Monday, October 10, 2011

Birdwatching in Bakelalan II

Cikgu Sang Sigar encouraging birdwatching as a hobby amongst his students at SK Bakelalan.

It was almost a year ago that a bunch of us dropped in on Bakelalan to do a bit of birdwatching. Though there was a bunch of us, there were perhaps 3 birdwatchers among us intent on birding in the area. We were actually there to trek GunungMurud Oct 2010, the birders however were quickly roped into giving a crash course on birds and birdwatching to SK Bakelalan through Sang Sigar, assistant principal and proprietor at the guest house we stayed at.

It's always pleasant birdwatching in Bakelalan, by the time we left after scaling Gunung Murud, Yeo Siew Teck compiled a list of 123 birds but not all restricted to the kampong area. Ashy Drongo, Black-headed Munia, Orange-breasted Flowerpecker, Striated tit Babbler were ticked just around the village paths. The rest were ticked along our trek to the summit and back. It remains that at least more than half of the birds on our list were acquired in the easy places around the settlement.

The potential for birdwatching in the surrounding area has not been adequately explored, many past birders to the area has expressed exasperations over the lack of knowledgeable bird guides in the area. It's still a very recent hobby here as far as the locals are concerned. The question then arise : who are the best persons to bird the area other than the very persons living there 24/7. The proposal was simple : teach the local youngsters about birds, in time they will be our new resource for birdwatching and bird conservation locally in the area. After all Gunung Murud, Batu Lawi and Pulong Tau are all within walking distance from Bakelalan.

Thus started the ad-hoc preliminary initiative to teach the local children about birds and the wholesome hobby of birdwatching. Introducing the birds to these young people could very well increase their awareness of our feathered friends and ultimately their appreciation and conservation. Yeo, Nazeri, Sara, Chris and Faye initiated the first basic lessons back in Oct 2010; this year Peter, Nazeri, Amer and Ali embarked on exposing a second batch of students to birds and birdwatching.

In any rural setting, any available resource is quickly associated as food resource. The time is now if not 70 years ago to make the people of places of conservation value like Bakelalan, Bario and others more connected with the conservation work that are taking place elsewhere in bigger less bird diverse area. It might not be too late for the rural children to appreciate birds on a higher aesthetic level rather than quickly to associate it to a bowl of soup at the dinner table. Once these youngsters value birds more than just as a food resource, it will become clear to them that conservation is the only right path to follow.

Black-headed Munia, found in abundant numbers near grassy areas of Bakelalan.

Perched in the paddyfield.

Looks to be a perfect spot for early morning and last afternoon birdwatching, high up in the hills.

White-breasted Waterhen looking wary by the edge of the paddyfield.

With sufficient investment in time and effort from the school, its teachers and birdwatching fraternity, we hope that one day there'll be more birders in Bakelalan both in the form of a local as well as in the form of the paying tourist variety.

Bird list of Ba’Kelalan from 18th till 21st October 2010 (not limited to Bakelalan village) by Yeo Siew Teck

1 Cinnamon Bittern Flying over / In flight
2 Little Egret Feeding
3 Black Eagle Flying over / In flight
4 White-breasted Waterhen Heard and seen
5 Common Sandpiper Heard and seen
6 Spotted Dove Perched
7 Lesser Coucal Heard call only
8 Glossy Swiftlet Flying over / In flight
9 Gold-whiskered Barbet Feeding
10 Mountain Barbet Feeding Endemic
11Bornean Barbet Heard call only Endemic
12 Rufous Woodpecker Heard call only
13 Crimson-winged Woodpecker Pecking
14 Banded Broadbill Heard call only
15 Black-and-yellow Broadbill Heard call only
16 Golden-bellied Gerygone Heard and seen
17 White-breasted Woodswallow Perched
18 Ashy Drongo Perched
19 Pied Fantail Heard and seen
20 Pacific Swallow Flying over / In flight
21 Yellow-bellied Prinia Heard call only
22 Yellow-vented Bulbul Heard and seen
23 Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Heard and seen
24 Ashy Tailorbird Heard and seen
25 Black-throated Wren-babbler Heard and seen Endemic
26 Asian Fairy-bluebird Heard call only
27 Oriental Magpie-robin Heard and seen
28 Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Feeding
29 Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Heard and seen
30 Plain Flowerpecker Perched
31 Brown-throated Sunbird Heard and seen
32 Crimson Sunbird Feeding
33 Little Spiderhunter Heard and seen
34 Eurasian Tree Sparrow Feeding
35 Dusky Munia Heard and seen
36 Black-headed Munia Flying over / In flight
37 Grey Wagtail Heard and seen
38 Red-breasted Partridge Heard call only
39 Cattle Egret Feeding
40 Crested Serpent-eagle Flying over / In flight
41 Little Cuckoo-dove Perched
42 Thick-billed Green-pigeon Feeding
43 Banded Bay Cuckoo Heard call only
44 Greater Coucal Heard and seen
45 Bornean Frogmouth Heard and seen Endemic
46 Whiskered Treeswift Hawking for insects
47 Rufous-collared Kingfisher Heard call only
48 Stork-billed Kingfisher Heard and seen
49 Rhinoceros Hornbill Heard call only
50 Helmeted Hornbill Heard call only
51 Maroon Woodpecker Heard call only
52 Banded Broadbill Heard call only
53 Black-and-yellow Broadbill Heard and seen
54 Golden-bellied Gerygone Heard and seen
57 Scarlet Minivet Heard and seen
58 Bornean Whistler Foraging Endemic
59 Spangled Drongo Heard and seen
60 Spotted Fantail Heard call only
61 Black-headed Bulbul Heard and seen
62 Black-crested Bulbul Heard and seen
63 Red-eyed Bulbul Perched
64 Ochraceous Bulbul Heard and seen
65 Ashy Bulbul Heard and seen
66 Arctic Warbler Foraging
67 Yellow-bellied Warbler Heard and seen
68 Black-capped Babbler Heard call only
69 Chestnut-backed Scimitar-babbler Heard call only
70 Grey-throated Babbler Heard and seen
71 Striped Tit-babbler Heard call only
72 Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush Heard and seen Endemic
73 White-browed Shrike-babbler Heard call only
74 Brown Fulvetta Heard and seen
75 Chestnut-crested Yuhina Feeding Endemic
76 White-bellied Yuhina Heard and seen
77 Pygmy White-eye Feeding Endemic
78 Rufous-winged Philentoma Heard call only
79 White-tailed Flycatcher Perched
80 Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher Heard call only
81 Greater Green Leafbird Feeding
82 Bornean Leafbird/Kinabalu Leafbird Feeding Endemic
83 Olive-backed Sunbird Heard and seen
84 Grey-breasted Spiderhunter Heard and seen
85 Crested Serpent-eagle Flying over / In flight
86 Blue-crowned Hanging-parrot Flying over / In flight
87 Drongo Cuckoo Heard call only
88 White-crowned Hornbill Heard call only
89 Whitehead's Broadbill Perched Endemic
90 Bornean Treepie Heard and seen Endemic
91 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hawking for insects
92 Black-and-crimson Oriole Foraging
93 Black-naped Monarch Heard call only
94 Crested Jay Heard call only
95 Scaly-breasted Bulbul Heard and seen
96 Temminck's Babbler Heard call only
97 Rufous-fronted Babbler Heard call only
98 Black-capped White-eye Feeding
99 Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Foraging
100 Dark-sided Flycatcher Hawking for insects
101 Verditer Flycatcher Perched
102 Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Perched
103 Wreathed Hornbill Flying over / In flight
104 White-throated Fantail Heard and seen
105 Short-tailed Green Magpie Heard and seen
106 Sunda Bush-warbler Foraging
107 Mountain Blackeye Feeding Endemic
108 Flavescent Bulbul Perched Endemic
109 Yellow-breasted Warbler Foraging
110 Mountain Wren-babbler Heard call only Endemic
111 Eyebrowed Jungle-flycatcher Heard and seen Endemic
112 Barred Eagle-owl Heard call only
113 Brown-capped woodpecker Drumming/Pecking
114 Grey-chinned Minivet Heard and seen
115 Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike Hawking for insects
116 Blyth's Hawk-eagle Flying over / In flight
117 Pink-necked Green-pigeon Feeding
118 Indian Cuckoo Heard call only
119 Red-billed Malkoha Foraging
120 Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Feeding
121 Scarlet-rumped Trogon Heard call only
122 Orange-breasted Trogon Heard & Seen
123 Grey-cheeked Bulbul Heard call only

Last year we donated 2 Susan Myer's Birds of Borneo Fieldguide to Cikgu Sang and the community. This year we left another copy to the teachers who will be the torchbearers for this rural birdwatching effort.

It is hoped that by Jan 2012, we will have at least one AWC survey conducted in Bakelalan and by later by June a "MY Garden Birdwatch" event executed by the students and teachers with help from the birdwatching fraternity. Next trip : "How to enter Bakelalan bird sightings to BIW!"

Write-up and photo by
Nazeri Abghani, MNS Miri, Oct 2011

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