Monday, January 24, 2011

Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey for the Sarawak Coast

A waderwatcher scanning the flats for interesting waterbirds.

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

Project Summary:

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

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

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

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

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

Project Objectives:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, we'll see you in the field!

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

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

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

Saturday, January 22, 2011

MNS Miri Branch Strategic Plans 2010-2012

The MNS-Miri Branch Strategic Plan 2010-2012

1. The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) is the oldest and largest nature conservation organisation in Malaysia. MNS was established in 1940 by a group of naturalists to record and exchange information on, and to promote awareness about the diverse and abundant natural heritage of Malaya.

2. Since its early days, the MNS and its members have undertaken nature conservation projects, programmes and campaigns with a strong focus on education and public awareness to mobilize Malaysians to do their part for the protection and wise management of our natural heritage. Today, the MNS is recognized as one of the premier nature conservation organizations in the country, and works closely with government and other partners to advance nature conservation at the policy, planning, and implementation levels throughout the country.

3. The MNS operates through state-level branches and a permanent Secretariat in Kuala Lumpur. The Miri Branch was established March 1996. Programme planning and implementation at branch level is guided by a Branch Committee, comprising volunteer members of the branch. Our current Branch Committee members were elected at the annual Branch AGM held July 2009. Branch AGM is held annually in July.

4. The MNS Strategic Plan 2008 – 2020 is adopted to guide the implementation of the Society’s mission and to ensure that its actions are in line with existing government policies and plans, and with Malaysia’s international nature conservation-related commitments.

This Strategic Plan
This draft Plan has been prepared to cover three (3) years of the Branch’s work, from 1 Jan 2010 to 31 Dec 2012.

The vision, mission and goals of this Plan are the same as that of the MNS Strategic Plan 2008 – 2020. The strategies and actions in this Plan were formulated based on an assessment of the priorities and challenges for nature conservation in Sarawak Northern Division, and on the strengths and opportunities of the MNS Miri Branch (hereinafter referred to as ‘MNS-Miri’) in terms of its existing programmes, members’ capability, skills and expertise, and partnerships.

The order of presentation of the Strategies and Actions in this Plan are not indicative of their priority. It will be the task of each incoming Committee to assess and decide on priority actions for the year based on the opportunities, strengths and challenges which exist at the time they take office, and from Year 2 of implementation, after reviewing the progress to date.

It is important to note that not each and every issue that is or could be of relevance to nature conservation in Sarawak’s Northern Division has been included in this Plan. This Plan deals with those issues that have been identified, through the consultative process, as being the immediate key issues that MNS-Miri is in a position to address in the next three years.

For the purposes of this Plan, the geographical scope for site-based nature conservation projects undertaken by the MNS-Miri is defined as the areas of Sarawak Northern Division only.

This Plan is, and will remain an organic document, i.e. it will be reviewed periodically and revised accordingly in response to emerging challenges and opportunities.

The Purpose of this Plan
1. This Plan is intended to provide a framework for MNS-Miri to define its direction in the next three years, to make decisions on allocating its financial and manpower resources, and to monitor and assess the impacts and outcomes of its actions.

2. It is also intended to inform key partners and other interested parties about the Branch’s priorities, and to provide the opportunity to enhance existing partnerships and to create new partnerships with like-minded organizations.

3. Finally, it is intended to communicate to the MNS Secretariat, MNS Council and other MNS branches how MNS-Miri proposes to contribute to the implementation of the MNS Strategic Plan 2008 – 2020. In doing so, MNS-Miri hopes to be able to solicit support from, and promote greater exchange and sharing of information and experiences within the Society.

Vision, Mission and Guiding Principles of the Plan


Our Vision is for Malaysia’s natural heritage and rich biological diversity to be effectively protected, managed and conserved for the benefit and appreciation of all Malaysians.

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

The above Mission may be represented briefly by the following motto:

“Know Nature, Value Nature and Act for Nature.”

Our Guiding Principles

In working towards the vision and mission above, the MNS-Miri is guided by the following principles:

a) Member-driven. MNS shall always be a member-based and member-driven society, deriving its strength from a committed and active membership.

b) Independent. MNS is a self-governing and non-partisan organisation.

c) Non-profit. MNS is a properly constituted and registered society under Malaysian law, whose objective is to carry out its mission in the interests of its members without the intent of commercial or monetary profit.

d) Transparent. MNS shall maintain transparency and accountability in all its dealings with its members, as well as with its external supporters and partners such as donor agencies, sponsors, government agencies, and the public.

Our Approach

a) Knowledge-based and multi-disciplinary. MNS’s analysis of conservation problems and solutions is objective, multi-disciplinary and based on the best available scientific information and knowledge.

b) Communications, Education and Public Awareness (CEPA). MNS uses CEPA as an important tool to recruit, empower and partner with people to act for conservation while taking into account their social and economic realities. MNS endeavours to practice effective communications within its organization, and with partners and interested parties outside the organization.

c) Capacity building. MNS organises or assists in training and other capacity building initiatives for those involved in, and responsible for the conservation and management of nature, including members, local communities and decision-makers.

d) Volunteerism. MNS shall always value the spirit of volunteerism and strongly encourage the participation of volunteers in its activities.

e) Best Practice. MNS seeks to demonstrate best practices in all its activities with the intention of being innovative, efficient and effective.

f) Results-driven. MNS stresses results by formulating strategic plans that assess policy/programme feasibility and include realistic short- and long-term goals and objectives.

g) Partnership. MNS subscribes to an inclusive spirit of partnership and willingness to work with all who support our nature conservation agenda, recognizing that sustainable conservation efforts are only possible through the involvement and support of all stakeholders including local communities and the general public.

h) Advocacy. MNS’s advocacy initiatives seek to communicate its findings and recommendations to decision-makers, at the national, state and local government levels, so as to influence or effect remedial nature conservation action.

i) Facilitation. MNS provides technical advice and acts in a facilitation role to encourage the active involvement of all stakeholders in discussing nature conservation-related challenges, and arriving at agreed solutions.

MNS MIRI BRANCH 2010-2012 Adopted Goals, Strategies and Actions.

To secure the conservation of environmentally sensitive areas, key habitats and species in Malaysia.


Strategy 1.1 : Advocate for the effective management of the existing protected areas and the establishment of new protected areas, as a means to secure an integrated, comprehensive and representative Protected Area System in the state.

Action 1.1.1: Monitor the NP within the Northern Division geographical area for management effectiveness and potential threats from development.

Action 1.1.2: Promote awareness about the nature conservation values of the area, and advocate for its protection, effective management and recognition as a site of global conservation importance through nature based activities in situ.

Action 1.1.3: Identify priority natural heritage sites, maintain a database of information on these areas, and take actions to advocate for their effective protection and management.

Action 1.1.4: Participate in Asian Wetland Census drawing participation from immediate community and MNS network.

Strategy 1.2 : Advocate for the establishment of a centralised database of information with the help of MNS HQ on key habitats and species, and for this information to be disseminated, in the appropriate format, to aid development planning and raise awareness about the natural heritage of Sarawak.

Action 1.2.1: Engage with the Sarawak Forestry Corporation Conservation Unit to advocate for the establishment of a publicly-accessible database on key sites and species.

Action 1.2.2: Engage with relevant research body who are currently conducting on-site research in Sarawak’s Northern Division.

Strategy 1.3 : Lobby and maintain active involvement in Special Park’s Committee for selected National Parks within the Northern Division.

Action 1.3.1: Engage with SPC Lambir, Niah, Mulu and Loagan Bunut to discuss opportunities to provide input to activities and initiatives within the purview of MNS-Miri membership in the SPC for these parks. Encourage the awareness of the importance of conservation of Sarawak natural heritage.

Action 1.3.2: Support SPC efforts, particularly in terms of input to community presentations, workshops and discussions, and their potential impact on the natural heritage of Sarawak. Work with other NP (those on whose SPC committee that we do not sit on ie. Similajau National Park) to engage communities.

Action 1.3.3: Train, encourage and support MNS-Miri members and Person In Charge of Northern Division National Parks and SPC to be involved with the maintenance of “Friends of Lambir”, “Friends of Similajau”, “Friends of Mulu”, and “Friends of Niah”. Populate these sites with relevant information for the public in a collaborative manner with stakeholders.

Action 1.3.4: Develop internet portals for Northern Division Nationa Park (blogspot and facebook) and populate with articles and relevant information for the public.

Strategy 1.4 : Identify threats to the survival of natural habitats and species in Sarawak Northern Divison and take appropriate actions to address these threats.

Action 1.4.1: Compile write-ups, findings, discoveries made during MNS-Miri excursions, trips and outings to a holding portal. Collect credible information on threats to endangered species and habitats and forward them to the relevant policy and decision-makers.

Action 1.4.2: Engage with the relevant stakeholders to identify actions which can be taken jointly to address threats to endangered species and habitats.

Action 1.4.3: Publicise findings on relevant portals.

To empower current and future generations of Malaysians to act for the protection of our natural heritage.

Strategy 2.1 : Work towards the establishment of an affiliate MNS Nature Education Centre (NEC) in Sarawak Northern Division to serve as a site for educational programmes and activities and as a ‘home’ for the MNS-Miri; this centre to also act as a focal point for disseminating information about the natural heritage of Sarawak Northern Division.

Action 2.1.1: Conduct a feasibility study on the establishment of an affiliate MNS-Miri NEC in the Northern Division.

Action 2.1.2: Identifying sources of funding (from the government and private sectors) to support the establishment.

Action 2.1.3: Conduct Nature Education Camps at relevant NP.

Strategy 2.2 : Enhance the existing partnership with Shell’s Kem Mesra Alam and SFC Community Education Programme as a way to increase the involvement of stakeholders, teachers and students in MNS-Miri projects and activities.

Action 2.2.1: Contribute, participate and engage KMA in their yearly nature education camps.

Action 2.2.2: Contribute, participate and engage CEP in their yearly nature education camps.

Strategy 2.3 : Empower and mobilize the public through awareness raising and capacity building actions, and public campaigns to enable them to participate actively in the decision-making process for the management and conservation of nature and the environment.

Action 2.3.1: Build on the existing SMART Partnership with Pustaka Negeri Sarawak as a public outreach vehicle for MNS-Miri and to provide increased opportunities for the public to be involved in nature conservation activities.

Action 2.3.2: Continue to include a nature-based conservation education component in all MNS-Miri activities (including nature education camps for children, site visits and nature trips) to increase member awareness about nature conservation issues, and mobilize support for our actions.

GOAL No. 3:
To strengthen the institutional capacity of the Society towards achieving its mission and goals.

Strategy 3.1 : Secure the financial resources required to enable MNS-Miri to achieve the objectives of this Plan.

Action 3.1.1: Develop new and innovative means of raising funds, as necessary, to support the implementation of the strategies and actions identified in this Plan.

Action 3.1.2: Impress on stakeholders of our continued exploration of opportunities for funds.

Action 3.1.3:Submit small project proposals from known venue with help of HQ to raise funds.

Strategy 3.2 : Strengthen existing partnerships, and build new partnerships with like-minded organizations at the local levels to magnify the impact of conservation initiatives and programmes.

Action 3.2.1: Focus on corporate partnerships as a means to get more organized groups to volunteer/participate in MNS-Miri activities, and potentially, to secure funding to support the implementation of the actions identified in this Plan.

Action 3.2.2: Collaborate with Sarawak Forestry Corporation Parks Division, or PIC to ensure that the information disseminated to national nature park visitors is scientifically-credible and helps educates visitors about nature conservation.

Strategy 3.3 : Raise the image and profile of MNS to every segment of society so as to be recognized as a leading organization working to promote nature conservation.

Action 3.3.1: Establish an MNS-Miri presence (posters, displays, etc.) at public places (e.g. national parks) as a way to increase awareness about our activities and programmes.

Action 3.3.2: Compile a database of quality presentations on MNS and on key conservation issues to be presented to government agencies, organized groups and organizations as a way to ensure consistency in terms of the messages that we deliver.

Action 3.3.3: Enhance efforts to communicate our successes to a wide audience to increase recognition of our contribution to nature conservation efforts through public forum, media and internet.

GOAL No. 4:
To grow and to effectively and efficiently mobilise membership resources towards achieving the Society’s mission and goals.

Strategy 4.1 : Engage, maintain and expand the membership of MNS-Miri through targeted membership drives, and through ongoing projects and programmes.

Action 4.1.1: Focus on actively engaging existing members in our activities and programmes, e.g. by regularly communicating information to them about our projects and programmes, and organizing “MNS Recruitment Drive” events at institutions of higher learning and schools open days and such.

Action 4.1.2: SIGs to continue to organize high quality trips and events with appropriate nature interpretation components as a means to retain current members and expand membership.

Action 4.1.3: Continue to maintain a database on MNS-Miri members, including information about each member’s skills, expertise and areas of interest.

Action 4.1.4: Develop and maintain MNS-Miri Blogspot, Facebook websites as a means to communicate effectively with our members, and to attract potential new members.

Strategy 4.2 : Build the capacity of members to enable them to contribute effectively to our projects and programmes, and to ensure the sustainability of the Branch.

Action 4.2.1: Organize training workshops for members to enhance their skills in the nature conservation planning and management, including communications and advocacy. Draw synergies from other more experienced branches (ie MNS Kuching, MNS Selangor).

Action 4.2.2: Continue to explore opportunities for MNS-Miri members to be involved in workshops, seminars, and training and volunteer programmes organized by the MNS Secretariat or other MNS branches, or by institutions and organizations that work in nature conservation.

Action 4.2.3: Draw on the skills, expertise and interests of members to plan, develop and implement nature conservation projects and programmes.

Strategy 4.3 : Promote and foster links between MNS-Miri and the MNS Secretariat, and between MNS-Miri and other MNS branches, to promote greater sharing of expertise, knowledge and experience.

Action 4.3.1: Explore opportunities for MNS-Miri members to be involved in the nature conservation projects and events undertaken by MNS in other parts of the country.

Action 4.3.2: Explore opportunities for the MNS Secretariat staff and members from other MNS branches to be involved in MNS-Miri conservation projects. Nurture positive relationships between committee members and Secretariat.

Action 4.3.3 Explore greater synergy between MNS Kuching, MNS Miri and MNS Sabah through projects, workshops or trips.

End of Document.

For members interested to find out our progress against plans for 2010, please email The status was reported at the last MNS National AGM, September 2010 held at Gunung Ledang, Tangkak, Johor.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wetlands International : State of the World's Waterbirds

State of the World’s Waterbirds: in trouble in Asia, recovering in ‘the West’

The rate of decline of waterbird populations has slightly decreased over the last three decades. However, 47% of the waterbird populations are still declining and only 16% are increasing. The status of waterbirds is improving mainly in North America and Europe, while it is least favourable in Asia. Especially long distance migrants appear to be vulnerable.

These are the key findings of the State of the World’s Waterbirds 2010 (click to download) launched by Wetlands International on 21st October at the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, Japan.

This publication analyses the changes in the status of waterbird populations between 1976 and 2005 using the data collected for the four editions of Waterbird Population Estimates published by the organisation since 1994.

Unplanned economic development and weak conservation measures to blame

The status of waterbird populations is improving in regions where strong conservation legislation is implemented, such as North America and Europe.

However, the rate of decline of waterbird populations is increasing in all other regions without such instruments. The situation is especially alarming in Asia where 62% of waterbird populations are decreasing or even extinct.

The combination of a rapid economical growth and weak conservation efforts appears to be lethal. Waterbird populations are exposed to a wide range of threats such as the loss and degradation of marshes and lakes, water regulation, agricultural intensification, hunting and climate change.

Long distance migrants

The status of long-distance migrant waterbirds is generally worse than of those remaining in regions with strong conservation measures. This highlights the importance of coordinated conservation measures across entire flyways from the breeding to the non-breeding grounds.

“It is not surprising that the rate of decline of the long distant migrant sandpipers, snipes and curlews has accelerated most rapidly. Now, 70% of their populations are decreasing. Halting destruction of their migratory staging areas is vital” says Prof Nick Davidson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. On the other hand, the improving status of many crane species demonstrates that targeted conservation actions for the protection of key sites can produce positive results.

Action needed

“We feel we have to put more effort into the conservation of waterbirds in this region” states Mr. Daizaburo Kuroda, Senior Councilor, to the Japanese Minister of the Environment that supported the publication.

"The decline of waterbird populations in developing countries is an indication of the environmental problems in these parts of the world. The world community of governments that is gathering at the UN Conference in Japan should take action to reverse this trend” states Dr. Taej Mundkur, Wetlands International’s Flyway Programme Manager.


For more information:

At our headquarters (Netherlands):
Simon Delany via
Sander Carpaij (communications officer)
+31 (0)318 660930

This is a press release from Wetlands International's Wings over Wetlands issued 21-Oct-2010.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey for the Sarawak Coast in Miri this week

Buff-banded Rail by Christopher Lee (c) 2010.

The image above was captured by Chris Lee at Kpg Chupak, Kuching. It was first observed by Karim Madoya in Kota Belud, Sabah a couple of years back. We believed this species has made it's progress from southern Phillippines all the way into southern Borneo, unfortunately there's a gap here in northern Sarawak after birders in Kuching spotted it amongst the paddyfields there. It has to here waiting to be ticked, Kpg Masjid swamps perhaps.

Dear Valued MNS Members.

Happy New Year 2011!

MNS Miri is organizing the waterbird and wetland habitats survey and all members are welcome to participate:

Event: Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey for the Sarawak CoastDate: 8th January 2011 and 9th January 2011

Key Contact Person: Nazeri Abghani 016-8542212


A. Saturday, Bungai Beach-Kpg Batu Satu Leg 08th Jan

Meet at Baraya Resort either evening of 07th Jan to overnite there (room for 5 volunteers on sleeping bags in the living room) OR
Meet at Baraya Laut Resort 0700hrs on 08th Jan

We will be covering :
Bungai-Peliau-Tusan-Bakam Beach-Tg Lobang-Miri Marina-Kpg Pulau Melayu-Lutong-Kpg Batu Satu (up to Pottery Bridge)

Expect to end 1900 hrs.

B. Sunday, Kuala Baram-Sg Tujuh Leg 09th Jan

Meet at Shell Office Lobby 0700hrs

We will be covering : Kpg Batu Satu-Kuala Baram Lagoon-Pulau Bawai-Kpg Masjid-Sg Tujuh-Kpg Masjid Marshes, Pujut 7 Lakes, Curtin Lakes

Expect to end 1900 hrs

Members and volunteers can hop on-and-off based on their availability for the day.

Please feel free to distribute to other members or non-members who might be interested to participate in this first ever Sarawak wide waterbirds and wetland habitats survey.

If you have any questions please direct them to our key contact person

Kind Regards,
Puteri Shariza Megat Khalid
On Behalf of MNS Miri Branch

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Have you ever wondered what's on your right as you drive towards the ASEAN Bridge?

Mapview for the benefit of those driving to ASEAN Bridge fro Permyjaya.

GoogleEarth has got some new satellite images (2010) from Kuala Baram, it's amazing how the landscape has changed in just over a year quietly away from public scrutiny.

The patch along Kuala Baram road is now grown with some leafy green plants that's already about 10 feet high today. The land was cleared shortly before Q1 this year.

The first patch along the beach is now grown with oil palm, while the second patch is overgrown already with some very fast growing leafy plant. Land was cleared backin Q1-2010; the second stage peatswamp reclaimation is taking place between the two patches today.

The marshes and swamp between ASEAN Bridge and Kpg Masjid has been completely cleared, there isn't a single big tree left amongst the newly cleared patch.

There isn't a single perch for the Black-winged Kite much else nesting tree for the White-bellied Sea Eagle, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Changeable Hawk Eagle or others. More work is presently being carried out in the area as elsewhere around the area as can be seen from the roadside.

Clearly seen from the aereal photos are plantation boundaries that moved right to the edge of the tributaries to the mighty Batang Baram. Ever wondered how those were cleared and transformed to the state that they are in now, don't think woodchippers were in heavy use here last year.

Nazeri Abghani/MNS Miri/Jan 2011