Friday, March 20, 2015

Raptor Watch Week Tanjung Tuan 2015

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Held in Tanjung Tuan, Malacca this 2015, I was very glad to be part of the team of dedicated counters from Malaysian Nature Society's Selangor Branch Bird Group who are very experienced birdwatchers lead by Swee Seng. We were stationed at the front area of the lighthouse looking out into the Straits of Malacca, from 9am to 5pm. The Raptor count had started since 14th February 2015 with 763 Oriental Honey Buzzards sighted according to MNS Raptor Watch website. Luckily Swee Seng was patient enough to show me how to record temperature, wind speed & direction, barometer readings correctly that Saturday, 14th March morning starting from 9am, and the recording had to be done every 1 hourly after that until 5pm.  

Turtles, a Shark, Schools of Fish were also seen swimming amongst the corals of
Tanjung Tuan (Cape Sir if literally translated from BM to English)
This lifesize figurine of a fake owl belonging to Swee Seng & Carol was strapped on a pole and hoisted up the Indian Cherry Tree in front of the lighthouse. According to a website, fake owl decoys were used to deter common pest species of bird like pigeons and even in airports to deter birds flying near the runway. The Tanjung Tuan Owl Decoy did manage to prevent any raptors from flying into the lighthouse area. We just marveled at the raptors, mainly Oriental Honey Buzzards soaring above & around the lighthouse. 

Tanjung Tuan lighthouse
OHB soaring on the thermal
above the forest hill of
Tanjung Tuan

OHB of Tanjung Tuan

Edible juicy Indian cherries from the tree 
that shaded us from the heat 
MNS organized the Raptor Watch
exhibition booths along the road leading up
to the lighthouse
Swee Seng our lead counter was kind enough to allow me to go visit the exhibition booths along the road leading up to Tanjung Tuan lighthouse, at 4pm since the booths close by 5pm on that Sat itself. 

Lovely dinner at this Xiwang
Seafood Village along Teluk Kemang
Complimentary Yee Sang from
Xiwang Seafood Village 

The Nightjar (Long-Tailed) that we saw
on the way back from dinner 
Count sheet to be filled in daily with Raptor species,
Bee-eaters (Blue-tailed, Blue-throated & other spp), 

resident species & additional species 
(like Oriental Pratincoles etc.) 

Last time I volunteered to count was in 2007, hence that Saturday, 14th March 2015 was a new refresher learning experience for me - I was mainly a recorder that day but the raptors seen that day and the following Sunday were worth the trip from KL. Mark was our lead counter on Sunday, 15th March 2015 and I did count that day from 11.45 to 12.15 noontime. I sat on the concrete fence that surrounded the lighthouse and my arms turn to jelly after 30 minutes of intense counting. That was the longest time i could bear holding my bins on my right hand and clicker on my left hand. Luckily, Mark reminded me to sit in the shade when i was counting away. Tiring but I felt really happy seeing OHB flying towards Tanjung Tuan. The bird of the day was definitely the Wreathed Hornbill flying into Tanjung Tuan lighthouse that Sunday, 15th March 2015! Swee Seng's Eurasian Hobby remain elusive and did not make an appearance that weekend. One of the reasons could be that the resident Peregrine Falcon was around that weekend mornings or the Hobby could have moved on. 


  1. MNS has updated their Raptor Watch website as at 23 March 2015 with 44,765 raptors as at that date. Full information at raptor-count/

  2. Interesting article on the number of IBAs in Malaysia (55) with 795 species of birds recorded (I think), out of which 60 endemic species are found only in Malaysia and nowhere else in the world. Article available at

  3. Johnston Atoll National Wildlife Refuge and the work done there by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, roping in volunteers to reduce the population explosion of acid-spewing ants which are killing the seabirds there, take volunteerism to a whole new level. Article at

  4. Error in the description of nightjar in my posting above. Large-tailed nightjar at Port Dickson and NOT the long-tailed nightjar. Seems latter is only found in Africa.


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