Monday, January 4, 2010

Bird Watching in Buri, Lambir National Park

We reached Buri junction at 4:30 pm. We reached the highest peak where we stopped and soaked in the beautiful view of the rainforest canopy below us.

There were many birds singing around us but none were seen. We saw 10 tree swifts perched on a wire. A few swiftlets flew criss-cross all along the path down the hill until we reached flat ground.

We drove in slowly as the metal gate were open. We sighted a brown bulbul peeking shyly from the foliage. As we stopped just above the culvert, I could smell the strong smell of either bats or flying foxes.

Not far from where we were parked hung a broadbill's nest. We heard some bulbul calling.

We went further to the end of the pipes where we got out of the car.

A black bird flew by fast. We heard woodpecker tapping on a tree trunk. The silence was sometimes broken by barbet's knocking calls.

A sunbird flew among the thick foliages. Another blackbird was seen jumping from tree to tree.

Another brown bulbul was seen skipping in and out of a tree nearby. A whiskered barbet flew into a bush.

The same barbet called again. Saw some white bellied swiftlet flying above us. A few sharmas were calling, but none seen physically.

A few monkeys were also calling close by but none seen.

Another sunbird passed by, then a squeak from a leafbird.

A lonely woodpecker quickly flew passed us with its up and down movement. A large malkoha sp flew by shortly after.

Around 6pm, two men came in a Ford Ranger. They stopped some 500-meter from us. We watched them, one of them brought out a shotgun. Steve gave a hefty shout that really took everyone by surprise, “TIDAK BOLEH MEMBURU!” We were sure the two men heard him.

The two guys approached us slowly, I was feeling rather nervous this being more their backyard than ours. This could be their playground, and we were encroaching on someone else's turf. I felt really uneasy.

They introduced themselves as a residence from Buri, and worked at the water treatment plant. They were today to pick wild durians in the jungle. They realised that we weren't too happy with the guns. But according to them it's a necessity as protection from unwanted elements. Sometimes they bumped into Indonesians wandering in the jungle apparently from a farm nearby.

“Shot gun bullets are not cheap, it’s not worth shooting birds or animals with the bullets. They are only allowed to buy 10 shot gun bullets per month which costs RM5 per bullet."

Thinking that we were satisfied with their excuses, they went back to their truck. They left the guns inside the car and locked up before making their way into the forest.

We heard a blue-eared barbet sound …trup trup trup. Another bluebird flew by. A shy flowerpecker flew between the trees.

Another bird flew by, flapping away.

Not too long afterwards, the two men came out with 5 durians. They gave us two durians. They even helped us open them. We ate the durians, it tasted a bit like banana.

The ment stayed a while and we chatted about birds, the topic revolved around the hornbill. According to them, “Belinsi”, the black hornbills are commonly found here.

“Kejako”, Asian Pied Hornbills are also very common, especially along the river. “Beruik” are the larger hornbill variety that are longer seen here. Our heart sank : they could very well meant Rhinoceros Hornbill, Wreathed Hornbill or Helmeted Hornbill ... all were once on the Lambir Hills birdlist.

A sparrow passed by and one of the men said, “Itu pipit!” We promptly checked our fieldguide, indeed it was.

The cicadas started whining on very high notes and were becoming very deafening. Steve saw a big bird flew passed but by then it was a little too dark to positively identify it.

By slightly passed 7 pm we moved back into our car and drove out. Just after the culvert, we thought we saw monkey sleeping, but it just something resembling a monkey with a tail hanging.

We drove up the hill on our way back to Miri, we heard crows settling on a tree nearby.

Participants: Steve, Musa (writer) and Rosie

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