Sunday, February 21, 2010

AWC Loagan Bunut 20-21st Feb 2010

AWC Loagan Bunut 20-21st Feb 2010
From 10:00 am 20 Feb to 9:30 am 21 Feb.
Air temperature 27.0 ° Centigrade in the morning and 30.5 ° Centigrade in the mid morning.
A Short drizzling at night, with dim moonlight and
Cloudy morning
Participant: Nazeri, Majelah, Clare, Sian, Ali, Aisha, Remli (SFC), Baiee (SFC) and Musa (writer).

14 Kilometers boat ride around the lake, Makes 4 KM square.

Getting there, some say the journey itself is half the fun ... the rest is without a doubt the Oriental Darter sightings.

We went to Loagan Bunut this time with two 4WD trucks. We started our journey in the wee hours of the morning, 0555 hrs to be exact after picking up Rembli, Sian and meeting up with Nazeri and family at Taman Awam. By 0630hrs we were already in Bakong, roaming the markets for grilled bishop's nose and pulut bakar for breakfast.

Our first bird of the morning was a noisy Rufous Woodpecker at Bakong market, silhouetted nicely against a tree branch. We quickly headed out to Loagan Bunut National Park after getting some favorite junk food aka comfort snacks near the market. Our second bird was the smallest raptor in the world in these parts, the Black-thighed Faolconette having it's breakfast.

Other than the extremely bumpy ride on the dirt road (it's been such since we first knew of Loagan Bunut since 1999) there weren't that much more along the way. By 0745hrs we were already at the LBNP scenic viewpoint on top of the highest hill in the area.

As we moved downhill towards LBNP HQ we spotted two Black Hornbills perching on dead branches very far from us. We also encountered ten Hill Myna flying to our left as we progressed further downhill. We reached park HQ at 0815hrs.

The water level was really low this year, we estimated some 5 feet diffrence towards the low side below the highest level mark on the belian post at the boat jetty. During our survey of the lake area the next day, most parts were only slightly deeper than 4-5feet. It's safe to assume that the lake would probably be completely dry by May sometime.

A comparation of water height of Pak Meran's Jetty from AWC 2009 and AWC 2010.

Noting this I remembered years ago of friends who used to enter this area to collect stranded fish during the dry season. The lake area is so huge and outside people do not understand that this area is being the native area to the Berawan ethnic group. When the lake dries up everyone, local Berawans and those from outside the area came collect the stranded fish with out asking permission from the Berawans living around the lake area. In some cases, outsiders who got caught collecting fish without authorisation were made to pay a heavy fine, in the form of pigs and sometimes sums of money by the headman. The headman usually isn't reluctant to share the bounty with outsiders if proper permission was sought.

High water mark on jetty's posts.

We sat on a high ground overseeing the lake. We scan the area and found a purple heron far in the swamp. It stayed there for minutes and finally flew off. We saw many terns in the distance circling just above the lake surface.

Our first day wasn't too productive. Not having secured a boat for the afternoon cruise around the lake were resorted to birdwatch from a high vantage point behind the VIP chalet. Fom here we we could make out Purple Heron, Common Sandpiper, Intermediate Egret, Osprey, White-bellied Sea Eagle, and a few smaller birds such us the Black-bellied Malkoha, Pied Fantail, Common Iora, Green Iora, Crimson Sunbird and Dusky Munia.

Around 1700hrs we decided to take a ride behind the Dmax and cruise slowly for birds along the access road to the park. We saw several Purple throated Bee Eater, Black Hornbill, Changeable Hawk Eagle and a pair of Black-thighed Falconette.

After a scrumptious dinner at the canteen (fish, chicken and two veggies), we decided on a short nitewalk along the same access road and areas within the park HQ. Other then for the incessant crickets and the odd frogs, we didnot pick up anything significant. There were 3 lonely fireflies. We walked back to the hostel around 2000 hrs feeling a tad dejected.

The next morning we woke up by 0500hrs looking forward to the morning's boatcruise around the lake. We took a light breakfasts and quickly waited at the jetty for our boatman for the morning session.

We started our boat ride at 6:30 am. The boatman Mr Baiee of SFC is sure to be careful to go along the side the lake with a paddle on is right hand and also steer the boat engine. We tracked 14 kilometers by boat a around the lake. By calculating the inner area made by the GPS, we made good 4 square kilometres.

Our favorite time at the lake, early morning where the birds are a plenty. Loagan Bunut is one of Sarawak's most unique and a well guarded secret.

This year we saw many more Oriental Darter than the previous year (AWC 2009 yielded 0 Oriental Darter). This year as well we sighted more Stork-billed Kingfisher, last year's figure was 1 SBKF. Two Blue-eared Kingfisher was sighted this year in addition to an Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher.

There were also more Purple Heron sighted this year.

On one occasion we witnessed an Oriental Darter in action, it flew low above the water, dived in, poked it's head out momentarily and dissappeared. We waited for the bird to come back out with a fish, but it never did.

We made a loop around the lake and reached our starting point at the jetty at 0930hrs. While manauevering into a small jetty to get to the jetty we spotted our 2nd Blue-eared Kingfisher and a Yellow Bittern. It was a very productive morning.

MNS Miri would like to thank Baie Hassan, Kamil Tahir, and Remli Adenan of Sarawak Forestry Corporation for arranging for a boat to take us birdwatching around Loagan Bunut for this year's AWC at the Park. Most rewarding was perhaps our opportunity to observe Oriental Darter back in good numbers for our AWC at loagan this year. We'll be back next year ... and maybe even several more visits in between.

Oriental Darter sunning itself, there were 10 other birds sighted along the shores of the loagan.

Changeable Hawk Eagle we spotted along the access road to the Park HQ.

Bird list:
Wood Sandpiper 5
Eurasian Sparrow 15
Black-thighed Falconet 3
Black Hornbill 3
Hill Myna 8
Dusky Munia 7
Purple-throated Sunbird 2
Tern (many) sp.
Purple Heron 7
Black-bellied Malkoha 2
Pied Fantail 3
Ashy Tailorbird 3
Crimson Sunbird 1
Osprey 2
Common Iora 4
Intermediate Egret 2
Cattle Egret 3
Changeable Hawk Eagle 3
Common Sandpiper 3
Yellow Bittern 2
Slender-billed Crow 5
Little Egret +50
Pacific swallow (many)
Oriental Darter 11
Striated Heron 2
Grey Heron 2
Stork-billed Kingfisher 6
Raptor sp. 1
Blue-eared Kingfisher 2
Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot 10
Long-tailed Parakeet 5
Green Imperial Pigeon 2
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher 1
Chestnut-bellied Malkoha 2
White-bellied Sea Eagle 2

Musa Musbah, February 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Grey-headed Fish Eagle in a nest with a juvvy!

First individual sighted 23rd January 2010 with Steve and Musa near a big body of water in Kuala Baram.

Empty nest spotted 24th January 2010 with Steve, Sara and Musa during early morning 2010 AWC run in Kuala Baram. We weren't sure if the nest belonged to GHFE since no adults were sighted near the nest. Well, there was actually a lone forelorn looking silver leaf monkey on a nearby tree.

Nest and adult sighted by Seng, David, Carol and Nina 02nd February 2010 and later confirmed to be Grey-headed Fish Eagle with at least one downy junior on 14th February 2010.

Grey-headed Fish Eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus is an uncommon lowland resident with a Near Threatened status in the 2009 IUCN Red List Category (as eveluated by Birdlife International) .

It was last ticked during 1999 AWC over at Loagan Bunut with John Parr, Tan Cheng Yam, Verma Vitales. Most recently last year's 2009 AWC at Loagan Bunut with Sara , Musa , Clarissa , and Gunaselan.

Nazeri Abghani, February 2010.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sunrise at the lakes ... or the stark truth open cast sand mine



Not pictured : more than ga-zillion blasted pesky mosquitoes!

AWC Go-Cart lake 15 Feb 2010

15th. Feb 2010
Time 6:00 am – 9:00 am
Air temperature 26.6 ° Centigrade.
Thin cloud sky, misty morning
Participant: Nazeri and Musa (writer).

This morning we started early from home and arrived at Go-cart lakes while it was still dark. We sprayed our faces and bare parts of our body with copious amount of highly toxic mosquitoe repellent. Nazeri was here yesterday morning and the amount of mosquitoes was so unbearable, he had to leave after 15mins. He had forgotten to bring the repellent.

These mosquitoes were so persistent they'd even bite through cloth. We took turns spraying while waiting for the sun to rise. Scanned the night scope around the lake, only saw a single Intermediate Egret at the other side of the lake.

The sun rose beautifully with blazing red hue over the horizon. A pair of Purple Heron flew across. Serendipity indeed even with the blasted mozzies.

Early duck watching.

The first duck was seen at 6:27 am flew in from the North East. He knew we were waiting there and cautiously landed just outside of our field of view.

The Intermediate Egret was still feeding across the lake happily. A moorhen swam by completely ignoring our presence.

Serenity at the Go-cart lakes.

A group of Wandering Whistling Duck going back into hiding.

Another duck flew in at 6:39 am but it continued flying southwest. A group of 15 ducks suddenly appeared from the southwest area and swam towards a clearing. We managed to take video and photographs of them. Then they flew off to the east, when a group of construction workers spooked them.

Another Common Moorhen swam in the middle of the lake close to the egret. A Yellow Bitten suddenly flew in front of us from out of nowhere.

15 Wandering whistling ducks flying

White-browed Crake

White-browed Crake

Another 5 Wandering Whistlinf Duck flew in from the east and landed in the eastern part of the lake and quickly hid themslves among floating lilies.

A White browed Crake appeared right in front of us intent on preening. It carried on for quite a while completely dismissing us. He either didn't see us or couldn't be bothered by our presence.

At 7:46am we decide to move to Kuala Baram vegetable farm to check on the White-bellied Sea Eagle's nest. We saw a single small head poking out of the nest, from such a long distance , it knew that we were observing it.

We moved out of t area and reach home at 9:00 am.

Bird list:
Purple Heron 2
Intermediate Egret 2
Common Moorhen 5
Wandering Whistling Duck 22
Yellow Bittern 2
White-browed Crake 1
White-breasted Waterhen 5
Yellow-bellied Prinia 5

WMD ... there goes the peatswamp.

Musa Musbah, February 2010

Saturday, February 13, 2010

AWC Sibuti bird sanctuary

AWC Sibuti Wildlife Sanctuary
13th. Feb 2010
Time 7:15 am – 10:30 am
Air temperature 28.8 ° Centigrade.
Clear blue sky. Tide is lowest and rising.
Participant: Steve, Nazeri, Sara, Ali, Rosie, Aisya, Clare, Remli, Ibrahim, Pungut, Ibram, Sofian, Jufree, Hadran, Awg Raden, and Musa (writer)

This time around the Miri Photo-shoot group followed us, they made photographs, we birdwatched.

Our original intended participants ie. the two rural schools in the area and their teachers were not able to participate in the end. We did not succeed in securing permission from no other than the Jabatan Pelajaran Negeri to take 30 primary school students and their 8 teachers out birdwatching in their backyard. Ah well, they've been in the area since forever ... another year or two perhaps won't make that much of a difference. Hurrumph!

We met at Miri Taman Awam a quarter of an hour short of 6:30am. We headed out directly to Kpg Tengah, where the Sanctuary is located.

Group photo : Sibuti Wildlife Sanctuary staff & MNS Miri birders.

We parked the car at the ex-DID barracks and started to unpack when we spotted our first quarry : a lone long tailed macaque.

We slowly walked to the Sanctuary on the double track laterite road, the dry season being early this year, the road was very decent, definitely not a problem for a sedan to pass through. As we walked in we heard woodpecker. A few minutes later three Rufous Woodpecker flew across the track. Far away on a distant branch, a Dollarbird was sitting rather quietly. All the while around us, Yellow-vented Bulbul and Cream-vented Bulbul were flitting about amongsth the branches. Steve spotted an Olive-winged Bulbul.

Pied Triller

On the ground we spotted faeces of a mammal, could be a binturong or otter or palm civet, all reported to be common in the area.

There seemed to be a few Crimson Sunbird flying around that day too. Though rather active on the branches, a few quick glimpses was enough to impress some of our new birders.

While taking shade by the jetty, not far away from the Sanctuary office, we sighted a Stork-billed Kingfisher, several Copper-throated Sunbird, and Olive-winged Bulbul. On a bare branch on a tall tree towards the coast, sat a Dollarbird hawking for insects now and again. This stretch seemed lively with smaller birds such as sunbirds, we saw quite a few of them flitting in and out.

Crested-serpent Eagle

In the river we saw a few long-billed fish. There were also few archer fish swimming slowly under the mangrove tree scanning for prey.

An adult Silver leaf Monkey and a baby were spotted on a big tree by the Sibuti River. Before we could point the scope for a better look, the pair jumped off and dissappeared into the forest.

Seeing this silver leaf monkey, locally called bigok, reminded me of my fishing trip near Sungai Dalam, Miri many years ago. This was where Eastwood Valley Golf Resort is now standing. A friend of mine had just shot a bigok and was happily roasting it on a fire. I could not stand the look of that monkey with it's tail chopped off roasted like that, it looked like a small child. I took refuge in my tent, to this day that image is still firmly etched in my mind.

Archer fish.

Across the river, high up in the sky, two Crested Serpent Eagle were taking in the bird's eye view of the landscape.

Silver leaf monkey with her baby.

We left the Sanctuary and made a move to Hunai and the Sibuti Landfill. Along the way we stopped by the three berembang trees that has a good population of fireflies from a recent firefly recce.

At the landfill we saw a mountain of garbage and several hundred Cattle Egret. Apart from the voluminous discarded plastic bags, there were a couple Wood Sandpiper and White-breasted Woodswallow.

We left the area around 11:45am and headed directly home.

Bird list:
White-breasted Waterhen 4
Tricoloured Munia 3
Rufous Woodpecker 3
Swallow sp 1
Swifts sp 7
Dollar bird 2
Collared Kingfisher 1
Barn swallow 9
Crimson Sunbird 7
Ashy Tailorbird 2
Yellow-vented bulbul 5
Striated Grassbird 2
Pacific swallow 3
Wood swallow 5
Pied Fantail 2
Pied triller 2
Copper-throated Sunbird 2
Stork-billed Kingfisher 2
Spotted Dove 2
Crested-serpent Eagle 2
Cattle Egret 300+
Wood Sandpiper 2

Other fauna:
Silver leaf monkey with baby.
6 Macaques
Traces of Otter
Traces of wilboar
Traces of binturong/palm civet
Squirel sp.

Musa Musbah, February 2010

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New spot to explore birds

Funny how your view suddenly opens up when you're flying high up in a De-Havilland Twin Otter looking down on the world below you as opposed to driving around on tarmac like you normally do, and get your perception blocked up by trees lining the streets, houses and all kinds of manmade structures in front of you. Bird's-eye view is definitely more liberating and a sweet antidote to some of us claustrophobics. Makes you forget the cramped little space on the twin otter.

"X" marked the spot.

On our recent flight to Lawas, we spotted a small segment of degraded forest accessible from a road opposite of the water treatment plant. Roads look drivable from the air, plenty of tall trees in the vicinity. Wonder if there's any pretty birds in the area?

Nazeri Abghani, February 2010

Third Day At Punang.

Sandbar At Punang
Date: 7th February 2010
Time 6:30 am – 10:00 am
Air temperature 27.1 ° Centigrade. Clear sky. Tide is low.
Participants : Musa (writer) , Nazeri, Sara, Clarissa, Norzie, Ali, Aisya, and Marajeh.

We walked about 2 kilometers from our homestay to Kpg Punang beach. When we reached the area the water was quite low, the sand stretched all the way to the end of the jetty, a distance of almost one kilometre.

Young birders let loose on the sandy beach of Kpg Punang.

Quite a few kampong folks were roaming about the beach doing various activities.

We saw folks dragging a rake-like device thru the sand. The handle is made of of wood, and in place of a rake, a metal "D" shaped piece is attached at the end. This was then dragged several inches into the sand to locate the clam.

Another way to get to the clam is to walk the beach and look for clams hidden in the sand by locating it's bunker. By stomping the sand, the beachccomber induced the clam to reveal it's location when it spurts out water out as a reaction to possible threat. The beachcomber then only need to dig out the clam.

Due to the high activities taking place on the beach, we did not see as many waders. We saw Kentish Plover, Malaysian Plover, Common Sandpipers, Whimbrel, Chinese Egret and Little Egret. There were several terns flying around.

I tried fly-fishing but abandoned it moments later when bites were not forthcoming, there were a few others bottom fishing.

There were no waders coming in, so we decided to end the beach session.

The rest of the gang walk back to their houses, while Saban bring me to explore what Punang have to offer. We went to an area where the ladies are drying anchovies. The middleman will later collect the anchovies they dried and send for final processing in Lawas.

Then we went to the jetty where they received the day's catch from the sea. When we arrived, a huge boat came in with a good catch of anchovies. According to one of the fisherman, there were about 200 basket fulls of anchivies, each basket weighed about 14 kilos and cost $10/basket. Villagers buy these haul and dry them at home. A middleman then will come and collect the dried anchovies and process them further in Lawas.

Not far from the collection area is the smoke house. This is where the fish are smoked. There are about 12 smoking area. The smoked fish is called Ikan Tahai, a famous product from this parts. Bakau wood is used to smoke the fish; the wood makes long lasting amber and added a distinct flavor to the fish.

Saban then brought me to the local cemetery, behind the kampong houses.

I feel obliged to create GPS tracking of Kpg Punang area. We went to all accessible road in Punang so that in our Malsingmap Punang will be added to the existing maps. We finished tracking shortly after and went home for lunch, delicious home cooked meals by Saban's wife.

We rested from lunch onwards and made our move to the airport around 4 pm. We boarded our flight 10 to 6 and landed in Miri at 6:45 pm.

Musa Musbah, February 2010

Monday, February 8, 2010

Second Day in Punang

Mudflats near Kpg Awat-awat
Date: 06th February
Time 6:30 am – 10:10 am
Air temperature 27.2 ° Centigrade. Total cloud covered sky. Tide is low.
Participants :
Musa (writer) , Nazeri, Sara, Clarissa, Norzie, Ali, Aisya, Syaban, Musli and Sharul Zaimi.

River and Tracks we followed.

We woke up very early and met at Punang Jetty at 6:30 am as promised. The two boats were already waiting and we went out toward the Awat-awat mudflats, the local called it Pulau Sundar Besar. The tide was very low and it was not advisable to go straight to that mudflat from Punang, we got stuck in the mud for nearly 2 hrs. It was fortunate for us that we had two experienced boat drivers with us.

Punang Water front and perhaps the longest wooden jetty in Sarawak.

On the way to Awat-awat we saw some 300 terns flying and diving catching anchovies at sea. While entering Awat-awat river mouth we saw several carb-eating macaques not far from the houses on concrete stilts. Nearby also foraging in the shallows was a Chinese Egret. Villagers were busy carrying out their daily chores : fishing, cleaning nets and going about their business.

Chinese Egret in the mangroves.

We travelled the length of the river and came out further south from Sundar river mouth. The riverbank was thick with nipah and a few places thicj stands of mangroves We approached slowly in a southerly direction towards Brunei, this was when we got stuck in the mud, the waterlevel was too shallow for the boat.

If it weren't for the waders on the flats, we would've been completely bored out of mind while waiting for the water level to rise. There were many waders in sight. These were mixed flocks of Whimbrel, Terek Sandpiper, Chinese Egret, Great Egret, Gull-billed Tern, Black-naped Tern, Crested Tern, Greenshanks, Redshanks, Bar-tailed Godwit and Eurasian Curlew. We had plenty of opportunity to scan the area for birds. There was also a White-bellied Sea Eagle shrieking up high in the sky.

Eurasian Curlew flying.

The local called all the waders as Burong pimping, ungat-ungat and jungkit-jungkit. The huge Whimbrel is called Pimping Surui. The Chinese Egret and Great Egret is called Burong Kenawai, in fact all the white egrets are called Kenawai.

Lesser Adjutant and Great Egret.

We were able to edge further when the tide finally gave us a few inches more of water. Our boat finally managed to enter Sundar river and we were afforded great views of a number of Whimbrel and Terek Sandpiper on the riverbanks. Then far on the north eastern side we saw a Lesser Adjutant flying down to the mudflat. This wildbird is defiinitely a lifer for me, the only other one I saw was caged up in a dinky cage at the infamous Kuala Baram Crocodile Farm in Miri.

Lesser Adjutant flying in.

The boat explored further up Sundar River and we spotted another Lesser Adjutant, making it two for the day! The bird was seen foraging together with two Great Egret on the shores but momentarily flew away.

One main street Sundar Town, was the administrative center of these parts previously.

SInce it's almost high noon, we decided to stop for lunch. We spotted a sulap by the riverbak and headed straight there. All ten of us climbed into the hut and waited for one of our boatman to clean and cook two barramundi they had brough along with them as lunch. It was a simple and most delicious lunch considering the ingredients were really only the barramundi, a few cloves of garlic and onions. After lunch we headed to Sundar.

Eurasian Curlew on the flats, Terek Sandpiper on the right.

We reached Sundar and headed off to nearby coffeshop to find some really cold drinks. By the time we were back in the river, the tide has risen considerably and we were able to cruise back to the mudflats we came from within reasonable speed. All the flats were already submerged when we got there. All the waders were roosting on the few half-submerged logs and branches on the shore. There were mostly Whimbrel, Greenshanks, Terek Sandpiper and Eurasian Curlew.

Waders on a stick.

On the way back to Kpg Punang, we spotted two dolphins jumping far on the left side of our track, they were to fast to be identified, all we could remember was the grey fins and back.

The boatdrivers were very keen to show us the proboscis monkey, said to be common in the area. Several attempts along narrow riverlets yielded on a few macaques and two black birds that could eithet be a drongo or one of the smaller malkoha sp.

Leaving another tributary, we counted 50 waders of mixed flock consisting of Terek Sandpiper, Greater Sandpover and a single Grey Plover.

Wader at Sungai Saban River mouth with a single Grey Plover.

It was a hot 32.7° Centigrade with a cloudless sky. We entered Sg Mengureng but came out empty handed.

Leaving Sg Mengureng we headed straight to Punang jetty for a well deserved rest. We ended the boatride at 6pm but promised to meet again later in the evening for a spot of Fireflies assessment in Punang river.

Musa Musbah/ February 2010

First Day At Punang

5th Feb 2010
Participants: Norzie, Sara, Clare, Nazeri, Ali, Aisya and Musa (writer)

I was anxious to go on this trip. Of all the places in Sarawak, Lawas has always been at the back of my mind. It was mentioned in many a conversations by my great grandfather. I was only 10 years old then, but was always excited to hear him talk about Lawas. I loved listening to great grandfather's stories about Lawas, till the day he passed on.

There's just something special about Lawas. People visiting Lawas or Kpg Awat-awat would always bring back smoked fish, all kinds of fish is smoked there. I really love them. As the years go by, I have travelled all over Sarawak. The closest I've ever gotten to Lawas was Limbang, another locality separated by Brunei.

This trip to Lawas is like any other MNS Miri bird watching trip, we've always managed to turn it into something special. It begins at Miri airport, this is my first time in a twin otter, a small 16 seater twin engine. Even the check-in is a little different, there was a flight safety briefing before the flight and everyone had to be weighed in at check-in. We have to walk along marked pathway on the tarmac to get to the little plane.

There were a few other twin otters on the tarmac that day, one was flying to Marudi. The plane looks so small and dainty, I was actually wondering whether it'd be at all stable up in the air.

By the time we boarded, two pilots were already waiting for us. No stewardess in sight.

They primed the engine and later started to taxi into the runway. The plane captain introduces himself as Captain Rahmat. He told us that the flight to Lawas will takes 45 minutes. The plane runs along the runway from zero to 160km/hr and lifted off within seconds. The sensation you get during take-off is not the same as that of a larger plane; this is the best lift off I have experienced.

Within 10 mnutes, we were at 2100 meters. There was no strong winds that day, and it was a smooth ride to Lawas. The landing was very smooth, I dare say it felt like warm butter sliding off a warm pancake.

We were treated with seldom seen aereal views of northern Sarawak while making our way to Lawas. We were there within the estimated fly time.

Kpg Punang from the air, photo by Nazeri Abghani.

Norzie and our driver, Awang Shahrizan came to pick us up at Lawas airport. We straight away headed to Leeya Cafe for breakfast. I went for a nasi lemak and a plate of nasi goreng with prawns. Everyone's seemed to harbour a healthy appetite after looking at the food on display, so did I.

Awang Shahrizan brought us straight to Kampong Punang. We unpacked our binos and cameras and headed to the sheltered part of the jetty. The tide was low, from the jetty we noticed several waders on the sand bar. We saw many terns flying around the area and some egrets hunting not far away. We saw a couple of Malaysian Plover and Terek Sandpiper on the sand bar.

A local fisherman with his barramundi.

After close to two hours whiling our time at the jetty, our driver took us to En Awang Marajeh's house, our host for the weekend.

A group of terns resting on the jetty.

Awang Marajeh's house is in Kpg Punang Jaya, a new housing area situated about 5 minutes from the old Kpg Punang. After a short introductions and small talk, we divided ourselves into three groups to be hosted by three families in the village.

Nazeri, Clare and their two children stayed at Awang Marajeh's house, Sara and Norzie stayed with Cikgu Rusdi's house and I stayed at Encik Shaban's.

We regrouped at Punang jetty for our first boatride for the weekend. We went out in two boats. All the while the sky wa slooking ominous and heavy with rainclouds.

The air temperature read 29.4 ° Centigrade. The tide was on it's way in. The sky was covered with dark clouds. We saw two green pigeon flying fast.

The cruise was very quiet other than the sounds of the two engines. There were a few Common Sandpipers now and again as well as a couple of Drongo sp. making a dash across Punang River. We did not see any monkeys, we were expecting Proboscis Monkey, a species oft seen by villagers in the mangroves.

Tern sp., we saw Common Tern, Gull-billed Tern and Black-naped Tern from the Punang Jetty.

We got out of a small tributary of Sg Punang and headed for the barramundi cages.

Aqua-culture, baramundi cages along the the Punang River, photo by Nazeri Abghani.

On one of fish pen we saw a fairly large heron. The bird also known as “Ulun Tekuyong” in local dialect, meaning "the slave of the snail", was hunting on the cage platform. A few Common Sandpiper were seen bobbing around the barramundi cages along the riverbank.

A juvenile Rufous Night Heron (Thanks Dave for the id!)

It rained as we reached the jetty.

At the baramundi cages.

That nite, in spite of the rain earlier, we decided to go looking for fire-flies. We found a small tree having fireflies right by the jetty. We located two trees each with 10-20 individuals. We noticed a few display trees across the river. The estimated count was about 50 individuals.

We decided to call it a day not long after. We reached home around 9:30pm.

Musa Musbah/Feb 2010