Malaysia // Sarawak //

Loagan Bunut National Park

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Loagan Bunut National Park, best visited on an overnight trip, is a good spot for the dedicated birdwatcher, boasting stork-billed kingfishers and hornbills among many other species. Many live around the park’s lake, Tasik Bunut, tucked away on the upper reaches of the Teru River, a tributary of the Tinjar, which in turn flows into the Baram. During prolonged dry spells, when the lake level drops drastically, a peculiar form of fishing, which the local Berawan people call selambau, is carried out. Just before the lake dries out, fishermen use giant spoon-shaped wooden frames to scoop up any fish that haven’t escaped down the lake’s two watercourses.

For birds, these dry times are a perfect time to feed too, and in May and June the surrounding peat-swamp forest supports breeding colonies of such species as darters, egrets and bitterns. Initially the lake can appear huge, its edges hard to detect as the sunlight is often hazy; however, it’s only around 500m wide and 1km long. Small cabins built on rafts house Berawan fishermen, while around them lies an intricate network of fishing plots, with underwater nets and lines tied to stakes pushed into the lake bed. The best times to drift by boat across the lake are early morning and dusk, when the birds are at their most active.