Sunday, January 22, 2012

Lutong Beach at this time of year

Boulders placed along the beach for erosion control on Lutong Beach.

Lutong Beach is only 15minutes south of Kuala Baram Lagoon, you see the most frenzied activities here only during the bubok/geragau/krill season just as any other beach along the coast of Northern Sarawak during the dryer months March-July. At other times, there'd be an odd couple or two enjoying the sunset.

The beach is a frequent haunt for Chinese Egret, first seen here in 1995, subsequently every year after that when we started making regular observations in the area. It could have possibly been a regular at Lutong Beach even in much earlier times though not properly recorded. Other areas in the vicinity where regular observations of Chinese Egret have been made are : Kuala Baram Lagoon, Kuala Seria, Brunei Bay (highest number). It has also been recoded in recent years from the Waterbirds and Wetlands Habitat Survey of the Sarawak Coast (2010/11) at Bungai Beach and Luak Bay. Further afield Bako-Buntal Bay probably has the highest recorded number of Chinese Egret recorded in the state.

Chinese Egret, regular visitor to our shores.

The highest number of Kentish Plover recorded at Lutong Beach was 24 at the peak of the bubok season. Being so tiny and sporting the same shade as the beachsand the birds were roosting alongside resting fishermen without anyone else noticing. At other times it is not uncommon to see a group of 6-10 individuals foraging at he beach away from the surf.

Kentish Plover, highest number recorded was 24 on Lutong Beach at the height of the bubok season.

Greater Sandplover, scattered on the beach numbering around 10 individuals.

Other shorebirds that have been recorded at Lutong Beach : Sanderling, Lesser Sandplover, Greater Sandplover, Terek Sandpiper, Grey-tailed Tatler. Though these have not been observed in great numbers, they are interesting to observed none-the-less.

Other birds in the area : Striated Grassbird, Blue-breasted Quail, Common Kingfisher, Collared Kingfisher, Common Tern, Dollarbird, Great Egret, Little Egret, Cattle Egret, Peregrine Falcon

The earliest records from Lutong Beach came from "The Checklist of Birds Seen in the Miri-Lutong Area" by P. D. Alexander Marack, Trade Relations Department, Sarawak Shell Berhad for the period Aug 1974-Dec 1976. This document could well be the earliest bird checklist for the Miri-Lutong area. Interesting historical records of birds recorded at Lutong Beach included Frigatebird sp., Oriental Dotterel, Common Noddy.

Write-up and images by Nazeri Abghani/MNS Miri/Jan 2012

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