Brunei: Lower Belait, 23 June

Today Kolbjorn and Folkert joined us again to survey Badas Forest Reserve, an area of degraded but regenerating kerangas forest where there has been some tree planting effort (even Prince Charles has planted a tree there!). The intact forest proved very difficult to get into without a lot of crashing about, so we returned to the regenerating area and were duly rewarded with some good, if distant birds.IMG_1825

When we saw 4 Black Hornbills in a dead tree, Folkert remarked “That’s unusual, we usually only see them in pairs.” So we were even more surprised when the 4 were joined by 2 more, then another, and another, until we counted 17 birds using the tree (not all at the same time), presumably as the first port of call after emerging from a communal overnight roost.

We spent quite a while observing birds feeding around and flying across the clearing, and added some good birds – Black-and-white Bulbul, Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker and Long-billed Spiderhunter among them – to our list.

IMG_1832This Chestnut-bellied Malkoha would not sit on a clean perch for me, sadly.

IMG_1835I was amazed to see how ‘hairy’ it was around the head. I’m not sure what purpose these fine feathers serve. In this species, both sexes apparently have blue eyes.

IMG_1836Back at the entrance track, we came across some fresh footprints in the sand. By the size of them they belonged to either Bornean Bay Cat or, more likely, Bornean Clouded Leopard. So close!

IMG_1842 IMG_1854 IMG_1869We also met with this subadult Lesser Fish Eagle. Though classed as Near Threatened along with Grey-headed Fish Eagle in the Red Data Book, in my experience this species is far scarcer than Grey-headed, and would probably be better classed as Vulnerable. Apart from the shorter, all dark tail, Lesser differs from Grey-headed in being shorter-necked and larger-headed. These structural differences are distinctive, but poorly illustrated/described in field guides.

IMG_4258We came across this mummified moth suspended from a branch. The line on which it was suspended was pretty substantial – so perhaps quite a large spider? No web or spider was visible nearby however.

IMG_4260It seems to have become a fertile garden for some kind of fungus. Amazing! I’d love to know what is going on here.

IMG_1904Having left Folkert and Kolbjorn, Angus and I explored another area of kerangas, and I soon found myself distracted by Hook-billed Bulbuls again!

IMG_1936 IMG_1926 IMG_1914Closer and closer!

IMG_1949 IMG_1946These photos may be the first ever taken of juvenile HBB. As well as a prominent yellow gape, the cutting edges of the bill were yellow, though they don’t show up well in these photos, which were taken against the light.

IMG_1961Animal or vegetable? I can’t tell what the reddish thing in its bill was, but the bird appeared to swipe it sideways several times on the branch and then eat it.

IMG_1971A better view of the twin ‘fangs’ on this particular species of pitcher plant.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s