Words & image by Lim Kim Chye
All the signs promised a good showing by the raptors – daily totals building over the previous days and fine weather, with light tail winds on the morning itself – and we were not disappointed.
The 8th edition of the Taiping Raptor Watch held at Scott’s Hill on Sunday 31 October was a crowd pleaser but not before some anxious waiting. After a slow start with a few passing Oriental Honey Buzzards and small hawks, the first flock of 10 Black Bazas appeared at 1015 hrs, followed soon after by a larger flock of 51. Thereafter, flocks began appearing from all directions, with the bazas first spiraling up to gain height and then gliding silently in a stream overhead, appearing like planes on a bombing mission. The “baza extravaganza”, with some flocks numbering more than 100 birds, had the watchers all excited and the photographers happily clicking away.
This year, we were able to drive up to Scott’s Hill, thanks to the Taiping Villa management which gave us permission to enter their gated housing area to access the event site. We had an invited representative from Majlis Perbandaran Taiping (MPT) with us and took the opportunity to talk about the spectacle of raptor migration as an eco-tourism and environmental event for Taiping. The discussion was positive, with agreement reached in principle to co-operate in organizing the 2011 TRW as a public event.
At noon closing time, counters Hakim and Chiu had logged 1,094 Black Bazas out of a total of 1,149 raptors counted. Black Bazas were still passing overhead as the participants, including a family from Taiping Villa, left the site. The few of us involved in the full season monitoring returned to Taman Lake View to continue counting till 5.00 pm.