This is the first entry in the blog and how nice to start it with a positive note. As of the 1st of Feb 2008, Langkawi, an island on the very north west of peninsular Malaysia got its first nature interpretive center. It has been a long time coming, and finally nature has got a home. The center will be manned by a representative from natural history expeditions (the company that operates www.birdmalaysia.com) and Malaysia nature society (Malaysia oldest nature society).
Langkawi is home to over 200 species of birds which includes some notables like the great hornbills and wreathed hornbills and may i add this is probably the best place in Malaysia to see the Great Hornbills. there are a total of over 19 species of raptors including the Mountain hawk-eagle and Changeable Hawk-eagle , 6species of Kingfisher including the Brown winged Kingfisher and Black-capped Kingfisher, 3 species of Bee-eaters including the Chestnut-headed Bee-eaters nd Blue throated Bee-eaters and many others (Langkawi birdlist).
The aim of the center is mostly 3 fold, foremost is education, the center will run nature education classes for the young kids as well as the adults, second it will conduct conservation projects specifically on Langkawi and finally act as a watchdog in protecting the remaining wildlands with particular focus on the important bird areas. The center will eventually showcase several gardens that includes a butterfly garden, a bird garden, wildlife garden. wild fruit garden and a herbal garden. the objective is to teach locals a new way of landscaping. The center will be the heartbeat of the newly proposed Langkawi International Birdrace presently being considered to be an annual event.
Langkawi is a good birdwatching destination as it has a wide variety of habitats all within 15 minutes of each other, it offers wetlands (rice paddies , mangroves and shore birds), secondary forest (scrub-land birds) and lowland rainforest birds. It may be ideal for those birders that would like to end their trip for Malaysian birds with a beach holiday or for those birders that are on a shorter timetable. The best months to visit so as to get some of the migrants would be between the months of mid November and early april. Unlike mainland Malaysia the weather is very co-operative. It is important to know and ask us about the local weather of an area as they may differ with the general weather pattern described for Malaysia.