Saturday, March 31, 2012

Birdwatching with SK Kpg Masjid and SK Kpg Angus

A group photo at the end of the workshop, photograph by J. Sivalingam/MNS Miri.

MNS Miri Branch recently conducted a birdwatching workshop with assistance from Headmistress Puan Jamila Bibi and Puan Sinariah, for 27 students from SK Kpg Masjid and SK Kpg Angus near Bekenu 31st April 2012.

Through the half-day program, students spent 1.5 hrs birdwatching outdoors around the neighbourhood after which they did some research of the birds they saw using google and other bird web resources on the internet. Each group then presented their most favorite birds to the entire audience.

Students were shown the key websites for getting more exhaustive information about the birds from general facts about bird species, images of the birds as well as where to get bird distribution information. With the the amount of information available these days to our young birders, birds are not only just across the threshold of the classroom door (some Scaly-breasted Munia nest in their classrooms!!!) but also only a finger click away.

Students from SK Kpg Angus, SK Kpg Masjid, teachers and volunteers from MNS Miri Branch getting the low-down on birds in the neighbourhood by doing research on the internet after their 1.5hrs birding in the field in the area. They saw, learnt and google searched their favorite birds in the cosy open classroom. They later presented their findings on some of the more common birds in the area.

Another group researching their "favorite bird" for their group presentation. With connectivity these days, any birds is only a mouse-click away for these compute-literate youngsters. Photograph by J. Sivalingam/MNS Miri.

The first ever Google search on "Scaly-breasted Munia" in Bekenu, Sarawak. Photograph by J. Sivalingam/MNS Miri.

Students returning from their birdwatchin segment which started early in the morning for approximately two hours into the nearby riverside habitat. Photograph by J. Sivalingam/MNS Miri.

Below are some of the birds we managed to see and photograph that day.

Scaly-breasted Munia are supposedly common in Kuala Baram (an hour's drive north away from where we were) but here we witnessed quite a good number of these birds around the school compound. An ideal subject for a class project!

House Swallow on the wire, that day the students get to learn about the differences between House Swallow and Barn Swallow. Both species are in the neighboourhood.

Another common birds near the school, some are nesting in the coumpound ... Asian Glossy Starling. Look at them eyes!

Everybody in the workshop, and they all knew these bird by it's English name ... White-breasted Waterhen, locally better known as Keruak or Wak-Wak.

Birdwatching for these kids can't be any easier, their schools has no shortage of birds. Clearly with their daily commute to school along the kampung paths, across rivers and along paddyfields they've probably seen more variety of birds than some of us concrete overdose city-slickers. It is hoped that this workshop can create even better awareness for these beautiful feathered creatures as well as cultivate love towards them. Already with our annual program with these children we are seeing excitement whenever they see birds around them. Being located not a stone throws away from Sibuti Wildlife Sanctuary is another advantage as far as birdwatching goes.

Both schools now have their own birding blogs, as the schoolyear progresses, we hope there'd be more bird content in the pages by the teachers and the students themselves. Perhaps as a start they can start sharing some of their excellent sketches which we had the privilege to see at the workshop.

We would like to express our gratitude to our gracious hosts, Puan Jamila and Puan Sinariah as well as all the participating teachers for making this workshop happen. Special thanks go to Encik Suni from the nearby Sibuti Wildlife Sanctuary for taking time to spend the morning with us and the children birding and helping the children with their workshop.

Many thanks as well go to Miri Branch sporting volunteers for sacrificing their Saturday morningfor this event.

Words by N Abghani/MNS Miri
Images by N Abghani and J Sivalingam/MNS Miri/Mar 2012.

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