My Binoculars and Spotting Scopes Sponsored by Swarovski Optik

12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

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!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Live Birding on Location: Asia

 1st September 2020

As the world still in the dark in regards of the pandemic Covid-19, Swarovski Optik, Austria came up with ideas of gathering a well known birders in different continents, by showcasing the local birds at places of interest via social media (Facebook and Youtube).

For Asia region, 16 birders from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Philippines, Borneo (myself and Andrew), Sri Langka and India were selected for the live stream. It was fun and great experience for the team despite experiencing minor glitches during the show.

Luckily, it only rained at Tanjung Aru Beach after the live ended. We managed to get the Long-tailed Parakeet, Blue-rumped and Blue-naped Parrot with other birds for the viewers.

Below are the links for the live birding:


Images taken with Swarovski Optik and Huawei. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


Blue-naped Parrot feeding on the ornamental palm oil fruits

The level of vignetting at 30x with Swarovski Optik STX95 scope through the Variable Photo Adapter VPA. It is easy to use as well removing the black circle with photo editor

With Andrew at Prince Philip Park, Tanjung Aru Beach. It is about 15 minutes away from downtown Kota Kinabalu. Famous for the sunset, it is also considered one of the best place for garden birding in Sabah with more than 80 species of birds has been recorded such as Collared Kingfisher, Java Sparrow, Rosy Starling, Gull-billed Tern, Chinese Egret and Oriental Pied Hornbill

Happy birding and stay safe everyone!


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Rainbow Bee-Eater

1st August 2020

Brief stop at Tanjung Aru Beach 3 with the gang for the vagrant Rainbow Bee-Eater sighted by Hie and Bong a few days ago. Got it after scanning around 30 minutes and the cloudy weather didn't help much with the pics. It is considered the 1st record for West Coast after a group of this birds were seen at Silam Coast Conservation Area, Lahad Datu on the East Coast in 2017 during the same Austral migration period.

Bird list:
  • Great Egret
  • Black-crowned Night Heron
  • Little Tern
  • Germain's Swiftlet
  • Asian Palm Swift
  • Spotted Dove
  • Zebra Dove 
  • Green Imperial Pigeon
  • Pink-necked Green Pigeon
  • Long-tailed Parakeet
  • Blue-rumped Parrot
  • Blue-naped Parrot
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • White-breasted Woodswallow
  • Common Iora 
  • Dollarbird
  • Yellow-bellied Prinia
  • Asian Glossy Starling
  • Dusky Munia
  • Black-headed Munia
  • Eurasin Tree Sparrow

Images taken with Swarovski Optik and Huawei Mate 10 Pro. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Rainbow Bee-Eater

Blue-rumped Parrot


Long-tailed Parakeet

The famous beach for sunset with Tunku Abdul Rahman Park at the background

With Ali etc

Road leading to the Rainbow Bee-Eater spot. You can get other species here too such as the Lesser Coucal and Olive-backed Sunbird

Recording a short video of the Blue-rumped Parrot while waiting for the Bee-Eater

 Blue-rumped Parrot

Happy birding!

Monday, July 6, 2020

Birding + Camping at Kalangadanku

5-6th July 2020

While waiting for the KB4WDC gang, I took several hours to look for some rarities at Tempasuk Plain as well on the beach at Kuala Abai, Kota Belud. Didn't see much except there were juvenile resident Peregrine Falcon and also 1st winter Gull-billed Tern with adult in breeding plumage. Then spent the night at Kalangadanku Eco Camp next to Nahaba River and saw a single Barn Swallow but no sign of the Pin-tailed Parrotfinch at the semi ripen paddy field

Bird list:
  • Wandering Whistling Duck
  • Cinnamon Bittern
  • Javan Pond Heron
  • Purple Heron
  • Little Egret
  • Intermediate Egret
  • Great Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Oriental Darter
  • Brahminy Kite
  • Black-shouldered Kite
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Common Moorhen
  • Black-backed Swamphen
  • White-breasted Waterhen
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Whiskered Tern
  • Gull-billed Tern
  • Zebra Dove
  • Spotted Dove
  • Lesser Coucal
  • Edible-Nest Swiftlet
  • Glossy Swiftlet
  • Collared Kingfisher
  • Common Iora
  • Pacific Swallow
  • Barn Swallow
  • Yellow-vented Bulbul
  • Yellow-bellied Prinia
  • Striated Grassbird
  • Asian Glossy Starling
  • Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
  • Scaly-breasted Munia
  • Black-headed Munia
  • Dusky Munia
  • Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Images taken with Swarovski Optik and Huawei Mate 10 Pro. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Common Moorhen

Yellow-bellied Prinia

Javan Pond Heron in breeding plumage

 Wandering Whistling Ducklings


View of the famous Mt. Kinabalu

Using the Swarovski Optik BTX95 for the juvenile Peregrine Falcon perched high on the hill

Was hoping for the Pin-tailed Parrotfinch here


Refreshing water from Mt. Kinabalu!

Camping and gathering with the Kota Belud Four Wheel Drive Club for a night at Kalangadanku

Happy birding!

Monday, June 29, 2020

Frog's mouth galore at Sayap Substation

26-28th June 2020

My 2nd overnight visit to Sayap Substation, Sabah Parks with John, Adrian and Roger for the Bornean Frogmouth, Bonaparte's Nightjar and the elusive Eyebrowed Wren-Babbler. But luck was not on my side again this time. On the first evening, while looking for the Frogmouth and Nightjar, we saw at least five different species of nocturnal frogs in different sizes.

It was a good birding on Saturday morning with Mt Barbet, Whitehead's Broadbill and Hill Blue Flycatcher. Then rain came late in the afternoon continuously until we left on Sunday morning after breakfast that causes flash floods at few districts in Sabah including Kota Belud itself!

By the way, I got the Pin-tailed Parrotfinch as my lifer for Borneo number 514 :D

Birds list for Sayap Substation and Tempasuk Plains:
  1. Wandering Whistling Duck
  2. Black-crowned Night Heron
  3. Cinnamon Bittern
  4. Javan Pond Heron
  5. Purple Heron
  6. Great Egret
  7. Little Egret
  8. Brahminy Kite
  9. Black-shouldered Kite
  10. White-browed Crake
  11. Buff-banded Rail
  12. Watercock
  13. Common Moorhen
  14. Black-backed Swamphen
  15. Black-winged Stilt
  16. Common Sandpiper
  17. Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo
  18. Whiskered Treeswift
  19. Glossy Swiftlet
  20. Edible Nest-Swiftlet
  21. Rufous-backed Kingfisher
  22. Mountain Barbet (E)
  23. Banded Woodpecker
  24. Whitehead's Broadbill (E)
  25. Bornean Leafbird (E)
  26. Scarlet Minivet
  27. Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike
  28. Sunda Cuckoo-Shrike
  29. Black & Crimson Oriole
  30. Ashy Drongo
  31. Bornean Treepie (E)
  32. Pacific Swallow
  33. Rufous-tailed Tailorbird
  34. Ochraceous Bulbul
  35. Cinereous Bulbul
  36. Bornean Bulbul (E)
  37. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  38. Yellow-bellied Warbler
  39. Grey-throated Babbler
  40. Erpornis
  41. Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush (E)
  42. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  43. Bornean Forktail (E)
  44. Hill Blue Flycatcher
  45. Verditer Flycatcher
  46. Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
  47. Black-naped Monarch
  48. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
  49. Bornean Flowerpecker (E)
  50. Olive-backed Sunbird
  51. Temminck's Sunbird
  52. Bornean Spiderhunter (E)
  53. Little Spiderhunter
  54. Dusky Munia
  55. Pin-tailed Parrotfinch
  56. Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Images taken with Swarovski Optik and Huawei Mate 10 Pro. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Bailey's bridge is common throughout the state


Comfort is essential while camping!

My trusted gear for night birding; Swarovski Optik EL 10x32 Fieldpro and Nitecore P30 torch

Taking pictures of the unID frog

UnID frog

Juvenile Horned Frog

Horned Frog

Back view of the Horned Frog

UnID frog

Looking at the Western Plateau of Mt. Kinabalu with Swarovski Optik STX95

Adrian and Roger along the access road

Kg. Sayap is one of the producer for sweet Pineapple in Sabah!

John and Adrian on the ridge while looking for raptors


Crested Agamid, seen from the Nikon V1 screen through the Swarovski Optik STX95

Lunch time while waiting for the rain to stopped


Top, middle and bottom pictures view of the hill forest around the substation

It was still raining heavily on Sunday morning 

Spot where John spotted the Pin-tailed Parrotfinch on the right side of the road

Great Mormon

Crested Agamid Lizard

Bornean Bulbul seen daily 

 Female Bornean Flowerpecker on the Medinilla fruits 

On rescue mission with KB4WDC 


 Tempasuk Plain with Mt. Kinabalu at the background

Happy birding everyone!