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12 Days Birding & Bird Photography Tours In Sabah, Borneo

Monday, September 4, 2023

Birding with Dr. Sam and Dr. Daniel

 25th August - 3rd September 2023

The trip started for the Sunda Scops Owl on the night of the 24th at Bandaran Berjaya dustbin centre, but no luck then the following morning went to Mt. Trusmadi bird hide for the Bulwer's Pheasant, Crested Partridge and surprisingly, a lone rare Olive-backed Woodpecker were seen next to the Checker-throated Woodpecker not far from the hide.

Whitehead's Spiderhunter was not heard and seen despite repetitive visit to Mt. Alab and Mt. Emas. One fruiting tree near the busy Tambunan road got us the rare Jambu Fruit-Dove together with the Golden-naped and Mountain Barbet! Short visit to Poring Substation, rare Chestnut-naped Forktail were seen hopping during the rain at Camping Ground and the busy Long-billed Spiderhunter with its nesting material too!

At Sepilok, Bornean Bristlehead were the highlights in a party of 5 late in afternoon from the new walkway extension after running at full speed from Kingfisher Trail 😂. Missed the Rufous-winged Philentoma and Asian Paradise Flycather but were compensated with the endemic Black-crowned Pitta and Orange-backed Woodpecker and our final morning with the Bornean Black Magpie! 😍

But the most enjoyable moment was at Kinabatangan River with 2 sightings of Helmeted Hornbill, Large Frogmouth at day time from behind Borneo Nature Lodge and the rare Bornean Ground-Cuckoo 😬. On our way back to Sandakan Airport, Ruddy Kingfisher, Red-throated Barbet and Chestnut-rumped Babbler were added into their 230 collective bird species recorded during the 10 days trip 😀

Thanks a lot Sam and Dan for the wonderful trip and lots of laughters, great stories and the company! See you next time 😎

Key birds seen:

  • Violet Cuckoo - Male in flight on blue skies
  • Bornean Ground-Cuckoo - 4 pairs heard and one seen at single afternoon!
  • Large Frogmouth - Saw at night and also photographed by Dan at day time
  • Storm's Stork - Seen daily at the river
  • Black-sided Falconet - Almost missed this at the cave
  • Oriental Bay Owl - High up on tree during night cruise
  • Brown Boobook - Spotted by Sam at unbelievable roosting site
  • Wreathed Hornbill - 1 pair flew above the Pitta Path at RDC and came back into the view with excellent recording of its call
  • Helmeted Hornbill - 2 families seen on different day at the river near Sukau village
  • Grey-and-buff Woodpecker - Funky looking bird came to the call at the cave
  • Great Slaty Woodpecker - A rare visit at RDC seen well with spotting scope by Swarovski Optik
  • Ruddy Kingfisher - So close at the cave
  • Whitehead's Broadbill - Favourite bird for both
  • Bornean Bristlehead - Unmistakable the only bird of its family found in Borneo
  • Bornean Black Magpie - Single bird flew out from the forest and landed right in front of us at last morning before the river

Images taken with Swarovski Optik. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Access road at Mt. Trusmadi for the bird hide

Mt. Alab hide for the Crimson-headed Partridge

Whitehead's Trogon

Morning rays at Mt. Kinabalu

Ben, fellow Swarovski Optik ambassador from USA

Shooting the Golden-naped Barbet at Timpohon Gate

Short birding at Poring Substation and got the Rufous-collared Kingfisher here

Back at Mt. Alab and this time we got the Crimson-headed and Red-breasted Partridge with Sunda Owlet!

Waiting for the Whitehead's Spiderhunter along the Tambunan-Penampang Road with Swarovski Optik BTX95 spotting scope

Jambu Fruit-Dove from this site hehehe

View of Crocker Range from Lily's Cottage while waiting for the Whitehead's Spiderhunter on our final morning at Mt. Kinabalu

Whitehead's Broadbill, after months missing this bird, at last I got it!

Half way stop at Taviu Hill, Telupid for the Rhinoceros Hornbill

Watching the endemic Black-crowned Pitta at Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok

Sepilok Jungle Resort

Juvenile Wallace's Hawk-Eagle

Sam watches the White-bellied Woodpecker

Long-tailed Parakeet

Yours truly!

For the White-fronted Falconet

Sunrise at Kinabatangan River

Proboscis Monkey on the river bank

Got the Red-throated Barbet at Gomantong Cave Road before the airport

Mt. Kinabalu...

Asian Emerald Dove

Bornean Banded Pitta

Bulwer's Pheasant

Resident Orange-headed Thrush

Bornean Leafbird

Blue-eared Kingfisher

Great Egret

The rare Helmeted Hornbill

Happy birding!


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