Thursday, October 14, 2010

My Job: 2nd Sites- Royal Belum State Park, Perak (Sg Papan & Sg Kejar)

The next day, we left Banding around 830am to have our 2nd meeting with other stakeholders at Gerik. In fact, that day i would considered a "shocking" morning for me because of the last minute changes on the meeting venue and had a slight problem with the entry permit. Somehow, my panic level was not as high as i expected (trust me, last time i would just cry, went blank and could feel my heart pumping very fast). Guess it must be the people around me and gave me the courage and supports. With them around, i can really feel the "i can rely on" aura that has comforted me. Heart to all my consultants. psss....I still remember how they comforted me. Hugs~~

Come back to the adventurous story. Right after the meeting, i can see our faces .. all felt relief and ready to go leave Banding. We reached the Jetty Awam around 3pm.

Jetty Awam...

Check out the Signages..

The boat for the next 4 days @ RBSP... (Thanks PSPC)

Yee Hah! Boat Ride.. That's when our journey started! Royal Belum... Here we all come.

We made our first pit stop in Royal Belum: Kem Sg Papan. This kem is different from other kem because of 1) watch tower that have a great view of mammal or birds (somehow, they will pay a visit on the salt lick site) and 2) easy assessed trail via hanging bridge (birders would definitely love this easy, short and leveled/flat trail). **Note - Temporary: this camp (kem) is not open for public because it still in the upgrading process.**

Park Ranger's office (where they cook, rest and work)

Salt Lick - Animals favourite hangout place..

After the assessment (1 hour), we headed towards our resting site: Kem Sg Kejar which was about half an hour (rough estimation: 45 mins) boat ride from Kem Sg Papan. Along the journey, i got my 1st lifer: Lesser-fish Eagle. We all sighted about 3 of them and at the same time, we heard a few hornbills' calls too (excited indeed!). Besides that, we also saw a few orang asli villages too.

One of the orang asli villages... Beautiful. Truly Malaysia..

After 45 mins, finally we reached our destination: Kem Sg Kejar.

Right after we reached Kem Sg Kejar, we were so busy setting our : tent (for resting) and FOOD..(as for food, haha.. no photos because way too busy with preparing food and enjoying our meals)~~

Glenda and myself - Our Little Tent.

After so many months working with MNS, this was the first night that i slept so early. Have a good rest and more post about my Royal Belum State Park on the way...~~

My Job: 2nd Sites- Royal Belum State Park, Perak (Part I)

This site is rather different, more adventurous and unique from the previous one (Fraser's Hill, Pahang). Just a short description how i felt before the trip: Nervous.. Panic. Why? Answer: Haven't been there and have been trying hard to imagine.. how Royal Belum looks like.. Whether i'll get to see the birds i would like to see... whether my consultants are well taken care of.. and sort forth.. (and the same time i was panic because i didn't have time to do my shopping). This trip i was rather excited too.. because it would be my very 1st "camping" trip. First time touched and set up camping material.. the TENT and Cooking Utensils (Ooo.. cooking in the camp site).

All Set and ready to go to our Paradise. All consultants were excited because this is the only trip that got to meet up with each other and assessed the site together. I called them as the "Awesome TRIO".

We started our adventurous journey right after we entered Kuala Kangsar. Our first birding site: Lenggong, Perak (Habitat: Agricultural Area - Paddyfield) where we sighted quite a number of Brown Shrike and Munias (and plus kampung chicken). We also did sighted one raptor (unId).

Right after lunch, we made our last stop for 1st day at Banding Lakeside Inn. One of the thing i love about Banding Lakeside Inn Resort (with special request..) was the view of Tasik Temengor.

Yup.. that's the 1st day of my Royal Belum State Park's diary after long hour driving and meeting with the stakeholders. Too dah! ^^

Psss....Would you like to know who are the "Awesome Trio"?

Kudos.. (My idols.. My heros)

Reminder to myself: I shall not complaint about my job (until the project ends). In fact, i love my job so much and would love to further my studies on ecotourism. Hehe.. still in the dreaming about it.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

63rd MNS AGM, Taman Rimba Ledang, Johor

Welcome to the 63rd MNS AGM

24-26th September 2010 : The 63rd MNS AGM was held at Taman Rimba Ledang, Taman Negara Johor Gunung Ledang. 25th is the official date for MNS AGM and it's the most important day too. Why? It's the election time where you can feel the "heat" who can be the next MNS president, vice president and council members. *hoho ho... *

24th: Most of the MNS staffs from HQ arrived Taman Rimba Ledang, Taman Negara Johor Gunung Ledang to set up for the registration & election and exhibition booth ; to arrange accommodation for the members and to make sure everything run smoothly without any flaws.

Well usually things won't work out the way we all assume or want. MNS signage wasn't there to direct the members to Pintu B. *no panic, no finger pointing.* All of us were calm and yup.. that's our 1st on spot assignment.. thank god with Lay Ean's creativity mind and my on spot problem solving mind.. to get the materials for the signage and Ta ta... photo 1.. that's our creation =)

Here is the signage that we had done within 1 hour....

The Park Ranger had done a wonderful job for us by putting it right outside the entrance before entered the oil palm plantation which lead to Pintu B. Hoorah!

After a few hours .... This was the result: The 63rd MNS AGM is ready!!

This was set up by MNS Johor Branch members .. Well done!

With the help and guidance from MNS Johor Branch member, Mr Vincent Chow. He showed a few tips on how to showcase MNS Exhibits which attracts members' attention.

25th - It was pretty packed not only with human.. the venue was packed with merchandise and votes (the most important item for this AGM) as well. Wee Chin gave all of us an early morning briefing. From registration to exhibition... and to "where shall i submit my ballot form". One of the tips i learned from her: Ever-ready to equip yourself to serve the members with a smile (in no matter situations/conditions).

The crowd came in around 12pm. Hoo hah.. the registration booth where i was stationed were packed. Luckily all MNS members were really friendly and understandable. At the same time, it's a great opportunity for newbie like me to know "identify" who are MNS members from each branch. Lots of the members love to ask "Where shall i submit my ballot form?" "I want to know where am i staying? or "Where is the meeting ah and what time ah?" Haha.. funny and it's a great opportunity for me to get to know their names and which branch too.

Crowd: All ready to enter the meeting hall and to cast their votes!

This year apparently one of the largest crowd (according to members and senior staffs). Hoorah... and it's really a great opportunity for newbie to understand "What is MNS".

About 100 members (staffs and councils) attended this AGM. Huge group.. Imagine the hall was pretty packed until one or two of us sat on the floor.

Well done!

While they were having serious discussion in the meeting hall, guess who else were busy as well? Nope.. not us that stationed at the registration and election booth. Nope.. not from the merchandise and exhibition booth.. too! Hehe.. It's the Malay Tapirs. 4 of them had a serious meeting too. Guess they were busy discussing who will be the next MNS President and also.. about the 70th Conference and dinner ^.~

Tapir A: "Alright everyone. Let's gather and have to seriously think through who will be the next MNS president." Tapir B: " Ahh.. must be..... " Tapir C: "Aiyah.. anyone will do la. The most important thing is everyone in MNS must remember the..... " . All Tapirs..:" Yes, the 4 Calls for this year 70th Anniversary!". Tapir D : "Eh.. where is my chance to talk ah...?"

The AGM ended around 730pm. Everyone was so excited about the new councils. Congrats to the new councils.. and looking forward to know and direct MNS to the new direction for a better future. Hoorah!

And Guess what happened to the Tapirs...?

Still busy discussing on ... "probably other topics" . One of them.. planning to leave the discussion because it's way too.. time consuming (i guess).

Great job to all MNS family members esp MNS Johor Branch for being a great host. Last but not least.. Two thumbs up to all the rangers, officers, manager of the Taman Rimba Ledang, Taman Negara Johor, Gunung Ledang. Ever-ready assistance.. always appreciated.

Want to know who are MNS new councils for 2010 - 2012?
The results from the election can be found/click here ^^

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My Raya Holiday: Chenderiang, Perak

It's an unexpected invitation from Yeap, my boss when he and his wife asked me whether i'm interested to come along with them to "assist" Yeap in bird survey at one of the ladang which set up by MCare in Perak. This happened during MNS Open Day. Initially, i was a bit reluctant because i'm still a beginner. In terms of bird calls and bird names, i'm pretty uncomfortable with it. But guess, if i don't try it, i wouldn't know how much i know about the birds in Malaysia (after went through numerous trips reports and bird checklists) and after so many on site practices. Well it took me a few minutes to make my decision. Well the answer i gave was "Yes, and does that mean i get to try the durian as well? " Unfortunately, the invitation was not "activated" until i was in Fraser's Hill for my project assessment when i received a call from him that the trip date was set. It would be on Raya break (2D2N). My heard was like... *Ooo.. Finally and yes, that's it! I'll take this as my test.

9th September (Thursday) exactly 5:30pm, my boss came up to me and said "Cik oi.. please pack up.. we are leaving now". (Sorry here.. i have to cut short of my KL to Perak journey stories..way too much to mention). Well, we reached the MCare ladang about 830pm. The first thing i noticed was fireflies. There were so many of them around the pond area. Lovely ^^ (Sonny, next recce trip.. we all go there, yeah!).

This was where i first sighted the fireflies...

We met up with the founder of MCare ladang, Mr Wong and his family (3 lovely foster daughters , Maina, Mazna and Rusan - all of them very vocal, smart and energetic girls). We had a short briefing about the Ladang and common birds around the area. This ladang consist of really huge orchards, nursery, oil palm plantation just right before the entrance of the Ladang and the highlights is the mini waterfall. Both my boss and myself got excited when we heard that there are sightings of hornbills and raptors.

10th September (Friday) Oh well, the bird survey didn't start with a good day. The whole day - it was gloomy, cloudy and drizzling but it didn't stop us from doing the bird survey. First day - we had about 25 garden and forest birds. Not too bad... there were quite a number of Brown barbet, a pair of Blue-crowned hanging Parrot and couple of whiskered treeswifts. We sighted one raptor - resident one.. Crested Serpent Eagle when we were on the way to the waterfall. The sad side was we didn't even hear any hornbills (well we were looking forward to spot Oriental Pied Hornbill at least).

In the afternoon, we went to OA village to celebrate Raya. IT was splendid. The meals that they have prepared for their guests were delicious (Sorry photos). We had lemang, asam laksa, ayam rendang, beef rendang, and Raya cookies (one of them known as "Lidah Buaya" or "Tilam"). Love the "Lidah Buaya" until we packed some back (sorry again, no photo).

On the way to the village, my boss's wife, KH showed us the Egret Site. It was true.. Lots of Egrets (Cattle and Little) and Herons (Purple and Grey).

Fish pond attracts a lot Cattle and Little Egrets

Packed with Egrets and Herons

Have a look at the tree - Egrets...

After all the hard work, my boss's wife KH rewarded us by bringing us to Kampar New Town for dinner. I was very fortunate because Kampar new town is my new site. I would say the town is pretty well planned student's town as compared to the ones i've been in NZ. Another unexpected plan was KH would love to do owling around Ladang area. I was actually excited and shocked (the same time) that she took it seriously because i told her what i've done during my recent birding trip to Penang and there..she was really looking forward to sight at least one owl or nightjar. Well, luck wasn't with us. No calls at all.. it was so quiet. Well..fairly disappointed. But at least, she got to feel the fun part of owling or night survey.

11th September (Saturday) - Weather was PERFECT and very rewarding. Sighted one pair of Banded Broadbills and it's Yeap's lifer. Guess broadbill's luck is always with me because i always hoping to see broadbills in all my birding trips. Well more birds and calls were heard. Even gibbon's and Great Argus's calls were heard as well. Lovely. In total, we had 35 - 38 birds in our list. Pretty good for a short trip.

More photos of the Ladang MCare:

Road leading to the Ladang. Build by MCare

Goat nursery - the highlights of Ladang MCare

The only male goat.. licked on the salt block

The trail that lead us to the orchard where we saw a pair of:
Banded Broadbills and Blue-crowned hanging Parrots.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Little England, Pahang Malaysia

Where is the "Little England" in Peninsular Malaysia? No.. definitely not Cameron Highlands. This cool, pretty pristine area, i only got to know a little better after this year bird race....

Anybody still want to guess?Hint: unique montane forest.. which can also be found in Pahang and is also pretty close to Cameron Highlands. Every year (without fail), bird race always held there. It's where birders get to spend time searching high and low for low and high montane birds such as Cutia *hint *, Malayan Whistling Thrush *hint*, Silver-eared Mesia *hint*, Lesser racquet-tailed Drongo, Long-tailed Sibia...

Still guessing?
Yes.. it's known as Fraser's Hill (福隆港 in mandarin; Bukit Fraser in malay).

The Lower Gate, Gap (waiting for our turn to go up to Fraser's Hill)

Welcome to Fraser's Hill, Pahang (A Paradise Destination for Birders - Montane birds)

Fraser's Hill has been a popular ecotourism site for local and international visitors. It's not only a place for nature lovers, honeymoon for just married couple or retiree to relax, it's also a place for bird lovers and photographers. A lot of the nature lovers purposely visit Fraser's hill because of the uniqueness in flora and fauna which only can be found in Fraser's hill and also the bungalows.

From my own experience, i've met birders (bird lovers), nature lovers and photographers from all over the countries during bird race to :
1) have a good sight of the fauna eg. montane birds such as silver-eared mesia, silver-breasted broadbill, hornbills (guess which species), Fire-tufted Barbet. It's pretty easy to spot and take a good photographs of birds in Fraser's Hill because the birds are just less than 100m away from you.
2) nice weather as compared to other parts in Malaysia
3) pretty quiet and great place for holiday (get-away from busy-city life).

Number of birds you can find in Fraser's hill: approximately 260 species (such as Silver-eared Mesia, Red-headed Trogon, Long-tailed Broadbill, Silver-breasted Broadbill, Black-headed bulbul, Orange-bellied Leafbird, Mountain Fulvetta (just name a few)).

5 stars birds: Cutia ; Malayan Whistling Thrush (actually a few more..)

Fraser's Hill finally has its own interpretative centre.. just for birds. So if you want to know more about this centre, please proceed to the information centre at Puncak Inn Resort.

Unattractive and Unpleasant about Fraser's Hill
1) Public transport:
It used to have a bus service from Kuala Kubu Bharu. But it had been terminated. The only public transport which is still on service is Taxi which cost a bomb. The only way to travel to Fraser's Hill and within is by having your own car or rent a car.

2) Food:
Trying to get authentic local Malaysian Food is pretty tough in Fraser's Hill. During weekend (especially more tourists), most of the stalls at the food court will open. But during weekday, haha.. let me tell's pretty tough. I remembered my recent trip, i visited the one and only chinese stall in Fraser's hill almost every day (brunch and dinner). Pretty sad huh? There are a couple of malay stalls.. one of the stalls, the service is pretty bad. One of my friends have to wait for half an hour for her fried rice.

As for old english meal, you still can find. Some of the bungalows still serve very authentic old english meal and also the Smokehouse Restaurant. Just be prepared to bring more cash.

International Event
International Fraser's Hill Bird Race:
Falls on the 3rd weekend in June. For more information: visit...

This year's bunting for FH Bird Race. Spot silver-eared mesia and silver-breasted broadbill?

The schedule for this year FH Bird Race. Hooray to all the organisers, sponsors and volunteers from Malaysian Nature Society

How to get there?
By having a car is really convenient or hiring a taxi. This is because taxi is the only public transport available and willing bring visitors to Fraser's hill (beside the shuttle bus service offer by the resorts and bungalows).

Another reason to have your own or rent a car is a brilliant idea is when you want to travel from one birding site to another (such as bishop trail to High Pine Trail or Bishop Trail to Telekom Loop) within Fraser's hill.. it's really helps a lot especially when you try to have a good sight of the birds you have been wanting to see at the best & correct time).

KL - > Fraser's Hill
Follow the North-South Expressway. Then you'll pass through Rawang. Then you turn right which lead you to Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB) town. Soon after, you'll connect to the highway (which lead to Raub) which can lead you to The Gap. The distance between the Gap and Fraser's hill is about 8km. (GPS coordinates: 3.711867, 101.736448)

Do remember that this 8km narrow road from the Gap to Fraser's hill operated in a "one way basis traffic-gate system". Each gate open for each way is only last 40 minutes. *Take note: Odd hours for traffic going up from the Gap; Even hours for traffic going down from fraser's hill. *

Take note: Do remember to fill up the petrol tank before you head up to Fraser's Hill. There is no petrol station at Fraser's hill. The only nearby one is at KKB.

Where to stay:
There are a lot of preferences for visitors about the accommodation in Fraser's Hill : Bungalows, Resorts and Campsite. I've stayed at Puncak Inn (still brand new as compared to others) which is directly opposite The clock Tower and Bird Interpretative Centre. The other one that i've stayed are Silver Park Resort and Pines Resort. Personally, i prefer Silver Park Resort and Puncak Inn.

That's it.. for my 1st birding site which i've been there for more than 2 times. Can't wait to go there to spot CUTIA.

References for Fraser's Hill
  1. Morten Strange : Birds of Fraser's Hill (Illustrated Guide and Checklist)
  2. Mike Chong and Sutari Supari: Khazanah Burung Bukit Fraser
  3. FHDC Bird Interpretative Centre, Fraser's Hill (Launched at 2010 Fraser's Hill Bird Race).
** Any suggestion or recommendation are most welcome! **

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Overdue Post: 1..2..3... (A lot more to come..)

What is this counting about? Pretty strange title, huh?

Some of you might know what it is about. But, most of you still struggling, right? *whink*

This year (mid of February till April), i spent most of my weekend counting. Counting? Strange.. counting numbers? Counting stars?.. (*tick tock.. tick tock*). Ta ..Ta.. Counting migratory raptors from Pulau Rupat, Sumatra. Ooo.. What's Raptors? Let me help you. Here you go: The definition of Raptor is.. Bird of Prey (click here). Hahaa... =D

A person like me with no knowledge about raptor (such as how they look like, which direction they coming in, how their flying pattern looks like and etc), i could say i'm pretty brave enough (self praise..mua haha) to take up this challenge.

Want to know about my feeling after taking up this challege? Yes? No?
My feeling: (Before) A night before my first raptor count weekend, i found myself having pretty hard time to sleep or even close my eyes. Why? Pretty easy.... That's because i was way too excited about it and i kept question myself: "How raptor look like huh? How do i know which spot should i take into account? A lot of what and how... *sigh... * (After): I felt like i would love to know more about raptors especially the migration patterns (Found it interesting how the raptors travel and how do they know it's their time to change locations or travel from north to south hemisphere and vice versa).

Journey of Raptor Count (Aka Raptor watch) begins here:
1st raptor count weekend:
On Saturday (Mr Tang, my first Raptor count's Xi Fu picked me up around 6 a.m. The first question Mr Tang asked me: "Feeling excited?". I took a couple of seconds to think before i replied (That's me when i didn't have enough rest) and i said: "Yes!" Our conversation was pretty fun and informative. It's basically about my background (education and work profile) and why i'm interested to join raptor count.

We reached Tanjung Tuan arounnd 8am. The group leader for this weekend was Lim Kim Chye (KC). My Xi Kong whom i really salute and admired. Haha don't get me wrong. I admired how passionate he is with bird conservation and environment. This is what i call "Hero.. A True Hero or Xi Fu".

Before the raptor count began, KC and other experience birders shared their knowledge and tips of how to ID birds especially raptors. Wooo... i can say.. it's a lot of information. Well information which i can't get from textbook or anywhere else. =D

Within two days (when there was no raptors), you'll definitely heard this from the counters: "Raptor oh.. Raptor, where ar thou? When are you all coming? Please come la..."

My feeling when i encountered my very first raptor count:
There is no words to describe this feeling. All i can say are : "It's really AMAZING!!! I was like "Fuiyoh!.. FWah..." It's just like documentary aired in National Geography. It's FANTASTIC! Truly AWESOME!" (this happened when there were hundreds of raptors especially Oriental Honey Buzzards, Sparrowhawks and Black Baza came in groups or individuals). It's a "WOW!" (it's like when your dreams come true!)

After my first raptor count weekend, the xi fus asked me whether i would like to join other weekends. My immediate answer was YES! of course! (and it's a great chance to meet other local bird experts).

I've joined 3 Raptor counts Weekends 2009. Along these journey, i met a number of bird experts that i truly respect and would love to follow them to any birding trips.

It's pretty addictive and fun birding field trips with the experts. Not only learn about raptors.. you'll also get to learn about their habitats, other migratory and local birds. A true experience that you'll never get to learn from books. Besides that, you will also get to learn how to share experience and knowledge , how to treasure, how to be calm and patience and enjoy team work "work together as family". *hik hik * (* Now i'm planning to go for the spring raptor watch.. at Perak) . This is also the best time to increase your "lifers" list. Hahaa... =D

Applause and salute to all my XI Fus! Great Effort and Keep up with the Great Job!! Hip hip Hooray!!!!!

(Thanks to Ying for giving me ideas about designing photo album. Hugs..& Muaks!)

Monday, March 9, 2009

My new hobby: Birding

Haha.. i guess i haven't been update my blog for ages. My apologies =) (I prolly have to left out some of the post because i know it's been very outdated). Oh well, now i would like to show off my new hobby: Birding. I guess lots of you will be wonder: "Why of all activities.. i picked up BIRDING?"

It started from:
When i first got my new toy: Nikon Monarch bins (just two days before Festival of Wing'08 organized by Malaysian Nature Society, MNS). I felt so happy to get this bins because now i get to see birds more clear.

With Monarch, i'm able to spot all my lifers. Definition of "lifer" means new birds. In my case, all the birds (have or have not seen) are my lifers. My first lifer was Brahminy Kite which i saw when i was in Kuala Selangor Nature Park (KSNP) back in 2005 with Ee Ling. I would recommend this place to all the birders and nature lovers.

Festival of Wing'08 (Kuala Selangor Nature Park) : That's when i started to pick up how to do birding. That's when my bird list started to expand or increase.

At this time, i haven't really feel the "craziness" over birding.

My so called "crazy over birding" journey started from :
January'09 - the one week biodiversity assessment with my two Xi Fu, Lim Kim Chye (KC) and Dave Bakewell at two of the "A" oil palm plantations at "A" company. One week with these two teachers were really AMAZING. They can ID birds by JUST listening to bird calls. I still remembered that i asked these two Xi Fu to slow down because so many birds' name came at the same time and at that time, i didn't know how to spell the birds' name. I still remembered Dave said he would like to see how i spelled "Bulbul", "Oriental Magpie Robin", "Drongo", "Red Junglefowl" and so forth. It's fun to recall these memories. With their guidance, i picked up a couple of bird calls (Now, i think i slowly forget the calls because haven't heard the calls for pretty long time. *whink*).

With this new hobby, i bought a couple new bird books: Field Guide to Birds of South East Asia, Field Guide to Birds of Thailand (given by my Boss) (By Craig Robson) , Raptors of the world and so on (I can see that i'm slowly building my Birding mini library).

Thanks to Raptor Watch 2009 with MNS birding group, now i'm volunteering to count raptors from Sumatra. Most of my weekend started from February to April, i'll be spending my time with birders aka my XI FUs at lighthouse, Tanjung Tuan to count raptors. Most of the raptors that i saw were Oriental Honey Buzzards (OHB). (Next post will be about my raptor count at Tanjung Tuan, Melaka).

I would recommend this hobby to everyone because it's fun (sometimes can be challenging..). Why challenging? For beginners like me, i found it difficult to differentiate bird calls due to lack of practice (haha.. thanks to my "lazy" genes). Now at least, i slowly pick up those common garden birds: Yellow-vented Bulbul, Oriental Magpie Robin (OMAR), Myna (Common and Javan). As for raptor, it's pretty easy to pick up Brahminy kite's call (I know.. i'm "not" trying to show off *blek*).

Here are some pictures:

Oriental Honey Buzzard (Lighthouse, Tanjung Tuan in 2007 with Ee ling)

Common Myna which i spotted at my recent trip to Tanjung Tuan, Malacca (Melaka).