Annual arrival of hundreds of Raptors: join Raptor Watch Weekend on 
Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th of March 2009 

Who they are and what they do

rww-raptorsEvery year the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) celebrates this annual arrival of hundreds, sometimes thousands of honey-buzzards, goshawks, sparrowhawks, Black bazas and many more birds of prey. These amazing winged creatures pause in the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve (not far from Port Dickson, Negeri Sembilan) as they make their way on their long sojourn to their breeding grounds in Japan, Siberia, Kamchatka, Korea and other far-flung northern areas. Located at the narrowest part of the Malacca Straits, the raptors stop here to recharge after flying non-stop for 32km from Indonesia.

It truly is a sight to behold. Once rested and able to continue, hundreds of these impressive, powerful creatures circle above as they wait to catch the thermal (columns of hot air that help them to glide and therefore save energy) and continue on their journey northwards; sometimes flying in low and allowing you a closer glimpse of their feathery details. It is a breathtaking phenomenon that takes place every March.

To commemorate this unique natural occurrence, MNS has held a carnival on the grounds of PNB Ilham Resort (see how to get there belowevery year since 1999. The event grew out of the need to protect these raptors and their habitats; with the increased publicity and international recognition of Raptor Watch Weekend, MNS successfully managed to get the Tanjung Tuan forest gazetted into a forest reserve. Today the festival has evolved into an all-out gala with entertainment for young and old, the naturalist, as well as the city-slicker. You don’t need to be an expert on birds to enjoy the goings-on at Raptor Watch Weekend.

What a traveler can experience

  • Watch the raptors: If you are present at the PNB Ilham grounds for the Raptor Watch festivities, it is possible to see the raptors as they soar overhead from the nearby Tanjung Tuan forest. They often circle right over the festival grounds as they catch the thermal and sometimes fly quite low. Alternatively you can take a short (uphill) walk to the lighthouse and watch them soaring in from over the Melaka Straits from there. You can’t miss the birders who will already be there with their equipment. We can never predict or promise an arrival time for these birds, but a clear sky and a hot day is always a good sign. Ensure you have sunglasses, a hat, sunblock and water (you can stock up on drinks at the festival grounds). If you plan to take the forest or mangrove walks, walking shoes or booties are highly recommended.

  • rww-mangrove-tourDiscover and appreciate the natural heritage of the surrounding areaJust footsteps away from the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve and its lighthouse (that accords you the best view of the incoming raptors), are the mangroves of the Tanjung Tuan promontory. MNS volunteers are on hand to guide you through the forests, the mangroves and the intertidal area and to open your eyes to worlds that you may never have experienced before.

  • Learn and have fun : If it’s too hot to wander in the sun, there are plenty of arts and crafts, games and exhibitions in the shade to enjoy; and lots of activities to keep the kids entertained. People with a penchant for spending can shop to their heart’s content – every year there are binoculars and scopes experts on hand as well as numerous other books, t-shirts and other merchandise and gift ideas from both MNS and other NGOs. Of course there will be food and drinks, as well as air-conditioned talks, workshops and video screenings.
  • Be part of it by volunteering : Raptor Watch Weekend needs you. More than a 100 volunteers run this event annually. Help is needed to man games and activity booths; guide visitors in the forest, mangroves and on the beach; and to run the talks, exhibitions and other stalls. The organisers are looking for nature-related people to give talks on various topics of interest.
    While the ‘work’ requires the availability of the volunteer from the Friday night to the Sunday afternoon, it is more play than hard slog and a great opportunity to meet like-minded people who are really good company. It’s a learning experience too; if you have some interest in natural areas, you get a weekend’s training in the ecosystem of your choice before you are set free with a more experienced guide to show the world what Tanjung Tuan has to offer.

Contacts

Location : PNB Ilham Resort, Batu 10, Tanjung Biru, 71050 Si Rusa, Port Dickson, Negri Sembilan Darul Khusus, Malaysia (Tel : +60-6-6626800)

To find out more about Raptor Watch Weekend :Website : http://www.raptorwatch.org

Email: raptorwatch@gmail.com or public.relations@mns.org.my

Tel: Melissa (+60-3-22879422)   Fax: 60-3-22878773

To volunteer or give talks at Raptor Watch Weekend : Contact: Serina +60-17-6729367 or email serina_mola@yahoo.com

How to get there

By Car

  • rww-meTake the North-South Highway (PLUS Highway) heading towards Seremban.
  • Exit at the Seremban / Port Dickson exit and turn right at the traffic lights after the toll.
  • From here you will pass through several traffic lights before entering the Port Dickson – Seremban Highway. There will be another toll.
  • After the toll follow the highway all the way to the end (don’t follow the signs to PD – you are actually headed towards Teluk Kemang).  Keep heading straight until you come to a roundabout with very tall, run down apartment/hotel blocks (PD World Marina Resort) behind it.
  • At this roundabout, take the 9 o’clock turn and head down the trunk road. You will pass a Chinese temple on your left and the entrance of PD World Marina Resorts on your right.
  • Keep driving on this trunk road until you see the Gouman Resort entrance and a golf course on your right and a sign for Hutan Simpanan Tanjung Tuan (Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve) sign on your left.
  • Go slowly (it is the 2nd right turn from Guoman Resort) until you see the sign to Rachardo Army Camp and several hotel signboards on the corner. It is a small road lined with trees.
  • Take the right turn into this smaller road and head straight to the end, past the Federal bungalows and Casa Rachardo. At the end of the road you will come to PNB Ilham Resort and the entrance to the Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve.
  • The event is on the Resort’s field.

By bus

  • There is a KL – Port Dickson bus from Puduraya bus station. Stop at Port Dickson town and take a taxi to PNB Ilham Resort

By Train

  • Take a KTM train from KL Sentral to KTM Seremban. Trains leave every  hour and stop at KTM Seremban. From there take a taxi to PNB Ilham Resort – but it is quite a distance away.

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Written by Serina Rahman, KL. 26 Jan 2009
Permission granted to reproduce for personal use only.
Commercial use is prohibited.

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