Wednesday, December 31, 2014

A new year, renewed hope

Musa hirta- variously called as Pisang Hutan (Malay); Pisang Lengki/Kera/Gentu (Iban); Pisang Giang (Bidayuh)
Location:  Botanic Island One

 The first day of the new year and has been drizzling since dawn till about 10 am.  I took the first opportunity to have a walkabout with an umbrella and a camera.  Surprise is too mild a word.  Feeling exuberated, full of jubilations I came across the 'Monkey Banana' which is what the Ibans call the wild banana Musa hirta.  It has survived many fortunes of the jungle.  There on the jungle floor it managed to keep itself alive, next to a dead trunk.  It is a good sign for the new year, giving me much renewed hope.  The wild orchids especially the Bamboo orchid (Arundina graminifolia) seemed to enjoy the environment and over the past year has multiplied in numbers, without a care of the world.  The many little birds that are born in the park and calling it home came out early to enjoy the nectar of the heliconia plants.  Chief among them is the Little Spiderhunter.  Her bill was made to fit nicely into the orange bracts of the heliconia inflorescence thus empowering it to enjoy nature's bounty, even in flight.  Climbing up the steep Cempedak Hill, I notice the bee-like social wasps have constructed a pretty looking nest hanging from a branch of the Cempedak tree ( Artocarpus integer).  Coming close to the nest I could sense they were slightly agitated by the clicking of my camera and my umbrella.  A few came out of the entrance of the nest and with abdomens erect were ready to give me a sting if I moved in closer.  I gave up.  I don't want to end my first day of 2015 in bed.  Be safe, be happy, be kind and compassionate for 2015.
Bamboo orchid - Arundina graminifolia

Enjoying nature's bounty even in flight - Little Spiderhunter

Like the bees we are winged insects (or wasps) , forever bringing home knowledge and learning.  Home is where the heart is.
"We, men of knowledge are unknown to ourselves." ...who says so?

View of lowland dipterocarp forest preserved at the park
Location : Zone B

Oil palm trees in mixed planting to add to existing bio-diversity and produce income to help fund conservation activities at the park.

A truly wild-type of Rambutan tree, as part of the gene pool at the park.

Highlights today at the park - 31 Dec'14

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wind flower

The Pigeon Orchid or Dendrobium crumenatum
Location : Zone C

 "Bunga Angin" is Malay for 'wind flower'.  It is used to refer to the Pigeon orchid (Dendrobium crumenatum), whose seeds are transported by the wind and and grow as an orchid plant on tree trunks.  This orchid species is prevalent in the Oriental realm (China, India and South East Asia).  The white flowers are fragrant and the plant can flower a few times in a year especially after heavy rains, some 8-11 days later.  The Dendrobium tribe is one of the largest orchid tribes in the orchid family and comprises two main genera - Dendrobium (900 species) and Eria (400 species)..  Check a few more species of the dendrobium and its hybrids in my blog on orchids here ...>>
Looking like pigeons in flight

Rain or shine, always look forward to a new year

 December is almost over.  The north-east monsoon rains is yet to hit Bintulu with heavy floods.  Historically, the rains will gradually lessen its impact once February comes.  Therefore January is the month to watch out for floods, if ever it is to come and drown the low-lying areas of Bintulu. Fortunately the Kambatik Park is located in the interior lowland forest of Bintulu and is nestled in the headland of a river system  that eventually will join the major river system of Bintulu called the  'Batang Kemena' or the Kemena River.  Sitting in the headland makes it disposes the rainwater swiftly downstream in torrential flows.  Sometimes flash floods occur but it is  limited to areas along the stream and because of the gradient of the park the flash floods come and go within an hour or two.  Whatever it is, I am looking forward to a new year, rain or shine.
Bromheadia finlaysoniana - a native orchid species growing wild at the park

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Monday, December 29, 2014

Highlights today at the park - 29 Dec'14

Bignonia magnificaZone C

Fungus species
Zone B

Traveller's Palm (Ravenala madagascariensis) at left and Yellow Bamboo leaves (right) - Schizostachyum brachycladum
Zone C

Common Iora
Zone C

Furry Jasmine - Jasminum multiflorum
Zone C

The talking birds of the park

The Tiongs (Hill Myna bird) at their 'temporary home' against the December clouds
View from Sunset Point, Zone I

Grackle or Hill Myna
Gracula religiosa
Despite the dark clouds of December, the two Tiongs were seen together at their favourite perch playing and preening.  They knew I was a cimbing up the tall Licuala Hill, where their nest - a hole in the tree was located.  I imitated their calls loudly and they reacted by flying to and fro from the nest to a nearby tree in many rounds but always ending up at their nest.  They were playful today.    Over the years many pairs of Tiongs have shared the hole and I am indeed blessed to have them as temporary residents of the park.  This bird is one of the most sought after pet bird in Sarawak because it can be 'taught' to speak, sing melodious tunes or chuckle in hard rock style, thus the English name 'Grackle'. More pictures taken today....

Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa)
Location : Zone I

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Views and Vistas - December'14

View from Pazau Lookout, looking east.

View looking west
 This morning I proceeded to make a clearing for a proposed viewing point at Zone C.  From this viewing point which I now call "Pazau Lookout" can be seen views of the park towards its eastern, southern  and west locations.  Safe for me to say that this point is about 50 meters above sea level.  December is a time for rains and cloudy skies thus working at around 11 am till 1 pm is really cool.  No hot sun above us, only grey and cloudy blue sky.  By the way, "Pazau" in Bintulu Melanau means the Sambar Deer, a regular visitor to the park.  Here are the views from Pazau lookout point ......
View from Pazau Lookout point, looking south

View from Pazau Lookout point, looking south

View from Pazau Lookout point, looking south

HelooOO Mr. Monitor

Look somewhere in the middle of the picture." Hello there Mr. Monitor!"
View of typical lowland hill forest landscape and ecosystem
Zone B

Monitor Lizard
 It was a very unusual encounter.  At a section of a preserved area with  thick undergrowth and tall trees typical of the lowland forest ecology, I stumbled upon a Monitor Lizard.  This is the first time I ever see it basking on a long tree trunk.  Previously on two occasions I did see it running swiftly on the ground.  However today's show was unique in that it seemed oblivious of my presence.  I was about 50 meters from the tree it clung to.  What could it be waiting for? So far to the best of my knowledge this area is normally frequented by squirrels, tree shrews, bats on the higher ground and on the swampy and wet areas below are present many types of frogs, snakes etc.  Or was it after some bird's eggs? I wonder .....

View of lowland hill forest integrated with oil palm cultivation
Zone G, looking south.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Mist covered trees at the park

View of trees at Botanic Island Two, from Licuala Hill.
View of trees at Botanic Island Two, from Licuala Hill.
It is cold in the morning nowadays.  While other parts of Peninsular Malaysia are facing their worst floods since two decades ago, Sarawak is preparing for the worst scenario in the next week or so.  Even in earlier times, Odoardo Beccari writing in 1865 noted that Bintulu had the lowest day temperature at sea level compared with other areas in Sarawak ( on the island of Borneo).  He noted in his travels while at Bintulu that the temperature before sunrise was at 19.45 degrees Celsius.  At the park this phenomena is year round and in many mornings the temperature is extremely cold, bringing in a  misty envelope over the trees.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

First things first - objectives

View of park at Provinsi Carpentaria
Zone F
 I have walked the talk on this business of greening.  For the last ten years I have devoted one of the best times in my life with positive learning combined with passion in the making of the Kambatik park.  I have made oil palm cultivation the eco-way as a business case.  Next year I'll carry the agenda a step further.  I'll like to share the fun and the adventure to a bigger audience or in business talk - many more diverse stakeholders. To strategise this, I'll come out with eco-marketing the Kambatik brand.  But first before the year ends, I'll put in perspective the objectives of the eco-marketing.  The objectives are as follows:
  1. Create networked communities on Kambatik eco-branding
  2.  Provide in-depth understanding on the bio-diversity benefits of oil palm cultivation the eco-way
  3.  Galvanise interests on tropical birds, butterflies,insects,small mammals, flowers and plants of the  lowland hill rainforest eco-systems
  4.  Promote a culture of green living through an active and healthy life-style, sustainable eating habits and environmental activism
Looking ahead for the start of the new year....2015
Exotic tropical fruits grown at the Park

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Monday, December 22, 2014

Highlights today at the park - 22 Dec'14

( Note: Malaysia's internet service provide (Celcom)  service is so bad in Bintulu that the above three pictures took 4 hours to upload!)

Sunday, December 21, 2014

A seashore shrub fruiting

Unripe fruits of the Jambu Kera (Glochidion littorale) -belonging to the Euphorbiaceae family
Zone C
Ripe fruits of the  Jambu Kera
The 'Jambu Kera' (Malay) typically grows on coastal areas.  I had planted one a few years ago at Zone C for botanical interest.  The seashore shrub has produced some fruits.  The small fruits are edible and so are the young leaves.  There is a small depression at the apex of the fruit looking like a cute dimple.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Celcom Service is Bad, but the story must go on....

A short note is wanting.  While the Butterfly garden is taking shape nicely, it has taken me tremendous patience  to upload this picture.  With today's ( meaning in a month there is only at the maximum about 10 days of relatively satisfactory internet connection) extremely poor internet service provided by Celcom in Bintulu  and even the capital city of Kuching, don't jump up from your seat when I say that this picture took me 4 hours to upload.  But what the heck! The story must go on....