Numbers of endangered migratory shorebirds are growing at Bako-Buntal Bay in Sarawak. But scientists warn the trend could reflect problems elsewhere on the critical East Asian flyway.
THE TIDE comes in quickly. “You have to move, move, move,” says Rose Au. “Within a few minutes, it’s up to your knees!” Coupled with the dangers of getting stuck in the mud or encountering a crocodile, the business of counting birds has never sounded more thrilling.
Au and the other amateur birders of the Malaysian Nature Society Kuching Branch (MNS) in Sarawak, have been braving these dangers and more for the last 16 years. Their aim: to count the thousands of shorebirds which come to Sarawak every year en route south from their breeding grounds in Siberia.
(Counting shorebirds in Bako-Buntal Bay, Sarawak. Birds stop at the bay every year on their way from Siberia. | Image: Batrisyia Teepol/MNS)