Monday 30 September 2013

Bedong - A new raptor count site for Malaysia

 Bedong is a small laid-back down in Kedah,  north of Sungai Petani and south of Gurun and is located in the central Kedah plains, to the west is Gunung Jerai, and the east is the Bukit Selambau "Hills". Generally, the east of Kedah is covered by hills and mountain ranges. Therefore every autumn, raptors migrating from the northern hemisphere will pass through this not so narrow choke point, compared to the Isthmus of Kra in southern Thailand. Yet it still present good opportunities for raptor viewing from a hillock at Bedong, near Kongsi 6. Last year volunteers from MNS counted about 60,000 raptors over a 45-day period. We decide to name the hillock Aun Tiah Hill to honour the grand not so old man of Malaysian raptors, Mr Lim Aun Tiah.

Now to the birds, or rather raptors, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Chinese Goshawk, Grey-faced Buzzard and the Black Baza are all easily seen here. Generally peaking towards mid and end October. What makes Bedong so special is the number of the not so common migratory raptors. Booted Eagles, Ospreys and Aquilas were seen. Black Kites and Harriers (both Pied and Eastern Marsh) were occasionally seen and they tend to migrate lower. The rarest for last year's count should be the Common Buzzard but for me the raptor of the count should be the Rufous Bellied Eagle, a 1st occurance for this location.

MNS will be doing the count again this year, we are looking for volunteers, especially from now till 10th October, although the numbers of raptors going through are low, and will be building up, it is easier to spot rarities. A big thank you to last year's volunteers, and those had already indicated to me they are interested in this year's count.

Tan Choo Eng
Malaysia Nature Society, Penang

Note: Choo Eng and I did a count on 28/09/2013 from 0930 - 1230 hrs and here are the results
1) Japanese Sparrwohawk - 104
2) Oriental Honey-buzzard - 9
3) Chinese Goshawk - 1
4) Accipiter spp. - 71