Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Proxy Vote for EGM on MNS Rules and Regulations : Members, please send in your reply!

Dear Valued MNS Miri Members,

The MNS will hold an EGM in March 2011. The purpose of the EGM is to decide on the adoption of the new MNS Rules and Regulations.

By now, you should have received the ballot paper sent by MNS headquarter. The ballot paper is a crucial piece of voice representing your wish as whether you are voting “FOR” or “AGAINST” the adoption of the new MNS Rules and Regulations.

We therefore highly recommend members to fill in their ballot paper, sign it, and pass the envelope to our Branch representative below:

How to submit your ballot?:

  • For Shell MNS members, please submit your ballot papers to Nazeri Abghani (016-8542212) by hand before Tuesday, 15th March 2011.
  • For Curtin MNS members, please submit your ballot papers to Sara Wong (012-8786100) by hand before Tuesday, 15th March 2011.
  • All other members may submit their ballot papers to either representative, whichever is most convenient.
  • All the envelopes will be submitted as a group on the 16th March 2011.
  • Should you require information regarding your membership number, please e-mail to
  • Alternatively, you may also mail your ballot directly to the MNS HQ.
  • All ballots must reach the MNS HQ by 23th March 2011

NOTE (As a reminder): Please write your name and sign outside of the envelope

Exercise your right as a member, send in your vote!

We thank you for your support.


MNS Miri Branch

Friday, February 11, 2011

Branch February Update

Members of our Branch CFZ Team being hammered by unexpected heavy rain from Pujut 10 all the way to Piasau Boat Club jetty. Photo by Sara Wong.

Dear Valued Members and Friends of MNS Miri,

A very Happy New Year to everyone. The monsoon continued to breeze through the year’s end and well into 2011. Enjoy the fresh air while it's still here, everyone seems to be saying it'll be a drier year later.

Below is an update of Dec’10 and Jan’11 with a quick look into Feb’11 and beyond:


11-12th Dec ’11 : MNS Miri Firefly Survey and Monitoring Workshop
Jointly organized by MNS Miri Branch and the MNS Conservation Division, the workshop pooled together experience from Dr Mahadimenakbar Mohamed Dawood, Institute of Tropical Biodiversity and Conservation, University Malaysia Sabah. Musa Musbah, Project Executor for CFZ Survey Northern Sarawak. Nazeri Abghani facilitated the workshop on behalf of Sonny Wong, Senior Conservation Officer, MNS Conservation Division who provided the main resources for the workshop.
The 2 day workshop was held at the Kelab Rekreasi Petroleum Lutong. Attended by participants from Sarawak Forestry Corporation, members of MNS Miri and the public., the workshop provided good exposure about firefly conservation in Malaysia and generated interest to further improve the collective work in CFZ in Malaysia

25th Dec ’10 : Camping in Kuala Niah
Christmas Day at the estuary of Sungai Niah. River cruise up the Sg. Niah to catch a glimpse of a colony of flying foxes roaming the skies and vague sounds of shotguns in the background. A nightwalk and stargazing to cap the night. Did we mention BBQ’ing Siakap fish in the middle of pouring rain (cleaning fish made a lot easier)?

1st Jan ’11 : CFZ Survey Sg. Adong and Sg. Maloi
We welcomed the new year MNS style. Night time firefly assessment, covering 23km of river from Piasau Boat Club Jetty. Thanks to our intrepid observers Sara, Nazeri, Dominique, Bor Seng, Tracy , Bujang Matzain (boatman) and Musa. It was probably the wettest CFZ we have ever encountered!

6th Jan ’11 : CFZ Survey Sg. Bakam and Sg. Raan
Surveyed 1.2km of Sg. Bakam. Many display trees are observed along Sg. Raan. A juvenile crocodile was recorded in Sg. Bakam. Plenty of bright display trees along the river at a location we never expected. Never a dull moment.

8-9th Jan ‘11: Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey, Miri
The team traversed the coast of Miri in search of waterbirds , walking in tidal flats against rising tides, as well as performing our civic duty of dismantling illegal mist nets on the second day. Completed SWS from Kpg Kuala Sibuti to Lutong Beach on the 8th Jan. Completed SWS from Kpg Batu Satu to Sg Tujoh on the 9th Jan . Thank you to our fieldcrew of the MNS-BCC-WG's, Rose and Daniel, as well as our volunteers Michael, Musa, Remli, Nazeri, Erwin, Sara, Steve and Anura

14-16th Jan ' 11: MNS Strategic Plan Workshop and Council Meeting, KSNP
Anura and Nazeri attended the workshop facilitated by Ashleigh Seow on MNS Strategic Plans intended for Board of Trustees, Council Members, Branch Committees and Branch Representatives. The 2 day workshop covered essential ingredients for a cohesive strategic plans. MNS Miri Branch Strategic Plan 2010-2012 was completed end 2009 and submitted Jan 2010 and can be found here. Anura attended Council Meeting om behalf of the branch on the 16th.

23rd Jan ’11 : AWC at Pujut Lakes
A rush to the lakes near the go-kart track in the early morning to catch a glimpse of Wandering Whistling Ducks. Thank you Musa, Sara, Joyce, Nazeri and Anura . 1st sighting of Black-collared Starling. Recorded 2 juvenile Black-shouldered Kite (2nd record in Sarawak) in the same area.

30th Jan ’11 : AWC at Sg. Miri and CFZ Daytime Assessment
An eventful morning as we traverse Sg. Miri to collect visuals of firefly display trees while birders made observations for….birds.


12-13th Feb SWS in Lawas;
Some driving with a few crew members flying to Lawas to conduct waterbird surveys along the coast.

17th February : Waterbirds Workshop, Kuching
As part of the Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey for the Sarawak Coast also known in short as the Sarawak Waterbird Survey (SWS), this training workshop will equip participants with skills needed to identify and count waterbirds commonly occurring in Sarawak.

Please click here for details. Workshop will be facilitated by Dave Bakewell over two days.

21-27th Feb SWS in Mukah;
Some driving from Kuching, several members flying in 25th Feb to participate in the coastal survey of the birds in and around Mukah.

26th Feb CFZ Survey in Mukah;
We are planning a CFZ boat survey along Sg Mukah to gather firefly information in the area as part of our CFZ Northern Sarawak Survey.

24th Feb Eco Diver Theory Sessions;
Training sessions to be held at end of Feb. Please contact directly for further info

Tentavive CFZ Fieldtrips in Feb and March:
19th Feb : CFZ Suai from Kpg Iran, might include overnite camping at Kuala Suai.
05th Mar : CFZ Sg Bakong, might involve an overnite stay at Lambir Hills NP.
12th Mar: CFZ of Sg Teru, a weekend trip to Loagan Bunut NP.
Final details will be disseminated once they become available.

26-27th March : CFZ Workshop at Similajau National Park;
A second workshop on fireflies intended for those interested to learn more about fireflies and help with the effort to populate fireflies data for Sarawak. Classroom sessions as well as a field survey of Sg Similajau.


Community Outreach April and May:
We’ll be looking for volunteers to help MNS Miri conduct community outreach programmes for the rest of the year which includes programs at Kpg Kuala Nyalau, Kpg Kuala Sibuti, Kpg Bungai and Kpg Masjid. The programs will have components of CFZ, Waterbirds and Reefcheck incorporated with contributions from our Projects team.

We are also underway to set-up a Birdwatching Club at SMK Lutong, under Shell’s We Care We Share programme after recently won an award for the WCWS project.

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 pipeline.

Members will soon receive their proxy forms by mail. Please remember to vote “FOR” or “AGAINST” the adoption of the new MNS Rules and Regulations and mail in the envelope supplied.

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, we'd 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 better towards MNS vision.

Below are members whose membership will be expiring by the end of this month:
· Lee Bor Seng
· Henry Law Ing Hua
· Rohaya Binti Amat Dollah
· Kamal Abdullah
· Ting King King
· Azeeza Bujang
· Puteri Shariza Megat Khalid
· Wouter Rensink
· Anne Malissa King
· Alison Brown
· Nurul Jameela Nor Mazlan
· Lim, Michael
· Jacobus D C van der Toorn

To our members who celebrate GONG XI FA CAI and to all of us a prosperous year ahead. Do read up on more of our activities’ through our blog and Facebook.

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

Kind Regards,
Anura Dason,
MNS Miri Branch

Links :
MNS Main:
MNS Miri Branch:
MNS Miri Blog:

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

Friday, February 4, 2011

Peatswamp Forest Development in Sarawak 2005-2010

Click on map and zoom for a full size view, courtesy of Sarvision.

An increasing part of Malaysia’s palm oil is produced at the account of huge areas of tropical peatswamp forests. Especially in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, expansion of oil palm plantations may lead to the complete loss of these vast, unique forests by the end of this decade. This is shown by new figures from Wetlands International and Sarvision.

For the full story, please click here.

Closer to home near Miri in the Northern Division:

Peatswamp distribution courtesy of Sarvision.

Google map of Northern Division.

Images taken from commercial De-Havilland Twin Otter flights Miri-Bario, Miri-Lawas, Miri-Mukah would not show something further than that already shown by the maps above:

Image from a northerly flight north to Bario.

The meandering banks of the mighty Batang Baram, plantations creeping in, much of Kuala Baram peatswamp has already been developed or in the process of conversion.

All neat in a row after row after row ... notice the imprint of a river?

From a flight northwards to Lawas.

Peatswamps is not the only habitat waylaid, others suffer similar fate in the quest more plantations in Sarawak.

Groundtruth the above yourself by booking MASWINGS flights to the destinations mentioned above, there's no better truth than ground truth.

A realisation of what's taking place in Kuala Baram was blogged recently here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Waterbirds Workshop in Kuching 17th February

Chinese Egret.

As part of the Waterbirds and Wetland Habitats Survey for the Sarawak Coast also known in short as the Sarawak Waterbird Survey (SWS), this training workshop will equip participants with skills needed to identify and count waterbirds commonly occurring in Sarawak.

The first session will cover diagnostic field characteristics of waders, terns and egrets; the second will deal with practical aspects of how to produce accurate counts of waterbird concentrations from field observations.

The workshop is suitable for anyone wishing to volunteer to take part in field survey work as part of the SWS or involved in the study of waterbirds. No previous experience is necessary.

A renowned waterbird expert in the region, Dave Bakewell will give us in-depth knowledge and skill of how we can identify the waterbirds in the field. The workshop will consist of both classroom and field sessions:-

Classroom session

Date :17th Feb 2011 (Thur)
Time : 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Venue: Samajaya Nature Reserve

Jalan Setia Raja
Tabuan Jaya
93000 Kuching

Field session
Date : 20th Feb 2011 (Sunday)
Time : 4pm to 6pm
Venue: to be announced during the classroom session

Fees: FREE

Don’t miss this golden opportunity to learn from one of the best waterbird experts in the region.

A comprehensive waterbirds survey along the coastline Kuching and Samarahan areas will be carried out after the workshop from 18 to 23 Feb. Those who are interested to learn more about waterbirds and have more in-depth field exposure are welcome to volunteer in the surveys.

For more detail and registration, please contact Rose Au 016-8909468, email: or Anthony Wong at 013-8333163, email:

Session 1: Identification (1 hr 15 mins)

Grey Plover and Pacific Golden Plover
Greater Sand Plover and Lesser Sand Plover
Kentish Plover and Malaysian Plover
Kentish Plover and Little Ringed Plover

Eastern Curlew, Eurasian Curlew and Whimbrel
Bar-tailed Godwit and Black-tailed Godwit
Great Knot and Red Knot
Common Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper and Nordmann’s Greenshank
Grey-tailed Tattler, Terek Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Common Redshank
Sanderling and Red-necked Stint

Greater Crested Tern and Chinese Crested Tern
Gull-billed Tern and Caspian Tern
Common Tern and Little Tern

Great Egret and Intermediate Egret
Chinese Egret and Little Egret
Cattle Egret and Pacific Reef Egret


Identification of unusual waterbirds

Session 2: Counting (45 mins)

Planning the count
When to count
What to bring

Counting methods
Data recording in the field
Transferring data to Count Coordinator

About the presenter

Dave Bakewell is originally from the UK. Since first visiting Asia in 1985, Dave has spent almost twenty years studying waterbirds in the region. He has taken part in waterbird surveys of Bangladesh, China, the Philippines and Malaysia.

He is co-author of The Shorebird Studies Manual, published in 1989, and co-editor of the recently published Status of waterbirds in Asia: Results of the Asian Waterbird Census: 1987 – 2007.

After Daved moved to Penang in 1989, he continued to pursue his passion for waterbirds by regular observations at many key sites in the country. As Chairman of the Malaysian Nature Society – Bird Conservation Council Waterbirds Group, he has been involved from the first stages of developing the Sarawak Waterbird Survey, and is excited to play a part in this important project, which will hopefully lead to better understanding and protection of waterbirds in the State.

A highly sought-after speaker and trainer on the topic of waterbirds, Dave has conducted many training workshops on waterbird identification and monitoring methods in the region, including Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and China, from beginner to advanced level.

His waterbird blog ( is one of the best, if not the best waterbird blogs in the region, documenting detailed accounts of the species found here with specialized tips on waterbird identification.

Waterbirds on our shores.