. Walking Lambir Hills does have a few pleasant surprises, always.

Date : Saturday, 9 January 2010
Time : Meet 8am at Taman Awam carpark, or
Meet 8:30am at Lambir Park HQ.

Please email Sara if you would like to come.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Branch January Updates and News

AWC 2010 Plans
Dear Members,

Happy New Year! How time flies, wish u and family all the best for 2010. May there be more happiness and joy in all your undertakings this year.


1. Committee Meeting, 11th Nov

2. Discussions on MNS Miri Strategic Plans 2010-2012, 18th Nov
Our strategic plans are almost in it's final form. This will be presented to Council 16th Jan 2010.

3. "Blood in the Water-Mini Expedition to Ulu Baram", 02nd Dec
A presentation of pictures and issues surrounding Bajawi and Ulu Baram in general.

4. Talk and Slideshow " Introduction to Coral Reefs in Miri", 05th Dec
Kumar, Amer and Tisha presented "Introduction to Reefs " at Pustaka Miri flawlessly. A repeat of this is planned for the school crowd in Mar and June.

5. Fireflies Survey and Training, Kuching, 5-6th Dec
Musa came back from the course all excited and intent on covering some of the rivers in Miri, Bekenu, and Niah to check out the fireflies there. Watch this space! We've created for firefly information sharing.

6. Firefly Recce conducted for possible Congregating Fireflies Zones (CFZ)
The following recce trips were executed by Musa in preparation for firefly surveys that have been planned from March onwards.
Miri River, Miri 15th Dec
Kawang River, Sibuti 23rd Dec
Nusah River, Niah 26th Dec
Hunai River, Bekenu 29th Dec

7. AWC 2010 Recce Bungai Swamps, 6th Dec
We went further than planned. Bungai swamps offered a few birds but not many, most of the landscape was criss-crossed with waterways which leads to the main rivers. We did stumble on a new spot for birdwatching.

8. Basic Photoshop and Webby Workshop For Committee and Members, 09th Dec
Those who attended touched on the basics of photochopping and how to create blogs.

9. Bakelalan Short Jaunt 12-14th Dec
For such a short weekend we did plenty: attended a wedding, birdwatched, trekked, picked fruits and counted Gemini meteor shower. And also made a few new friends along the way.

10. Birdwatching at Jakat-Empaling, Lambir, 20th Dec
Led by Musa Musbah. Notable find: Black Magpie

11. Birdwatching at Sibuti Landfill, Bekenu 25th Dec
Led by Musa Musbah. Notable find: a big congregation of egrets.

12. Long Lamai X-Mas and New Year 26th Dec-03rd Jan
We've gone and came back. An eye-opening walkabout in Upper Baram spending time with the Penan communities in Long Lamai (4D/3N) and Kenyah in Long Tungan (1D/1N) and Loh Moh (3D/2N). We had Long Banga airport to ourselves for 2D/2N. Watch for our write-up.

13. Birdwatching at Bkt Song, Lambir NP, 03rd Jan
Led by Steve. A close encounter with the kind that carries guns in the NP illegally!


1. Asian Waterbird Census 2010 Jan-Feb

a) Go-Kart Lakes 9-10th Jan
Musa and Steve leading.

b) Curtin Lakes 16-17th Jan
Musa and Sara leading.

c) Kpg Masjid Prawn Farms 23-24th Jan
Nazeri and Steve leading.

d) Kuala Baram 30-31st Jan
Musa and Nazeri leading. We maybe camping on the sandbar, weather and tide permitting.

e) Sundar, Lawas 5-7th Feb
Nazeri and Norzie leading. An overnite trip, members to book flights to and from Lawas on the dates specified.

f) Loagan Bunut, 20-21st Feb
Musa and Steve leading. An overnite trip to the NP. We'll take boatrides to survey the lakes for birds.

g) Pulau Bawai Camping, 27-28th Feb
Musa leading. We will be camping on the island to watch the birds.

2. [Tentative] Long Weekend at a Longhouse along Batang Baram
One of our member has extended to members of MNS Miri a quite weekend longhouse experience. Expressions of interest is duly sought from members who'd like to spend a couple days relaxing with a longhouse community by the riverside, the Tuai Rumah will be our host. Since the dates have not yet been set, members can specify "best" dates based on their preferences.


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 inform 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 MNS Maybank or HSBC accounts.

Membership for the following members expired 31st October:
Adrienne Marcus Raja-reminded
Bejay Ugon - renewed
Jia Jiun Law - renewed
Nurhazwani Abdul Munaf - renewed
Elisabet Wee Siew Siew-reminded
Yong Kah Hian - renewed
Sim Yuh Thin - reminded

Membership of the following members are expiring 30th November:
Ellen Macarthur - renewed
Richard Kho-reminded
Lucas Johny - renewed

Membership of the following members are expiring 31st December:
Anura Dason-reminded
Samantha Kwan-reminded
Charlie Lee -renewed
Musa Musbah -renewed
Nurziana Abdullah Sani -renewed
Rosie Kassim- reminded

Membership of the following members are expiring 31st Jan:
Azeeza Bujang,
Jeit Law,
Rebecca Pek,
Rohaya Amat Dollah,
Ting King King.

Members, please take time to renew your membership. Your Society needs your continued support.

Expired membership from Oct, Nov, will be removed from the mailing list as of this update.

2. Blogspot and Facebook
Keep updated with Branch activities via our blog( and Facebook (search for "MNS Miri"). We need writers and pictures for our blogs, Pencinta Alam, Malaysian Naturalists ... contributors welcomed.If you've articles, write-ups and pictures to share on our blog, please email

3. Meetings in the next months
9th Jan: MNS Bird Conservation Council Meeting KL, Nazeri attending
16th Jan : MNS Council Meeting KL, Nazeri attending
20th Jan : Miri Branch Committee Meeting KRP

If you have any items that needed raising up at these meetings, please email us.

4. News
Amer, our Branch Treasurer will be taking new challenges in West Malaysia and will be leaving us as of 08th Jan. His duties as treasurer will be taken up by one of our other committee member until further notice. On behalf of the committee, we'd like to wish Amer all the best in his new endeavours and hoping that he's stay active in the Society by linking up with our buddies in our Negeri Sembilan/Malacca Branch.

Please email any comments, suggestions to

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