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12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Sorinsim Substation, Kota Marudu

3-6th December 2021 
Spent a few nights here with the gang plus some demo units of cameras and lenses were provided by Sony Kota Kinabalu for testing on the field. The weather was good throughout, but the forest around the office and along the designated bird trail were a bit quiet than what I normally see and hear in other birding hotspots. 
We did explored further along the trail leading to Makam Sigunting, a local warrior during the British occupation in the late 1800s, but the low density of Babbler and Bulbul at the elevation around 130m asl were a bit surprising though. Heard the Sunda Scops Owl on the camping ground but (next to the crystal colour water) no other Owl were observed especially the common Buffy Fish Owl during the trip.

Overall the substation is a good weekend gateway for family seeking relaxing environment with a good combo of the river and rainforest to walk around plus excellent public amenities provided by Sabah Parks. 

Bird list: 72 birds from the substation the rest at Tip of Borneo, Kudat and Tempasuk Plain, Kota Belud
  1. Great Argus
  2. Bornean Necklaced Partridge
  3. Wandering Whistling Duck
  4. Chinese Pond Heron
  5. Grey Heron
  6. Purple Heron
  7. Little Egret
  8. Great Egret
  9. Cattle Egret
  10. Lesser Frigatebird
  11. Rufous-bellied Eagle
  12. Changeable Hawk-Eagle
  13. Brahminy Kite
  14. Crested Serpent Eagle
  15. Black-winged Kite
  16. Common Moorhen
  17. White-breasted Waterhen
  18. Black-winged Stilt
  19. Marsh Sandpiper
  20. Common Sandpiper
  21. Wood Sandpiper
  22. Long-toed Stint
  23. Curlew Sandpiper
  24. Whiskered Tern
  25. Spotted Dove
  26. Red-collared Dove
  27. Little Green Pigeon
  28. Feral Pigeon
  29. Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot
  30. Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo
  31. Greater Coucal
  32. Lesser Coucal
  33. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
  34. Raffles's Malkoha
  35. Sunda Scops Owl
  36. Asian Palm Swift
  37. Grey-rumped Treeswift
  38. Plume-toed Swiftlet
  39. Edible-nest Swiftlet
  40. Brown Needletail
  41. Silver-rumped Spinetail
  42. Scarlet-rumped Trogon
  43. Diard's Trogon
  44. Rufous-backed Kingfisher
  45. White-crowned Hornbill
  46. Gold-whiskered Barbet
  47. Red-throated Barbet
  48. Buff-rumped Woodpecker
  49. Buff-necked Woodpecker
  50. Banded Broadbill
  51. Black & Yellow Broadbill
  52. Hooded Pitta
  53. Green Iora
  54. Lesser Green Leafbird
  55. Ashy Minivet
  56. Large Wood Shrike
  57. Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike
  58. Pied Triller
  59. Long-tailed Shrike
  60. Dark-throated Oriole
  61. Asian Fairy-Bluebird
  62. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
  63. Slender-billed Crow
  64. Crested Jay
  65. Pacific Swallow
  66. Barn Swallow
  67. White-breasted Woodswallow
  68. Rufous-tailed Tailorbird
  69. Ashy Tailorbird
  70. Olive-winged Bulbul
  71. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  72. Red-eyed Bulbul
  73. Spectacled Bulbul
  74. Charlotte's Bulbul
  75. Grey-cheeked Bulbul
  76. Striated Grassbird
  77. White-chested Babbler
  78. Chestnut-winged Babbler
  79. Bold-striped Tit-Babbler
  80. Bornean Ibon
  81. Asian Glossy Starling
  82. Eyebrowed Thrush
  83. Siberian Blue Robin
  84. Oriental Magpie Robin
  85. White-crowned Shama
  86. Asian Brown Flycatcher
  87. Mugimaki Flycatcher
  88. Asian Paradise-Flycatcher
  89. Pied Fantail
  90. Black-naped Monarch
  91. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
  92. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker
  93. Thick-billed Flowerpecker
  94. Brown-throated Sunbird
  95. Little Spiderhunter
  96. Bornean Spiderhunter
  97. Scaly-breasted Munia
  98. Dusky Munia
  99. Black-headed Munia
  100. Grey Wagtail 
  101. Paddyfield's Pipit
  102. Eurasian Tree Sparrow 

Recording of Asian Fairy-Bluebird

Recording of Gold-faced Barbet

Images taken with Swarovski Optik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 

A pair of Little Green Pigeon, common nomadic resident

Rufous-backed Kingfisher, one of the smallest out of 12 species found in Borneo

 Scarlet-rumped Trogon sometimes confused with the Cinnamon-rumped Trogon (on both females)

Marak Park Road via Kota Marudu and it takes around 2 hours 40 minutes (152 km) drive from Kota Kinabalu with great scenery of the countryside

Signboard to the station via Marak Parak village

Swarovski Optik, the best sport optic in the world are used widely by bird guides in Sabah

Short demo session by Sony Kota Kinabalu on their new models of cameras and lenses

 John on the warning notice of No Fishing or fines between RM 5000 to RM 50000!

Gazebos facing the river 

 Huntsman spider

So far so good with those birds

Paved bird trail for easier access to the visitors

Starting points to places of interests at the substation

Shooting the Rufous-backed Kingfisher

Starting point to climb Mt. Nambuyukong

Hostel and chalets are available for rent

24 hours electricity is a luxury for campers!

Gary shooting time lapses of Mt. Nambuyukong

Climbing Mt. Nambuyukong at 1603m can be done in 1 day with advance booking for rangers at Sabah Parks office

Yours truly

 Half way to Makan Sigunting

Local warrior tomb 

Bioluminescence Firefly glow in the dark inside my tent

This is how the soft bodied beetles looks like

Together with Jack from Sabah Parks

Buying cheap gingers and lemons on the road side at Kg. Monggis

Ashy Minivet, lifer at Tip of Borneo, Kudat

Fresh grill fish at Kota Belud

Setting up tent at Kisakot Campsite, Kota Belud

The famous Panataran River with Mt. Kinabalu at the background...

Happy birding!

Friday, November 19, 2021

Long-biled Dowitcher

 18th November 2021

Single bird feeding among the many Black-winged Stilt and also Black-tailed Godwit. The excitement while watching this vagrant through the excellent Swarovski Optik BTX95 spotting scope was hard to described, and it was my no 516 Borneo birds lifer for 2021 hahaha :D

As per eBird, it was the 2nd record for Sabah on the same area of Tempasuk Plain sighted in 1996 by Craig Robson Thanks to Oliver for the great finding!

Video at my Youtube

Recorded sounds of feeding frenzy of Pink-necked Green Pigeon

Images taken with Swarovski Optik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED  


A group of Black-tailed Godwit with Common Greenshank and Marsh Sandpiper

Oliver scanning with the Swarovski Optik BTX95 spotting scope

Shooting some images and videos with the Swarovski Optik STX95 spotting scope

Yours truly

Tempasuk plains, one of my favourite birding spots throughout the year

Happy birding!

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Wader Conservation World Watch 2021 + Sayap Substation

 6-7th November 2021

It was a good trip with the gang at Tempasuk Plain for the WCWW event then spent for a nite at one of my favourite camping spots, Sayap Substation for the Bornean Frogmouth and also Bonaparte Nightjar (dipped again). 14 species of waders were recorded at the plains with a single Asian Dowitcher as the highlight. For the substation, it was raining continuously on the Saturday night and got around 2 hours birding in the morning before it rained again. 

 Bird list:

  • Wandering Whistling Duck
  • Spotted Dove
  • Zebra Dove
  • Eurasian Moorhen
  • White-breasted Waterhen
  • Black-winged Stilt
  • Pacific Golden Plover
  • Kentish Plover
  • Little Ringed Plover
  • Black-tailed Godwit
  • Ruff
  • Curlew Sandpiper
  • Common Greenshank
  • Marsh Sandpiper
  • Wood Sandpiper
  • White-winged Tern
  • Whiskered Tern
  • Oriental Darter
  • Cinnamon Bittern
  • Grey Heron
  • Purple Heron
  • Great Egret
  • Intermediate Egret
  • Little Egret
  • Cattle Egret
  • Crested Serpent Eagle
  • Black-winged Kite
  • Brahminy Kite
  • Eastern Marsh Harrier 
  • Common Kingfisher
  • Little Cuckoo-Dove 
  • Gold-whiskered Barbet
  • Rufous-piculet
  • White-breasted Woodswallow
  • Plum-toed Swiftlet
  • Malaysian Pied Fantail
  • Barn Swallow
  • Sunda CuckooShrike
  • Bornean Whistler
  • Black & Crimson Oriole
  • Ashy Drongo
  • Hair-crested Drongo
  • Yellow-vented Bulbul
  • Black-headed Bulbul
  • Cinereous Bulbul
  • Penan Bulbul
  • Chestnut-crested Yuhina
  • Temminck's Babbler
  • Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher 
  • Grey-streaked Flycatcher
  • Dark-sided Flycatcher
  • Oriental Magpie Robin
  • Bornean Forktail
  • Asian Glossy Starling
  • Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker
  • Black-sided Flowerpecker
  • Brown-throated Sunbird
  • Olive-backed Sunbird
  • Chestnut Munia
  • Dusky Munia
  • Eastern Yellow Wagtail
  • Grey Wagtail


Recorded sounds of:


Images taken with Swarovski Optik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED 


With John at Tempasuk Plains, Kota Belud


The rain from the mountain...

Both side view of the paddy fields

Got the Curlew Sandpiper here and for longer observation, plus comfy using 2 eyes and wide field of view of the Swarovski Optik BTX 95 spotting scope, nothing beats this setup!

Dark-sided Flycatcher, one of the common winter visitor from North Asia

Ashy Drongo

Access trail leading up to Mt.Minodtuhan

Camping is best done under the shelter because of the constant rain in the evening

John and Adrian, both works as a bird cum tour guides with western plateau of Mt. Kinabalu at the background

So refreshing

Your truly :D


The Pale Hedge Blue (thanks to Jamiun for the ID)


Wariu River, main source of water for the surrounding villages at Sayap 

Happy birding!