Friday, June 18, 2010

Panti Bird Sanctuary

Field trip to Panti Forest

10th April 2010
Even though my friend Mam has arrived from chiangmai two days ago, due to the project of data and server migration task that required me to work 24hrs on 7th April till 8th April, only today we could start our journey to Kota Tingi. There are a series of emails that we exchange a few weeks ago to decide on which are the birding spots to be shown to her during this time of her visit to Malaysia. Field trips reports and words of mouths from her friends about Panti Bird Sanctuary/Bunker Trail instigated to her that it must be a place for her to visit one day.
Panti Forest, the GPS coordinates is N 01o 52 504 E 103o 54' 948. It is being highlighted in Birdlife factsheet as IBA. It has been recorded several endemic and gloabally threated species found here eg Storm Stock, Crestless Fireback,Wallace's Hawk-eagle, Short-toed Coucal. This trail the bird watchers communities foldly called it as Bunker Trail. It was named after the two bunkers demarcate both side of the road ever since from World War II.
As the journey from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Tingi the nearest town for Panti Bird Sanctuary takes 5 hrs, we will use this day as our travelling day. This allow me and kim the chance to show her Kluang Railway Stations and Zenxin Organic Park at Kluang.
Kluang Railway station is a must to patron to taste the old times hainanese aromatic coffee, kaya butter toast and soft boiled eggs. Over the years things have change this coffee shops is no longer having some Chinese hainanese mens running around to server you food. After many centuries past, this old times coffee shop has a new facelift and is now operated by young Malay entrepreneurs. However the taste of coffee, the old time utensils being display reminds me of my late grandmother’s coffee.

For Panti forest birding trip, Hotel Seri Kota, Jln Jaafar, Kota Tingi tel no 607-8838111 seems to met the criterias of decently clean bedsheets as well as bathroom, reasonable rate, within walking distance to food court to ease food packing to be taken as trail lunch .

How to get there.
Hotel Seri Kota the GPS co-ordinate is N01o 43 609 E 103o 54 024. Use the North South Expressway exit at Ayer Hitam toll. Then follow the signage to Kluang town, then follow the road signs to Kota Tingi Town. A self-drive journey from Kuala Lumpur is approximately 5hrs.

11th April - 12th April 2010
The long awaiting days with great anticipations for Mam to have the taste of birding at Suaka Panti/Panti Bird Sanctuary has finally arrived. Panti Bird Sanctuary surprisingly beside well known Taman Negara and Fraser’s Hill this small dot in Malaysia map is well known to bird watchers locally & internationally. There are many posting in the internet regarding Suaka Burung Panti or was fondly refer as Panti Bunker Trail.

During this visit of mine I was shocked to discovered that many foreigners beside Singaporean who can self-drive , there are visitors from Australia, American, Holland do visit this small dot of Malaysia’s map. In this trip we met up with a Conservationist by profession, origin from Holland. He told us he read all the field trips that was posted in the internet regarding bunker’s trail. He did his trip in a budget manner, during his time at Panti, he stay in Hotel Seri Kota, dine at our local food at the food court nearby the hotel. He arrange taxi service to send him and pick up to Suaka Panti. He told us the taxi service it cost RM50 for a to and fro trip.

For your knowledge Suaka Panti is under the management coverage of Johor South Forestry Department. It is their requirement for visitors to write formally to inform them the date of your visit and furnish them the list of names, identity card no/passport no of the visitors.

Some days Johor forestry rangers do patrol Suaka Panti, few of my friends due to ignorant did not write to before hand are being ordered to leave bunker trail immediately.
Below is the sample of required formal letter that need to submit before your visit. I have sudocode some sensitive informations.

Pejabat Hutan Daerah Johor Selatan,
Aras 9, Bangunan Sultan Ibrahim,
Jln. Bukit Timbalan,
80000 Johor Bahru.

Per: Kebenaran Melawat Ke Suaka Panti (Panti Bird Santuary) Bunker Trail
Dengan hormatnya, saya merujuk kepada perkara tersebut di atas, sukacita dimaklumkan bahawa saya dan rakan-rakan saya akan mengadakan lawatan ke tempat disebut.

Sehubungan dengan itu, dipohon jasabaik tuan/puan untuk membenarkan :-

Tarikh : 10th April 2010 - 14th April 2010
Pelawat: Wong Chor Mun icno 9999-99-9999 tel no 012-1234567
Lam XXX XXXX icno 9999-99-9999
Lee XXXXXX icno 9999-99-9999
NXXXXXXX passport no ABC12345

Tujuan : Bird watching and nature photography
Saya berharap tuan/puan dapat mempertimbangka.

Sekian terima kasih,

Yang benar

Compare to my previous visit, the uneven gravel jeep track has being put a great effort to level it and sand pave. We are grateful that this has allow Suaka Burung Panti can be reached by normal sedan car.
Johor govertment is still upgrading Suaka Burung Panti. In this visit I discovered that it has some new well carve jungle trails, resting hut/wakaf, parking lot, information gallery, Observation Tower (is open now), bird bath. However it is still incomplete cause there is no toilet.

I’m just lost of words when my overseas friends asked me “… Aren’t this place a forest reserve ?
There are still logging activities ? We saw a few logging trucks pass by where every logs would required at least 3 person to hold hands in order to able to hug a log. Compares to the forest reserver and national park in the overseas that I have visited. In my 2 sen, as Suaka Burung Panti is gaining it’s popularity it would necessary to equip it with forest ranger, basic accommodation in the form of chalet and camping ground.

We also wish to highlight to express our desire that this Suaka Burung Panti would continue exist for many generations to come because Malaysia have not many good low land forest that can act as a water catchment’s and flood resistance place. Suaka Burung Panti is also a few left good low-land forest that home Great Argus (burung kuang) , Malaysia Peacock-Pheasant (Merak Pongsu) that we Malaysian should be proud off.

This small dot in Malaysia Map do contribute a small substantial income to Malaysia through eco-tourism/green tour.

As I carry out a conversation with a lone bird watcher from Netherlands who was there during my visit, he was very much concern about the logging activities that still persist on. He stress that by the rate of the big load of logs being transport out the ecosystem of Panti would be fragmented will lead to animals, insects, birds diminish. In long run will contribute to global warming and the end result the sufferer would be us the Malaysian e.g. scarce drinking water. He also wish to highlight and hope that we Malaysia will not repeat the same problems that other countries are facing due uncontrolled logging.

This year we seems to have a longer drier spell compare to previous year. This long spell drought has greatly affected Johor State. The workers at panti relate to me that in the previous month the plants at the parking lot small garden start to withered and die. They have to ferry water from the rivers at least 3 times a day to maintain their survival.

In this visit I notice the river’s water level is indeed very low compare to my previous visit. Due to the heat, we notice bird activities in the morning session diminish completely after 10am.

Nevertheless we managed to see and heard during this 2 days.
Great Argus, White Bellied Woodpecker, Checker-Throated Woodpecker, Buff-Rumped Woodpecker, Maroon Woodpecker, Gold Whiskered Barbet, Red-Throated Barbet, Oriental Pied Hornbill, Scarlet Rumped Trogon, Red Bearded Bee Eater, Rufous Backed Kingfisher, Indian Cuckoo, Whiskered Treeswift, Emerald Dove,Crested Serpent Eagle, Blue Winged Pitta, Black and Yelllow Broadbill, Greater Racket Tailed Drongo, Dark Throated Oriole, Scarlet Minivet, Black Naped Monarch, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher, White Rumped Sharma, Black Headed Bulbul, Grey Bellied Bulbul, Spectacled Bulbul, Red-Eye Bulbul, Buff-Vented Bulbul, Cream Vented Bulbul, Yellow Bellied Bulbul, Striped-Throated Bulbul, Artic Warbler, White Eye, Striped Tit Babbler, Chestnut Winged Babbler, Scooty-Capped Babbler, Yellow Breasted Flowerpecker, Crimson Breasted Flowerpecker, Ruby-Cheeked Sunbird