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12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

Monday, January 24, 2022

Mt. Kinabalu + Black-faced Spoonbill special moment

 22-23rd January 2022



After more than 2 years from my last visit here, the morning birding produces some of the finest birds endemic to Borneo on the higher elevation such as Crimson-headed Partridge, Dark Hawk-Cuckoo and the legendary Whitehead's trio: Spiderhunter seen feeding on the rhododendron flowers, single male of the Trogon and a pair of Broadbill among the greens within 3 hours! 

One of the Rhododendrons favoured by the Temminck's Sunbird and Whitehead's Spiderhunter at Mt. Kinabalu. 27 species of rhododendrons were recorded here.


 Most birds were vocal and I got a few recording such a:

Bird list:

  1. Crimson-headed Partridge (endemic)
  2. Little Cuckoo-Dove
  3. Mt. Imperial-Pigeon
  4. Whitehead's Trogon (endemic)
  5. Golden-naped Barbet (endemic)
  6. Maroon Woodpecker
  7. Checker-throated Woodpecker
  8. Whitehead's Broadbill (endemic)
  9. Gray-chinned Minivet
  10. Sunda Cuckooshrike
  11. Bornean Whistler (endemic)
  12. Hair-crested Drongo
  13. Bornean Green-Magpie (endemic)
  14. Bornean Treepie (endemic)
  15. Penan Bulbul (endemic)
  16. Yellow-breasted Warbler
  17. Mountain Tailorbird
  18. Chestnut-crested Yuhina (endemic)
  19. Gray-throated Babbler
  20. Mt. Wren-Babbler (endemic)
  21. Sunda Laughingthrush
  22. Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush (endemic)
  23. Eyebrowed Jungle-Flycatcher (endemic)
  24. White-browed Shortwing
  25. Bornean Whistling-Thrush (endemic)
  26. Mugimaki Flycatcher (endemic)
  27. Black-sided Flowerpecker
  28. Temminck's Sunbird
  29. Whitehead's Spiderhunter (endemic)

On the next day at Tempasuk Plain, Kota Belud with Mark and Gary on his 4th attempts for the mega lifer Black-faced Spoonbill. Despite searching for it around the plain since 5.30 in the morning, we decided to stayed at the last seen spot until when Okuy, Ed and Oliver arrived around 4 in the afternoon. It mush have been pure luck when Okuy went for another round at few places and eventually he got it! What a memorable day for Gary!

My current Sabah Big Year 2022 list at 161 species (500 target birds) and with the addition of Eurasian Bittern, my Borneo list at 526 :)

Images taken with Swarovski Optik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED



After 3 weekends in row for the Black-faced Spoonbill, it feels great knowing everyone in the circle got their mega lifer for January...


With a cooler box plus superb view of the plains...


Saw the Eurasian Bittern (vagrant) lifer here


High spirit for the Spoonbill with Gary and Mark!


One of the spot for the Black-faced Spoonbill


Another lovely morning at Tempasuk Plain with reflection of Mt. Kinabalu and my gear-ready Swarovski Optik BTX95!

Got stung by Bee while watching the Mt. Wren-Babbler!

Waiting for the Mt. Wren-Babbler

Modern tech allows us to view the subject seen from the lens with our smartphone nowadays

Waiting for the tree tops specialist, Whitehead's Spiderhunter

Mt. Imperial-Pigeon

Ron with a few tourists admiring the pics of Mt. Leaf Warbler

Whitehead's Broadbill, one of the must see birds in Sabah. Digiscoped with Swarovski Optik BTX95 spotting scope


Along the access road to Timpohon Gate


On the way to Kinabalu Park

Happy birding and Chinese New Year everyone!

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