Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Book Review: Birds of Perak -Peninsular Malaysia and where to see them

Recently, my friend loaned me this book to read and after a couple of days going through....i told myself, i should write a "book review" or summary about it and share it with like minded readers. Well here it goes:

White crowned hornbill
Published in 2006 by the Malaysian Nature Society, Perak Bird Group, this book was made possible through efforts of a number of like-minded "bird people", banding together to photograph, video record and most importantly share their passion and the places they discovered their "1st loves"in the state of Perak.

The book is layout based on the broad category of 5 major bird habitats where this birds are spotted. Accompanying it are photos, maps on how to get there and finally a checklist of sites and the likely birds you will see there.

I summarised below the sites based on their assigned habitat categories, the location you should be heading to.

Mangroves, Coast and the Sea
  • Kuala Gula Bird Sanctuary
  • Kuala Sepetang Eco-Education Centre
Lowland Rainforests
  • Ulu Kenas,Terong Water Intake, Ulu Sungai Guar -all part of the Bubu Forest Reserve
  • Burmese Pool, Taiping
  • Jalan Sumpitan, Bintang Hijau Forest Reserve
  • Temengor, Belum
  • Piah Forest Reserve
  • Sungai Wildlife Conversation Centre, Sungkai
Montane Rainforest
  • Maxwell Hill aka Bukit Larut
  • Pos Slim
Freshwater Wetlands
  • Bidor Ex-mining lands
  • Malim Nawar Wetlands
  • Kinta Nature Park, Batu Gajah
  • Pondok Tanjong Forest Reserve
Open Areas and Parks
  • Taiping Lake Gardens
  • Kek Look Tong
  • Ulu Dedap
Overall, this 150 page paperback book (accompanied by a 60-minute 254 birds galore VCD)  is well organised, describing the site, how to get there, (including transportation and facilities), featured birds in this location and finally other attractions nearby. A point to note though is that some of this areas are located in private plantations or property. Without local command of the language, getting access to some of this areas can be quite tricky and in some occasions, having a local guide might be better.

On a final note,birding as a tourist activity has definitely taken a hold in Malaysia with 2 international and well known events such as the Bird Race in Fraser Hill (Pahang) and Raptor Watch in Tanjung Tuan (Melaka), but what the Bird Committee in Perak hoped for is to cultivate a strong awareness that there are many fantastic sites in Perak that hopefully will draw people from all around and most importantly push thru the need to conserved and preserve this birding sites from the encroachment of development , logging and the ever growing palm oil plantations.

Getting a copy
Last i checked, this is out of print. Hopefully there will be subsequent reprints coming out, so that i can get my hand on a copy as well.

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