I have to make myself free after so many postponements. I had booked my flight ticket in advance. It was an early morning of a week day. My wife drove me to the Airport. I almost missed the flight. I was late but fortunately the check in attendant allowed me to check in ,many thanks to him.
The flight takes about an hour to Penang,the weather wasn't good with haze all over the North. I was afraid that most birds would temporary migrate to other places that are haze free, then observing them would be hard.
I had never met Mr. Reader before other than few tele-conversations and emails. I supposed that he knew how I looked like as he had seen my pic in my blog. As usual my reader was waiting for me at the Airport and this is the first time I see him.
He was a very nice & down to earth person. I got into his car and we talked about farms & farms & farms. He was so excited that he wanted to head straight to his farm, what a true swiftlets enthusiast.
I told him how about having some "makan" he noted and replied that he totally forgotten about it. We headed to Prai and he took me to one of the shop famous for Teow Chew dumbling. It was fantastic. The restaurant was located in an old area that has plenty of old shop lots that are easily over 80 years.
I was fascinated by the original structure of the building as it was made with good & lasting woods.
( Look at the beams It is like the nesting planks. This shop is over 80 yrs.They had paited it)
This is how the design & the formation of nesting planks ideas were originated. I took out my camera and take few shoots of picture and most people at the restaurant were looking at me ,I am sure they don't know why I am taking photos of a ceiling. The reason was ' So I could share with all my readers".
While having our "makan" we had some discussion and I wanted to know more info and the back ground of the farm that we are going to visit, like when was the last renovation, the numbers of birds, who was the designer,etc. All these info would help.
We reached the farm at noon. It was a good area for swiftlet farming. The farm was beautifully done and Mr.Reader had spend lots of money in it. Sadly the design was the biggest set-back. The farm was designed by a local there.
( Very well camouflaged, all shops are Swiftlet farm)
It was a double storey farm of 2 units shop lots, if it had done properly the farm could produce a huge nest capacity. Sadly it was done without the understanding the birds flying behaviour and they were so many mistakes in that farm.
To have a clearer picture, in order for me to rectify the problems all angles & areas have to be checked to find the problems before trouble shooting & diagnosing.
This included climbing up to the roof top. From here I could observe clearly. I respect Mr. Reader, he too climbed up to the roof which I would advise most "do not do it" as it is very dangerous.
( On top the zinc roof, have to know where is the beam b4 u stand on it, look at the Dgs behind me)
It was a few hours works, taking measurement from nesting room to roving room and cracking my head to find the best solutions that are cost effective and without needing to hacked here and there (if needed it would be at minimal) at the same time turn around the farm to attract birds to nest.
Surely it is not an easy job as reviving works are more complicated than starting a new farm as most reviving works there are many hacking, removing walls, shifting entrance hole this included sometimes the DG is moved to a better position or converted to OR,etc.
(Inside the farm)
This is the only way to do it " Do it or Don't" . If the farm is not Swiftlet friendly no matter what latest gadgets or tools you put in your farm it will still not attract birds to make nest.
You could wait & wait& wait years passed by and the result would remain.
Mr.Reader learned quite a lot from this visit, as when I draw out the rectification plan I explained to him the reason behind all works.
Why the birds are not staying in your farms the details reason. What had went wrong and how to solve it the next time without relying on others. This is self diagnose. In order to do this one has to understand the causes of problems , from here you could find solutions.
Without understanding the reason of problem existence, it is very hard to rectify it, because you would ended up don't know what to do and where to start.
After we had completed our task, we headed for P.Buntar for "makan" again. I guess this is the best part of travelling. P.Buntar is a Prime Bird Zone area. In fact it was the few earliest town that had started Swiftlet farming in Malaysia.
The food was great, I supposed after a climbing up and down, from ceiling to ground floor of 2 units of 2 storey and plentiful of sweat and energy eating anything would be delicious.
( This is the restaurant in P.Buntar where we had our lunch)
There are plenty of farms here some are very successful. After makan we headed North again as I need to cover 4 farms in 1 & a half day trip.
To be continued...........