Thursday, March 25, 2010

World Migratory Bird Day 2010 Focuses on Globally Threatened Migratory Birds

Malaysian Nature Society Miri Branch is again celebrating World Migratory Bird Day this year, our third year. WMBD events are extra special this year since in 2010 we are also celebrating MNS 70th Year Anniversary.

This year MNS Miri have confirmed the following events locally:

08th May
Birdwatching at Innoue Trail, Lambir Hills National Park. Birdwatching with Khoo Swee Seng, MNS Raptor Study Group together with Miri Branch Bird Group, members and interested public.

Talk and Slideshow on "Migrating Raptors" by Khoo Swee Seng at Pustaka Miri. Inline with this year's theme, Seng will be speaking about migrating raptors. This is a collaboration with Pustaka Negeri Sarawak. Seng will also touch on the upcoming MY Big Garden Birdwatch in June.

Evening Birdwatching at Bukit Song, Lambir Hills National Park. Birdwatching with Khoo Swee Seng, MNS Raptor Study Group together with Miri Branch Bird Group, members and interested public.

09th May
Birdwatching fieldtrip in Kuala Baram led by Seng and MBBG. MNS Miri will be providing a complementary 40 seater bus to transport participants to site from Pustaka Miri and back.

And one special event in collaboration with our MNS Sabah friends at Kinabalu National Park:

15th May
Birdwatching with members and school students in Kinabalu National Park World Heritage Site. This is also a joint celebration of MNS 70th Anniversary with MNS Sabah Branch. Students will be led through the different routes around to park in search of Sabah endemics and other interesting KNP birdlife.

MNS Miri Branch members, students and members of the public are invited to participate in the above events. All events in Miri are complementary, and all are welcomed.

For more details about the WMBD events in Miri, please email :

More information on WMBD2010 from the UNEP-AEWA Secretariat:

The Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (UNEP/AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS) are pleased to announce the countdown for World Migratory Bird Day 2010. This two-day awareness raising campaign will take place globally for the fifth consecutive year from 8-9 May 2010.

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) aims to inspire people to take action for the conservation of migratory birds and encourages national authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), clubs and societies, universities, schools and individuals around the world to organize events and programmes, which help draw attention to migratory birds around a central theme each year.

This year’s theme is “Save migratory birds in crisis – every species counts!” It is closely linked to the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) declared by the United Nations for 2010.

The WMBD 2010 theme aims to raise awareness on globally threatened migratory birds, with a particular focus on those on the very edge of extinction – the Critically Endangered migratory birds.

In line with the International Year of Biodiversity, the 2010 WMBD theme also highlights how migratory birds are part of the biological diversity of our world and how the threat of extinction faced by individual bird species is a reflection of the larger extinction crisis threatening other species and the natural diversity that underpins all life on earth.

Migratory birds in crisis
A staggering 1,227, or 12,4% of the total 9,865 extant bird species in the world are currently classified as globally threatened and 192 of these are considered Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species, i.e. they face an extremely high risk of becoming extinct.
An estimated 19% of all known birds and about 30 of the 192 Critically Endangered bird species are considered to be migratory and undertake regular cyclical movements between their breeding and non-breeding areas.

Some prominent examples of “migratory birds in crisis” being highlighted in the context of this year’s WMBD campaign include the Slender-billed Curlew (Numenius tenuirostris), the Northern Bald Ibis (Geronticus eremita), the Sociable Lapwing (Vanellus gregarius), the Waved Albatross (Phoebastria irrorata) and the Orange-bellied Parrot (Neophema chrysogaster) – all of which are migratory and listed as Critically Endangered.

Migratory birds as indicators
By focusing on “migratory birds in crisis” during the International Year of Biodiversity, World Migratory Bird Day 2010 is also highlighting the role played by birds as indicators, enabling us to clearly see and highlight the negative effects our current way of life is having on the planet and it’s biodiversity.

As one of the best researched taxa, birds serve as vital indicators for the state of biodiversity and the biological health of the ecosystems they inhabit. If a bird species becomes threatened with extinction it is often a clear sign that the conditions of the required habitats have changed and that other species that depend on them may also be affected.

Migratory birds rely on several different habitats to survive – often across several continents. They need areas to breed, rest, feed and to raise their young. The conservation of migratory birds depends to a large extent on the conservation of their habitats, thereby simultaneously benefiting other species.

WMBD 2010 during the International Year of Biodiversity

The International Year of Biodiversity (IYB), declared by the General Assembly of the United Nations for the year 2010, is an appreciation of the value of biodiversity and the vital role it plays in all our lives. However, it is not only a celebration, but also an invitation to take action to safeguard the variety of life on earth. Humankind relies on this diversity, because it provides us with food, fuel, medicine and other essentials which we need to survive.

Yet species are disappearing at an unprecedented rate because of human activities, amongst other threats, and these losses are irreversible. In fact, the current rate of extinction is a thousand times faster than the natural one. For birds, the natural rate of extinction is one bird per century, but in the last thirty years alone, 21 bird species have become extinct. Without immediate action, many of the “migratory birds in crisis” will no longer exist in ten year’s time.

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) 2010 is an opportunity to take action and to draw international attention to those migratory birds which are threatened by extinction and to highlight them as flagship species during the International Year of Biodiversity.

Further Information:

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)

World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD) is a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and for promoting their conservation worldwide. It is being organised by the Secretariats of the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) – two international wildlife treaties administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) – and other partners.

People and dedicated organisations around the world will be using the event to draw attention to migratory birds that are threatened by extinction. Activities to mark WMBD include bird festivals and bird watching trips, public discussions, exhibitions, presentations, bird rallies and other educational and public events.

Event organizers are encouraged to register their events on the WMBD website and can order the WMBD 2010 poster and other information materials to support their events by writing to:

For more information please visit:

WMBD Partners:

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the voice for the environment in the United Nations system. It is an advocate, educator, catalyst and facilitator, promoting the wise use of the planet's natural assets for sustainable development.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2010 the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB). The goals of this special year are to raise awareness of the importance of biodiversity, highlighting the fact that it continues to be lost, and to celebrate novel solutions being carried out around the world for its conservation and sustainable use, and the equitable sharing of the benefits from the use of genetic resources. The Year 2010 was chosen to coincide with the biodiversity target agreed by world leaders in 2002. During the Year scientists will report on a global trend on biodiversity.

Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS; also known as the Bonn Convention) aims to conserve terrestrial, aquatic and avian migratory species throughout their range. It is an intergovernmental treaty concluded under the aegis of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Since the Convention's entry into force, its membership has grown steadily to include 113 (as of 1 January 2010) parties from Africa, Central and South America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) is an intergovernmental treaty developed under the CMS dedicated to the conservation of migratory waterbirds. The Agreement covers 255 species of birds, ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle. The treaty covers a large geographic area, including Europe, parts of Asia, Canada, the Middle East and Africa. So far 63 out of the 118 countries (as of 1 February 2010) in this area have become Contracting Parties to the International Agreement.

BirdLife International is a global partnership of conservation organisations that strives to conserve birds, their habitats and global biodiversity. BirdLife International has long been committed to the conservation of migratory birds and the habitats upon which they depend. The BirdLife Partnership is engaged in migratory bird conservation at numerous scales, from projects focused on individual species or key sites, to broader policy and advocacy work to promote migratory species conservation, and involvement in flyway-scale projects.

Wetlands International is an independent, non-profit, global organisation, dedicated to the conservation and wise use of wetlands. Wetlands International works globally, regionally and nationally to achieve the conservation and wise use of wetlands, to benefit biodiversity and human well-being.

The Partnership for the East Asian - Australasian Flyway - Launched in November 2006, the Partnership is an informal and voluntary initiative, aimed at protecting migratory waterbirds, their habitat and the livelihoods of people dependent upon them. There are currently 21 partners including 10 countries, 3 intergovernmental agencies and 8 international non-government organisations. The Partnership provides a framework for international cooperation, including: (1) development of a Waterbird Site Network (for sites of international importance to migratory waterbirds), (2) collaborative activities to increase knowledge and raise awareness of migratory waterbirds along the flyway, and (3) building capacity for the sustainable management and conservation of migratory waterbird habitat along the flyway.

MNS Miri, March 2010

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Birdwatching around Hilltop Lodge Lambir Hills NP

We have always wanted to spend a weekend at this secluded lodge. Being right at the head of Innoue trail was perhaps one reason, the other perhaps is it's "away-ness" from the rest of the other chalets ... makes you feel like a part of the landscape rather than the touristy part of the park.

That aside, we finally managed to get a hold of it last weekend. Since the Lambir NiteWalk with MNS Miri members was taking place over the Saturday nite, we thought it was a good excuse to just hangout at the park until Sunday, maybe do a bit of birdwatching at the trailhead and listen to the birds.

Several visits ago, once during WMBD 2008 with Choo Tse Chien and gang, I remembered there were quite a few birds flitting around the lodge then. We caught glimpses of a fiery red kingfisher dashing back and forth, Asian Fairy Bluebirds flying around and heard a variety of calls thoughout the morning, some we couldn't recognise. Later during a trekking exercise (which got me crawling back after about 20 minutes into the trail) during MNS Miri Branch 2008/2009 AGM, we could hear quite a spectrum of bird calls at the start of the Innoue trail.

We woke up the Sunday morning to a loud call of a Sooty-capped Babbler, it was just so melodious, I can't possibly not remember it if I were to hear it again next time. It called from the top of the trees all the way to the bushes at the edge of the lodge. Two simultaneous notes which I swear could not have been more sweeter than that coming from this tiny grey bird. Several chirps, followed (if not simultaneously) by a melodious lengthy portion of the song.

It even came out to an open perch for a perfect photo-op! (I wouldn't belabor the fact that the CF card wasn't in the camera at the time %$£&^!)

The rest of the morning was as eventful. The small fiery kingfisher flew from under the house just as I was leaving the porch! It's either hanging out under there or was extremely good at hiding itself in the bushes nearby.

As lady fortune would have it, the kingfisher flew and perched inside the trees not 10 feet away from where I first spotted it. I got some pictures this time ... a Rufous-backed Kingfisher!

Hilltop Lodge's Rufous-backed Kingfisher at Lambir Hills.

The same with flash!

Throughout the morning, other birds made their way through our frontyard as they have always done so on numerous other occasions. Black-headed Bulbul, Cream-vented Bulbul, Lesser Leafbird, Crimson Sunbird, Dusky Munia, and ... Blue-eared Kingfisher! All these without us having to be out of sight of the front porch of the lodge!!! There's also a tiny hut just by the pond which makes perfect spot to hang out and watch birds fly past.

The most ubiquitous bulbul in the park office area.

Blue-eared Kingfisher, finally on camera albeit a bit too far away even with a 600mm!

Blue-eared Kingfisher in side profile.

The only featherless "flying" creature captured on camera that weekend.

To our family at least, the Hilltop Lodge has just been elevated to the status of "weekend home away from home" which promised more of us spending quality time at Lambir Hills watching birds and listening to their songs. Other favorite spots in the same niche are Nepenthes Villa at Kinabalu Park, and the musty King Edward's Lodge at Mesilau Kinabalu Park.

Nazeri Abghani, Mar 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

5 Hornbills Around in Miri

One of my old friends who live at Pulau Melayu sent me an email of close-up photographs of 4 Oriental Pied Hornbills that have been visiting his garden. These birds also played on his balcony and were enjoying pecking at his house glass windows, fascinated by their own reflections. It was lucky that they did not crash at the glass window.

Actually, Steve last week called me to take photo of a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo that crashed at his house window and broke its neck. Sadly, the bird was found dead just under his glass window. I’ll talk about it later.

The hornbill at his balcony

Well, lets go back to the hornbills that frequently visited my friend’s garden. He has been watching these 4 hornbills, or rather, as he described it, the birds have been watching him in the morning through the glass windows, usually between 7.30 am to 11.00 am for around half an hour. These visits have been noticed for the last couple of months.

A few weeks ago there was a feature on hornbills in Semenanjung by the Star where one was noticed laying eggs in an egg jar. Using the same technique, my friend has placed 3 egg jars on his balcony. So far the birds have not shown any interest yet but he is hopeful and has been working hard in giving the birds a safe place to breed. Since the birds visit, his papaya fruit is now reserved for the birds and he and his family only eat the papaya if there are extras. He observed that the 4 hornbills are of 2 pairs. One of the females has one blind eye. The 3 juveniles seem to have grown up.

Incidentally, when my friend searched for more information on this type of hornbill, he stumbled upon this blog and sent me the email with the photos – hence this story.

Well, I do have some earlier knowledge on these hornbills. There were supposed to be five of them - two parents and 3 juveniles living somewhere in Piasau Camp (we are keeping the exact location a secret for the birds’ safety). As the juveniles grew bigger and the food in the Camp getting lesser, they have to go out of the area to look for food.

On June 26 2009, a friend of mine reported in facebook seeing them wandering out side their save haven. Later, another friend also noted in his facebook, seeing them at Piasau Jaya shophouses. Both reported 5 hornbills. There were also some reports from golfers, seeing them at some trees on the course.

Today's photograph with my HP camera

This morning I went for my routine cycling exercise toward the Miri river mouth. I brought my binocular but left my camera. As I was passing my friend house, I slowly get into his house compound. When I reached his car garage, there were 3 hornbills suddenly flew off from the garage to a large fruiting tree just 15 meters from where I was standing. I regretted that I didn’t bring my camera. But being that close, I really enjoyed watching the three birds eat the fruit. I watch the birds for half an hour and they were not frightened. When I became so tired standing, I went to my friend’s fishpond. The fishpond has some chairs where I could watch the birds with ease. What a lucky day for me, watching them playing and eating the fruit.

I could really see the male grooming the right-eyed blind female. After some time the right-eye blinded female flew off to another branch to get more fruits. Then the male went to the other one, I guess a female and it groomed this one too. That was how I made the conclusion that there are two females and one male. My friend usually saw 2 pairs, with the male almost double the size of the female.

At the moment, we know that the fifth one is breeding at the same nest where they were nested before. What we all should do now is to ensure Mirian know about these birds and let them roam free. The forests have gone. We must protect them in any way we could since they have chosen our city for shelter and they need a huge area to forage for food.

A unfortunate Chestnut-winged Cuckoo

I would now talk about the bird that crashed into Steve’s window and broke its neck. Normally birds do not understand glass window. They see reflections of trees and would just fly fast and crash on to the glass window, sometimes breaking their heads and/or necks. This happened to the Chestnut-winged Cuckoo at Steve’s house. The dead bird is now preserved in my refrigerator.

We are hoping to send it to an expert to preserve it. If anyone knows any taxidermist in Miri, please do contact us ASAP.

Musa Musbah, Mar 2010

Friday, March 19, 2010

Malaysian Plover breeding in Kuala Baram!

Malaysian Plover hiding under a piece of wood in the hot sun.

Perhaps a first record of a breeding Malaysian Plover inKuala Baram lagoon!

This young MP was spotted trying to hide itself amongst the organic flotsam-jetsam on the sand. It's presence was initially alerted by three adults foraging nearby in the same area. An attempt to track and photograph one of the adults fortunately revealed this hiding spot. One of the adult, possibly the mother made an extra effort of circling around in a wide berth of where the young plover was hiding. The baby stayed in one spot for almost an hour after being spotted, confident perhaps of being well camouflaged.

Dogs as well as other more typical predators are probably less kind to this beautiful baby! Habitat destruction as well as predation are perhaps key to the survival of Malaysian Plovers on our beaches.

Our previous sighting of a baby Malaysian Plover was in Tanjung Payung 26th April 2009. Next on the list is a baby MP on the sandy beaches of Similajau!
Nazeri Abghani/ Mar 2010

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Your Common Garden Birds ...

Asian Glossy Starling ... male.

Collared Kingfisher ... more on the coastal side.

Eurasian Tree Sparrow ... topmost spot for common birds ... aka "Burong Ciak".

Oriental Magpie Robin ... female, male has deeper blacks.

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker ... female, only a bit of red.

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker ... male in resplendant red and black.

Olive-backed Sunbird ... female.

Olive-backed Sunbird ... male.

Zebra Dove ... up close.

Zebra Dove ... contender as most common garden bird.

Yellow-vented Bulbul ... check out the vents, it's yellow!

Yellow-vented Bulbul ... perhaps the most common of them all.

Yellow-bellied Prinia ... "sings from low bushes and top of tall grass".

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

MY Garden Birdwatch


Registration for 2010 Survey now open!

Be part of the MASSIVE, first ever nationwide bird survey of its kind in Malaysia! MY GARDEN BIRDWATCH is a survey for everyone, couch potatos and city slickers, you and me.

Just go to a local patch of your choice -- gardens, parks, housing estates, cities or a favorite spot in your kampung -- and tell us which birds you see. Survey results will provide information on bird numbers and distribution, which forms the basis for conservation priorities.

Natural events like predation, diseases, earthquakes and climate change, combined with human activities such as urbanisation and forest clearing all have major impact on the wellbeing of many species of birds. We need to better understand how to strike a balance between conservation and development, and we need your help.

Simply check on the garden birds in your area, once a year. Your participation will go a long way in sussing out our bird population and distribution all over Malaysia.

Please click here to get more details and find out how to sign up.

Miri birdwatchers are especially encouraged to participate in this first ever concerted "MY Garden Birdwatch". If you need help to id the birds in your local patch (gardens, schoolyard, background) before the big date, please email us, we'd be glad to help out.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Birdwatching Around Lambir Area

7th. Mar 2010
Time 6:30 am – 11:00 am
Air temperature 29.6 ° Centigrade.
Hazy and misty morning, with a short rain.
Participant: Steve, Rosie, Sara, Majelah and Musa.

We started our journey from my house at 6:10 as promised by Steve to pick me up at that time. Majelah is her first time bird watching.

It was a hazy morning with a normal morning mist. It was quite difficult to differentiate between the two. The only thing about it, the haze is there due to the smell of those burnt grass that hit my lung. Being a person with asthma this haze make my outdoors activities is harder than normal. It was a blessing that we have a light rain and the haze clear a bit. This really helps my breathing a bit.

As we drive toward Buri junction we saw plenty of tree swift and white-throated needltail circling a high tree. We stopped there to watch them for a moment. They are having an early breakfast after the rain to capture the flying insects. The rain really make the insects flew out of their hiding place after a few days of thick haze in Miri. There was a dollar bird perching on a dead branch to the right of us.

As we go along the feeder road to Buri, there are plenty of bird songs. A few yellow-vented bulbul criss-cross the road. At the right of us we saw few dusky munia. An unidentified black bird flew passed by.

We stopped at the point we could the canopy of the tree below us. We scan the area but did not see any bird. There is a strong smell of either bat or flying fox urine.

We carry on our way down the slope. We saw a few Blue-throated Bee-eater and wood swallow on the electrical cable. We reached our favorite watching place at 6:50 am. The weather is fine but very humid. The air temperature is 30.9 ° Centigrade.

An asian fairy bluebird stood on a branch of a fruiting tree. A few songs of unidentified barbet and woodpecker filled the air, but their physical body is not seen.

A flash of either black-banded barbet or red-crown barbet is seen flying across the open space. A greater coucal flew close in front of us and hid quickly among the tree. A lot of tree swift and white-throated needletail flying high above us.
Broadbill calling far in the jungle. There are a lot of Hill mynas criss-crossing the sky above us. A total of 15 birds recorded. Hornbill quaking sounds very loudly are around us. They seemed to be fighting among themselves. Then a few show them self crested serpent eagle flew fast , a small bird is chasing it. A few instances of sunbird seen among the trees. A hawk eagle flew south west. Argus calling in a distance.

The hornbills are still croaking loudly. A spider hunter, yellow vented bulbul and a black bulbul flew among the fig tree. There are a lot of bird activities at the fig trees, as it is fruiting now. A few instances of malkoha flying at the same tree. Finally we identify it as a chesnut-brested malkoha. A green pigeon flew in a tree in front of us.

The weather is too humid for us to be sitting around the area. Then we pack up and leave the area at 10:43am. The feeling of moving air from the moving car really good. We make our way out with out seeing much of bird presence. Only the presence of Yellow vented bulbul, Pacific swallow and blue-throated bee-eater. An Indian cocco calling in the bushes.

We went into a small road distributary of Buri road. There we found a chestnut Malkoha and un identify raptor.It could be a Serpent eagle juvenile.

We go out of the Buri area and enter a Bukit Song RTM hill. There we saw a few bulbul. When we go out of the area we saw a juvenile Cresteed serpent eagle. It cries so loud for its mother to come home to bring breakfast. We feel pity breakfast is not easy to find nowadays when the jungle is being burnt and cut to make way for plantation.

We went into another potential birding area, this time the area is being prepare for new project. We then enter Bakam bypass. This is a clay road all the way. We did not see any bird activity until we meet the Bakam coastal road. Then we go straight home around 12:00pm.

Juvenile Eagle crying for it mother

Bird List:
Dollar bird (1)
white-throated needltail (50)
Tree swift (50)
Barn swallow (10)
Yellow-vented bulbul (5)
Dusky munia (10)
Black-banded barbet (1)
Blue-throated bee=eater (5)
Asn fairy blue bird (1)
Barbet sp. (1)
Yekkow eareds spider hunter (1)
Red head barbet (1)
Greater coucal (1)
Hill mynas (25)
Broadbill sp. (1)
Spider hunter sp.
Cream vented bulbul (1)
Asian black hornbill (5)
Crested serpent eagle (2)
Chestnut malkoha
Black bulbul (1)
Black banded barbet (1)
Woodpecker sp. (1)
Indian cocco (1)
Green piegon (1)
Hawk eagle (1)

Other fauna:
Monitor lizard (1)

Monday, March 1, 2010

AWC Pulau Bawai 27-28th February by Musa Musbah

AWC Pulau Bawai
Date :27-28th Feb 2010
Bright Moonlight night and Cloudy morning

Hunting, pollution

Nazeri, Majelah, Remli (SFC), Kamil (SFC), Rosie, Sara, Benjamin and Musa (writer).

Yellow is Benjamin's track 1.28 km long and 59,000 square meters. White is our
Bird watching track is 2.6 km long and 0.3 Km square. Magenta is last year's Bawai AWC track around the island.

It's that time of year again for us to undertake another camping trip to Pulau Bawai. Bawai was a local boy who liked to explore the area around Kuala Baram was fisrt to set foot on this sandbar, thus the island bears his name. The island was created from the massive sediments dumped by the majestic Baram River. It became a small sanctuary for waders, small mammals and crocodiles.

An overview of the island mapped on an outdated Googlemap.

This island is only about 0.3 square kilometres in size according to the GPS track that Benjamin walked during the high tide during this visit. However at lowest tide like that during our trip, the size grew to was around one square kilometre in size. The island seemed to swing from side to side to side according to NE and SW monsoon.

Some of our birdwatchers.

The island is notorious amongs the locals. It is said to be haunted by the pontianaks and hantulaut. Last year we had our closest encounter with a Malaysian Pover as well as an estuarine crocodile, we found out that it visited the beach while we were sleeping and buried a dead fish in the sand. We made our first record of Grey Plover in Kuala Baram on this island as well as got ourselves close views of two White-bellied Sea Eagle hunting on the beach. Not bad at all for a spooky little island.

Susan Myer's Birds of Borneo was used extensively of late by our team.

This year we came back to Bawai for some of the same. Daud told us about "Itek Laut" regularlu hunted by locals in the area. We figure it could be Whimbrel or the larger Eurasian Curlew.

Ben was anxious to explore the island, we gave him the GPS unit to scout around the island.

A beautiful late morning complete with "fingers of god" on the extensive mudflats.

As soon as we've got the tent set-up and campfire going, we had an early dinner. We feasted on bread, tinned food and fruits. Last year was more posh, we had two roasted chicken!

We went straight to brdwatching after everyone was more less finished with the early dinner. We immediately sighted Lesser and Greater Sandplovers and a couple of Malaysian Plover.

Runaway logs ... this tree died in vain.

Due to a small channel separating us and the entended sandbar, we decided to concentrate on the flats where the mangroves were. We saw a pair of Collared Kingfisher on a dead branch. The two bird then flew around us and later gone behind the casuarinas trees. We went back to camp just after sunset.

By the time we reached camp, the sun had already set, but it was totally bright with full moon shining gloriously above us. The night was warm and a little windy, everybody decided to sleep under the stars.

Birders on alert, always quick to spot anything that moves on the distant flats.

We heard a few Nightjar sp. calling from several different spots behind the Casuarinas trees. Remli and Kamil busied themselves scanning the area with their torchlight and the nightvision scope that we brought along for the trip. We spotted a few bright eyes in the nite. It was about 150 meters and not so clear. It was definitely a bird standing high. There are actually two of them. Our first thought it was an owl. Then it flew off to the right into the bushes.

Plenty of small animal tracks, likely that of a rat.

Then suddenly a pair of bird flew above us and then circled back. We could see clearly the white bars on their wings. They were indeed nightjars, curiously investigating us ... another case of birds watching the birdwatchers. They then flew into the bush nearby. Their calls went on throughout the night. We decided against a planned nitewalk due to the hightide expected to be highest around midnite.

The next morning we woke about around 0530hrs and walked around the island. There were no signs of crocodiles this time around. We did see many waders scattered in a huge area of the mudflat. They were mainly Lesser and Greater Sandplover, Kentish Plover, Red-necked Stint, Sanderling and several Malaysian Plovers. One GreenShank was seen as well as a Sandplover in an almost breeding plumage. We saw a few Pacific Golden Plover. A single Great Egret was spotted near the mangroves area.

An estimate of 1.2 sq Km of Pulau Bawai at low tide.

This time of year the tide was so low that local people walked to the island to catch the seasonal shrimps used to make belacan. We saw several groups of people with nets involved in this activity in the shallows around the island.

We returned camp around 1000hrs having completed the loop. We sat down under our canopy and enjoyed our brunch in the cool breeze.

Daud came shortly after and we left the island at 1030hrs.

Musa Musbah, February 2010.