Brunei: Lower Belait, 17 June

Today Merijn, Marianne and I visited several remnant patches of forest – a bit of peat swamp forest and some bits of nipah and ficus swamp.


Pic courtesy of Marianne Rense

Just to prove I was there!

IMG_1257Black-throated Babblers were really common in peat swamp forest, even in little patches like this. I would have liked to get better pics, but this one only came out into the open once. Before it did so, Merijn warned Marianne to “Get ready, because it will come out for about 1 second”, which is exactly what it did!

IMG_1260Great Slaty Woodpeckers are supposed to be sensitive to logging, presumably because it takes out the big trees on which they depend. Here in Brunei, forests are fragmented by roads and pipelines, but otherwise intact, and the Great Slatys seem to do fine in these fragments, where the original trees still stand.

IMG_1266Interesting to note that they don’t bother with ‘accessories’ like underwing coverts!

IMG_1275A male Raffles’s Malkoha came out to sun itself on some bare branches and call. It’s a bird I often hear but rarely see calling.

IMG_1301Plantain Squirrels in Borneo aren’t supposed to have a chestnut tip to the tail as they do in the Peninsula. Obviously no-one told this one!

IMG_1312Broncholocela cristatella, otherwise known as Green Crested Tree Lizard – exactly what it says on the tin!

Large Flying Fox_LPR_200613_IMG_1594At dusk we went out to the Lumut pipeline and watched Large Flying Foxes flying to their feeding trees in their thousands. Enlarge this pic and see how many you can see. Merijn and a few PNHS volunteers counted 6-7,000 an hour the next night!

IMG_1353These things are large – you could be forgiven for thinking you’ve spotted a raptor at first glance!

IMG_1332 IMG_1317Or a small bomber!

IMG_1345 IMG_1366 IMG_1349

The scientifuc name is Pteropus vampyrus and there is certainly something quite gothic about them – a hint of the Nazgul!

IMG_1371 IMG_1379 IMG_1384Muahaha!

We also came in the hope of seeing and hearing Bonaparte’s Nightjar, and weren’t disappointed. The call is extraordinary, rather like the sound of a kite in the wind flying past. Have a listen here. We got OK views but no photos, so I will refer to you to an excellent image taken by Folkert Hindriks at the same spot. Check out Folkert’s great blog here.


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