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12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

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