Thursday, December 10, 2009

ASIAN WATERBIRD CENSUS 2010 in Miri

The time for counting waterbirds, trudging into swamps and negotiating mudflats is upon us again, how quick time flies ...


Typical haunts for waterbirds.


Not the typical attire for AWC in Kuala Baram, may not be suitable for all sites. Photo (c) Liz King 2009

AWC is an annual waterbird census carried out by volunteers every January (sometimes spills over to February) at various sites thoughout Asia. Analysis of data collected during AWC help Wetlands International, the organizer, in long term planning for the conservation of waterbirds and their wetland habitats.

The census has 3 major objectives:

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

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

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

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

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

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

The official dates for AWC 2010 are 9-31st January, however counts from December and February area still accepted from poorly known areas.

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

MNS Miri Branch AWC sites for 2010:

09-10th Jan Go-Kart/Senadin Lakes, Daytrip, FP Musa and Sara
16-17th Jan Curtin Lakes, Daytrip, FP Musa and Sara
23-24th Jan Kpg Masjid Prawn Farms, Daytrip, FP Nazeri
30-31th Jan Kuala Baram Lagoon, Daytrip/Overnite, FP Nazeri and Musa
05-07th Feb Sundar, Lawas, extended weekend, Overnite, FP Nazeri
13-14th Feb Bungai Swamps, Daytrip, FP Nazeri, Steve, Musa
20-21st Feb Loagan Bunut, Overnite at LBNP, FP Nazeri and Musa
27-28th Feb Pulau Bawai, Overnite, FP Nazeri and Musa

Most of these sites are revisits from past year's census (an important monitoring component of AWC) with two new sites (Sundar, Lawas and Bungai, Bekenu) added for 2010. Another new site, Sibuti Wildlife Sanctuary is currently under discussion.

Some of MNS Miri past AWC highlights : Malaysian Plover, Grey Plover, Wandering Whistling Duck, Oriental Darter for 2009. Storm's Stork for 2001, Lesser Adjutant 2002. This year the branch is aiming for more duck sightings for Miri.

Members and the public who is interested to participate can email mnsmiri@yahoo.com for further details.

AWC sites on the map:





Panaga Natural History Society will also be running their AWC over the other side of the border over the same period, they too may also have interesting sites which are convenient for Mirians to take part.

Participation from Sarawak Forestry Conservation Unit is also anticipated in one or two of the above sites.

This one of the main events for birdwatching in Miri, come join the fu, absorb the AWC experience and share the excitement about waterbirds.

Link to MNS Miri's AWC 2009.

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