CHASING BIRDS ACROSS THE PENINSULAR MALAYSIA
The birds have started singing. This is us calling all birders from all over the world to gear up and put on your favourite pair of khakis, a birding vest, a floppy hat and a pair of binoculars, as well as take out your passport; then jump on a plane and head straight to the Peninsular Malaysia where various birding events are being held to “welcome” the migratory birds.
Malaysia is blessed with an abundance of biodiversity, ranking 12th globally in terms of mega-biodiversity. Our incredible natural assets — virgin jungle, beautiful islands, cool highlands, and more — come together to provide the perfect habitat and ecosystem for the animal kingdom, not least our feathered friends.
A total of 795 species of birds have been recorded in Malaysia with over 60 species considered as endemic birds, and nearly 60% is in the state of Pahang and Langkawi Island. The variety of climates and habitats has resulted in this region becoming extremely diverse in terms of birds species. The diverse bird population combined with the wonderful scenery and friendly people make any visit to Malaysia an unforgettable experience for the veteran or first timer birder.
Malaysia also lies in the path of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway that provides strategic and important resting sites for migratory birds flying between wintering sites in Southeast Asia and Australia and the breeding sites in China, Japan, Korean, Mongolia and Siberia.
For those who are not aware, there are nearly 12,000 sites in 218 countries identified as Important Bird Areas or IBA. For an area to qualify as an IBA, it must meet a set of standardized criteria based on the presence of species that are of worldwide conservation concern.
The Malaysian Nature Society has identified 55 Important Bird Areas in Malaysia, of which 18 are in Peninsular Malaysia. It was reported that the local birdwatching sites in Malaysia have recorded increasing numbers of bird watchers, pointing to the fact that more visitors acknowledge and are becoming receptive to the importance of nature and wildlife.
Peninsular Malaysia alone is home to a total of 644 species of birds, where 445 of them are residents while 232 are migrants. Four species are endemic to the Thai- Malayan Peninsular, three of which are entirely confined to Peninsular Malaysia. The Peninsular is also an important migratory stop for birds from Siberia, Manchuria and China.
Migratory birds fly across Malaysia – and over thousands of kilometres annually – to escape the cold winter or to reach breeding grounds. So, birders, prepare yourself for a day in the wild to get a glimpse of these beautiful creatures.
Here is the list of birding events that birders can look forward to in the coming months:
RAPTOR WATCH 2018
Raptor Watch is held annually on the first weekend of March. For the year 2018 the event will be held on 10 and 11 March (Saturday-Sunday). However, the spring raptor migration actually begins in mid-February and lasts till mid-April. Actually, birders can still go anytime within this period to see the birds but the peak period to watch the most number of birds is the first weekend of March.
Apart from watching the raptors, which is the main stars of the event, participants can also take part in various other activities such as guided walks, arts craft and games.
This event will give birders and the general public the opportunity to witness one of nature’s most exquisite offerings. Raptors migrate southward to escape the bitter cold of the northern winters and make the same venturous journey back during spring to their breeding grounds in temperate Asia.
During the spring migration, thousands of raptors can be seen flying across the Straits of Malacca. Having to use massive amount of energy flying across the Straits of Malacca, the raptors will be flying low at the event site making it possible to have a good view of these magnificent birds.
Tanjung Tuan has been listed as an important raptor site by BirdLife International, National Geographic Society and Hawkmountain. This place is an important stop over site for migratory raptors after crossing the Straits of Malacca. It provides food for the raptors as well as a resting spot. For raptors arriving late in the evening, it provides shelter for the night before they take off for flight the next day. Without Tanjung Tuan, many raptors may never make it back, due to exhaustion and lack of food.
Date : 10 – 11 March 2018
Venue : Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve, Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan
Organiser : Malaysian Nature Society (MNS)
Tel : 03-2287 9422
Fax : 03-2287 8773 Email : [email protected] Website : www.mns.my / https://mnsraptorwatch.wordpress.com FB Page : https://www.facebook.com/MalaysianNatureSociety.Official
TAMAN NEGARA BIRD COUNT (TNBC) 2018
Taman Negara is home to over 479 species of birds. As Malaysia’s premier National Park, Taman Negara has the highest concentration of birds in the country and the number is unmatched by any other wildlife area in the region.
Get yourself prepared to spot and count the various bird species at Malaysia’s premier National Park, Taman Negara, by participating in the Taman Negara Bird Count, which is organised by BirdGroup Taman Negara (BGTN). Participants will be able to observe rarely seen birds and learn about their habitat.
Now in its fifth year, the number of species recorded during the Bird Count event has risen from 76 species in 2014 to 171 in 2017. For the three-day event in 2018, the organiser aims to record an even higher number of bird species with larger area of coverage.
Participants will be divided into groups and each group will be led by a licensed Nature Guide.
Join them and be part of this exciting and educational conservation programme.
COUNT FOR FUN!
COUNT FOR CONSERVATION!
COUNT OF FUTURE GENERATION!
Date : 16 – 18 March 2018
Venue : Kg Kuala Tahan/ Taman Negara, Jerantut, Pahang
Organiser : BirdGroup Taman Negara
Tel : Roslan Kassim (014-6051663), Aki Jalil (019-9965263), or
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/Taman-Negara-Bird-Count
FRASER’S HILL INTERNATIONAL BIRD RACE 2018
Fraser’s Hill is often been referred to as a first-class bird watching destination in this region, since this highland paradise is home to more than 250 species of wild birds. Come November and December each year, the virtually untouched mountainous forests of Fraser’s Hill will receive many species of newcomers, that is the migratory species that fly across from places as far as northern Siberia of Russia and islands north of Japan and neighbouring land mass, to seek new feeding grounds as well as to escape the freezing winter up north.
The sightings of Siberian thrush from Siberia are often reported and they are truly a rare treat to ardent bird watchers. Normally these migratory species stay around in Fraser’s Hill for couple of months before migrating southwards to Australia and New Zealand. They will fly back home to the north in March and April when the sun is getting sunnier. Be part of this international event!
The objectives of the Fraser’s Hill International Bird Race are to preserve nature and simultaneously to promote Fraser’s Hill as a bird sanctuary. Even though there are other bird watching destinations in the country, Fraser’s Hill is still a preferred destination because large species of mountain birds thrive comfortably in the most conductive habitats here, and at certain times of the year, migratory birds make their presence felt, although briefly.
The competition will be divided into three distinctive categories -the advanced category for the serious and experienced bird watchers who habitually return to Fraser’s Hill at the slightest opportunity to do trial field runs, the novice category for those who have just taken up bird watching out of curiosity or treat bird watching as an academic hobby, and the local category for the local residents who know the whereabouts of the birds in Fraser’s Hill and see the birds every day.
Date : 30 March – 1 April 2018
Venue : Fraser’s Hill, Raub, Pahang
Organiser : Frasers Hill Development Corporation
Tel : 09-5681623/ 24
Fax : 09-5681626
Website : http://www.pahangtourism.org.my
KENYIR BIRD NATURE QUEST 2018
When you find out that nine out of ten species of hornbills in Malaysia can be found in Terengganu, what is there to stop you from organising a birding event that can spur the interest of birders from all over the world to visit this beautiful state.
The Malaysian Nature Society, Kuala Terengganu branch and Ping Anchorage MICE have once again taken the initiative to hold “Kenyir Bird Nature Quest” for the sixth time. The two-day event happening in March will include lectures, workshops, and activities such as bird watching, elephants tracking and jungle trekking.
Terengganu actually has a total of 290 species of birds and among them is the world’s fastest bird, the peregrine falcon. Surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, the idyllic and beautiful Tasik or Lake Kenyir is a perfect paradise for nature lovers…and apparently our feathered friends think so, too!
Date : 24 – 25 March 2018
Venue : Tasik Kenyir, Bukit Lawit (Kenyir Hornbill Valley), Terengganu
Organiser : Malaysia Nature Society (Kuala Terengganu Branch) Ping Anchorage
Tel : 09-6262020
Fax : 09-6262022
Email : [email protected] Website : www.terengganutourism.com
WINGS OF KKB – SELANGOR INTERNATIONAL BIRD RACE
This annual event celebrates the diversity of bird species between the Selangor-Pahang border. Participants of the event will traverse a route from Kuala Kubu Bharu in Selangor to Taman Millenium, a former mining pool where birds are known to visit and rest at the lake or surrounding jungle. From here, birdwatchers will proceed to Hulu Tamu for a chance to spot birds hanging out at this hotsprings area.
Further along, birdwatchers will visit Sungai Kedondong, a waterfall area, where tiger shrikes and whiskered treeswifts can be seen, before finally ascending to Resorts World Genting where cooler temperatures attract high altitude mountain birds.
The Wings of KKB event is not only for bird enthusiasts, but also welcomes photographers who are interested in wildlife photography for the abundance of opportunities and subject matters available.
Date: 20 – 22 April 2018
Venue: Kuala Kubu Bharu, Selangor
Organiser: Majlis Daerah Hulu Selangor
Tel: 03-6064 1331 Email: [email protected]
Website: www.facebook.com/OfficialMDHS or http://wingsofkkb.blogspot.my/