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12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

Monday, November 7, 2022

Birding with Bob and Gabby

 29th October - 2nd November 2022

Their first birding trip to Sabah since they started to enjoys birds in the Philippines late last year. We started at Mt. Kinabalu for a nite then drove to Sepilok for another 3 nites plus day trip to Kinabatangan River. It was around 137 birds recorded for Bom and Gabby and close up view of the Golden-naped Barbet and Orange-backed Woodpecker adds more excitement to their life list. For the river, we also got the Storm's Stork, Little Green Pigeon and Bat Hawk at its usual perch near Gomantong Cave.

While having lunch at Sim-Sim water village, saw around 8 Aleutian Tern (vagrant) and added to my Sabah Big Year 2022 to number 455 birds as of November. They were impressed with the bird life here including excellent facilities catered for tourists etc. They will be back!

Images and videos taken with Swarovski Optik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Watching the endemic Whitehead's Trogon

Now joined by Ali and Nde

Lily's Cottage, my favourite place to stay at Mt. Kinabalu!

My lucky charm the miniature Whitehead's Trogon for attracting more birds in the wild :)

Gabby with the Swarovski STX95 spotting scope + iPhone for the endemic White-fronted Falconet found along the Ranau-Sandakan road

At Sepilok Giant tree

Great canopy walkway at Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok

Both got the Terek Sandpiper and Whimbrel including the rare Aleutian Tern!

Bat Hawk!

At Kinabatangan River

Final morning at RDC

Yellow-bellied Bulbul taken with the Swarovski Optik STX95 spotting scope + smartphone

With Gary and John for the Aleutian Tern at Taman Harmoni mudflat, Sandakan. Found around 13 Aleutian Tern and 2 Gull-billed Tern

I will be away for another waders survey from the 10-15th November in Tawau and Sandakan. Hope I will be able to get the Black-hooded Oriole, Abbot's Babbler and also Greater Flameback for my big year...

Happy birding!

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Birding with Fernando and the gang

 11-24th September 2022

The trip supposed to commenced in 2020 but due to the Covid19 stuff etc, the group arrived early September and birding started around Tempasuk Plain and Kuala Abai, Kota Belud and we got the Common and Black-naped Tern with Temminck's Stint, Oriental Pratincole. Then a must visit garden at Tg. Aru Beach for the Blue-naped Parrot and Long-tailed Parakeet, Collared Kingfisher, Dusky Munia (endemic) and Green Imperial Pigeon.

The next few days at Danum Valley Field Centre proved to be a bit tough for those Pittas but Striped and Black-throated Wren-Babbler gave some compensation for the group including Bornean Bristlehead, Chestnut-naped Forktail, Green Broadbill and Great Slaty Woodpecker.

They continued the trip at Kinabatangan River with Romzi and got the Large Frogmouth and along the access road to Gomantong Cave, we nailed the Bat Hawk in the open, Rufous-collared Kingfisher and their first Black-headed Pitta!

Hooded Pitta and Copper-throated Sunbird showed well at Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok and Whitehead's Trogon, Everett's Thrush, Mountain Blackeye, Fruithunter and Crimson-headed with Red-breasted Partridge were the star birds at Mt. Kinabalu and Mt. Alab.

The trip ended with Nankeen's Night Heron at Sembulan Waterfront, Kota Kinabalu with a total of 200++ species were recorded.

Images taken with Swarovski Optik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Sabah Chestnut-necklaced Partridge digiscoped with Swarovski Optik STX95 + smartphone

Thick-billed Green Pigeon taken with Swarovski Optik STX95 spotting scope + smartphone

Short stop at Zudir Platform, Taviu Hill, Telupid

At Mt. Kinabalu for the Whitehead's Broadbill :D

John and Ron admires the sunrise from Mt. Alab, Tambunan

 With Fernando and Jose

 Looking at the Malay Civet under the truck
 The common migrant; Asian Brown Flycatcher

Waiting for the Rufous-collared Kingfisher

Bat Hawk from the roadside at Kinabatangan River digiscoped with Swarovski Optik STX95 spotting scope + smartphone 

Swarovski Optik cap

 Watching the Black & Yellow Broadbill from the tower at Danum Valley

Fernando points at the Mountain Blackeye to the group

Short footage of the Sabah Chestnut-necklaced Partridge

Happy birding everyone!

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Birding with Sergey and the gang

 24th August - 4th September 2022


As the continuation for my Sabah Big Year 2022, I led a group of bird photographers from Russia for 12 days trip around Sabah and my current list at 440 birds out of 500 species so far. During the trip, we got some of the key species seen and photographed such as;

  • Blue-banded Pitta
  • Blue-headed Pitta
  • Mt. Wren-Babbler
  • Striped Wren-Babbler
  • Black-throated Wren-Babbler
  • Whitehead's Broadbill
  • Whitehead's Spiderhunter
  • Mt. Blackeye
  • Fruithunter
  • Bulwer's Pheasant
  • Crested Partridge and
  • Bornean Peacock-Pheasant

Heard the Bulwer's Pheasant and Rail-Babbler but still no luck for these elusive birds. Quite surprising, did not get to see the Whitehead's Trogon and Mountain Serpent Eagle during the fine weather at Mt. Kinabalu and Mt. Alab...

I will be off for another 15 days birding in Sabah with clients from Spain. Hope I will be able to get around 460 birds before October...

Images taken with Swarovski Optik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Gary scans the mudflat with Swarovski STX95 spotting scope

Taman Harmoni mudflat for migratory birds

At Gomantong Caves

Birding from the canopy walkway

With fellow tour guide Lily and Chloe at Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok

Red-naped Trogon

Buff-necked Woodpecker

Swarovski Optik...

Shooting the Rhinoceros Hornbill during the 10km dusk drive 

Night drive at Tabin considered one of the best in Sabah!

The shy Brown Wood Owl

Walkway connecting the rooms at Tabin to the Otter Deck, Suspension Bridge and to the restaurant

Tomanggong Road, one of the best place for birding in Tabin

Bornean Pygmy Squirrel, the smallest in the world found in the lowland rainforest

Striped Wren-Babbler, so photogenic!

Tabin Wildlife Reserve has the biggest mud volcano in Sabah and act as an important source of mineral for wildlife such as Sambar Deer, Large Green Pigeon, Wild Boar and also Civets

The rare endemic Black-throated Wren-Babbler

Wild mushroom grows on the death log

Short briefing before the walk to the Bornean Peacock-Pheasant hide in Telupid

Another endemic the Pale-faced Bulbul were split from the Flavesent Bulbul

Golden-naped Barbet, one of the endemic birds found in Borneo

Snowy-browed Flycatcher, one of my favourite from the mountains in Sabah

Hide for the Partridges

End road for Mt. Alab, best place for Orange-headed Thrush and Crimson-headed Partridge


With Sergey on the roadside of Tambunan Rafflesia Centre

Watching the Golden-bellied Gerygone

Dark Hawk-Cuckoo near the gate at Mt. Trusmadi

Mahua River where I normally see the Bornean Forktail and Dayak Blue Flycatcher

Upgrading work in progress now for the Kaingaran-Trusmadi road


Happy birding!