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12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes)

24th April 2010

One of the rarest winter visitor to Sabah and seen only in small number from September to April every year. Best place to check this bird on the West Coast is at Lok Kawi Beach and Likas Bay. For the East Coast, birders should check at Sim-Sim water village and Bambangan Village, Sandakan

According to Birdlife International, estimated around 2600 - 3400 birds that breeds on the small islands of Russia, Korea and mainland China. Main wintering ground for South East Asia is at Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia and Sarawak at Borneo Island with around 50% of the global population that spent their winter here based on the winter counts in 2004/2005.

One bird was seen at Lok Kawi beach mixing with Little and Great Egret. I was looking for the resident Malaysian Plover, but without success.

Digiscoped with Nikon Fieldscope EDG65 via FSA-L2 adapter and Nikon D300s.

Happy birding !

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Birding At Mantanani Island

7th - 9th April 2010

Courtesy from Riverbug company who operates Mari Mari Dive Lodge at Mantanani Islands, spent few nights surveying birds at Mantanani Kecil and Besar for my future birding groups. 3 lifers recorded and total 27 species seen including Mantanani Scops-Owl as the main target which is restricted to several islands in Borneo and Palawan only.

The Lugisan Island in between Mantanani Besar and Kecil is one of the main roosting place for 3 species of Frigatebird in Sabah and on my first evening with the gang, saw approximately thousand over Frigatebird circling on the island.

The journey took about 1 hour from Kuala Abai jetty at Kota Belud district on the Northwest of Kota Kinabalu city. Mari Mari Dive Lodge catered mostly for day trip divers and snorkelers plus it has 4 rooms with common bathrooms for those who planned for an overnight stay with the view of South China Sea.

For more info, kindly check Riverbug's latest offering on their packages at and contact no :+6019 - 8204921

Birds seen :
  • Philippine Megapode
  • Little Heron
  • Pacific Reef-Egret
  • Lesser Frigatebird
  • Great Frigatebird
  • Christmas Frigatebird
  • White-bellied Fish-Eagle
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Common Sandpiper
  • Emerald Dove
  • Pied Imperial Pigeon
  • Grey Imperial Pigeon
  • Glossy Swiftlet
  • Germain's Swiftlet
  • Brown-backed Needletail
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • White-breasted Wood-Swallow
  • Sand Martin
  • Pied Triller
  • Pacific Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Glossy Starling
  • Chestnut-cheeked Starling
  • Blue Rock-Thrush
  • Olive-backed Sunbird
  • Brown-throated Sunbird
  • Eurasian Tree-Sparrow

Taken with Nikon Fieldscope ED82 via FSA-L1 adapter on Nikon D300s, 24-85mm and 18-70mm lens.

Facilities at Mari Mari Dive Lodge

One of the sunset seen from the island

Sunrise seen from Mantanani Besar

Crystal clear sea with lovely corals is a nice place for snorkeling !

View Point from Mantanani Kecil and the only place with cellphone signal


Grey Imperial Pigeon

Pacific Reef-Egret

Peregine Falcon (peregrinator)

Female Blue Rock-Thrush

Lesser Frigatebird

Lesser and Christmas Frigatebird

White-bellied Fish-Eagle

Female Olive-backed Sunbird

Grey Wagtail

With Thomas, Osman and John

Happy birding !

Friday, April 2, 2010

Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

30th March 2010

Took this shots at Likas Lagoon the day after it rained heavily within few weeks. It is a uncommon winter visitor for North Borneo and easily distinguished between adult and juvenile based on the marking and colour of plumage.

According to CK Leong, this species used to be rare here but slowly the number that arrived every season is accumulating which is a good sign.

Digiscoped with Nikon Fieldscope ED82 via FSA-L1 adapter and Nikon D300s.

Black-winged Stilt

Other resident at the lagoon, Yellow-bellied Prinia

Happy birding and I will be off for bird survey at Mantanani Island next week :)