Friday, 8 March 2013

Visit to Alpha 6's Bio Diversity Project

Selamat pagi!! Hello!

I am finally back at Fieldbase following visits to both Alphas 2 and 6 over the past 8 days.

Last week started with an enjoyable five days in Coupe 1 at the Bio Diversity project with the lovely Alpha 6.

Harry, Scott, Rolex, Elfira, Natasha, Isobel, Rosemary,
 Bjorn, Caspar, Freddie and Asher. 
With PMs Ian, Bec and Harriet
After a delicious roti breakfast in Kota Marudu and a bumpy off road journey - thanks to the lovely Asian Forestry Company (AFC) Partners for their incredible driving skills - I arrived on Tuesday to a sunny and dry jungle camp. The group that rushed down to welcome me had clearly bonded really well during the multiple days of rain that had come before my arrival. In fact, despite their failed attempts to dry boots, socks and clothes (which I can confirm had fully dried out just days into my visit as I experienced nothing but sunshine) the group were really positive and in high spirits.

One of many washing areas
The camp

A usual day here starts at either 6am/8am, when the group of ten Venturers are split into two groups to go on either a mini trek to check the mammal traps or a shorter walk to check the mist nets for birds. AFC Conservation Supervisors, Valter and Will, lead the groups through this process and should anything be caught, they supervise the handling of the birds/mammals and assist the group in naming the species. This process enables us to document everything found in the area.

PMs Bec and Ian with Will (AFC) 
Some of the group on the mammal trek

The routine of setting up and checking the nets/cages repeats throughout the day. The mist nets are checked every two hours and the mammal traps at 8am and 4pm each day.

A small mammal trap
On the mini trek

The purpose of this project is to work with the AFC to catch animals in this protected conservation area of rainforest in order to survey the area and understand how to better protect and develop the area.

Bec and Harry trying to name the bird

Over the six days I spent with the Alpha group, the number of birds caught had risen to 38 species - in just two weeks. However, in the days before I arrived the group caught and saw a Malaysian Civet, Malasian rats and tree squirrels. Their favourite birds so far have been the Little Spider Hunter(s), a number of Kingfishers and a Blue Banded Pitta. I was lucky enough to see and hold all three of these birds and it really was quite an experience as they are quite different from anything I've ever seen before - particularly up so close.

The jungle noises at Alpha 6's camp are beautiful. However, some resemble a French ambulance siren, a car alarm, a bird who laughs and another who sings a scale - to name but a few. A Praying Mantis even joined us for our quiz night on Friday.

Aside from the jungle wildlife the group have been kept busy - because of the first week of rain - with camp construction projects. They have installed flooring, steps, and dug two trenches for the excess water around the sleeping and kitchen areas to help channel it. The camp really is looking good here.

Rosie and Tash - birdwatching?

All in all Alpha 6 are a group of 'Legends' and have a big sense of camaraderie and togetherness. They have formed close friendships and now genuinely look after each other, operating as a really strong team.

As it really has been a lot of fun spending time here, I was interested to hear how Will (AFC) found working with Raleigh and this group as this is her first time working on a Raleigh project.

She said:

"It's a good new experience for me working with Raleigh and doing this project. It is very exciting because the Venturers are very energetic and fast learners in terms of setting up the mist net, getting out the birds from the nets and setting up large mammal traps.

The PMs are very supportive and understanding, which was especially good during the first week here when it rained every single day. In addition, the PMs also do a great job of helping and guiding the Venturers in this project and the improvements to the camp area.

PM - Bec
PM - Ian (with HCV, Rolex)

PM - Harriet

Overall, it is fun to work with Raleigh and get the chance to meet new friends and exchange ideas. I am most happy when I can share my knowledge with others."

Alpha 6 with the Loop before starting the quiz

As the Loop visited the group on Saturday, they bought photographer Fiona in with them and took me out on Sunday, so stay tuned for more updates on all the projects in the Loop post that will follow soon and some fantastic photos. A full update on Alpha 2's gravity water feed projects in Bulud Batu will be posted shortly.


Anonymous said...

For Harry Glatman (Alpha 6)
From Sam Glatman

Hi Haz,

Why can everyone else wear normal clothes but you wear that ridiculous wife beater?

Hope you're having an amazing time! I'm so unsurprised that you're holding a bird in one of the photos!

Speak soon
Sam xxx

Anonymous said...

For Rosie Rich, Alpha 6
Hi Rosie, the project looks really interesting and you seem to be in some pretty serious jungle! Good to know that you came the through the days of rain and have now managed to dry out but that is why it is called rainforest I suppose.
All well here; snowed again this weekend but didn't stop tennis!
Rugby update: Wales beat Scotland and Ireland and France drew in a rain soaked Dublin. England beat Italy at Twickenham, but by a small margin and without playing particularly well. This sets up the Wales - England match next weekend as a championship decider. If Wales win by 8 points or more they will win the 6 Nations on points difference; if England win the match, we win the Grand Slam and the Title. Will let you know what happens.
Enjoy the rest of your time up in Pitas, the rest of the projects look really good too from what we have seen on the blog.
Lots of love Dad xx

Marcella Race said...

Not sure if im posting this on the wright paige, my message is for emma race joanne race, emma we are all missing you so much back home your making usd all so proud every day youe out their baby girl i want to hear about everyt hing you have been doing nothings heen happaning hear exept we all miss our sister bt you givem us all somethime to be soso proud of.keylee tells me all the time how shes textin her emma lol she misses you to xx i hope your having the most fantastic time an u i cant wait to hear off you agen we all. love you so much xx

Anonymous said...

Voor Caspar, Alpha 6
Lieve Caspar, vandaag hebben we je brief ontvangen. Daar zijn we reuze blij mee. Fijn om te lezen dat je het zo naar je zin hebt. Na een paar voorjaarsdagen, vriest het weer in Nederland. En morgen wordt sneeuw verwacht!
Liefs, papa en mama

Anonymous said...

To Natasha / Alpha 6

Hi Tash,

It was great to talk with you on the phone yesterday and hear that things are going really well. Lets us know when you hear what you are doing for the next few weeks. Looking forward to seeing you again in Singapore on the 18th May.

Love of love

Kevin XX

Anonymous said...

For Bjorn van Dijkman, Alpha6

Hej Bjorn,

We hopen dat het nog steeds goed gaat met jullie. Mooie foto's! We genieten mee.

Dikke X,
Ingrid en Charles
Floris, Hugo en Olivier