Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Jungle Nite Walk

This time, off the usual timing considering the active period of Slow Loris (I yawned a lot!) Following a workshop on identification of Slow Loris and discovering that our local species, Nycticebus menagensis is actually the least researched by, I was wondering whether they can be seen here? The Park recorded sightings of them but now....?Latest population status of the species in the Park is unknown. In Sarawak, under the Wildlife Protection Ordinance 1998, Slow Loris is listed as a Totally Protected Wildlife which means hunting, keeping as pet, consuming etc are prohibited.

Unfortunately that night there wasn't any Loris :-( But we were compensated fairly! The highlight has got to be the sighting of a Common Palm Civet. Just 3 metres away...

Also several birds, a gecko, cockroaches, a frog, a sea snake, a spider and a durian fruit! All thanks to the observant Apai Elan!:-D

Apai Elan with a durian we found along the way

Monday, December 14, 2009

Official Visit

Just recently, the Park welcomed an official visit by representatives from the Project Monitoring Unit, Prime Minister Department and Ministry of Tourism. Aside from inspecting on the progress of the upgrading facilities project, they were also introduced briefly to the beauty of the Park.

Officials touring around the Park head quarters

Part of the beauty

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Revisit Batu Anchau

Was hoping for a Banded Langur or a Silver Leaf or probably Borneon Gibbons again? This time, we tried the Batu Anchau trail. About 1.35 km from the Park headquarters, it takes about an hour to reach by foot. There were sightings of several birds along the way but none of what we really hoped to see.Next time maybe. Off the trail and further.

But the outing was rewarding as always, this time with beautiful plants and views.



Clusters of Nepethes ampullaria


Taking advantage of the low tide on the way back

Sunday, December 6, 2009

5th December 2009 morning

.........The colors of a rainbow so pretty in the sky..............

How low the tide and super clean the beach was and still is!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Conservation Education Programme 2009

A conservation talk was conducted end of October in 4 plantations, 2 Primary Schools and an Iban Village end of October. The main aim was to create more conservation-conscious people in Bintulu. With only one National Park in this town, people are still ignorant about the importance of conservation. Hopefully little programmes like this will help save the wildlife and the environment from further unnecessary destruction.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Among the Fruitful Outing ever!

Luckily we didn't end up cancelling because of the heavy rain the night before. Initial plan was to cover Turtle Beach I but Auldry was a first timer, so we decided to go for shorter trails allowing more time to check out interesting things along the way.

From the Park Headquarters, we crossed Sungei Likau via the suspension bridge to reach the Plankwalk. From this point, one can either walk straight along the Main Trail or turn right to the Mangrove Plank Walk. We took the latter. About 450m from the headquarters, we were marveled by the tough looking root systems of the mangroves..Reminded me of a friend inquired on the age of this forest type, which none of us in the Park knew but hopefully someday we will be able to determine that.

At the end of the Plankwalk, we continued covering the Circular Trail of about 1.7km (also distance from the headquarters), which later connect to the Main Trail. The trees in the Lowland Forest here seems to be in its fruiting season. Some were unique.

Looking like a vase, it's a fruit, smells like Guava

Coral-look-alike roots germinating from this fruit

Also, a Dwarf Lowland Toad known as Malayan forest toad, which rarely exceeds 5cm in length

Meeting the Main Trail, we continued trekking to the View Point. At about 700m of the Main Trail, i got attracted to a sapling. Unsure of the species but they were lots of them. The Mother tree must have been one of those huge ones around the area. Still taking time to capture the best when suddenly there were sounds of breaking branches!Looking around, we took sometime to locate until we saw something or someone settling on a branch with both hands hanging onto other branches, of a tall tree located few meters off the Main Trail. At first, we thought it must have been the common Long Tailed Macaque until i noticed the arms longer than usual of the Macaques! Screaming to myself "OMG!!it's gibbon!!"

I thought i saw two but one was actually carrying a baby. So, there were three then. The Park recorded sightings of them but all this while, myself have been able to HEAR them only..so to be able to WATCH them LIVE, that close, swinging, screaming or possibly courting?and i just couldn't help disturbing :-D (but there's a baby present so courting may not be right, i guess it was a family outing then) Simply amazing!!!

Gibbons spotted around 0930 on 22nd November 2009, few meters off the 700m Main Trail.

The primate's playground, Dryobalanops aromatica (Kapur) tree

Also nearby, Wild Ginger

Yet to reach the View Point, we've been lucky enough to see so much! The viewpoint looks back to the beach and Park Headquarters and there's a shelter with three picnic tables.

Going back to the station, again blessed, we spotted a Woodpecker. I only remembered the red color head but the input wasn't enough to identify which species.

That day was indeed special. Animals making themselves visible, sighting of the gibbons was definitely the highlight!They made my day!(even up to this moment) :-D

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wild Boars

Initially it was like any other day..tourist come and go..and then came two representatives from the District Office inquiring more about the Park on available accommodations. So there they were at Hostel 2 surveying...inspecting on the usual, the rooms, the sharing toilets...until they discovered more when the Hostel back door was opened!

Surprise...!surprise...!At least 10 individuals of the Sus barbatus of various sizes roaming around searching for food or....maybe risked themselves as food?:D

According to Abang Awang (Park Staff) who accompanied the guests, that was his first ever encounter with LIVE and that close. Abang Rahim (Park staff) also claimed that those days when there were no roads yet, it was indeed easy to spot them around the Headquarters, but this close now.....probably there's just more food here?

Fresh footprints of the Wild Boar found at the beach in front of Hostel on the very same day

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Rain, rain...

It's that time of the year again when Mother Nature gets slightly tempered, pouring rain more than usual. That marks the arrival of the Landas season normally lasting up to the month of February or may just exceed looking at the unpredictable weather condition these days.

The sea is rough here with tide sometimes reaching almost to the edge of vegetation. Not forgetting debris from the sea stranded on the beach created an unpleasant view. Logs, bottles were some of them.

But the good thing is that there is an increasing number of waterbirds landing at the beach. At least 10 individuals (of the Plover species) seen yesterday.

A Selunsur log found stranded on the beach yesterday

Scattered debris of crushed leaves, twigs somehow look nice here

Rain or shine, the Park still is open... Adventurous?Come explore during Landas!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

First Visit

Some time ago, the Park welcomed an informal visit from the Permanent Secretary to Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism, Datu Ose Murang and wife.

Other than admiring the fascinating coastlines, they were guided to a short trekking into the forest by Park staff, Abdul Rahim.

A photo to remember a good day by

Friday, November 6, 2009

Little Spiderhunter

Well, this was not first. There were already few occasions where birds particularly got lost and ended up in the office. This time in the meeting room. It took quite some time to direct it to exit but i guess it got intimidated by us so the poor one kept hitting walls and sometimes desperately searching for a branch to hang on to but the flourescent lamp was the best option available.

Notice the bleed at the end of the long bill

Also at the forehead

After much struggling, finally it was able to fly freely in the open space.

With over 200 bird species recorded in the Park plus existing and upcoming infrastructures in the Headquarters, unfortunately there is possibility for such incident to occur again.

Shall we put up warning signage for fellow Avifauna? Anybody fluent in bird language?If only the Beast Master exists in reality...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Bornean Groundcuckoo or Beach Thick-knee?

A member of our Suai recce team claimed to have spotted something that looked like a largish tall chicken by the estuary of Sg Suai back in October 2008. Of course in situation like these, there's never any cameras involved, no one took videos or images. It was just a quick look resulting in vague and sketchy descriptions from a non-specialist doing his best to describe something he's never seen before in his entire life.

Our friend knew it was "like a chicken" but confidently confirmed that it's not a chicken. And he knew what a junglefowl looks like.

Imaginations ran wild: Beach-thicknee and Bornean Groundcuckoo made the shortlist. Pictures and sketches went back and forth, we still couldn't decide on either one. Both seemed likely. Habitat wise, the coastal settings seems to suggest a thick knee or even one of the larger waders. But it's not exactly a bird common in these parts. Groundcuckoo was equally unlikely, what is it doing on a sandy beach near an estuary?

Not having seen either birds, we started building up expectations to find them. Either one would be a major tick. Both have never been sighted in the vicinity of our shores.

Bornean Groundcuckoo:

Photograph by (c) James Eaton from www.birdforum.net and www.birdtourasia.com

"Records of the Bornean Ground Cuckoo show it to be or to have been widely and evenly distributed across the island of Borneo, with a total of 49 localities, 10 in Sabah, 15 in Sarawak, four in Brunei, and 11 in East, four in Central and five in West Kalimantan.

Although it is normally characterised as a rare species, evidence is accumulating that it is better considered a generally highly secretive but in fact moderately common bird. However, its habitat is clearly mainly primary forest, and it probably favours level areas near rivers, mainly but not exclusively in the lowlands.

Rates of loss of such habitat probably cancel any positive effects on its Near Threatened status stemming from improved knowledge of its range and numbers. It subsists chiefly on forest-floor invertebrates, sometimes following bearded pigs Sus barbatus or sun bears Helarctos malayanus, but its combination of apparent pheasant mimicry and unpalatability is puzzling.

Its breeding remains unknown, but the various reports of its vocalisations sort into at least five calls, a deep thook-torr, a monotone koo, a rolling torrmmm, a snarling ark or heh in alarm, and a bizarre bleating in breeding-related behaviour."

Local names : kruai manang, manuk babui

Description of Bornean Groundcuckoo above from "Distribution, status and natural history of the Bornean Ground Cuckoo Carpococcyx radiatus" A. J. Long and N. J. Collar, FORKTAIL 18 (2002): 111-119

Beach Thick-knee:

Photograph by (c) Hans and Judy Beste on http://www.mangoverde.com/

"The beach thick-knee is the largest species of thick-knee and ranges from 21 to 22.5 inches (53 to 57 centimeters) in length. It has thick yellow legs, a long, strong, bill, and yellow eyes. The beach thick-knee is gray-brown on the back and pale on the belly. The shoulder is black above a thin white line. The head is mostly black, with a white stripe through the eye. The bill is black except for a yellow base. There is a rust-colored patch under the tail.

The beach thick-knee is found on seashore beach habitats. These include sand, shingle, rock, and mud beaches.

The beach thick-knee eats crabs primarily, but also eats other crustaceans. Large crabs are torn into small pieces before they are swallowed. It generally follows its prey quietly, and then suddenly lunges and grabs. Sometimes, beach thick-knees also search in mud and sand for prey."

Local names : kedidi malam

Descriptions of Beach Thick-knee from http://animals.jrank.org/pages/690/Thick-Knees-Burhinidae-BEACH-THICK-KNEE-Esacus-magnirostris-SPECIES-ACCOUNT.html#ixzz0VYPBXCGK

We came back in January from our 70kms coastal walk from Bungai Beach (26/12) to Similajau National Park (31/12) passing through Suai, endless sandy beaches and countless river estuaries over 5 days empty handed. The largest bird we saw was White-bellied Sea Eagle and a Chestnut-breasted Malkoha. Clearly, both did not fit the "largish chicken" descriptions, they werent anywhere near the ground.

We didn't see a single groundcuckoo nor a shadow of the thick-knee. We did however stumbled upon a family of breeding Malaysian Plover with chicks near a secluded coralline sandy beach exactly at the tip of Tanjong Payung promontory.

We are building high hopes for the groundcuckoo having recently seen published accounts of it's sighting last in Similajau National Park. In all honesty, no, the sighting was not on the beach but close enough. And we can drive to Similajau NP.

Google map (Image 2001). Mark the spot "M" for Bornean Groundcuckoo, as reported by Duckworth et al (1996), sighting made Sep 1995. Degraded area on the right showing conversions to oil palm plantation bordering the forested areas of the park.

FOS, Nov 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Recent routine patrol along the coast by the Park staff led to a sweet finding!

A malnutrition looking Muntiacus seen wondering at the edge of the forest close to the beach, about 500m from Kuala Similajau.

The poor looking Deer

Wildlife surveys conducted back in 1982 and 1986 resulted to at least 34 mammal species occur in the Park, Muntiacus being one of them.

Although it's a common mammal species, we are all delighted to know it's still surviving despite present as well as upcoming threats in its surrounding.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Night Excursions

Apart from the popular River Cruise package along Likau river for reptile spotting, one may also try Jungle Trekking for better chances to see mammals like the Wild Boar, Mousedeer or tiny, little creatures like spiders, crab and others. Or just Night Walk around the Park Headquarters for some interesting nocturnal birds.

Some of the possible sightings includes the following;

Stork Billed Kingfisher

Blue Eared Kingfisher

Brown Wood Owl

A hatchling of Crocodylus porosus

Another hatchling of similar species

Friday, October 9, 2009

Waders in the Park

Probably i was ignorant before, but that day 6th October was the first time I've seen waders here, other than the Common Sandpiper. A Sanderling and a Greater Sand Plover seen together feeding at the beach in front of the Park Headquarters.

7th October- Photos not clear therefore unable to identify which Plover species but they were 3 of them.

8th October - A Sanderling and a Kentish Plover.

Sanderling wondering who...

It wasn't ready to fly, just flapping the wings

Kentish Plover

Greater Sand Plover

Greater Sand Plover, Sanderling

Footprints of Sanderling