Raptor Watch 2011

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f10, 1/400 sec

Acara Pemerhatian Burung Helang 2011 - Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f10, 1/400 sec

Every year, around this time, thousands of migratory eagles, hawks and buzzards make a stopover at Tanjung Tuan in Port Dickson. The magnificent raptors are on a long and hazardous journey home from Pulau Rupat in Indonesia. With the end of winter, the birds are returning to their native habitat in Siberia, China, Mongolia, Korea, Japan, India and Indochina.

The Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has been organising the Raptor Watch weekend to celebrate this spectacular phenomenon, to promote eco-tourism and to educate the public on the importance of conservation.

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f9, 1/640 sec

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f9, 1/640 sec

Greatest Show Above Earth. It was already 5 pm on Saturday and I was about to leave for KL. I was at the PNB Ilham Resort since 11 am and didn’t spot a single raptor. Then, all of a sudden, hundreds of them appeared magically from across the the Straits of Malacca and put up this awesome aerial show.

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f10, 1/400   sec

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f10, 1/400 sec

High Flyers. The birds utilise the hot air currents to give it lift and to glide; thereby saving energy for the long journey ahead. It’s an honour to greet these soaring visitors and every Malaysian should endevour to see it at least once in their lifetime. With the birds cruising so high up, a pair of binoculars may be useful. With the Olympus M.Zuiko 75-300mm lens, the magnification is approximately 15x.

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f11, 1/640 sec

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f11, 1/640 sec

Cape Ricardo, Blue Lagoon and Tanjung Tuan are some of the names for this stretch of picturesque beach in PD. The migratory birds chose the spot for practical reasons. It is the shortest point between here and Indonesia and there is a forest (reserve) where they can rest for the night and feed.

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f7.1, 1/320 sec

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f7.1, 1/320 sec

Eager Learner. There are a lot of things to see and learn on the ground. The pictures are of the Oriental Honey Buzzards. Other raptors spotted include the Greater Spotted Eagle, Japanese Sparrowhawk, Black Baza, Chinese Goshawk and Eurasian Kestrel (among some of the 25 species of visiting raptors).

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f6.3, 1/160 sec

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f6.3, 1/160 sec

Come Together. Buy a T-shirt from the MNS or sign-up as a member to help their education and conservation efforts.

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f9, 1/400 sec

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f9, 1/400 sec

No Dampener. Take guided mangrove walks under the lighthouse or seashore walks. The camera’s Dramatic Tone Art Filter was enabled for this view of the shore at low tide with rain clouds hovering above.

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f11, 1/3200 sec

Olympus E-PL2, ISO 200, f11, 1/3200 sec

Sunset over Straits of Malacca. For the adventurous, the Port Dickson-Melaka coastal road offers much to explore such as rustic kampung houses and lonely beaches around the Kuala Linggi and Pasir Panjang areas.

See also:
Angsty Ants | Layang Layang | The Bird Park | Stalking Storks | The Art Of Art Filters

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