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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Update on Bird Race 2011 - More prizes to be won!

Only 2 days to go before Bird Race 2011, and we have some exciting news!

Our Bird Racers now have a chance to win a pair of top-quality Leica binoculars worth RM3,000! These world-class optics are now part of our prizes as Leica joins us as a sponsor.  The bird race is still open for last-minute entrants.  

We also have a draw worth RM1,900 for a lucky visitor to Permai coming for the Talks and Workshops on the first day of the Event. So come early and register at Permai Rainforest Resort.  Registration starts at the Permai reception desk at 7.30am. The Opening address by YB Datuk Haji Talib Zulpilip will begin at 8:30am and the talks will start at 9:15am.

On Saturday, visiting ornithologist  Nils Müller will answer many of your questions about different types of migrating birds.  Come and find out about Bird Migration.  We are very fortunate to be on one of the major migratory flight paths of these wonderful birds.  Flocks of migrating shorebirds can be seen in places like Bako-Buntal Bay, an internationally-recognized Important Bird Area close to Kuching

Our local speaker, Dr Charles Leh, is a recent recipient of the State Award Pegawai Bintang Kenyalang (PBK) for service to the Sarawak Museum as the Department’s Zoologist and Curator of Natural History.  Dr. Leh will talk about one of his areas of interest - The economic value of swiftlets in Sarawak. We invite you to get to know these fascinating little birds. Did you know that swiftlets fly the whole day without landing as they look for food? Did you know that swiftlet colonies can produce over a RM1.0 billion worth of nests a year? Come to find out more!

One of the world’s foremost hornbill conservationists, Dr. Pilai Poonswad, will share her experiences and success stories as leader of the Thailand Hornbill Project, one of the most successful hornbill conservation efforts in the world.  Dr Poonswad is currently a Professor of Biology at Mahidol University, Bangkok. She has received numeroushonors and awards, including the coveted Chevron Conservation Award and the ROLEX Award for Enterprise, for her scientific work and contributions to conservation. We are looking forward to her talk on her ongoing work for hornbill conservation in Thailand .

A famous photographer and writer from Singapore, Mr John Arifrin, will share his expertise on Wildlife picture taking.  His workshop will span two days with a classroom session at Permai on the first day and a practical session at Borneo Highlands Resort on the second day of the event. John Arifin travels across Asia documenting wildlife and culture, in search of a perfect moment to freeze in time. He contributes to local, regional and international magazines. We are very pleased that John has given up his weekend to come to Sarawak and to run a Wildlife and Bird workshop on how to capture those fantastic pictures.

No fees will be charged for the talks and workshops.

The Bird Race takes off on Sunday at Borneo Highlands!

The second day of the bird race will be held on Sunday (30 Oct) at Borneo Highlands.

The Racers will search for different bird species from 8am to 12 noon, recording their sightings in their log books for our three arbitrators to scrutinize.

While the racers are pursuing the birds, Jannie Tan and Dr. Chin will entertain the children. There will be games, arts and crafts, balloon twisting, face painting and many other enjoyable activities, designed so children between 4-10 years old can have fun while learning about nature.  Parents can leave their children with our volunteers in a secured classroom environment while they take part in our other organised activities. Registration starts at 8:00am.

For the general public, we have two types of nature walks (short and long) available for different fitness levels and preferences.  Our short walks will last about one hour, and are suitable for those who prefer to enjoy the beautiful environment and nature of Borneo Highlands along the easier trails.  Our long walks will last about 2 hours, and will be perfect for those who like more challenges and a greater exposure to nature.  Walkers are advised to dress comfortably, wear sturdy shoes and headgear, and bring drinks, sun block and insect repellent. Be prepared for wet weather.  Bring a change of clothes if you like.

Walks will start at 8am, and continue through the morning until 10am when the last walk will leave.

All walks will be led by trained volunteers from the Malaysian Nature Society, Kuching Branch.

Besides nature walks there are other planned activities, including a bird photo exhibition; talks; bird videos; binocular and scope display; and digiscoping demonstration and other events to enjoy throughout the morning.

A special talk on swiftlets will be presented by Dr. Lim Chan Koon at 12 noon.  Dr. Lim has a special interest in swiftlets, and earned his Ph.D working on the sustainable harvest and conservation of edible nest swiftlets (Aerodramus spp.) in Sarawak.  He has also worked in other areas of conservation, and was a senior lecturer in the Department of Zoology at UNIMAS.  Recently, Dr. Lim has decided to put his skills to business use, and has ventured into edible nest trade and production. He will share his experiences with us.

Complimentary return transfers will be available to take bird race participants up to the Resort.  Bird Racers must reach the foothill parking lot for transport to the resort before 7:30am.  Transfers start at 6:30am and continue at hourly intervals.

Non-racers and the general public will be allowed to drive up themselves with no entry charge, and to park their cars at the dedicated car park at the Resort.

For those who do not want to drive up to the resort, the taxi from the foothill parking lot costs RM15 per person each way in car pool system.

Other than the bird race, all the other activities organised will be offered for FREE to general public.

We hope all participants, whether racers or members of the public find our weekend activities worthwhile and enjoyable.  See you at the bird race this weekend!

For registration for the bird race, workshops, talks and other activities please call Susan Teal at 012-8874401 or Bernard Thian at 016-886 0139; you can also email us at sueteal2006@gmail.com or antwong@sareaga.com.  For more details and online registration, visit our facebook page at www.facebook.com/sarawakbirdrace.

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