My Binoculars and Spotting Scopes Supported by Swarovski Optik

12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

Review of Swarovski Modular Spotting Scopes

94 species of birds in 1 day at Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Rainforest of Danum Valley

8th July 2018

Still on birding tours with Ulrike and Robert from Germany. Currently at Kinabatangan River. The pic below were taken from the Global Atmosphere Watch Tower (GAWT) in the morning with Swarovski Optik STX95 spotting scope.

Happy birding!

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Birding With Jim

23-26th February 2018

Jim was with me in 2013 for the montane endemics at Kinabalu. After a few years, he decided to try the lowland specialty such as Pitta and Bristlehead. Stayed for a few days at Kawag Danum Rainforest Lodge, it was a bit quiet than usual. Managed to get 2 Pitta and Trogon with other species too.

Highlights were:
  • Bornean Banded Pitta
  • Black and Crimson Pitta
  • Large Frogmouth
  • Orange-breasted Trogon
  • Speckled Piculet

View of the tropical rainforest in the morning at Danum Valley Field Centre

My favourite Whiskered Treeswift


Donny were waiting for the Black & Crimson Pitta along the access road at Kawag

Danum River at Field Centre

Birding around the lodge

 Morning view of the tropical rainforest from Global Atmosphere Watch Tower, Danum Valley Field Centre

Jim will be back next time with his wife for the Bornean Bristlehead and Bornean Ground-Cuckoo!

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Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Red-throated Pipit

3rd January 2018

After 2 attempts, at last I got the vagrant Red-throated Pipit including the Black-headed Bunting at Penampang Paddy Field. Based on the records, these 2 species were seen many years ago on the other side of Sabah by fellow bird guides.

There were 2 Red-throated Pipit and several Black-headed Bunting. Best time would be early in the morning around 7 AM. Other species could be seen nearby such as Java Sparrow, Striated Grassbird, Chinese Pond-Heron, Black-headed and Dusky Munia (endemic), Black-collared Starling with Purple Heron and many more.

Digiscoping with Swarovski STX 65 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 Preening for a while before foraging for food nearby

The weather is unpredictable at this moment but I will try my best to get a photos of the Black-headed Bunting

Good birding!

For more info on birding and photography tours around Sabah, please check my other blog here

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Super Moon and Blood Moon

31st January 2018

Occurs every 152 years, the Supermoon and Bloodmoon was capture with the excellent Swarovski Optik STX65 spotting scope via Nikon V1 camera from Sabah, Borneo

Super Moon


Blood Moon 

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Sunday, January 21, 2018


21st January 2018

Old video of the rare Bornean Bristlehead capture from one of the highest trees at Danum Valley. It responded to the playback and after a while, 2 birds flew on top and allowed for a few minutes observation with the excellent Swarovski STX 95 spotting scope.

Facts: The only specie on its family and endemic to the island of Borneo, mostly in the lowland rainforest. Based on my records, it does move sometimes with the endemic Bornean Black Magpie because certain notes from the former, the calls resembles like the Bristlehead.

Digiscoped with Swarovski STX 95 at 70x. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For more info on my birding in Sabah tours, please visit

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Tuesday, January 16, 2018


13th January 2018

Sabah is one of the wintering ground for Garganey and other visiting Ducks from North Asia. This group were found at Tempasuk Plain, Kota Belud, one of the best places in the state to observed migratory birds. Based on the count, it was around 50++ including Shoveler, Eurasian Teal and Tufted Duck. I still need to see Mallard hahaha because it is considered a vagrant for North Borneo.

Digiscoped with Swarovsi Optik STX65 at 60x. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

For more info on my birding tours around Sabah, please visit

Happy birding!

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Friday, January 12, 2018

Striped Wren-Babbler

12th January 2018

One of my favourite birds found in the lowland rainforest of Sabah, Borneo. This was recorded at Tabin Wildlife Reserve, one of the biggest protected forest in Sabah, about 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Lahad Datu town on the East Coast. For more info on the reserve, check out Tabin's website at

Those planning for birding and wildlife tours around Sabah, please visit my other blog at

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Raptors Galore

20th September - 6th October 2017

Hans and Pam came all the way from California as part of their yearly trip outside North America. They spent about 3 weeks in Sabah then continued their adventure in West Malaysia for more birds. During their stayed here, they managed to see most of the Raptors that were recorded in Sabah.

Started in Kota Belud for migratory birds then continued to DanumValley at Kawag Danum Rainforest Lodge. After that, a few nights in Tabin Wildlife Reserve then to Kinabatangan River, Sepilok Forest Reserve and for their last birding destination, the cool temperature of Mt. Kinabalu at Kinabalu Pine Resort

We managed to get some of the exciting endemics and rare birds and other of Borneo such as:
  • Mountain Serpent Eagle 
  • Large Frogmouth
  • Blue-headed Pitta
  • Bornean Bristlehead
  • Rufous-collared Kingfisher
  • Bornean Pygmy Elephant
  • Bornean Gibbon

Images taken with Swarovski Optik STX95 and Nikon. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Crested Serpent Eagle

Butterfly sp.

Stick Insect sp.


Pig-tailed Macaque

Island Palm Civet

Good birding!

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Fun Birding With Kirk and Heidi

11-25th July 2017

Kirk and Heidi from California, spent a few weeks to see the beauty of Sabah in terms of wildlife and landscapes plus the people. The journey started in Kota Kinabalu then to Klias Peatswamp Forest to see the rare Hook-billed Bulbul. Few nights at Mt. Kinabalu for the montane endemic plus a visit to Sayap Substation and also the Tambunan Rafflesia Centre with Mahua Waterfall.

After the mountain, a few hours drive to Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok and we got the Bristlehead on the final morning from the legendary Bristlehead Tower. The Swarovski STX95 scope did not disappoint on the extreme zoom!

At Kinabatangan River, it was more relaxed while cruising on the open boat by Borneo Nature Lodge. Bornean Pygmy Elephant was nowhere to be seen but Kirk and Heidi got it in Danum Valley hahaha. But it was compensated with a superb recording of less than a 5 metres of the elusive Bornean Ground-Cuckoo!

Last birding destination was at Danum Valley. Stayed for 5 days at Kawag Danum Rainforest Lodge and they also visited Danum Valley Field Centre. I was told, besides the excellent view of the rare Bornean Clouded Leopard, photos of the Blue-banded Pitta was also capture! Ahhhhhhhhh!

Key species seen:
  • Blue-banded Pitta
  • Whitehead's Broadbill
  • Whitehead's Trogon
  • Fruithunter
  • Bristlehead
  • Bornean Ground-Cuckoo
  • Orang Utan
  • Bornean Clouded Leopard


1 KM++ wooden walkway at Klias Peatswamp Forest Reserve


Cinnamon-headed Pigeon

Giant Squirrel


Streaked Bulbul


They received the 100 badge by Sandakan Borneo Bird Club after seeing more than 100 species of birds in Sabah. For more info, please click on the link provided.


Menanggul River in the morning...


Reflection at Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok while waiting for the Brown-backed Needletail

Waiting for the Red Giant Flying Squirrel

 Waiting for the Bristlehead at Rainforest Discovery Centre #swarovskioptik

We got a total of 200 birds during the trip. They spent another 3 nights at the Bunga Raya Resort, Gaya Island. 

Good birding!

Email from Kirk: 

We contacted Jason for a custom bird and wildlife tour throughout the state of Sabah in the month of July 2017. We couldn’t have been more pleased. Jason organized everything, lodging, park fees, meals even intra-Sabah flights. His incredible knowledge of the area and his ability to locate birds and wildlife was impressive. We observed several endemic animals including Whitehead’s Broadbill, Trogon and Pygmy squirrel as well as Blue-banded, Black-crowned & Hooded Pittas and of course the Bristlehead! Not to mention (but I will) Pygmy Elephants, Clouded Leopard, Colugo, gliding lizards and many serpent species, the list goes on and on.  We visited Klias Peatswamp Forest, Mount Kinabalu Park, Sepilok Forest Reserve, Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley and a couple of excellent locations that a large tour group would never visit let alone know about. In fact, while on our journey we ran into a couple of well known birding tour groups, after talking to some of the participants you could see the envy in their eyes, wishing they could hop in our vehicle and leave the masses behind. We were sad to leave, Jason was more than a guide he also has become our friend. We hope someday we can return

Kirk & Heidi USA, email


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Birding with Fred and Charlie

15th - 30th May 2017

Charlie and Fred spent around 15 days in Sabah for wildlife sound recording. The journey started from Kota Kinabalu International Airport then to Mt. Kinabalu for a few days exploring the national park. Visited Sayap and Poring Substation then another few rainy nights at Gunung Alab Substation, Tambunan. While at Tambunan, it rained most afternoon, so activity were done only in the morning and one evening for the nocturnal species. Missed the Whitehead's Broadbill and Spiderhunter but great recordings for other montane birds especially the Whitehead's Trogon

At Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley, one of the best place in the country for lowland wildlife, we got the Bornean Pygmy Elephant and Pitta species. They are currently at Bakalan, Sarawak with Yeo before flying back to Australia.

Key species heard:
  • Whitehead's Trogon
  • Bornean Spiderhunter
  • White-necked Babbler
  • Bornean Barbet
  • Mountain Serpent Eagle
  • Bornean Gibbon

Images taken with Swarovski Optik and Nikon. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Ashy Drongo

Indigo Flycatcher

Bornean Barbet

Red-naped Trogon

Charlie and Fred at Tambunan Tower


Buffy Fish Owl 

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Kawag Danum Rainforest Lodge

13-14th February 2017

Short visit at Kawag Danum Rainforest Lodge for a familiarization trip with the gang last February. It takes around 1 hour 45 minutes drive from Lahad Datu town to the lodge.

Birding were done along the existing trails plus a night drives for nocturnal wildlife. The view at the highest point, offered a great chances of seeing Raptors and Hornbills in flight plus great room and food too.

Thanks a lot to Ann from Borneo Refugia for the trip. For more info, please visit their Facebook page  Kawag Danum Rainforest Lodge and official website

Images taken with Swarovski Optik and Xiaomi Mi Note. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

John, myself, Gary and Khairul

John and Khairul at the View Point Trail

Whipped Snake

View Point at Kawag Danum Rainforest Lodge

Refreshing dip at one of the waterfall nearby the lodge

Long walkway from the entrance to the restaurant and rooms

Observing the migratory Dark-sided Flycatcher on top of the snag with Swarovski STX95

Large Frogmouth

Good birding.

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