Report and image by Lim Kim Chye
As in past years, MNS Perak Branch Bird Group carried out the AWC 2011 at the following sites:
Kamunting North, 16th Jan – K C Lim, Swee Yian, Ang Wai Sheng
Kamunting South, 16th Jan – K C Lim, Swee Yian, Ang Wai Sheng
Ulu Dedap, 20th Jan – Ooi Beng Yean, Chiu Sein Chiong and Lee Poh Peng
Sg. Buaya, 20th Jan – Chan Kai Soon, Susan Cheong
Taiping Lake Gardens, 23rd Jan – Ng Kok Keong, K C Lim, Swee Yian and Tan Ah Lai
Malim Nawar, 23rd Jan – Tan Ah Lai, Constance, Chan Kai Soon and Susan Cheong
Kuala Gula, 24th Jan – Bazilah & Rahman (DWNP), Tan Ah Lai and K C Lim
Kinta Nature Park, 30th Jan – Chan Kai Soon, Susan Cheong, Chiu Sein Chiong, Ho Kum Leng and Ng Sui Hann
There were a few changes to the survey methods to improve data collection. Due to its extensive area, the Ulu Dedap/Sg. Buaya site was surveyed simultaneously by two teams. However, in keeping with previous years, the counts from both areas were combined and reported as one site. Taiping Lake Gardens was surveyed twice, once in the morning and again in the evening when egrets were coming back to roost near one of the lakes. In addition, we have started to make google maps of the sites so that the same survey routes are followed every time.
A total of about 5,366 birds were counted comprising 34 species of waterbirds and shorebirds, 2 species of terns and 4 species of kingfishers. KNP and Malim Nawar held 27 and 26 species respectively, confirming the importance of ex-mining lands for our birdlife. KNP had 6 of the now uncommon White-browed Crake and 2 wintering Pheasant-tailed Jacana. Malim Nawar, despite the intensive aquaculture activities there, nevertheless had a good range of shorebirds including Long-toed Stints, Black-winged Stilts and the rare Ruff. Egrets again featured prominently in the counts at Ulu Dedap/Sg Buaya ricefields, with the most significant data being the high count of 166 Intermediate Egrets. The evening count of egrets coming to roost in the Taiping Lake gardens yielded a surprising 1000 Cattle Egrets and smaller numbers of Little Egrets.
This year’s AWC had a star attraction. A single Little Cormorant seen in Kamunting South was the first ever for the Perak AWC, as well as being a Peninsular lifer for all three lucky team members. The bird stayed in the same mining pool for more than 2 weeks and attracted many visiting birders and bird photographers.
As is the practice for the past few years, we joined PERHILITAN staff to survey Kuala Gula. The count, carried out at the usual Ban Chu Kau and Sg. Gula trails, included for the first time, a visit to some retention ponds in the oil palm plantation adjoining the site. Kuala Gula highlights included one Lesser Adjutant in flight, Grey-headed Lapwing, Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Sandpiper and two juvenile Milky Storks seen with the flock of released ones.