Monday, August 19, 2013

Arrival of familiar migrants from the north

Though the East Atlantic and East Asian-Australasian Flyway are at least half a continent apart at their furthest separation, the two flyways share a fair number of similar migrant species. Once in a while there'd be vagrants that would cause some excitement on either side of the flyways. For example a Little Ringed Plover in Jaeren vis a vis a Common Ringed Plover in Kuala Baram.

Birders in the East Asian-Australasian Flyway ie, Sarawak may have a chance to spot these migrants in their magnificent breeding plumage early in the season before they moult into non-breeding colors. Early enough in the Autumn migration season several species sport "colorful" plumage when they left their breeding ground in the north during Aug/Sep and on arrival in Borneo.

Red Knot in breeding plumage from Langnes, Tromso (May 2013) when it arrived at it's staging area before continuing to Greenland, it's breeding site. Red Knot on the East Asian flyway has been recorded at Kuala Baram Lagoon as late as June by Miri birders. Great Knots have also been recorded along Sarawak, Brunei and Sabah coasts.

Juvenile Red Knot (Reve, Jaeren, Norway Aug 2013).

Common Ringed Plover (Tungenes Fyr, Norway Aug 2013) though very common and breed on the coasts in Norway have so far been reliably recorded in Lok Kawi, Sabah almost every year with 1-2 individuals (rare). This species have not been recorded in Miri, more common are the Little Ringed Plover which has been recorded in small numbers in Kuala Baram Lagoon and old Sg Miri delta (now developed).

Sanderling (breeding plumage, Tungenes Fyr, Norway Aug 2013) are common on the coasts in Sarawak though in small numbers. These whiter than white guys are always sighted frantically feeding at the surf. They can be seen in Kuala Baram, Luak Bay, Bekenu, Baraya and other sandy beaches.

Ruddy Turnstone (breeding and non breeding plumage, Tungenes Fyr, Norway Aug 2013) are regularly recorded in small numbers in Kuala Baram. Though they are more common on the rocky coral beaches in Sabah islands and coast. Pulau Tiga in Sabah is an ideal place for turnstones.

Ruff (non-breeding plumage, Reve, Jaeren, Norway Aug 2013) has been recorded in Kuala Baram on several occasions during autumn migration. In late April and early May, Ruff in breeding plumage normally arrived their breeding grounds in the north ready to lek.

Ruff in breeding plumage (Tisnes, Tromso, Norway May 2013).

Bar-tailed Godwit (Reve, Jaeren, Norway Aug 2013). This has been sighted in Kuala Baram though in small numbers, greater numbers are recorded in the south near Kuching wetlands.

Little Stint (Reve, Jaeren, Aug 2013), so far only 1-2 unconfirmed sightings of this species has been recorded in Kuala Baram lagoon. 

Eurasian Curlew (Obrestad, Jaeren, Norway, June 2013). Every year at least one sighting of the Far Eastern Curlew, which is the biggest of the curlew species with the longest bill, is made in Kuala Baram. More common are the smaller sized Whimbrel. One sighting of several Far Eastern Curlews were made in Pulau Tiga by members of MNS Miri birders during a fieldtrip back in 2008.

Common Sandpiper (Sorbotn, Tromso, Norway May 2013). Probably the most common in our region, this species can be seen almost every place where there's water ... in the fields, on the beach, in drains in residential areas. One can almost hear their call to each other in the morning and it's unmistakable.

Words and images by Nazeri Abghani/Norway, Aug 2013
For more wader pictures from Norway and Miri

Saturday, August 3, 2013

We must learn from the hornbill about our weather especially Jimmy the Piasau Oriental Pied Hornbill. Of all the commotion who built the nest and who break the nest. And finally we manage to put things together. In this ninth cycle of Jimmy and Faridah Nesting we have monitor the bird without disturbing them. There is a 12 hours video recording daily been setup at the area. The bird started to make the nest around 4 May 2013 and Closed it at 12 May 2013. It was found out that the Nest material was dissolved by heavy rain that came just coming in from the dry period. This is similar noted at the last season where the nest was assumed broken by a poacher during a heavy rain thunderstorm night which is similar to the night of 2 August 2013. Thus breaking of the nest by (the birds) either Faridah or Jimmy is not true. It in their natural instinct with weather pattern the know when to nest. A tide height table difference of Miri 2013 is being compare with the nesting session 2013 correlated with a dry season where the differences are at the maximum. Similar to the idea and theories who make who seals the nest opening of the nest. It was thought that Jimmy is making the nest. No. Jimmy only support in the making the nest by bringing materials like clay balls and wood chips. It was Faridah who munch these materials and padded it on the wall until the hole is small that she can no longer goes out. The making of the nest started on the 4 may and Faridah can no longer comes out on the 12 May. It took them around 9 days closing the nest opening. From 4 to 13 May Faridah came out of the nest ever every evening joining Jimmy. A few caressing was noted during this period, but no love making was recorded. All the while Faridah making the nest Jimmy will bring in foods. Food Jimmy bring over to the nest are garden snails, beetles, frogs lizards, baby or yellow vented bulbul besides Figs, berries and Oil palm kernel. Feeding is around 5 – 21 cycles per day. Mama Bird is out of the nest Faridah lays two eggs as soon as she seal herself that is 12 May. One of the egg hatch 28 days after sealing that is on the 9 June. Another one hatch a bit later not realises there is another egg in the nest., until we saw t sets of small beaks. On the early morning of 2 August there is a heavy rain and strong wind this soften the clay of the nest covering. Faridah who put out her wing out in the morning make the clay nest covering fall off. Then she flew out of the nest. The elder bird who is ready for flight flew off with after that. The second baby probably still nervous and may not be able to fly. It is estimated that they will fledge around 31 August. Jimmy miss calculate, rainy season came too early. One of the babies is still in the nest Jimmy stay around the nest where as the Mother flew high behind the house 53. The baby bird actually was where Jimmy was yelping in the morning. We only had seen it in the evening. Jimmy still came feeding the left out baby. Faridah have no business feeding baby. Around the evening Jimmy and Faridah was seen together. The baby who flown off earlier stayed at the casuarinas tree. There is a small call the baby is telling the parent that it is there somewhere. Jimmy is sure to know where it is. As this time of writing I saw Jimmy feeding the elder baby where as one of the baby was still in the nest. Faridah is around and hiding. I set up the camera and left it there to record if Jimmy still feed the left out baby.

Friday, May 31, 2013

This specie was seen first time in Miri 2010 at around SESCO Power plant. Last February was seen at Piasau Jaya PH 3 area. This one is photograph today at Seberkas Parking area at Tamu.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Common Redshank in breeding colors

These are pictures of the Common Redshank / Totanus tringa in breeding colors, images made in Sommevagen, Sola, Norway. The birds in Norway have just returned north on their way to their breeding ground via the West Atlantic Flyway.

Common Reshank are regularly sighted in Kuala Baram and other marshy spots along the coast of Miri in August/September when they traverse south during autumn migration; and again in Feb/March when they make their way north again to their breeding ground in Russia, Asia to northern China.

Nazeri Abghani / Apr 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bar-tailed Godwit in breeding colors

Bar-tailed Godwit photographed in Sola, Norway 09th April 2013. These birds would have been using the East Atlantic Flyway as opposed to our East Asian-Australasian Flyway which passes through Borneo.

With the end of winter in the northern hemisphere, the Spring migration season starts to rev up, waders spending the summer southh are starting to make their arduous journey north. Those using the East Asian Flyway should start appearing in their partial breeding colors on the coasts of Sabah/Sarawak starting end Feb onwards. They'll rest, build up their energy before continuing the long and perilous journey to their breeding grounds. These waders should be arriving in the northern hemisphere from now onwards to be ready for the breeding season. 

For those of us in the southern hemisphere, Feb-Apr (Spring run) and Aug-Sep (Autumn run) would be the best times to stake out the coasts for waders migrating north (Spring) or south (Autumn) whichever occasion it may be. These are also great times to observe waders in their breeding colors (Spring when colors changing into, Autumn when colors changing out of).

In Kuala Baram and elsewhere on the coast of Miri, waders to watch out are the sandplovers ie. Lesser Sandplover and Greater Sandplover, Great Knot, Wood Sandpiper, Common Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, Pacific Golden Plover, Long-toed Stint, Red-necked Stint, Sanderling and others.

The early breeding colors are especially brilliant in knots, plovers and more subtle for stints. sandpipers. A sight to see is the Pacific Golden Plover when they sport an almost tuxedo looking suit towards April.

Some birds recorded at the old Miri estuary in Feb and March can be seen here at Miri Waders 2008.

Image and text: Nazeri Abghani/Apr 2013 

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Bird Watching at Piasau camp Miri

Birdwatching event: 5 Jan 2013 Place: Piasau Camp Time : 7:10 – 10:00 hr Participant: Erwin, Steve, Susan, M. Boland, Joyce, Stephen, Dominique, Vincent Lo, Anne, Janurie, Jana, Shirley, Zaidi Mansor and Jugu. I was already at Tendy International School car park at 6:45am this morning. I set up my scope and thinking which equipment to bring along to the bird watching today. Having to carry the scope I decided to leave the 150-500mm lens and camera. The equipment required are the scope with camera mounting, the hailer and bionic ear set. Gradually all the participant came and we started our bird watching by 7:10am. There is plenty of Yellow-vented Bulbul singing welcoming the morning in the area. Second to this were the spotted dove grumblings. Collared kingfishers were also calling loudly. We went along 171 lane and slowly scan with our binoculars for other birds. 07:51 a hill myna was seen high in a casuarinas tree branch High in the west tree we saw a green bird with an orange beak perching quietly. It was a dollar bird. High on a branch a group of white-breasted swallow of nine individual sitting very close to one another were seen still warming up in the morning sun. We saw few spotted dove flying criss-crossing the area. A large black bird swoop in and make a u-turn that we cannot identify. Few Pink-necked Green-pigeon were also seen perching high in a dead branch. Pink-necked Green-pigeon We saw a female crimson sun bird flying close to a house and there was a nest still in the making. We saw few black bird perching high on a tree, then we identified it a hill mynas. Few of them flying around and join by a group of Asian glossy starling. As we went along the track we saw a huge black bird with red eye and a horizontal white stripe tail. It was an Asian koel. I make a koel call and this guy did not reply. 07:57 An Asian koel migrate here escaping winter We went along toward piasau 100 and we saw Brahminy Kite sitting far behind a casuarinas tree. As we went toward the gate of piasau 100 there we saw around 50 Asian glossy starling juveniles perching in a dead tree branch. We went along the fence of Piasau 100 to area 123 we saw a pair of White-breasted Waterhen crossing the road. We saw a single little egret searching for food in a small water body. 08:28 A little egret foraging for food in a water way As we went of the clearing Stephen saw the hornbill. It was the baby hornbill. Then we saw all four of them, foraging for food among the thick leaves. Then I play the hornbill call just to lure the bird out of the tree. For many reason the bird is not coming out of the tree. However papa bird and mama bird did yelp replying my call. 08:33 Papa bird was very shy today Is it because there were too many of us at the scene that he is not coming out of the clearance. The battery of the hailer is already at very low stage and the bird call is not so sweet to his hearing. Or mama bird was with him and no danger being taken by his rival, that he paid no attention to my call. We watch one of the babies for quite some time. Mama bird was really hidden behind the leaves. There was plenty of swiflet flying around the tree where papa bird perched. They were not a tree swiftlet but rather small in size. I was wondering if this was the same family of the bird I used to call. He has no interest to my call. Mama bird was on seen just for a while and cannot see her eye to confirm it the same pair. Thus I decided to go to area 123 to call for the bird. 08:42 Nong too stayed hidden We went to area 123 I show thenm the nest 98 to them. It just a casuarinas hole on the ground. We reach the area 123 and make a long call. No bird greeting us. There are plenty of birds around the area but were specie that we have seen before. We went back to where we parked our cars. Steve shouted to us that there was a sparrow hawk flying high above our head. As we approach our car there was another Brahminy Kite seen perching in a tree close to Tendy International School. The SFC staffs were interested to see the nest 58 area and I was to bring them and see the nest. There we took photo of the nest. and the inside too. Nest 98 Measured about 150 cm wide and 250 cm high. The Rest of MNS Members The SFC staff that joined our birdwatching today. 09:45 The horizontal twig is the level where base of the nest. Field note by : Musa Musbah MNS Miri Chairman Honorary Wild Life Ranger Sarawak Forestry Corporation Hp: 016-874-6127 Email :