Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Farewell 2011... Bring on 2012 !

As we bring 2011 to a close, here’s a snapshot of activities in the last 5 months:

- Similajau Beach Walk
- Visit to Niah Caves
- Bukit Pantu Hike
- Trek at Bukit Shahbandar National Park

- Trek at Dinding Trail, Lambir National Park
- Tusan Beach and Caves Walk
- Community Outreach at Ba’kelalan
- Star Trail and Astro Photography Session in Suai

- Bukit Pantu Nature Walk, Lambir National Park
- Community Education Program at SK Lepong Ajai with SFC Lambir
- Trekking at Gunung Irau, Cameron Highlands

- Road Trip and Trek at Kinabalu National Park
- Mesilau Loop Walk and Birdwatching in Sepilok
- Lunar Eclipse Viewing at Tusan
- Trekking at Lambir National Park

A big THANK YOU to all members who participated in these events and we certainly hope to see you rearing to go come next year. Here’s a head’s up on a couple of dates to watch out for:

1. Asian Waterbird Census
Asian Waterbird Census, AWC is an annual waterbird census carried out by volunteers at various sites thoughout Asia. MNS Miri Branch has a small band of birdwatchers who will be participating in AWC again this year. Participation in the census is sought from all branch members and the public interested to know more about waterbirds and birds in general. The following are confirmed dates and location:

07th January - South Kuala Baram Lagoon
08th January - North of Kuala Baram Lagoon
14th January - Curtin Lakes Area
21st January - Kpg Masjid Kuala Baram

For new updates and more details of the visits above and AWC in general, please refer to:


2. Sarawak Waterbirds Survey Project Community Outreach at Similajau National Park in collaboration with Sarawak Forestry Corporation Bintulu, 11 – 12 February 2012.

Please visit this blog and our Facebook page for any new updates (especially the occasional weekend treks) and do contact us if you have queries or better yet if you’re keen to organize activities with us. Feel free to pass this along to like minded non-members as well. Lastly, please keep us posted on any change of e-mail addresses as we certainly would like to keep in touch.

Many thanks and wishing you Happy Holidays.
MNS Miri Branch 2011 / 2012 Committee

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sunday Morning Trek - Lambir

We're heading to Lambir National Park this Sunday for a trek (weather permitting). Details below:

Date : 11 December 2011
Time : 0740 hrs (meet at Marriot Hotel carpark) or 0815hrs (at Lambir National Park)

For those interested, please contact Joyce (jvsivalingam@hotmail.com).

Photograph by Sara Wong (http://friendsoflambir.blogspot.com/)

Thursday, November 24, 2011

UNEP Press Release: UN Wildlife Meeting Pushes to Make Power Lines Safer for Birds

UN Wildlife Meeting Pushes to Make Power Lines Safer for BirdsInternational Reports Address Impact of Power Lines on Migratory Birds, Offering Solutions to Avoid Collisions and Electrocution

Mounting the bird diverter on high voltage power line.

Bergen, 24 November 2011 – Two new international reports on the conflict between migratory birds and power lines in the African-Eurasian region are being presented to delegates at a UN wildlife conference taking place 20-25 November 2011 in Bergen, Norway.

The two documents, The Review of the Conflict Between Migratory Birds and Electricity Power Grids in the African-Eurasian Region and the Guidelines on How to Avoid or Mitigate the Impact of Electricity Power Grids on Migratory Birds in the African-Eurasian Region will be reviewed by representatives from close to 100 governments and several key wildlife conservation organizations attending the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), an international wildlife treaty administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

Power lines constitute one of the major causes of unnatural death for birds both through electrocution and fatal collisions. At end of 2010 there were 70.5 million kilometers of power lines throughout the world, constructed with minimal consideration for their environmental impact. This is expected to increase to 76.2 million kilometers by the end of 2015.

The review shows that in the African-Eurasian region alone, hundreds of thousands of birds die annually from electrocution and tens of millions of birds from collision with power lines. In general, large birds seem to be more affected.

For some large, slow reproducing bird species which migrate across this region, such as pelicans, storks, flamingos, birds of prey, cranes, bustards and owls, the death toll could possibly lead to population declines and/or local or regional extinction.

In South Africa, for example, 12% of Blue Cranes, South Africa’s national bird, and 11-15% of Ludwig’s Bustards are dying annually in collisions with a growing number of power lines.

According to the review, hot spots for electrocution are especially found in open habitats lacking natural perches or nesting trees for the birds, such as steppes, deserts and wetlands.

Bird collisions, on the other hand, occur in every habitat type in the region, with hotspots, for example, located in areas where large numbers of birds congregate, such as near water bodies or in migration corridors.

The international review presents a current overview of the existing research and corrective measures undertaken by some countries and electricity power companies in the region to avoid bird mortality from collisions and electrocutions by power lines.

The guidelines, on the other hand, contain a set of concrete recommendations for governments, electric power companies and conservation organisations on how to avoid and reduce the impact of electricity power grids on birds.

“The international guidelines present a number of appropriate legislative and policy actions and some creative technical measures on how to mitigate and reduce the vast number of unnatural bird mortalities caused by electricity power grids,” said CMS Executive Secretary Elizabeth Maruma Mrema.

While the scope of the study was to review the situation across Europe, parts of Asia, the Middle East and Africa, the measures highlighted in the guidelines can be applied globally.

In northern Europe, for example, all low and medium voltage distribution lines have been placed underground in the Netherlands and similar measures are also being carried out in parts of Belgium, the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany and Norway.

“Our experience from Norway is that there are various measures that can reduce the risks of collision and electrocution, such as the use of underground cables, removal of the top line and route selection, and that they are working,” said Erik Solheim, Minister of the Environment and International Development of Norway.

Other less expensive measures include the installation of state-of-the-art technical solutions for existing structures such as insulation of dangerous electric parts of the lines, the installation of bird-friendly perching and nesting devices as well as the installation of markers or bird flight diverters in overhead wires.

"The relative lack of electrical infrastructure across the African continent to date provides an opportunity to avoid the mistakes made elsewhere when new infrastructure is constructed. In this respect, the guidelines are very timely and can make a significant conservation impact," said Jon Smallie from the Endangered Wildlife Trust of South-Africa, one of the authors of the guidelines report.

“National authorities, electricity companies and organizations involved in bird conservation and research should use these guidelines as a first step to address the serious problem of bird mortality caused by electrocution and collision and work together to also better plan the locations of future power lines and jointly identify critical locations where existing power lines should be made safer for birds,” said Marco Barbieri, Acting Executive Secretary of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA), a specialized treaty concluded under CMS.

“In the coming year, the Norwegian Government will spend 30 million kroner to reduce the overall threat on the highly endangered Eurasian Eagle Owl. Power lines pose a significant threat to the owl in Norway,” added Mr. Solheim.

According to the review, electrocution is considered to be the most important mortality factor for the Eagle Owl and possibly the main reason for the decline of the population.

“This may also help to avoid electrocution of other species. We have a high focus on this topic in Norway and our experience is that these measures work but still there is a lot more to do,” said Mr. Solheim.

“Electrocution of birds is not just a conservation issue. It also has economic and financial consequences, as power interruptions and the resulting need for reparations from outages are often caused by bird electrocutions,” said Ms. Mrema. “The Convention on Migratory Species along with its specialized treaties dedicated to the conservation of birds, such as AEWA and the Raptors’ agreement have an important role to play in bringing the different actors and perspectives together. As the international review and the guidelines show, there are already some lessons learned. But there is also a lot more we can do to address this growing conflict between power lines and birds,” added Ms. Mrema.

The review and guidelines were commissioned by the UNEP/AEWA Secretariat to an international research consortium consisting of Bureau Waardenburg, Boere Conservation Consultancy (both from the Netherlands), the Endangered Wildlife Trust (South-Africa) and STRIX from Portugal.

The international review and the guidelines were made possible through the support from AEWA’s cooperation partner RWE Rhein-Ruhr Netzservice, a company of the German energy supplier RWE. The company has developed a method of fitting preventive “bird-diverters” to high-voltage powerlines in Germany and other European countries using a helicopter as a way to try to reduce the collision of large birds with power lines.

Notes to Editors:CMS COP10 Media Page:http://www.cms.int/bodies/COP/cop10/media.htm#4


THE GUIDELINES (Incl. Executive Summary)http://www.cms.int/bodies/COP/cop10/docs_and_inf_docs/doc_30_electrocution_guidlines_e.pdf

THE INTERNATIONAL REVIEW http://www.cms.int/bodies/COP/cop10/docs_and_inf_docs/inf_38_electrocution_review.pdf

LINK TO THE REVIEW & GUIDELINES PROJECT WEBSITE: http://www.buwa.nl/en/aewareviewproject.html

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS) works for the conservation of a wide array of endangered migratory animals worldwide through the negotiation and implementation of agreements and action plans. CMS is a growing convention with special importance due to its expertise in the field of migratory species. At present, 116 countries are parties to the Convention. http://www.cms.int/

The Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) is an intergovernmental treaty developed under the auspices of CMS dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds which use the African-Eurasian Flyways. The Agreement covers 255 species of waterbirds, which are ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle. Of the 119 countries found in the AEWA region, so far 64 and the European Union have become Contracting Parties to the Agreement. http://www.unep-aewa.org/

BIRDS & POWER LINES (taken from the review)
• Most above ground power lines (both medium voltage distribution lines and medium to high voltage transmission lines) present potentially fatal risks for birds through risks of collision with overhead wires and the risk of electrocution.

• A bird collision occurs when a flying bird physically collides with an overhead cable. The bird is typically killed by the impact of the cable, the subsequent impact with the ground, or dies from the resulting injuries.

• Bird collisions occur in every habitat type in the African-Eurasian region, with hotspots amongst others located in areas where large numbers of birds congregate, such as near water bodies or in migration corridors.

• Birds that are disturbed and panicking in the surroundings of power lines have a higher risk of colliding, as are birds that are in pursuit of mates.

• Low visibility due to twilight or weather conditions, or because the wire is too thin to be seen by the birds, creates an even higher risk.

• Bird Migration regularly occurs at higher altitudes, way above the height of the power lines. Therefore, the risk of collision is lower for migrating birds as opposed to local birds. However, the collision risk of migrating birds increases when weather conditions forces them to fly at lower altitudes, for they are less familiar with the landscape and obstacles than local birds.

• Electrocution of a bird occurs when it bridges the gap between two energized components or an energized and an earthed (grounded) component of the pole structure. This results in a short circuit, with electric current flowing through the bird’s body, and electrocution, which is often accompanied by an outage of the electricity supply.

• Hot spots for electrocution are especially found in open habitats lacking natural perches or nesting trees, such as steppes, deserts and wetlands.

• Electrocution most often occurs with (poorly insulated) medium voltage power lines. The bird or nesting materials bridges the gap between wires of different voltages which creates a short-circuit. It is also known to happen while the bird is only touching one line.

• Electrocution of birds is not just a conservation issue; it also has economic and financial consequences. Power interruptions and the need for reparations are often the result of bird electrocution.

• It is relatively easy to minimize these negative impacts from power lines on birds. The CMS / AEWA guidelines report presents a broad suit of solutions and recommendations.

• The most effective measure to eliminate the possibility of both electrocution and collision is underground cabling. This has already been done in the Netherlands and in certain critical locations in Belgium, the United Kingdom, Norway, Denmark and Germany. This method is very costly and therefore not feasible for the whole African-Eurasian region.

• Another obvious way in which to prevent bird electrocutions and collisions is minimizing the construction of new power lines, through efficient network planning and dispersed power generators.

• Routing new power lines away from areas that are home to, or attract, bird species that are known to be susceptible to electrocution and collision, also taking into account landscape and vegetation features.

• Designing the location, route and direction of power lines on the basis of national zoning maps, avoiding, where possible, the construction in habitats of conservation importance, such as important bird areas, protected areas, Ramsar sites and other critical sites as identified by the Critical Site Network (CSN) Tool: http://csntool.wingsoverwetlands.org/csn/default.html

• The guidelines include many other technical measures for both electrocution and collision. These include insulation measures, line design or configuration, perch management techniques and a range of power line marking devices including spheres, swinging plates, bird flappers and others which make lines more visible to birds. The review also includes a summary assessment of the efficiency of such marking devices, sighting ongoing research in different countries, with some concluding that wire marking reduced bird mortality by 50-80%.


A side event on the topic "Challenges in mitigating bird electrocution" (open to the press) will be taking place at the Venue of CMS COP10 at the Scandic Hotel Room Hødden on Thursday, 24 November 2011 between 1800-2000 hrs. The event will be chaired by Ms Heidi Sørense - State Secretary for the Ministry of the Environment and is being organised by the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research/CEDREN in partnership with RWE Rhein Ruhr Netzservice GmbH and NABU (BirdLife Germany).


OPTIPOL ”Optimal design and routing of power lines; ecological, technical and economic perspectives”


Florian Keil, Information Officer, UNEP/AEWA Secretariat, tel: +49 228 815 2451 or mobile: +49 (0)151 14701633, or +47 46 86 15 44 (while in Bergen), e-mail: florian.keil@unep.org

Veronika Lenarz, Public Information, UNEP/CMS Secretariat, tel: +47 46 86 15 44 (while in Bergen), e-mail: vlenarz@cms.int

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson and Head of Media, tel: +41 795 965 737 or +254 733 632 755 or e-mail nick.nuttall@unep.org

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Road Trip and Trek at Kinabalu National Park

We’re going on a Road Trip to Sabah! We’re planning to drive our way to Kinabalu National Park. So whether its photography, sight-seeing, trekking, scouting for good local food or having random chit-chats with like-minded road trippers … I’m sure there will be something (or more) that will tickle your fancy on route and back.

Tentative itinerary.
4 Nov. - Depart Miri (ETD: 4 pm) and stay the night at either Limbang or Bandar Seri Begawan.
5 Nov. - Drive to Ranau and stay the night. Watch Sandakan Death March Video.
6 Nov. - Half day hike at Kinabalu National Park. We plan to hike till Layang-Layang power station and down. Drive to Beaufort and stay the night.
7 Nov. - Depart for Miri. (ETA : 6 pm)

Volunteer drivers are most welcomed. Seats will be limited to the number of volunteer drivers.
Those interested, please contact Peter Pillai at seeborneo@gmail.com by 28 October 2011.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Crocodiles : To Cull or Not to Cull?

As appeared in The Star Column Midin Salad by Yuji

"The law says no, scientists call for better management, while for families of victims, there is no option to killing the reptiles wholesale.

IN JULY, controversy arose when state authorities allowed a culling operation along Sebelak River, some 280km from Kuching.

That mission, which lasted a week and with just one reptile killed, followed the death of croc attack victim Mankay Gohen, 42, earlier in May.

Last Saturday, tragedy struck again swiftly and in near total darkness in the same river.
At roughly 4.30am, lifelong fisherman Sulaiman Abdullah, 66, was finishing up a day’s work. He was pulling a protective canvas over some 3kgs of fish and shrimps in his small boat when he was attacked and pulled under.

The victim’s son, Endoi Sulaiman, was an eyewitness. He said his dad surfaced two minutes after the incident.

“He held onto the side of his boat for a few seconds. I don’t think he made a sound, then he was pulled under again. Just gone. Just like that,” recalled Endoi, 41.

The victim was the patriarch of a family of five children and seven grand kids. The Sulaiman family lives close to Saratok at Kampung Melayu Roban.

A kopitiam tauke described his friend Sulaiman as a quiet and honest man, who led a hard and simple life. “His catch was usually quite good. We bought a lot from him and his son over the years,” he said.

The victim’s family are urging authorities to restart culling operations. They say their loss was a reminder that crocodiles and humans could hardly co-exist. Under the present state laws, crocodiles are protected species. This is being reviewed.

To cull or not to cull? Opinions on this vary. More often than not, urban folk say they want crocodiles to remain fully protected, while rural folk want the reptile’s population controlled.
As for me, I’m without a clear opinion on the matter, especially after meeting Sulaiman’s family.
On one hand, I agree that the killing of any protected species must not be encouraged; yet, when you listen to families like Sulaiman’s relating their fears and being hapless against the predator, you find yourself taking their side.

Sulaiman’s wife, Fatimah Entigue, 57, explained, “Of course we all knew the risks, but when you can’t do much to earn money, you stick to whatever you’ve always known.”

Crocodiles are classified as “Appendix One” protected species under the globally recognised “Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Flora and Fauna”. Sarawak adheres to those international rules, more commonly known as the “Washington Convention”.
But next month, Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) will present a landmark paper at the “International Crocodile Conference” here, urging the global community to reclassify crocodiles from “Appendix One” to “Appendix Two” protected species.

SFC views the proposal as enabling “better management” of crocodile population, its spokesperson told The Star.

He said the state-owned company was confident of winning over public sentiment.
“The number of crocodiles has been increasing over the years in Sarawak, although a lot of people don’t want to accept that fact,” he said.

“Now there are some rivers that are too dense with crocodiles. Our proposal already has several international experts’ support.”

In SFC’s latest survey, Bako River and Santubong River are believed to have the highest crocodile population in Sarawak, at an estimated 3.4 crocodiles per km. (Presently, SFC does not have a statewide estimate of the crocodile population.)

For Universiti Malaysia Sarawak social scientist Dr Andrew Aeria, culling cannot be the only long-term solution to croc attacks.

Dr Aeria points to a wider set of social-economic problems rural fishing communities face. It’s all to do with poverty, he said.

“Don’t just blame the crocodiles. Crocodiles will do what they do naturally. The government must look at poverty factors.

“At places where there is no water supply, people bathe in the river. When there is no jetty for fishermen, there are more risks,” Dr Aeria said.

“We should not think too badly of the crocodiles. Instead, see it this way: Every attack is partly testament to society’s neglect of the poor.”

So, to cull or not to cull? For people in the interior, for those who depend entirely on rivers as a food and income source, their sentiment on culling is clear.

It is now up to the authorities to make a clear and convincing case for their proposed reclassi-fication. No doubt, there will be objections.

But in stating whatever objections we have, as a society we must also act on the wider set of problems facing our poor.

To cull or not to cull? Your thoughts?" By Yuji, Midin Salad Column, The Star.

The International Crocodile Conference organised by Sarawak Forestry Corporation in Kuching, Sarawak this week (19-21st October) aims to explore these very questions. Would it be a win-win solution for both man vs wild or yet again another triumph over nature by man, croc handbags and belts as trophies for the victor.

Which side of win-win are you on? Every year 6,500 human lives are lost in road accidents; in the past 50 years, 100 Sarawakian lives were taken by crocodiles ... the measure at which we are dealing with the lost seems hugely in imbalance, perhaps we should take cars off the roads instead. To me, it's clear that the smartest living reptile alive is being made scapegoat by those with less gray matter than it.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Camping at Suai Beach : Ritz Carlton

Nazeri, Zeana, Maye, Radhika, Mad Ali, Sara and Roslee about to cross the river from Hilton 2 heading out to Kpg Kuala Suai Dec 2008. Photo by Rabani HM Ayub taken on the 3rd day of our trek..

One of the reasons for making this trip was to observe dark skies in Suai, another was to recollect fond memories of camping in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of like minded friends back in 2008.

We first camped out at the location dubbed Hilton Camp2 during our Long Beachwalk back in December 2008. It was serendipity that we reached the site slightly later than expected and by then were not able to cross the river due to high tide, thus camped by the riverside instead. Tired, hungry, we ran out of food as well as water. A few minutes after setting camp, heavy storm clouds approached, it rained heavily and all we had was soaked. As night settled in, the skies glowed with brilliant stars. The glorious sunset and nightscenes that evening were perhaps the most memorable; not the blisters, not the oats and tuna sandwich dinner; not the rainwater tea or the lurking single crocodile we spotted in the river at dusk. After 3 days of walking, the smiles on everyone's face that night was priceless.

This 2011 trip had young pre-adults with us. Rabani, Sara and I were the only ones from the long beachwalk crew that could make it. Musa who was on the original recce crew prior to the Longwalk was also determined to come along with us for the 2 nites camping. Phillip, Adeline, Liza, Ben, Darren, Tiffany, Kenisha, Kendrick, Ali, Shamsul and Abdul were first timers to the area.

We drove to Kpg Kuala Suai through the oil palm plantation. The drive over was smooth and without much drama ... other than the depressing rows upon rows of palm oil; a dozen perplexed looking Indonesian plantation workers we passed along the road who was immediately engulfed in dust behind us.

What's more depressing was perhaps the newly opened up acreage of plantation : recently bulldozed zones, blackened tree stumps still standing while others with lingering amber. The area had been burnt all the way from the edge of the existing plantation to the coast. Another area of peatswamp undergoing conversion by fire.

With backpacks fully loaded we had everyone walking with their own rations for the 3days-2nites camping including 3.o L water. After 1.5 hrs of walking, we made camp at an inactive river, recently sanded up and choked with logs. There was plenty of room for our tents in the sand, plenty of wood to keep the fire going over the two nites. The new campsite was quickly dubbed, "Ritz Carlton". Hilton 2 was not 40 minutes away.

The area was quickly turned to a home away from home : 2 big fireplaces and working kitchens with an unlimited open space for everyone. RC would've made a perfect basecamp for longer stays except for the lack of flowing freshwater.

That first nite we were afforded magnificent views of the Milky Way; we found the Suai dark skies we were after. Scorpio was right in the middle of the display as the sun dipped below the horizon; Orion came later towards the start of the next day over a beautiful cloudless sky right over our campfire.

The next day we walked over to Hilton 2 along the beach: tide was low, the day bright and overcast, the air fresh from South China Sea.

For the short 40 minutes walk over, those who participated in the Long Beachwalk recollected the events from 3 years back : the magnificent beach scenery, quiet and deserted; the friendship we honed over the few days of hard slog and blistered feet as well as the motives each one of us had for undertaking the longwalk.

The glorious sand at Suai, at times a bit muddier depending on the season.

The crew of 2011 Ritz Carton camping weekend looking sprightly and refreshed after 3 days and 2 nites out in the middle of nowhere. (Rabani and Nazeri not in the picture).

Our home away from home, by the time we left on Sunday, the area was clear of logs ... it's an open spacious sandy place perfect for sunseekers.

All around the campfire just after dinner.

Going back was like both saying "hello" and "goodbye" at the same time. The quiet and deserted beach wouldn't be quiet and deserted for long. Big changes to the landscape already took place along much of the the coastlines. We were glad to have walked the place many years back experiencing it in the last few years of its pre-existing state. Hopefully there'd be a few more years of that which would remain, if only just.

There would always be Milky Way, Scorpio and Orion I guess in the dark of Suai nights, traversing the skies over similar stretches like Hilton 2,and Ritz Carlton. That is before something more sinister takes to the skies.

Scorpio and the Milky Way just after sunset from Ritz Carlton.

Read more on Scorpious here.

Write-up and pictures by Nazeri Abghani, MNS Miri, Oct 2011

Birdwatching in Bakelalan II

Cikgu Sang Sigar encouraging birdwatching as a hobby amongst his students at SK Bakelalan.

It was almost a year ago that a bunch of us dropped in on Bakelalan to do a bit of birdwatching. Though there was a bunch of us, there were perhaps 3 birdwatchers among us intent on birding in the area. We were actually there to trek GunungMurud Oct 2010, the birders however were quickly roped into giving a crash course on birds and birdwatching to SK Bakelalan through Sang Sigar, assistant principal and proprietor at the guest house we stayed at.

It's always pleasant birdwatching in Bakelalan, by the time we left after scaling Gunung Murud, Yeo Siew Teck compiled a list of 123 birds but not all restricted to the kampong area. Ashy Drongo, Black-headed Munia, Orange-breasted Flowerpecker, Striated tit Babbler were ticked just around the village paths. The rest were ticked along our trek to the summit and back. It remains that at least more than half of the birds on our list were acquired in the easy places around the settlement.

The potential for birdwatching in the surrounding area has not been adequately explored, many past birders to the area has expressed exasperations over the lack of knowledgeable bird guides in the area. It's still a very recent hobby here as far as the locals are concerned. The question then arise : who are the best persons to bird the area other than the very persons living there 24/7. The proposal was simple : teach the local youngsters about birds, in time they will be our new resource for birdwatching and bird conservation locally in the area. After all Gunung Murud, Batu Lawi and Pulong Tau are all within walking distance from Bakelalan.

Thus started the ad-hoc preliminary initiative to teach the local children about birds and the wholesome hobby of birdwatching. Introducing the birds to these young people could very well increase their awareness of our feathered friends and ultimately their appreciation and conservation. Yeo, Nazeri, Sara, Chris and Faye initiated the first basic lessons back in Oct 2010; this year Peter, Nazeri, Amer and Ali embarked on exposing a second batch of students to birds and birdwatching.

In any rural setting, any available resource is quickly associated as food resource. The time is now if not 70 years ago to make the people of places of conservation value like Bakelalan, Bario and others more connected with the conservation work that are taking place elsewhere in bigger less bird diverse area. It might not be too late for the rural children to appreciate birds on a higher aesthetic level rather than quickly to associate it to a bowl of soup at the dinner table. Once these youngsters value birds more than just as a food resource, it will become clear to them that conservation is the only right path to follow.

Black-headed Munia, found in abundant numbers near grassy areas of Bakelalan.

Perched in the paddyfield.

Looks to be a perfect spot for early morning and last afternoon birdwatching, high up in the hills.

White-breasted Waterhen looking wary by the edge of the paddyfield.

With sufficient investment in time and effort from the school, its teachers and birdwatching fraternity, we hope that one day there'll be more birders in Bakelalan both in the form of a local as well as in the form of the paying tourist variety.

Bird list of Ba’Kelalan from 18th till 21st October 2010 (not limited to Bakelalan village) by Yeo Siew Teck

1 Cinnamon Bittern Flying over / In flight
2 Little Egret Feeding
3 Black Eagle Flying over / In flight
4 White-breasted Waterhen Heard and seen
5 Common Sandpiper Heard and seen
6 Spotted Dove Perched
7 Lesser Coucal Heard call only
8 Glossy Swiftlet Flying over / In flight
9 Gold-whiskered Barbet Feeding
10 Mountain Barbet Feeding Endemic
11Bornean Barbet Heard call only Endemic
12 Rufous Woodpecker Heard call only
13 Crimson-winged Woodpecker Pecking
14 Banded Broadbill Heard call only
15 Black-and-yellow Broadbill Heard call only
16 Golden-bellied Gerygone Heard and seen
17 White-breasted Woodswallow Perched
18 Ashy Drongo Perched
19 Pied Fantail Heard and seen
20 Pacific Swallow Flying over / In flight
21 Yellow-bellied Prinia Heard call only
22 Yellow-vented Bulbul Heard and seen
23 Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Heard and seen
24 Ashy Tailorbird Heard and seen
25 Black-throated Wren-babbler Heard and seen Endemic
26 Asian Fairy-bluebird Heard call only
27 Oriental Magpie-robin Heard and seen
28 Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Feeding
29 Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Heard and seen
30 Plain Flowerpecker Perched
31 Brown-throated Sunbird Heard and seen
32 Crimson Sunbird Feeding
33 Little Spiderhunter Heard and seen
34 Eurasian Tree Sparrow Feeding
35 Dusky Munia Heard and seen
36 Black-headed Munia Flying over / In flight
37 Grey Wagtail Heard and seen
38 Red-breasted Partridge Heard call only
39 Cattle Egret Feeding
40 Crested Serpent-eagle Flying over / In flight
41 Little Cuckoo-dove Perched
42 Thick-billed Green-pigeon Feeding
43 Banded Bay Cuckoo Heard call only
44 Greater Coucal Heard and seen
45 Bornean Frogmouth Heard and seen Endemic
46 Whiskered Treeswift Hawking for insects
47 Rufous-collared Kingfisher Heard call only
48 Stork-billed Kingfisher Heard and seen
49 Rhinoceros Hornbill Heard call only
50 Helmeted Hornbill Heard call only
51 Maroon Woodpecker Heard call only
52 Banded Broadbill Heard call only
53 Black-and-yellow Broadbill Heard and seen
54 Golden-bellied Gerygone Heard and seen
57 Scarlet Minivet Heard and seen
58 Bornean Whistler Foraging Endemic
59 Spangled Drongo Heard and seen
60 Spotted Fantail Heard call only
61 Black-headed Bulbul Heard and seen
62 Black-crested Bulbul Heard and seen
63 Red-eyed Bulbul Perched
64 Ochraceous Bulbul Heard and seen
65 Ashy Bulbul Heard and seen
66 Arctic Warbler Foraging
67 Yellow-bellied Warbler Heard and seen
68 Black-capped Babbler Heard call only
69 Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler Heard call only
70 Grey-throated Babbler Heard and seen
71 Striped Tit-babbler Heard call only
72 Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush Heard and seen Endemic
73 White-browed Shrike-babbler Heard call only
74 Brown Fulvetta Heard and seen
75 Chestnut-crested Yuhina Feeding Endemic
76 White-bellied Yuhina Heard and seen
77 Pygmy White-eye Feeding Endemic
78 Rufous-winged Philentoma Heard call only
79 White-tailed Flycatcher Perched
80 Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher Heard call only
81 Greater Green Leafbird Feeding
82 Bornean Leafbird/Kinabalu Leafbird Feeding Endemic
83 Olive-backed Sunbird Heard and seen
84 Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Heard and seen
85 Crested Serpent-eagle Flying over / In flight
86 Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot Flying over / In flight
87 Drongo Cuckoo Heard call only
88 White-crowned Hornbill Heard call only
89 Whitehead's Broadbill Perched Endemic
90 Bornean Treepie Heard and seen Endemic
91 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hawking for insects
92 Black-and-crimson Oriole Foraging
93 Black-naped Monarch Heard call only
94 Crested Jay Heard call only
95 Scaly-breasted Bulbul Heard and seen
96 Temminck's Babbler Heard call only
97 Rufous-fronted Babbler Heard call only
98 Black-capped White-eye Feeding
99 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Foraging
100 Dark-sided Flycatcher Hawking for insects
101 Verditer Flycatcher Perched
102 Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Perched
103 Wreathed Hornbill Flying over / In flight
104 White-throated Fantail Heard and seen
105 Short-tailed Green Magpie Heard and seen
106 Sunda Bush-warbler Foraging
107 Mountain Blackeye Feeding Endemic
108 Flavescent Bulbul Perched Endemic
109 Yellow-breasted Warbler Foraging
110 Mountain Wren-babbler Heard call only Endemic
111 Eyebrowed Jungle-flycatcher Heard and seen Endemic
112 Barred Eagle-owl Heard call only
113 Brown-capped woodpecker Drumming/Pecking
114 Grey-chinned Minivet Heard and seen
115 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hawking for insects
116 Blyth's Hawk-eagle Flying over / In flight
117 Pink-necked Green-pigeon Feeding
118 Indian Cuckoo Heard call only
119 Red-billed Malkoha Foraging
120 Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Feeding
121 Scarlet-rumped Trogon Heard call only
122 Orange-breasted Trogon Heard & Seen
123 Grey-cheeked Bulbul Heard call only

Last year we donated 2 Susan Myer's Birds of Borneo Fieldguide to Cikgu Sang and the community. This year we left another copy to the teachers who will be the torchbearers for this rural birdwatching effort.

It is hoped that by Jan 2012, we will have at least one AWC survey conducted in Bakelalan and by later by June a "MY Garden Birdwatch" event executed by the students and teachers with help from the birdwatching fraternity. Next trip : "How to enter Bakelalan bird sightings to BIW!"

Write-up and photo by
Nazeri Abghani, MNS Miri, Oct 2011

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sarawak Bird Race 2011 - Because Birds are Important

The Bird Race returns for the 4th time with more activities and plenty of fun. This year Bird Race is jointly organised by Borneo Highlands Resort (BHR) together with Malaysian Nature Society (MNS)Kuching Branch and Permai Rainforest Resort (PRR) aiming to involve the surrounding communities, promote bird watching, and educate the communities on the importance of birds’ preservation to the environment. This year’s tagline is “Because Birds are Important”.

The Sarawak Bird Race 2011 will be held on the 28th October 2011 to 30th October 2011. The launching of the Bird Race will be on the 28th October followed by seminars/workshops on birding on the 29th both at Permai Rainforest Resort and end on the 30th with the race at Borneo Highlands Resort.

Interested members from Miri are encouraged to contact Peter Pillai (seeborneo@gmail.com) before 11 October 2011.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Bukit Pantu Nature Walk

Mark your calendars for an upcoming nature walk to Bukit Pantu at Lambir National Park. Get your morning workout on this 2.9 km trail and you’ll be pleasantly rewarded with a scenic view at the peak. Don't be intimidated by the steep staircases as shown above... thats only the last portion of the trail.

Date : 1 October 2011
Time : 7.00 am – 12.00 pm
Meeting Point : Taman Awam at 7.00 am

Mail us at mnsmiri@yahoo.com or seeborneo@gmail.com to sign up by 12.00 pm, 27th September 2011. Do let us know if you're joining us so that we'll have your contact details should there be any last minute change of plans.

Photograph courtesy of Peter Pillai

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Upcoming events - September and October 2011

MNS Miri invites you to the following events planned for September and October.

24 September 2011
Community Outreach at Ba’kelalan
Talk on Birds and Birdwatching with Students of SK Ba’kelalan
Participation is limited. Volunteer Birders required.

30 September – 2 October 2011
Star Trail and Astro Photography Session in Suai, facilitated by Mr. Rabani Ayub
Participation is limited to 12 people and participants who are willing to drive (4WD required) are most welcomed.
Take note, participants should be prepared to camp and trek approx 2 hours to Camp Hilton 2. Shared Cost basis.

8 October 2011
Community Education Program wih SFC Lambir
SK Lepong Ajai, near Lambir

15 October 2011
Trekking at Gunung Irau, Cameron Highlands

We certainly look forward to your participation.
Please e-mail mnsmiri@yahoo.com or seeborneo@gmail.com to sign up for any of the events above.

All travel and accommodation is on own cost unless otherwise stated.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Trek at Dinding Trail, Lambir National Park

Time to shed the excess pounds from the holidays. Join us for a trek to Dinding Waterfalls at Lambir National Park.

Date : 10 September 2011
Time : 0700 hrs (Taman Awam - if you wish to car pool) or 0730 hrs at Lambir National Park car park.

The Dinding Trail is anticipated to take approximately 6 - 7 hours so please do come prepared i.e. sufficient water, proper shoes, insect repellant, energy boosters (dates, nuts, cookies etc.), raincoat and park fee.

Mail us at mnsmiri@yahoo.com if you're interested. Do let us know if you're joining us so that we'll have your contact details should there be any last minute change of plans.

Photograph sourced from The Star Online

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Tusan Cliffs and 'Caves' Hike

Squeeze in a hike before indulging in delectable Hari Raya cookies and delicacies with a scenic evening trek at Tusan Cliffs.

DATE : 29 August 2011, Monday
TIME : 4.00 - 6.00 pm
Meeting Point : Taman Awam at 3.30 pm

For queries and to sign up, please contact by 28 August, 12.00 noon:

Peter Pillai
E-mail : seeborneo@gmail.com

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bukit Shahbandar Forest National Park

MNS Miri invites you for a visit to Bukit Shahbandar Forest Recreational Park in Brunei.
This is an ideal place for the family as it has a great playground for the kids. It also has a loop track with many shortcuts to returning to base (as indicated in the map) which allows you to shorten your trek should you wish to.

For those who prefer the challenge of serious hiking along the slopes, the slopes are similar to that of Canada Hill in Miri, but well developed and not as taxing to your ligaments and knees. A full loop walk can be completed in 4 hours.

Meeting Point: Bukit Shahbandar Park
Date : 27 August, 2011 (Saturday).
Time : 0700 hrs

(*this means those interested must plan for a night’s stay in Brunei on Friday, 26 August, on your expense)

For registration and queries, please contact:

Peter Pillai
E-mail: seeborneo@gmail.com

Registration closes on 25th August 2011.

• Members will be requested to submit a disclaimer form upon registration. Forms will be sent via e-mail.
• All costs incurred will be at own expense

Photographs courtesy of Peter Pillai

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Niah Caves Visit

Join us for a visit to Niah Caves, where the oldest modern human remains was discovered.

DATE : 20 August 2011, Saturday
TIME : 0700 hrs (Depart Miri) - 1700 hrs (Arrive Miri)

For queries and to sign up, please contact:

Peter Pillai
E-mail : seeborneo@gmail.com

Registration closes on 18th August 2011, 4.00 pm

TIP :Old clothes, facial towel and hats are recommended in the cave as protection from bird droppings.It'll be a good idea to bring a torchlight.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Beachwalk at Similajau National Park

MNS Miri invites you to join us for a beach walk at Similajau National Park this weekend.

DATE : 13 August 2011 (Saturday)
TIME : 0700 hrs – 1500 hrs

Those interested have the option to stay a night at Similajau National Park on 12th August, Friday. We plan to leave Miri at 4.00 pm on Friday. Cost of accommodation at Similajau National Park will depend on the final number of people intending to stay and will be at cost basis.

For queries and to sign up, please contact:

Peter Pillai
E-mail : seeborneo@gmail.com
HP number : 012-8782889

“Similajau National Park, has one of the most beautiful coastal areas in Malaysia with miles of unspoiled white and golden sand and rocky beaches facing the South China Sea. Gazetted in 1978, it covers 7,064 hectares of virgin coastal forest, starting from Sungai Likau in the south to Similajau River in the north. Spanning 30km, it is abundant in flora and fauna and offers you a wonderful experience exploring miles and miles of empty beach.” – Tourism Malaysia Website

Read more here : http://www.sarawakforestry.com/htm/snp-np-siminajau.html

Sunday, July 31, 2011

MNS Miri Branch New Committee for 2011-2012

MNS Miri concluded their Branch AGM held at Baraya Laut Resort, Kpg Baraya, Miri, Sarawak 30th July 2011 with the election of fresh faces for branch Committee. The AGM went smoothly with twenty-two stalwart members attending the event.

The new committee,
Chairperson : Peter Pillai
Vice-Chairperson : Musa Musbah
Secretary : Joyce Sivalingam
Treasurer : Amer Matridi Mansor
Committee : Miriam Chacko, Marlene Lim (Co-opted)
Immediate-past Chairperson : Anura Dason

Those in attendance were later treated to an early dinner consisting of kelupis and satay ordered specially for the occasion. Dinner was then followed by a short firefly cruise along Sg Raan for members and their family.

Special mention goes to Committee members from 2010-2011 who made this event all possible.

Here's to another productive year for MNS Miri!

MNS Miri

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

MNS Miri Branch AGM at Baraya Laut Resort 30th July 2011

MNS Miri Branch members at last year's AGM at Baraya Laut Resort, 17th July 2010.

How to get to Baraya Laut Resort from Miri.

We have almost come around full circle, it's hard to believe that one year has gone by. We are now poised to hold our Annual General Meeting. This year we have again selected Baraya Laut Resort as the venue of choice.

Thank you to our current committee for a full year's program:

Acting Chairperson/ Vice-Chairperson : Anura Dason
Secretary : Puteri Shariza Megat Khalid
Treasurer : Ernyza Endot
Committee Members :
CFZ (Firefly Survey) : Musa Musbah
MNS Miri-Reefcheck (Coral Reef Survey) : Kumareson Paranthaman
Birdwatching (AWC and Birdwatching Outreach) : Nazeri Abghani
Auditor : Peter Pillai

This year our AGM program is as follows:

1430 hrs Registration
only members with valid membership are eligible for nominations and to vote in the election)
1500 hrs AGM Processings and Reports
a) Chairman’s Reports
b) Treasurer’s Reports
c) Feedback on Reports
1600 hrs Election of 2011/2012 Committee
1700 hrs End of AGM Proceedings
1800 hrs Dinner (BBQ and Kelupis)

Post AGM Activities:
1930 hrs Sg Raan Fireflies Cruise (Members meet at Bakam Jetty)
2200 hrs Stargazing at Baraya for those overniting at Baraya Laut Resort.

Our CFZ team has booked two boats for a slow evening cruise along Sg Raan to view displaying fireflies, and if we are lucky crocodiles. Seating is limited, priority will be given to members who are attending the AGM.

Post firefly watching, members who choose to overnite at Baraya Laut may opt for stargazing.

Accomodations at Baraya Laut Resort comes in the form of shared rooms at the main bungalow and camping. Overniting members to specify their preference ($15/person for bungalow; $10/person for campsite).

For those overniting, we'll have the entire Sunday morning to frolic on Baraya Beach or indulge in a 2-3hr trek to Tusan Cliff, whichever rocks your boat.

This year's AGM is an important turning point for MNS Miri with most of our current crop of EXCOs leaving Miri for greener pastures and new endeavours.

We therefore urge members to take up the challenge to continue MNS work in Miri and beyond by volunteering to serve as committee members. This is an opportune time for an influx of new blood with new ideas and fresh new approach. Without new faces injecting enthusiasm to the branch, there maybe no MNS Miri.

We hope to see you at the AGM. Please email mnsmiri at yahoo dot com if you require further details.

MNS Miri

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MNS Miri Branch AGM 30th July 2011

Students who recently participated in our Community Outreach and Awareness Program at Pustaka Negeri Sarawak Miri Branch. Our presence in Miri will ensure similar programs will continue to be offered for young Sarawakians in Miri. Photo by Nazeri Abghani.

MNS Branches play an integral part in ensuring the success of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS).

The success of a branch depends on how well the Branch EXCO execute their duties and responsibilities. During your term in office, you have an exciting opportunity to increase your leadership as well as depth of knowledge pertaining to the environmental issues in Malaysia and beyond.

The EXCO position is not only an opportunity, it is a challenge. As Branch EXCO, you must stimulate enthusiasm and accomplish goals by motivating MNS members as well as public. The Branch EXCO serves as a liaison between Council, MNS Secretariat and MNS members in your state.

The Council delegates certain responsibility to you. Some of these responsibilities will be overseeing the programming and administrative needs of members such as organizing talks and field trips, promoting environmental education outreach and organising social events.

Branch EXCO Objectives

Branch ensures MNS members get the service they need at the local level. The following objectives assist the Branch EXCO to clearly understand their roles so that they can better serve MNS members:

1. Advocate for conservation of key habitats and species at the branch level as well as in Malaysia. Your top priority is to ensure conservation issues at the local level is made known to MNS members.

2. Build a future generation of environmentally-conscious Malaysians by integrating public awareness-raising processes into all planning and development programmes and events at the branch level.

3. Motivate civil society participation in planning and decision-making processes at the branch level where everyone can learn, grow and appreciate the natural heritage of Malaysia.

4. Focus on membership growth and achieve a solid voice at the branch level.

Branch EXCO’s Commitment

Three main thrust of a Branch EXCO:

1. Growth

Ensure no loss in the finance of each branch. When a branch ceases operations, we have lost an invaluable opportunity to deliver the benefits of MNS membership. Enlist the assistance of Secretariat Office to do whatever it takes to make sure every branch has at least 50 members.

2. Improved Branch Communication

Hold at least 4 branch meetings and 1 Branch Annual General Meeting each year. Use these meetings strategically to ensure the success of the branch.

3. Active Branch Representation in Council

Branch is an important component of MNS Council. Attending and participating in Council Meeting, normally 4 times in a year ensures branch involvement in MNS policy decision making process. It also gives an opportunity to branch to share their development plans at the branch level.

Our 2011-2012 branch AGM

MNS Miri Branch will be voting for the following key positions for the branch at our upcoming Branch AGM 30th July 2011. The exact venue and agenda to be announced separately by Branch Secretary in due course:


This position is presently left vacant after Faye Osman's departure. The duties of Chairperson is presently being executed by our Vice Chairperson, Anura Dason as Acting Chairperson.


Responsible to Council and undertakes responsibilities determined by Council.
Responsible for Branch supervision and operations.
Upholds and represent MNS Society at the branch level in promoting MNS to members as well as public.

Leads Branch Exco in developing annual strategy and programmes.

Chairs the Branch EXCO meetings as well as Branch AGM.

Vice Chairperson
Elected position, presently post held by Anura Dason.


Upholds and represent MNS Society at the branch level in the absence of Branch Chairperson.

Assist in developing annual strategy and programmes.

Honorary Secretary

Elected position, presently post is held by Puteri Shariza Megat Khalid.


Responsible for Branch records and correspondence.

Custodian of MNS Rules and Regulations and other official branch documents.

Submits annual return to Registrar of Society.

Records and read minutes of branch meetings and Branch AGM.

Honorary Treasurer

Elected position, presently post is held by Ernyza Endot.


Responsible for development and execution of financial policies, procedures, audits and controls at branch level.

Receives and disburses funds in payment of all obligations.

Develop and recommend annual budget to Branch EXCO.

Ordinary Committee Members

Elected position, presently held by Musa Musbah.

Elected position, presently held by NorzianaAbdullah Sani. This position is left vacant after Zeana relocated to Putrajaya last year.


Specific role to assist Branch EXCO in areas of membership, public relations, succession planning, establishing conservation and environmental education programmes and initiation of new project initiatives.

Co-opted Committee Members

Coopted by EXCO at the Branch AGM.

Presently position held by Peter Pillai as Branch Auditor;

Nazeri Abghani as Lead Focus Group Birdwatching and Congregating Fireflies Project;

Kumareson Paranthaman as Lead Focus Group MNS Miri-Reefcheck Project.


To assist with the organising and running of specific activities of the branch.

The Branch AGM requires that the total number in attendance should be twice the total number of Branch EXCO members. Attendance of 10 or more members at the upcoming Branch AGM would ensure another succesfull AGM for Miri Branch.

Our branch AGM presents a great opportunity for members to meet and catch up especially on branch matters as well as our collective aspirations for the branch. Our 2008/2009 AGM was held at Lambir Hills National Park complete with barbeque dinner, late-nite jaunt into the rainforest and jungle trekking the morning after. 2009/2010 AGM was more sedate with a group sit-down dinner at Kelab Rekreasi Petroleum, Lutong. 2010/2011 AGM was held at Baraya Laut Resort with BBQ in the drizzling rain, slideshows of past activities and trekking the morning after.

Our tentative plans for 2011-2012 AGM:

1430 hrs Members' Registration
1500 hrs AGM Proceedings and Reports

a) Chairman's Report

b) Treasurer's Report

c) Feedback on Report

1600 hrs Election of New Committee

1700 hrs End of AGM Proceedings

1800 hrs Dinner (BBQ and Kelupis)

1900 hrs Sg Raan Fireflies Cruise (Members meet at Bakam Jetty)

2200 hrs Stargazing at Baraya Laut for overniting members.

Members who want to stay the night will be accomodated at Baraya Laut Resort (mixed bungalow and camping) at cost. Dinner will be provided.

In case members have more brilliant ideas for this year's AGM, please feel free to forward your suggestions to our EXCO.

This year is an important turning point for MNS Miri: most of our current crop of EXCOs are leaving Miri for greener pastures and new endeavours. We therefore require unflinching dedication from a new crop of committee members to continue MNS work in Miri and beyond. This is an opportune time for an influx of new blood with new ideas and fresh new approach. Without new faces injecting enthusiasm to the branch, there maybe no MNS Miri!

Your support to ensure the success of our AGM and smooth execution of future branch activities is crucial. Come join us and together help shape the direction of MNS Miri Branch. Only paid-up members up to 31-July 2011 onwards are eligible to vote and/or run for the upcoming 2011/2012 election.

Please email mnsmiri@yahoo.com if you'd like to be involved and serve on our new EXCO. Your contribution our Society will ensure we still have a vibrant group of people realising MNS mission and Vision in this community.


Thursday, April 28, 2011

Trekking Lambir May and June

MNS Miri would like to announce on the upcoming hiking & trekking activities in May & June 2011:

Tengkorong Waterfall Hiking, Saturday, 7th May 2011
MNS Miri is planning a one way hike to Tengkorong waterfall (approximately 6km/3hours).

Closing Date For Registration: Thursday, 05th May 2011.

1) Participants should be moderately fit.
2) With intention to hike as a group.

Hike Date: Saturday, 07th May 2011
Time: 0800 hr - 1500 hr ( Total time expected: 7 hours inclusive of breakfast)
Gathering Venue: LHNP car park at 07:30am on Saturday, 07 May 2011.

Please note that this hike is subjected to the weather.

The hike will be cancelled or be shortened if it rains.

To interested participants, for coordination of hiking team, please make sure that Peter has your mobile phone numbers during the registration by e-mail.

Nitewalk II, Sunday, 5th June 2011
Nitewalk II Date: Sunday, 05th June 2011.
Time: 18:00-20:30.
Gathering Venue: Please meet at LHNP car park at 18:00, as usual.

Please note that this hike is subjected to the weather.

The hike will be cancelled or be shortened if it rains.

To interested participants, for coordination of hiking team, please make sure that Peter has your mobile phone numbers during the registration by e-mail. Please contact Peter a seeborneo@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Come celebrate World Migratory Bird Day with MNS Miri Branch this May

Birdwatching in Loagan Bunut. Image by Nazeri Abghani.

Birdwatching on an unnamed sandbar in Kuala Lawas. Image by Nazeri Abghani.

Members of MNS Miri Branch surveying the coasts for waterbirds in January. Image by Sara Wong.

World Migratory Bird Day 2011 is coming up soon! So far for 2011, WMBD has 42 event registrations from 25 countries and are expecting many more in the coming weeks. However, this year we wish to break the record of 150 registered events set by the 2009 campaign! MNS Miri Branch has dedicated all May weekends to bird related events in conjunction with this celebration.

This year’s theme for World Migratory Bird Day is “Land use changes from a bird’s-eye view”. We want to raise awareness on the dramatic effects human land use has on migratory birds and the ecosystems upon which they depend. Many aspects of human land use are extremely damaging to the birds’ habitats.

For example, urbanization and intensive agriculture can fragment and replace complex networks of habitats needed by the birds. Deforestation and mineral extraction can damage entire regions used along the birds’ annual migration paths. In addition, land reclamation and biofuel production remove or degrade crucial wetlands and other habitats for many migratory bird species.

Please join MNS Miri Branch and others around the world and take part in World Migratory Bird Day on the weekend of 14 -15 May 2011 and the weekends throughout May.

Events in Miri in conjunction with WBMD 2011:

07th May : Community Outreach in Kpg Masjid, Kuala Baram
0900hrs-1700hrs. Presentations and games of Congregating Fireflies in Sarawak; Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats in Sarawak and Our Underwater Treasures at Bungai Lodge, Kampung Bungai, Bekenu.

14th May: WMBD : Birdwatching at Lambir Hills
Birdwatching in conjunction with World Migratory Bird Day.
0700-0900 hrs to meet at Lambir Hills National Park 0700hrs to birdwatch in Lambir.
0900-1200 hrs Talk and slideshow "Birdwatching in Sarawak" at Lambir Hills Conference.

15th May : Community Outreach in Kampung Kuala Sibuti
0900hrs-1700hrs. Presentations and games of Congregating Fireflies in Sarawak; Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats in Sarawak and Our Underwater Treasures at Village Community Hall, Kampung Masjid, Kuala Baram.

21st May : WMBD : Community Outreach (Birdwatching) at Pustaka Miri
1300-1500 hrs Poster-making Contests, “Birds of Sarawak”
1500-1700 hrs Talk and Slidehow : WMBD : Birdwatching in Miri : Common Birds in Your Garden and Other Rare Birds Beyond”

25th May : WMBD and MY Garden Birdwatch with SMK Lutong Birdwatching Club
1500-1545 hrs “Birds in Sarawak : Common Birds in Sarawak and Rare Birds Beyond”
1545-1630 hrs MY Garden Birdwatch on Schoolgrounds

28th May : MY Garden Birdwatch at KRP
0700-0900 hrs Birdwatching around KRP compound for common birds
0900-1100 hrs Talk and slideshow, "MY Common Garden Birds"
Brunch and refreshments will be served

Discussions initiated for a "Birdwatching on Campus" at Curtin University 1600-1900hrs. A slideshow "Birds in Sarawak" and a late afternoon birding around campus.

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

World Migratory Bird Day is a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and for promoting their conservation worldwide. It is organized by the Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – and a growing number of partners. This year’s campaign is being financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), which we acknowledge with gratitude.

People and dedicated organisations around the world will be using the event to draw attention to migratory birds that are threatened by extinction. Activities to mark WMBD include bird festivals and bird watching trips, public discussions, exhibitions, presentations, bird rallies and other educational and public events.

MNS Miri Branch has been celebrating WMBD since 2008 in our effort to increase awareness about birds and their habitat conservation within our immediate community.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Branch April Update

View of the night skies in Kampung Kuala Suai. Being away from the bright lights of the city afford infinite gaze into the heavens, more people need to experience close unimpeded views such as this more regularly.


Many of us have gotten the election bug and been following closely the election groupies that's been coming and going through Miri. Notwithstanding that fact life goes on for the rest of us. Here's a review of past event items as well several exciting in the community activities for our members. Come join us ang get hands on with literally delivering on out mission by particiapting in some of these events!


18th Mar : Nitewalk at Lambir Hills National Park
Led by Kamil, those that took part saw probably the biggest arboreal tarantula the ever did see. We also stumbled upon Luciola anceyi, a firefly larvae not before sighted. Checkout what it looks like here. Thank you to Peter for organising and Kamil for locating Lambir specialties!

19th Mar: CFZ of Sg Teru
We completed CFZ Sg Teru with some surprising results despite getting soaking wet getting it. We recorded synchronising fireflies with sizable numbers (>200 individuals) along Sg Teru which borders the Loagan Bunut NP. Had it not been for the heavy rain, our team would've gone further.
We also did some early morning birdwatching around the lake the morning after.

25th Mar : Launch of SMK Lutong Birdclub at SMK Lutong
Thirty young students from SMK Lutong are now full-fledge members of of the Birdwatching Club, first in Miri if not Sarawak.

26-27th March : CFZ Survey and Monitoring Workshop at Similajau National Park
We recorded the occurence of three species of Pteroptxy ie. P. bearni, P. tener and P. malaccae along Sg Similajau during the field survey component of the workshop. Twenty people participated with Sonny Wong, Dr Mahadi Menakbar Dawood facilitating.

02-03rd April: CFZ of Sg Suai
We recorded a sevral synchronising display trees and several crocodiles along the way to Kpg Kuala Suai. Our intention to camp on the beach was dashed when Pak Rahim and the Ketua Kampong insisted we stayed at their house, complete with proper rooms, bed with beddings and a proper bathroom. What luxury, that evening Sara and Joyce cooked up a storm with the veggies we picked up along the the way.

CANCELLED : Photography Workshop in Lambir with William Ting
This was unfortunately cancelled due to conflicting schedules of our resource, WIlliam Ting. We'll endeavour to organise a replacement photography workshop one of these days. Keep your eyes peeled!

09th April : "Sarawak's Sweetheart : Orang Utan Conservation Campaign" at Pustaka Miri.
SFC Miri Regional Office, MNS Miri and Pustaka Miri collaborated to bring Orang Utan closer to our young children. Preceded by a coloring contests, teh talk drew approximately 140 students and parents from all over Miri town. Three top prizes were awarded to the winning artwork. MNS Miri also welcomes 5 new members at the event.

13th April : Eco Diver Training
1930hrs-2130hrs. We ran our 1st Eco Diver training session covering that was attended by 3 qualified divers. The 3 trainees will progress with the training to qualify as Eco Divers to participate in Reef Check surveys.


18th April : Eco Diver Training

1930hrs-2130hrs at PBC’s Ward Room. We’ll be running our 2nd Eco Diver training session. This training is open to all qualified divers with DAN (or equivalent diving insurance) who would like to volunteer to participate in Reef Check surveys on Miri’s coral reefs upon completion of the EcoDiver training. For those interested pls email reefcheck_miri@yahoo.com for more information.

16th and 22nd April : Net Clearing at Siwa 4A
A long fishing net snagged at the Siwa reefs but floating up in the water was reported by divers on the 9th of April. Unfortunately the divers reported quite a number of fish caught in the abandoned net as well as 2 juvenile reef sharks and 1 coral cat shark. We will be organizing net clearing dives over 2 weekends via the PBC. Non-PBC members but are qualified divers with DAN (or equivalent diving insurance) are welcome to join in for this net clearing dives. For those interested pls email reefcheck_miri@yahoo.com for more information.

23rd April : Community Outreach in Kpg Kuala Nyalau*
0900hrs-1700hrs. We'll be spending a day with the children and young people (and their parents) of Kpg Kuala Nyalau. Main themes would be river ecosystem conservation, fireflies, waterbirds, wetlands and our coral reefs. Other than our usual talks and slideshow, we are hoping to make the day interesting for everyone.

30th April : Community Outreach in Kpg Bungai*
0900hrs-1700hrs. We are looking for some very creative and some interesting ideas around activities for children other than talks by Musa, Nazeri and Kumar. These has to be related to theme at hand : Fireflies and River Conservations, Waterbirds and Wetlands, Reefs and Marine Ecosystems. We welcome all input.

07th May : Community Outreach in Kpg Masjid, Kuala Baram*
0900hrs-1700hrs. We are looking for some very creative and some interesting ideas around activities for children other than talks by Musa, Nazeri and Kumar. These has to be related to theme at hand : Fireflies and River Conservations, Waterbirds and Wetlands, Reefs and Marine Ecosystems. We welcome all input.

14th May: WMBD : Birdwatching at Lambir Hills
Birdwatching in conjunction with World Migratory Bird Day.
0700-0900 hrs to meet at Lambir Hills National Park 0700hrs to birdwatch in Lambir.
0900-1200 hrs Talk and slideshow "Birdwatching in Sarawak" at Lambir Hills Conference.

15th May : Community Outreach in Kpg Kuala Sibuti, Sibuti*
0900hrs-1700hrs. We are looking for some very creative and some interesting ideas around activities for children other than talks by Musa, Nazeri and Kumar. These has to be related to theme at hand : Fireflies and River Conservations, Waterbirds and Wetlands, Reefs and Marine Ecosystems. We welcome all input.

21st May : WMBD : Community Outreach (Birdwatching) at Pustaka Miri
1300-1500 hrs Coloring and Drawing Contests, “Birds of Sarawak”
1500-1700 hrs Talk and Slidehow : WMBD : Birdwatching in Miri : Common Birds in Your Garden and Other Rare Birds Beyond”

25th May : WMBD and MY Garden Birdwatch with SMK Lutong Birdwatching Club
1500-1545 hrs “Birds in Sarawak : Common Birds in Sarawak and Rare Birds Beyond”
1545-1630 hrs MY Garden Birdwatch on Schoolgrounds

28th May : MY Garden Birdwatch at KRP
0700-0900 hrs Birdwatching around KRP compound for common birds
0900-1100 hrs Talk and slideshow, "MY Common Garden Birds"
Brunch and refreshments will be served

Discussions initiated for a "Birdwatching on Campus" at Curtin University 1600-1900hrs. A slideshow "Birds in Sarawak" and a late afternoon birding around campus.

18th June : MY Garden Birdwatch with students in Bekenu++
We will be birdwatching with 45 students from 3 schools in Bekenu in conjunction with WMBD and MY Garden Birdwatch. There'll be a talk and slideshow, "Birdwatching in Miri : Common Garden Birds in Your Garden and Other Rare Birds Beyond".

*Tentative program for Community Outreach 23rd, 30th April; 07th and 15th May:
0900 hrs Arrival of Students
0900-0930 hrs Registration starts
(assign 10 groups, 2 teachers per group, 1 MNS or facilitator, for games)
0930-1000 hrs Ice-breaking Games
1000-1030 hrs Introduction Slideshow (MNS/Other)
1030-1115 hrs Congregating Firefly Zone Talk and Slideshow
1115-1200 hrs Firefly Games
1200-1300 hrs Buffet Lunch 1200-1300hrs
1300-1345 hrs Waterbirds and Wetlands Habitats Talk and Slideshow
1345-1415 hrs Bird-related Outdoor Activity or Micro bird-race)
1415-1500 hrs Our Coralreef Presentations)
1500-1545 hrs Reefcheck Games or Group Activity
1545-1600 hrs Tea-break
1600-1700 hrs Certificates and Prizes,

++Tentative program for Community Outreach 18th June in Bungai:
0700 hrs Start Program at SK Kpg Bungai
0700-0730 hrs Short Briefing and break into groups (10 students per group, with 1-2 MNS
birders per group, teachers)
Walk towards Peliau Beach (Group1) Peliau Cliff (Group2); Bungai (Group 3);
Gatas (Group 4)
0730-1000 hrs Birdwatch at Peliau Beach (Scope1) , Peliau Cliff (Scope 2), Bungai and
Gatas (Scope 3)
1000-1100 hrs Walk Back to SK Bungai for dinks and refreshments
1100-1200 hrs A few words from HM of from participating schools.
Slideshow on "Common Birds in MY Garden" by MNS Miri
Presentation of posters and fieldguide to participating schools, sponsored by
MNS. Award certificates and award of "Surprise Prize", sponsored by MNS.
1200 hrs Lunch
1300 hrs End Program

* Sarawak Waterbirds Survey related Community Outreach Program
++ MY Graden Birdwatch related program
World Migratory Bird Day related program


Community Outreach April and May:
We are on gear for a series of Community Outreach planned throughout April and May, check-out our events for April. We need warm bodies who enjoy a day with rambunctious kids and inquisitive villagers, please contact us to volunteer.

MY Garden Birdwatch
Keep your ears peaked for My Garden Birdwatch that will be running on the 4-5th June, there will be training sessions in May in conjunction with World Migratory Bird Day 2011. More details in the event listing.

MNS is an NGO solely driven by support and contribution from it’s members. Those who have submitted their dues a large thank you.

While we warmly welcome new members to the family:
Miriam Chacko
Satur Uttraphan
Kwan Toh Choong

We'd also like to take this opportunity to remind current members to renew their membership. Why not do it for the next 3 years? Your contribution helps us work together better towards achieving MNS vision.

Below are members whose membership has expired:
Alison Brown
Anne Malissa King
Anura Dason
Kamal Abdullah
Kong Lih Shan
Lee, Charlie
Rosie Anak Kasim
Sim Yuh Thin
SK. Kelapa Sawit No. 1
SK. Lepong Ajai
SK. Sg. Buri, Bakong
SK. Sg. Entulang
SK. Sg. Liam
Ting King King
Wouter Rensink

Members who have just recently renewed their membership, "We thank you for your support!":
Lee Bor Seng
Gianna Minton
Wong Ching Tai
Azeeza Bujang
Puteri Shariza Megat Khalid
Nurashikin Ikhwan
Ting Sze Ying, Claudia
Nooriza Mohd Noor

Members whose membership will expire end of April, we urge you to renew your membership now. Your continued membership ensures our sustained effort to achieve our Mission within our immediate community:
Ahmad Bin Samsuddin
Anis Azmani Bin Azman
Fatin Hamimi Binti Azhar
Johan Iskandar Mohd Nasir
Khairul Amer
Muhammad Jumasri b. Mohd Tanizzi
Nurazura Bte. Abd Hamid
SMK Merbau, Miri
Sofina Tan

Do read up on more of our activities’ through our blog and Facebook. Maybe even join us one of these days in our activities.

Please email us for comments, input, feedback : mnsmiri at yahoo dot com.

Kind Regards,
Anura Dason,
MNS Miri Branch

Links :
MNS Main: http://www.mns.my/
MNS Miri Branch: http://www.mns.my/state.php?sid=5
MNS Miri Blog: http://mnsmiri.blogspot.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mnsmiri

Useful Acronyms:
MNS – Malaysian Nature Society
MNS BCC-WG – MNS Bird Conservation Council –Waterbird Group
AWC – Asian Waterbirds Census
SWS -Sarawak Waterbird Survey (short for Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey for the Sarawak Coast Project)
CFZ – Congregating Fireflies Zone