This was my second visit to Sarawak in two months, this time to run a Waterbird Workshop for Wetlands International, to train participants from Indonesia, Brunei and East Malaysia in techniques for conducting the Asian Waterbird Census.
A variety of footwear was on display for our first field session, at Kuala Baram...
...some more practical than others! Erwin left one of his rubber slippers somewhere deep in the mud - to be discovered by fossil fuel hunters many eons into the future perhaps!
Once on firmer ground we got down to the business at hand.
Field notes were duly taken...
...and then checked against the field guide. Hey - it works - we can actually identify those little brown waders!
Of course, there are always some naughty students in every class!
Our bird of the day was this Caspian Tern, a rare bird in East Malaysia.
Group photo time!
The following day we ventured into Brunei, where the scenery changed abruptly at the border. The oil industry has kept Brunei's forests relatively intact, and it was a welcome sight to see.
We went to Seria, where we carried out a practice AWC count. It was good to record a Chinese Egret there, but my best sighting was far more unexpected. In my late teens I was mentored in my home county of Suffolk by the then County Recorder, Derek Moore, who is now, I believe, with the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales.At Seria we were met and guided around the site by Derek's son Jeremy, who has followed his Dad's footsteps in becoming a keen birder, while pursuing a slightly more lucrative trade in the oil industry! Small world!
Typical village house in Brunei!
The three-day workshop was over all too quickly, leaving our 37 participants to disperse by plane, bus and car. Many good friendships were made over the course, and plans were made for more extensive AWC coverage next year. My thanks especially to Nazeri Abghani, who, as in the Kota Kinabalu workshop, was a peerless organizer, and to Gabriel Chong from WI, who made sure that everything and everyone was thought of and catered for. Mention should also be made of the Imperial Hotel where the workshop was held - which provided us with excellent service and food!