Six days in Sabah: the Borneo Bird Festival

Birding Mesilau_060613_IMG_4065This comprised a night each at Kinabalu Park HQ, Mesilau (above) and Poring, followed by 2 nights at Sepilok for the Festival. Things were a bit rushed, and it wasn’t a full-on birding trip, but I met some great people and saw a few birds along the way!Indigo Flycatcher_Kinabalu Park_040613_IMG_0359

Indigo Flycatcher is a characteristic species of the mountain.

Mesilau_060613_IMG_4063The jagged skyline of the eastern ridge above Mesilau makes an imposing backdrop to the forest there.Mountain Treeshrew_Mesilau_060613_IMG_0409

Mountain Treeshrews were common at Mesilau. We were also surprised to find Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel there, at over 1900m.Bornean Whistling-thrush_Mesilau_060613_IMG_0401

Bornean Whistling-thrush is Mesilau’s speciality species, being much commoner there than at the Park HQ.

Diard's Trogon_Poring_070613_IMG_0457Poring was quiet, but this young male Diard’s Trogon gave good views.

Horsfield's Babbler_Poring_070613_IMG_0475As did a couple of Horsfield’s Babblers.Rhino beetle_Poring_070613_IMG_4074

This Rhinoceros Beetle was the centre of atttention at the restaurant where we had dinner at Poring.

Blyth's Hawk-eagle_Poring_070613_IMG_0484A pair of Blyth’s Hawk-eagles  were on view briefly.

Blue-eared Barbet_Sepilok_080613_IMG_0510At Sepilok Nature Resort, a fruiting fig proved popular with Blue-eared Barbets.

Blue-eared Barbet_Sepilok_080613_IMG_0569From the number of juvs around it seems to have been a good breeding season.

Buff-vented Bulbul_Sepilok_080613_IMG_0529There were numbers of juvenile Buff-vented Bulbuls around as well.

Green Imperial-pigeon_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0661A few hours on the Canopy Walkway at the Rainforest Discovery Centre in the morning is always time well spent. These are Green Imperial-pigeons.

White-bellied Woodpecker_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0696And a fly-by White-bellied Woodpecker, with its un-woodpecker-like level flight, appearing very crow-like.

Brown Barbet_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0675This Brown Barbet was obviously still feeding young. The spiderwebs in the background add an unusual element to this photo.

Fiery Minivet_Sepilok_080613_IMG_0600Even in the rain the Bristlehead Tower was a good place to be, with eye-level views of Fiery Minivets. This is the male.

Fiery Minivet_Sepilok_080613_IMG_0608And the female – much easier to identify than the male!

Black-and_yellow Broadbill_Sepilok_080613_IMG_0643A miserable-looking Black-and-yellow Broadbill after a heavy shower.

Black Hornbill_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0722A pair of Black Hornbills put on a good show from the walkway.

Bornean Bristlehead_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0869Best of all, I finally broke my run of bad luck with Bristleheads at RDC – a case of third time lucky!

Bornean Bristlehead_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0840 Bornean Bristlehead_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0806 Bornean Bristlehead_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0802 Bornean Bristlehead_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0796Three birds spent a leisurely hour feeding above us in some tall trees along the Ridge Trail on my last morning.

Bristlehead watching_Sepilok_090613_IMG_4102Bristlehead twitch! News quickly got around and the crowd soon began to build up!

Bornean Bristlehead_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0883That’s a pretty distincive head profile!

Bornean Bristlehead_Sepilok_090613_IMG_0917My attempt at a flight shot was stymied by an intervening tree! Nevertheless, this was the perfect ending to a great few days.

My thanks to Sabah Tourism, the Borneo Bird Club and all the hardworking folks at RDC for making BBF 2013 another memorable and enjoyable event. I hope to be back next year!


4 thoughts on “Six days in Sabah: the Borneo Bird Festival

  1. Lovely pics Dave. I have seen the Giant Spotted Flying Squirrel at the Kinabalu Park HQ at night (c.1600m ASL) so your sighting is interesting as it is at a much higher altitude. the rhinoceros beetle is a Bornean endemic Chalcosoma moellenkampi, one of three Chalcosoma species worldwide.

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