Borneo; Sabah, 12 - 29
Mount Kinabalu, Sepilok Forest Reserve, Crocker Range NP,
Kinabatangan, Gomantong, Tawau Hills NP, Danum Valley
Participants; Elena & Dave Keeling
(USA), Alfred Raab (Canada), Stijn De Win (Belgium)
We're in the turboprop edging the summit of Mt Kinabalu on our way back to Kota Kinabalu after another successful Borneo tour. The weather is clear and this is a truly impressive sight with our pilot confirming this in a special announcement. No wonder as Malaysians in Sabah do love their mountain. And we do love Borneo! Incredible diversity on offer both in the mountains and in the rainforest was well enjoyed on a trip that ran very smooth again, it's all we need. Thanks go to our participants and the friendly people of Sabah.
A dominant male Proboscis Monkey on the Kinabatangan River... something special!
This trip was set to go with a maximum of 4 participants.
Unfortunately, a few days before the start our friend Fritz,
from Switzerland, had to cancel due to health concerns. So,
with our group even smaller we set off for the Crocker
range. A good breakfast in the field had to wait until after
Bornean Leafbird, Bornean Bulbul and Chestnut-hooded
Laughingthrush while we kept hearing Bornean Barbets.
Long-tailed Broadbill, Sunda Bush Warbler, Mountain Warbler
and Mountain Barbet by the nest hole were other nice ones
and we did well finding Bornean Falconet on the drive to our
accommodation on Mount Kinabalu! First fantastic mountain
views from our rooms!
Black-and-Yellow Broadbill, SepilokBornean Bristlehead, a group of 7 in Sepilok.
An exceptional performance of the Bornean StubtailSunda Owlet, great find Elena!
From Mt Kinabalu we must remember the beautiful mossy
forest, mountain views, cool temperatures and some good
exercise working the trails hehe. And we won't forget
excellent sightings of Whitehead's Trogon, Bornean Stubtail,
Bornean Green Magpie, Orange-backed Woodpecker, Sunda
Laughingthrush, Collared Owlet... We even managed the
Whitehead's trio in 1 morning even though Spiderhunter
wasn't the best views. It had proved a bit difficult to get
this time and no other birding groups we met had seen it.
Whitehead's Broadbill was better and we all enjoyed Bornean
Treepie, the Whistling Thrush, Forktail and Bornean
Mountain Barbet, Crocker Range.Long-tailed Broadbill, juv., Crocker
Our morning birding at Poring Hot Springs was hard work.
This sometimes happens in the lowland rainforest and with
the overcast weather condition that day no real surprise.
Nevertheless it still was a day full of excitement as this
was our first birdng in the lowlands. Silver-rumped
Needletails in the parking lot is always a good way to
start. We can't complain either with both White-crowned and
Chestnut-naped Forktails, our first White-crowned Shama,
Banded Broadbill and Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher. Both
12cm Moellenkampi Beetle and 60cm Rafflesia blooming added
something "big" to the day.
Indigo Flycatcher, Mount KinabaluWhitehead's Trogon
And we were lucky to find the titan of the Beetles. A truly impressive 12cm Moellenkampi!
On our last day in the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum
Valley Alfred let me know he thought Sepilok was the most
enjoyable place visited on the tour. It certainly has less
(almost none) leeches as compared with the Danum and one of
the best canopy walkways in the world. To see the primary
forest come to life in the early morning from 40 meters up
is a truly awesome experience. If this includes sightings of
Bornean Gibbon, Orang-utan, Rufous-collared Kingfisher and
Rhinoceros Hornbill all in the first hour of daylight it
certainly becomes hard to beat. Even the afternoon produced
with a group of 7 Bornean Bristleheads. These are never easy
to find but such special they rank top on many birder's wish
list in Sabah. Success!
Violet Cuckoo, Sepilok White-crowned Shama, Kinabatangan
Salt Water Crocodile, KinabatanganSunda Skunk, Kinabatangan
The Kinabatangan was brillant as ever. We did no less than
5 boat cruises and had very nice aircon rooms in a resort
full of Elephant prints and dropping... yes they walked
right true the day previous to our arrival, wildlife is all
around here. Truly wild Orang-utan, Silvered Langur, Sunda
Skunk and of course Proboscis Monkeys were top. Birding was
excellent too with White-crowned, Rhinoceros, Black and
Wrinkled Hornbills, Storm's Stork, Lesser Adjutant,
Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon, Wallace's Hawk Eagle,
White-bellied Woodpecker, White-chested Babbler and even a
vagrant Rainbow Bee-eater.
Araotes lapithis, common name; "The Witch"Maroon Woodpecker
After a last boat cruise on the Kinabatangan River we
birded the 4 km entrance road to Gomantong caves before our
journey to Lahad Datu (gateway to Danum Valley). This road
has some good forest but time of the day wasn't ideal even
though Wreathed Hornbills were very active calling and doing
brief flights making us suspect breeding activity.
Black-and-crimson Pitta was heard calling in the middle of
the day and a good looking male Grey-and-buff Woodpecker
made a brief appearance.
View our photo page of the Tawau Hills NP and Danum Valley extensions of this tour.