Tuesday, February 14, 2012

AWC Pulau Bawai Sandbar 11th Feb 2012 : Last for 2012

MNS Miri Branch's last AWC site for 2012 (the lower pink track): Pulau Bawai Sandbar. Though we originally planned to traverse the entire island, unfavorable tidal conditions (expected) only allowed us to count along the sandbridge to the island. By 0900hrs the NE half of the sandbridge was slowly submerged by rising tide. The shorebirds on the island has to be counted on some other auspicious day in the next AWC season by the looks of it. Tracks bt Musa Musbah.

This outing was MNS Miri Branch's last Asian Waterbird Census for the season. Aptly enough all the die-hard were present : Sara Wong, Peter Pillai, Faye Osman, Joyce Sivalingam, Musa Musbah and Nazeri Abghani. Others who weren't there were with apologies : Steve Dexter (back surgery), Anura Dason (overworked and sleeping), Erwin Adams (little rugby) and Lee Bor Seng (on weekend diaper duty).

Kuala Baram Lagoon is perhaps the best place to watch waders in Miri, Pulau Bawai is located off a sandbar to the North East. The island itself is a roosting site for waders and terns en route to their Autumn and Spring migration destinations.

We only managed to scour the eastern half of the sandbridge, the tide was rising even before we reach Pulau Bawai proper. The birds we saw were restricted to the flats visible according to our walking path. Several flocks of waders were seen flying from the Western side of Bawai to the flats as the tide was receding.

Bird list:
Peregrine Falcon 1
Osprey 1
Sanderling 20
Kentish Plover 30
Lesser Sandplover 30
Red-necked Stint 30
Pacific Golden Plover 4
Grey-tailed Tatler 1
Grey Plover 1
Collared Kingfisher 2

We made the trek back to the beach at 0900hrs, by then most of the sandbridge was already underwater.

Special thank you to all MNS Miri Branch members who have participated in this year's AWC, here's looking at you guys for continued effort to conduct AWC in the next several years.

Common Sandpiper on driftwood in the dried-up quickly revegetated Kuala Baram Lagoon. The landscape in this parts are drastically altered during the yearly landas season. Two years ago this area was a shallow bracakish lagoon with several species of terns swooping around all over the waterbody.

A tiny isthmus in formation, the perfect place to watch sunset in Kuala Baram. For waterbird watchers there are plenty to keep them amused : Malaysian Plover (nests here), Chinese Egret, Peregrine Falcon, Great Egret, Oriental Darter, Greenshank, Marsh Sandpiper, Grey Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Common Kingfisher, Sanderling, and others.

The once used to be shallow lagoon is now overgrown with grass. Several young mangrove trees are also staking their claim on this choice property by the shore.

We love river crossing, big or small especially shallow ones. Freshwater run-off from the nights heavy rain draining to the sea. The lagoon are sometimes frequented by Oriental Darter when the water is high.

The team on the flats counting off far-away waders. We arrived mid-way of the sandbridge by 0730hrs at lowest tide at 0.40m. We had about 1.5hrs the checkout the birds before turning back on account of the rising tide. By the time we arrived at the beach by the lagoon side, the sandbirdge was completely underwater.

Serenity at it's best. If it was in the Maldives some enterprising folks would have gladly offered a cook-on-the beach packaged breakfast, lunch or dinner on the flats surrounded by ample understated beauty. Miri's got a long way to go yet ... one day one can pay to be served breakfast with chilled champagne by sharply dressed chef and his assistants on this very sandbar.

Text and images by Nazeri Abghani/MNS Miri/Feb 2012 unless specified.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nazeri,
    How are you? Nice to catch up with this blog once in a while. It's always educating and to be able to appreciate your sharing of great birding knowledge in East Malaysia coupled with your photographic interest capturing them into pictures that paint a thousand words, I believe it is not just a white egret per say...its about being able to appreciate nature at its best and beyond just a white egret that's matter.
    Sue from MNS Selangor branch.