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

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Sunda Scops Owl (Otus lempiji)

 22nd August 2021

Unexpected visitor landed at the backyard after was informed by my mum. It causes some excitement during this lockdown especially to wife and the kids hahaha because it was their first time seeing a real Owl! The bird was seen sleeping and occasionally awake under the Winter Melon leaves which provided ample protection from the sun.

This particular Owl is considered a common resident on the forest edge as well gardens and gives intermittent pwok (click here for the recorded sound by my friend) sound at night during breeding season. Feeds mainly on large insects, small birds and also mice. 

Images taken with Swarovski Optik. All Rights Reserved 

Sleepy head

Roughly around 20 cm in height

The bird hiding on the red circle under the leaves

The best things with Swarovski Optik STX95, we can records images and videos from the safe distance without causing disturbance to the Owl

Can't wait for the new SOP from the government in regard with the current lockdown. I really need to go out on the field again... Happy birding and stay safe everyone!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

8th May 2021 Global Birding

 8th May 2021

Joined the #globalbirding yesterday and started from home around 6 AM and saw around 10 birds such as Eurasian Tree Sparrow, Common Iora, Black-headed Munia before moving to Tempasuk, Kota Belud. At Tempasuk, there were a few migrants left; Black-winged Stilt, Marsh Sandpiper and Oriental Pratincole (passage breeder). Next destination was at Kuala Abai and it didn't disappoint me with a group of Red-necked Stint, Kentish Plover, Greater and Lesser Sand Plover with a single Whiskered Tern.

When I get back home, Grey Heron and Striated Heron added the tally to 68 species in total. Waited for the Large-tailed Nightjar and Sunda Scops Owl, but luck was not on my side. So Submission was done through eBird and Malaysia ranked 2nd after India with 386 species. Sabah sits at 3rd with 135 species after Selangor with 136 and Penang with 325 species of birds within 24 hours!

Link for the counts at eBird under Sabah:

Images taken with Swarovski Optik STX95 + TLS APO 30 + Nikon V1. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Small reclaimed patch with Spotted Dove, White-breasted Waterhen and Plum-toed Swiftlet

My favourite section on the road at Kelawat Hill with mist in the morning en-route to Kota Belud

One of the famous Instagram spots in Kota Belud with Mt. Kinabalu at the background


My trusted Toyota Land Cruiser 80 and the Swarovski Optik STX95 spotting scope was pointing on a pair of White-breasted Woodswallow

Lesser Coucal, quite common on the paddy fields especially after the rain

Buff-banded Rail, the first record for Sabah was in 2016 at Tempasuk

Male Watercock, a shy creature but usually calls in the open!

Close up shot of this Scaly-breasted Munia

My digiscoping setup by Swarovski Optik

 Green paddyfields...

At Kuala Abai with the Swarovski Optik BTX95 looking at the group of waders on the small island right in the middle

My EL 10x32 Fieldpro binocular by Swarovski Optik

Happy birding and stay safe everyone!

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Birding Around Kota Belud

 24th April 2021

April is the last month for the Northern migrants birds heading back up north for breeding, but some of the 1st year such as Common Sandpiper do extend their stays in Sabah and could be seen during the Southern migration season from May until September. 

 With the current Covid-19 cases rising up again in my place, I took the opportunity to visit my favourite birding spot at Tempasuk and surrounding areas of Kota Belud before the next MCO. Not much was seen because of the current dry spell with a few migrants left such as Grey Heron, Long-toed Stint and a lone Gull-billed Tern.

 Bird list:

  1. Oriental Darter
  2. Grey Heron
  3. Purple Heron
  4. Great Egret
  5. Intermediate Egret
  6. Little Egret
  7. Cattle Egret
  8. Pond Heron sp.
  9. Wandering Whistling Duck
  10. Brahminy Kite
  11. Peregrine Falcon
  12. Changeable Hawk-Eagle
  13. White-breasted Waterhen
  14. Watercock
  15. Black-backed Swamphen
  16. Common Moorhen
  17. Common Sandpiper
  18. Long-toed Stint
  19. Whiskered Tern
  20. Gull-billed Tern
  21. Spotted Dove
  22. Red-collared Dove
  23. Zebra Dove
  24. Greater Coucal
  25. Edible-Nest Swfitlet
  26. Red-throated Bee-Eater
  27. Sunda Pygmy Woodpecker (heard)
  28. Long-tailed Shrike
  29. White-breasted Woodswallow
  30. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  31. Striated Grassbird
  32. Yellow-bellied Prinia
  33. Asian Glossy Starling
  34. Olive-backed Sunbird
  35. Black-headed Munia
  36. Yellow-wagtail 
  37. Paddyfield Pipit
  38. Eurasian Tree Sparrow


Images taken with Swarovski Optik STX95 spotting scope via Variable Photo Adapter (VPA) on the Oppo Reno 4 smartphone. Due to the shimmering heat and distance, some of the images were not in good quality. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Part of the dry plot with Mt. Kinabalu on the background

Some of the plots just started to get irrigated 


Small patch of pond with ducks and rails

I like green paddyfields!

Red-collared Dove taken at 6.5x digital zoom. The quality still acceptable with good carbon fibre tripod.

Spotted Dove perched below the Red-collared Dove

Peregrine Falcon with lighter plumage (migrant)

Whiskered Tern

Lovely Yellow-bellied Prinia


 Asian Glossy Starling

Bua Beach, Pintasan where I saw the Long-tailed Shrike, Blue-throated Bee-Eater and Gull-billed Tern


Yours truly hahaha


Happy birding and stay safe everyone!

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Digiscoping with Oppo Reno 4 Pro smartphone

 28th December 2020

Got this smartphone a few days ago and decided to test its camera and video function with my beloved Swarovski Optik STX95 on the Variable Photo Adapter VPA after Xmas. The result was amazing! Plus the level of vignetting is good too at 30x and easy to removed in post processing. With 48mp camera and dual gimbal stabilizer while recording in video, the performance is worth the price itself. Happy!

For more info on Swarovski Optik products, please visit this link

At 30x with 48mp

At 30x and zoomed to 1.6x on the phone. Need to disable the 48mp function though


Short video of the resident Wandering Whistling Duck

Happy new year and birding too!

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Tempasuk Paddy Fields, Kota Belud Update

 30th September 2020

Below is the list of waterbirds seen at the above in the early migratory season together with Oliver:

  • Great Egret
  • Intermediate Egret
  • Little Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Javan Pond Heron
  • Cinnamon Bittern
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Oriental Pranticole
  • Pacific Golden Plover
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Bar-tailed Godwit
  • Asiatic Dowitcher
  • Common Redshank
  • Common Greenshank
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Red-necked Phalarope
  • Common Snipe
  • Red-necked Stint
  • Little Stint
  • Temminck's Stint
  • Sharp-tailed Sandpiper
  • Long-toed Stint
  • Whiskered Tern
  • White-winged Tern

Images taken with Swarovski Optik STX95. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Sharp-tailed Sandpiper is a common passage migrants to Kota Belud


Wood Sandpiper

Little Ringed Plover


Sharp-tailed Sandpiper

Red-necked Phalarope

From left to right: Wood Sandpiper (left and bottom right), Black-winged Stilt juvenile and adult and Common Greenshank (middle)

White-winged and Whiskered Tern

Pacific Golden Plover

Scanning for the juvenile Little Stint with Mt. Kinabalu at the background with Ali and Oliver

My setup Swarovski STX95 + TLS APO + Nikon V1 mounted on Swarovski Optik PTH gimbal head and Fotopro carbon fibre tripod

Good sealed road around the paddy field

Shooting the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper!

Happy birding and stay safe everyone!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Tempasuk Paddy Fields and Kuala Abai Mudflats, Kota Belud

16th September

A few hours at Kota Belud in hoping for some rarities during the Malaysia Day celebration, 4 suspected Little Stint with one among the Red-necked Stint and the other three flew nearby but didn't allow for prolonged view to get the right ID by Oliver. But the crown and overall plumage colour suggested it was the bird that I have been looking for years. But I need to see it longer before deciding for another lifer this year.

Other waterbirds seen:

  • Oriental Darter
  • Purple Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Little Egret
  • Chinese Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Pond Heron sp
  • Wandering Whistling-Duck
  • White-breasted Waterhen
  • Common Moorhen
  • Black-backed Swamphen
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Oriental Pratincole
  •  Pacific Golden Plover
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Greater Sand Plover
  • Whimbrel
  • Common Redshank
  • Wood Sandpiper
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Grey-tailed Tattler
  • Terek Sandpiper
  • Red-necked Stint
  • Long-toed Stint
  • Whiskered Tern
  • Gull-billed Tern (24 birds)


Images taken with Huawei Mate 10 Pro. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

The famous Kota Belud Mee Soup, next to the multipurpose hall in town with chicken feet in black soy sauce!

Besides binoculars, spotting scopes is a must have tools for waders watching on the coast


My favourite combo, the Swarovski BTX95 spotting scope. My eyes never felt tired scanning those waterbirds for hours! 

Happy birding everyone and stay safe!