By Choo Eng
My planned trip to the MNS Plain Pouched Hornbills Project at Belum Temenggor, via the Butterworth to Kulim, to Kupang (Baling) to Gerik Hiway then Banding Island in Upper(Ulu) Perak yield the 1st surprise! The nesting family of Bat Hawks near the Kedah-Perak border was still around! This must be one of the longest fledgling still dependent on Mama and Papa ever recorded in Malaysia for a Raptor. About 6 months! Photo of Big Baby Bat Hawk (Photo above) perching next to it’s nest.
After passing Gerik town I had a lifer which I had been searching for years – the Black Eagle, (Photo-2) usually found at montane or “at worst” lower/sub-montane. It was soaring in the sky about 300 meters above sea level. It was also a lifer for my companion – Wendy, an MNS Selangor Branch member, she was also happy to get the 3 Bat Hawks as lifers.
Allow me to show the Memorial Plague (Photo-3) erected for those who died constructing the East West Highway, and let us spare some thoughts for those that perished there, especially those from JKR (previously know as PWD) which I believe is one of the most efficient Government Department (at least at that time……) and also not forgetting members of our arm forces.
Belum-Temenggor is constructed primary for this reason, look at this self-explanatory photo (Photo-4).
We were met on arrival at the Public Jetty by Ravin(MNS Coordinator) and 2 Volunteers on the way out.
They proudly told us they had just witnessed a new world record – about 2,800 plus Hornbills at one counting session.
They left, and Kim Chye – the replacement Coordinator arrived. We packed all our things, cameras, scopes, clothing, food, etc., onto 2 small boats and made our 30 minutes boat trip to the MNS monitoring house or hut. (Photo 5)
Unfortunately, due to rain we were unable to go to the Hornbill counting site, and the first afternoon was lost. But we took some time to assimilate ourselves, including to the pit-latrine. We had self cooked dinner and tried to had an early nite in eager anticipation of next morning’s count.
to be continued….