Saturday, December 17, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
An obliging bulbul on a macaranga, and behind him the fruits many birds go for.
Lambir Hills National Park is a big place. Birdwatching is probably manageable on your own if you know the birds and you are adventurous enough to venture into the trails alone. You'd still need a few days to do the place justice. The Lambir 2002 Birdlist (Shanahan & Debsky) boasts a comprehensive list of 200+ birds. There hasn't been any more complete work to date since then.
Over the years, many birders have been to and birdwatched at Lambir. Some of this additional information is added to the list maintained at the Park HQ Office. Occasional visits by Miri birders added some more valuable bird sightings to the list.
My favorite places has always been just around the HQ complex. I'm not looking for any rarities in particular, any bird photograph is an image worth making in my mind. Some of these pictures I have made while checked in at the Hilltop Chalet. One of these days I might just try to lug the 600mm, tripod with Wimberley head as well as other associated accessories into Innoue, it's not yet time for now.
Another spot, the camera is pointing to a fruiting tree a favorite of bulbuls, barbets and leafbirds. Occasionally a squirrel or two would drop in.
Little orange fruit (unidentified) a favorite of several species of bulbuls, barbets and leafbirds.
This little pond is a confirmed favorite of at least three species of kingfisher as well as other birds. Occasionally a terrapin would pop it's head out of the water.
For the more stout at heart, a foray into the Innoue trail just behind the Hilltop Chalet could be just the thing to get you pumping. Other than the babblers, pittas and trogons regularly calls a short distance into the trail. Only a few birders have been privileged with photographs of both species. Further up towards Pantu shelter, sightings of Bornean Bristlehead has been made on numerous occasions. Near a small valley where a wooden bridge cross a little stream, there's a little pool of water on the right where a Banded Kingfisher regularly calls though he has yet to be sighted much more photographed by anyone.
Monday, October 10, 2011
It was almost a year ago that a bunch of us dropped in on Bakelalan to do a bit of birdwatching. Though there was a bunch of us, there were perhaps 3 birdwatchers among us intent on birding in the area. We were actually there to trek GunungMurud Oct 2010, the birders however were quickly roped into giving a crash course on birds and birdwatching to SK Bakelalan through Sang Sigar, assistant principal and proprietor at the guest house we stayed at.
It's always pleasant birdwatching in Bakelalan, by the time we left after scaling Gunung Murud, Yeo Siew Teck compiled a list of 123 birds but not all restricted to the kampong area. Ashy Drongo, Black-headed Munia, Orange-breasted Flowerpecker, Striated tit Babbler were ticked just around the village paths. The rest were ticked along our trek to the summit and back. It remains that at least more than half of the birds on our list were acquired in the easy places around the settlement.
In any rural setting, any available resource is quickly associated as food resource. The time is now if not 70 years ago to make the people of places of conservation value like Bakelalan, Bario and others more connected with the conservation work that are taking place elsewhere in bigger less bird diverse area. It might not be too late for the rural children to appreciate birds on a higher aesthetic level rather than quickly to associate it to a bowl of soup at the dinner table. Once these youngsters value birds more than just as a food resource, it will become clear to them that conservation is the only right path to follow.
Bird list of Ba’Kelalan from 18th till 21st October 2010 (not limited to Bakelalan village) by Yeo Siew Teck
Last year we donated 2 Susan Myer's Birds of Borneo Fieldguide to Cikgu Sang and the community. This year we left another copy to the teachers who will be the torchbearers for this rural birdwatching effort.
It is hoped that by Jan 2012, we will have at least one AWC survey conducted in Bakelalan and by later by June a "MY Garden Birdwatch" event executed by the students and teachers with help from the birdwatching fraternity. Next trip : "How to enter Bakelalan bird sightings to BIW!"
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Male Brown-throated Sunbird.
Female, Brown-throated Sunbird.
Male, Purple Sunbird/Van Hasselt's Sunbird.
A beautifully marked male Golden Birdwing Troides Amphrysus.
Our chalet situated not far from the river afforded us unparalled views of the comings and goings of visitors to the park. The weekend being a three day weekend proved to be busy for the boatman and park staff. Visitors came and went at all hours from 7am till late in the afternoon. Outside of those hours we had the park to ourselves, it's akin to living in a simple manor surrounded by a large well tended garden.
More information on the park can be found here.
Images and text by Nazeri Abghani/MNS Miri/2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Always remembered as the kind and jovial person by whomever he meets, he helped us set up our very first Bird Photography Exhibition with his enthusiasm and beautiful bird imagery at Borneo Tropical Rainforest Resort on occasion of MNS National AGM 2009 in Miri, also a first such exhibition in Miri if not the Northern Division.
His mark was not only left in Miri. He actively contributed to the first Langkawi Bird Festival together with Irshad Mubarak, MNS Langkawi and others. He was also a regular contributor to the Sabah's Borneo Bird Festival ever since it's inception. He has inspired us and his many other photographer friends to the beauty of birds; turning photographers to birders from Perlis to Sabah. His images are almost always up close, personal and with his signature heavenly bokeh as background.
Saturday, August 6, 2011
Sunday, July 31, 2011
The new committee,
Those in attendance were later treated to an early dinner consisting of kelupis and satay ordered specially for the occasion. Dinner was then followed by a short firefly cruise along Sg Raan for members and their family.
Special mention goes to Committee members from 2010-2011 who made this event all possible.
Monday, July 11, 2011
It's the weekend, we decided to allot some time for a relax and leisurely birdwatching while being pampered by the facilities offered by a premier resort in Miri, the Marriott Resort and Spa located not 15mins from the city center just a hillock away from our home.
While the children while away their time splashing the pool, there's plenty of time to checkout the common garden birds in the compound. Though most of the area seemed dominated by casuarinas and plams, there are pockets of flowering trees especially around the parking lot. The garden chalets are surrounded by palms, some fruiting and mature causarinas. The garden is compact with neatly placed plants.
Pied Fantail startled by the camera flash.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
How to get to SK Bungai, 30mins from Miri town heading south towards Bekenu along the coastal highway. Keep a watch out for a chrome sign "Bungai Beach" on your right as you approach the junction after Azam Trading.
The birding loop around Kpg Bungai, Kpg Gatas and Kpg Peliau in the vicinity of SK Bungai. MNS Miri birders will be joined by 45 students from three rural schools in the area for this Saturday's "Birding in Your Backyard with MNS".
MNS Miri birders will be descending to Bungai this Saturday, 18th June for a morning session of "Birdwatching in Your Backyard with MNS". Birders from the branch will take 45 children from 3 rural schools to check out the birds in their backyard.
A first friendly birdrace in these parts, our program is as follows :
0715 hrs Short Briefing and break into groups
0730 hrs Start birdwatching along assigned routes above.
1000 hrs Meet back at starting point for refreshments.
1100 hrs A few words from Headmaster/Headmistress.
1200 hrs Award of certificates and award of "Surprise Prize" by MNS Chairperson.
1300 hrs Close.
Birdgroups (assigned responsible adult-bird person in bold; and potential key birds + topics to chat about with the students):
Group 1 – Nazeri, Clare, Ibrahim (SFC)
SK Bungai-BungaiBeach-SK Bungai
Special bird : Little Egret; Migrants
Group 2 – Erwin, Anura, Suni (SFC)
SK Bungai-Peliau-SK Bungai
Special bird : Black-thighed Falconet; Raptors
Group 3 – Bor Seng, Roslan (SFC), Kallang (SFC)
SK Bungai –Peliau-Gatas-SK Bungai
Special bird : Dusky Munia; Endemics
Group 4 – Dominique, Joyce, Adaha
SK Bungai-Gatas-Peliau-SK Bungai
Special bird : Orange-breasted Flowerpecker; Endemics
There will be two teachers tagging along each group to help manage the kids (45 kids from 3 schools). Please bring water along your scope, binos (and extra binos) as well as your fieldguides. Allocated 2.5 hrs birdwatching time includes walking the route assigned above.
Those interested to participate as facilitators to please contact nabghani at yahoo dot com
Sunday, June 5, 2011
By Taffy Lee Williams
"Maybe you knew that habitat loss is the leading cause of extinctions of native wildlife. But did you know that the second greatest threat to native species survival is the common "exotic" outdoor cat?
Cats are by far Americans' favorite pet: 30% of our households have at least one cat. In all there are roughly 66 million pet cats. However, studies have shown that only 35% of these are kept indoors; this means that 40 million domestic cats are free to roam outside at will. Besides that, up to 60 million additional strays and their feral offspring have descended upon America's native wildlife pushing many beleaguered endangered species into extinction.
That cats kill wildlife is so well accepted and even ignored that most people find it hard to believe that they could cause such serious harm. Yet each year in the US, free roaming and domestic cats kill literally hundreds of millions of birds and well over a billion small mammals. Reptiles and amphibians provide additional prey for cats as well.
Cats were bred to size and "domesticated" by the Egyptians around 7000 years ago from the African wildcat. Although "tamed" to human interaction their instinct for hunting has never waned. Now the super-abundance of cats in the wild has created a catastrophic problem around the world, in fact, anywhere humans keep them as pets. Because of their huge popularity and because people refuse to keep their cats indoors, the problem has taken on a serious global dimension.
Several studies over the past 50 years have brought important information to light on the true extent of the problem. A University of Wisconsin team, using a radio-collared tracking system, determined that in one year in Wisconsin alone, 20 to 150 million songbirds are killed by rural cats. The study found up to 114 cats per square mile, or 6 cats per square acre, in some areas, which far outnumbers by many times the combined populations of native predators of comparable size, including fox, coyote, ferret, opossum and raccoon.
Another Arizona suburban neighborhood study found that each cat studied committed over 80 kills per year; of these 62% were small mammals, 26% birds, and 11% reptiles. This coincides closely with extensive cat kill studies in Europe, North America, Australia, Africa and at least 22 islands: In general, 60% to 70% of all prey items are small mammals, 20-30% are birds, and approximately 10% reptiles and insects.
GLOBAL CAT CRIMES
One single Australian cat was documented with over 1000 kills in an 18-month period. During the same time period, one well-fed US cat near an experimental station was found responsible for 1600 kills. In the United Kingdom, 964 cats brought in 14,000 prey items (an average of 40 victims each) over a 5-month period. In New Zealand, the extinction of over 40 species of birds as well as the extermination of 8 island bird species, including the South Island thrush and the Auckland merganser, was caused by domestic cat predation.
Amazingly, in a well-documented case, an entire species, the Stevens Island wren, was exterminated by a single cat. In the southern sub-Antarctic Indian Ocean, an estimated 450,000 seabirds were destroyed by cat predation annually before an eradication program was implemented.
Cat owners claim that feeding their cats well inhibits their hunting instinct. However, in the studies mentioned, well-fed cats actually achieved higher kill numbers, being healthier and stronger than their more feral comrades. In addition, bell-wearers attained greater kill rates than non-bell wearers. The bell forces the cat to become more stealthy, and better hunters. Even de-clawed cats are still often very successful hunters.
A look at some of the many species taken at random by cats we find the English sparrow and various finches, nuthatches, swifts, swallows, woodpeckers, jays, doves and even bats. Numerous ground nesting songbirds, including bobolinks, dickcissels, meadowlarks, and game birds such as quail and pheasant, have seriously dwindled or disappeared in much of their range where cats have been introduced. Shore birds that nest (and sleep) on the sand, such as terns, sandpipers and killdeer, offer easy pickings to roaming cats. Small mammal prey items include rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, voles and shrews. While cats easily kill fledglings, sitting hens and other vulnerable offspring they reduce the survival rate for entire populations, which may eventually condemn a local species to extinction. If the young are constantly preyed upon and reproductive failure is routine, the population will disappear within a short time. Tragically, already scarce reptiles and amphibians, such as frogs, turtles, salamanders, lizards and snakes have succumbed to cat predation. One SUNY-WCC professor remarked, "Reptiles are virtually extinct south of Route 287 in Westchester County."
One of the biggest problems facing efforts to control the numbers of free-roaming cats is that they are capable of up to 3 litters per year, with 6 kittens per litter. Calculations by the Humane Society of the United States (http://www.hsus.org/) determined that a single female with her offspring could produce up to 420,000 cats in seven years. The exploding population of cats survives because people feed them, whether they feast on wildlife or not. Very often hunting skills are not essential to their longevity. In addition, owners immunize their outdoor cats from disease, helping ensure their survival. Cats will often form "colonies" that effectively destroy wildlife. In Australia, within a 10-kilometer area, it is not uncommon to find 30 cats perched in one tree. These Australian cats are responsible for the extinction of dozens of species!
Besides damage done through killing, cats destroy wildlife indirectly as well. Native predators like the hawk, fox and ferret are facing starvation today as the small prolific feline hunters deplete their natural prey. Rabbit, squirrel and voles are among feral cats' favorite catch, but these are also important food sources for native predators. What's more, cats often puncture their victims without killing them, and will even "play" with their prey. Once injured by the cat, the victim is an unsafe meal for other predators. Minor cuts or bites are usually lethal to prey since cat saliva is loaded with bacteria and parasites that can be transmissible to other predators. There is no question as to the success of feral and outdoor cats at the expense of native wildlife.
WIDESPREAD FELINE DISEASE
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, cats are the animals most often infected by rabies. In addition, feline distemper and leukemia are rampant in outdoor cat populations. Feral cats are being blamed for the spread of the feline leukemia virus found in a California mountain lion and distemper in a Florida panther. Native mountain lion and lynx have been found with feline infectious peritonitis, and a Florida panther and bobcat with feline immunodeficiency virus; the likely source being feral cat contamination which may occur from sharing a kill or even direct physical contact.
With an average of 98 cats per non-farm square mile in just one state, the number one pet in America has enjoyed unbelievable success. But loss of native wildlife habitat to housing developments or commercial sites pressures species into concentrated and fragmented nesting sites, making their survival even more precarious.
Picture this scenario: forested or wild areas are cleared, rivers and streams are diverted, new homes are built surrounded by lush green lawns sprung up after a judicious application of fertilizer and pesticides, obliterating and then replacing the native landscape. New homeowners arrive, bringing their pet cats, which they allow to roam outside. Whatever has survived the environmental upheaval during these massive construction projects the housecats easily finish off. Besides here at home, it is a scene played out all over the world where the combination of development and housecat is wiping out wildlife populations at a terrifying pace. As scientists have determined, cats make the developed areas essentially uninhabitable to most wildlife.
WILDLIFE ENTHUSIASTS VERSUS CAT ENTHUSIASTS
The prevailing attitude in society is that cats will kill, it is their nature, and they belong outdoors. When cats bring home prey items as "gifts," their owners often think it's funny or even "cute." But in the face of overwhelming wildlife destruction, it is clear that this has to change.
Some believe it is not fair that cat-lovers are allowed to let them roam outside freely while birdwatchers and others who hope to enjoy native wildlife grieve the destruction they are forced to witness, often in their own backyards. Perhaps it is even less fair to force them to petition lawmakers for cat leash laws or other restrictive legislation. It may even be argued that a violation of rights is occurring.
Because as many localities have discovered, cat owners cannot be trusted to keep their pets inside or remove strays that they feed from the outdoor environment, legal action is necessary.
Many counties, cities and even nations have already enacted cat-leash laws. For example, Marin and Columbia Counties in Florida, Cleveland, Ohio, Gaithersburg and Rockville, Maryland as well as parts of North Carolina, California, New Jersey and Louisiana all have cat leash laws. Violations of the cat leash law result in anything from a small fine to the loss of ownership rights. Cat leash legislation is pending in many states, including Virginia, West Virginia, Connecticut and New York.
The problem is so serious that one community, Akron, Ohio, passed an emergency "trap and kill" ordinance, and collected and euthanized over 1000 cats. This extreme measure need not have occurred had residents kept their cats inside and helped prevent the outdoor and feral cat population explosion.
The easiest remedy to this problem is to keep cats indoors. The benefits to owners are simple. Indoor cats live on average five times longer than outdoor cats. Inside, cats are protected from wild dogs or coyotes, cars, deadly epidemic feline disease, or poisonous toxins in the environment. Nuisance activities that infuriate neighbors and create hostility, such as attacking birds at birdfeeders, urinating on doors, digging up gardens and fighting with other cats, would be eliminated as well. Having cats spayed or neutered is a must for all owners. Enacting restrictive legislation and keeping cats indoors will ultimately protect the cat and our wildlife as well."
This article was first published in The Viking News, November, 2004
URL for this page: http://ny4whales.org/wcc_catsinthecradle.html
Thursday, May 12, 2011
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
World Migratory Bird Day (WMBD)
World Migratory Bird Day is a global initiative devoted to celebrating migratory birds and for promoting their conservation worldwide. It is organized 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 a growing number of partners. This year’s campaign is being financially supported by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), which we acknowledge with gratitude.
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.
MNS Miri Branch has been celebrating WMBD since 2008 in our effort to increase awareness about birds and their habitat conservation within our immediate community.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
The peat area nearby is undergoing rapid transformation by Linau Mewah Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Shin Yang, a major player in Kuala Baram peatswamp conversion. This patch will be another fast growing accacia plantation by the looks of it.