My husband, Sean, and I have just returned from a superb trip to Sabah. This was our first visit to Borneo, and Sean's first birding trip to South East Asia. As I'd birded Peninsula Malaysia a few years ago, we concentrated on finding lifers for me, whilst still looking at anything else we came.
After months of long hours in the office, I desperately needed a holiday, and this was ideal - not too much travelling once we got here, great places to stay, some really special birds, plenty of other wildlife, and very friendly people.
As this was our first trip for a year, I was exhausted from work, and I couldn't be away more than 2.5 weeks, we decided not to try to do it cheaply. Even so, with a favourable exchange rate, it still wasn't a particularly costly trip. Costs were as follows:
Return flight from Vienna to Kuala Lumpur via Amsterdam with KLM, booked through expedia.co.uk: £602 each
Return flight from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu with Malaysian Airlines (this might be cheaper with Air Asia, but Air Asia flights depart from a different airport in KL to the one that international flights use): RM 666 each
One-way flight from KK to Sandakan with Air Asia (www.airasia.com/site/en/home.jsp): RM 80 each
One-way flight from Lahud Datu to KK with FAX: RM 75 each
5 nights at Hill Lodge (ensuite double room), Mount Kinabalu National Park (not including food), booked via email - website www.suterasanctuarylodges.com : RM 1,065
Entry fee and climbing fee (up to Laban Rata) at MKNP: RM 250 for two people
Taxis to Timpohon Gate at MKNP (1-way generally = RM 7.50 per person): RM 80
1 night at Labuk B&B near Sandakan, including breakfast and transport from Sandakan Airport (www.sepilokforestedge.com): RM 150
2 nights at Kinabatangan Jungle Camp including food, transfer from Labuk B&B to KJC, and from KJC back to the junction with the main road to Lahud Datu, and daytime boat trips with Robert Chong (email: email@example.com): RM 1,850
Spotlighting from the boat at KJC: RM 40
Taxi the rest of the way to Lahud Datu: RM 70
6 nights at Borneo Rainforest Lodge (ensuite double room), including food and specialist birding guide (we specifically requested Wangkong in advance, and he was excellent - but book him early as he's much in demand, and was also double booked for our first and last mornings). We booked via email - the website http://www.borneorainforestlodge.com/reservations/. RM 6,585
Private night drive at BRL: RM 150
1 night at the Berjaya Palace Hotel, Kota Kinabalu, booked through octopustravel.com: £30
Late check-out at the Berjaya Palace Hotel: RM 30
Taxi from Kota Kinabalu airport to MKNP and back: RM 300
Taxi from KK to Rafflesia and back: RM 300
Taxis between KK airport and the Berjaya Palace Hotel: RM 40
Food (except at BRL): £300
Laundry at BRL: RM 200
Use of the airport lounge at KL: RM 160
Tips & sundry other costs: £170
Hence the total trip cost for the two of us, assuming an exchange rate of £1 : RM 6.8 was about £3,550.
We were keen to have enough time at each place we visited to really enjoy it, so we had five nights at Mount Kinabalu NP ("MKNP"), two on the Katabangan River near Sukau, and six at Borneo Rainforest Lodge ("BRL") in the Danum Valley. We then finished up with a night in Kota Kinabalu so we could spend our final morning at the Rafflesia Reserve. We decided not to try to also fit in a trip to one of the islands, or to visit any wetlands, and with hindsight it was a good approach - we had time to walk most of the trails at both MKNP and BRL, and to bird those sites reasonably thoroughly without feeling rushed. As both these places are wonderful, we'd have happily spent longer at them, but five days at MKNP was enough to see all the key species reasonably expected except for Friendly Warbler, and a couple of less regularly seen birds (eg Everett’s Thrush, though unfortunately not also Fruithunter). Birding at BRL is sufficiently exciting and difficult to ensure that we could never spend long enough there, but being realistic, six nights was probably about right (less than four would certainly be too few).
Bird of the trip for both of us was Blue-banded Pitta - an exquisite jewel of a bird that took considerable effort to find, and then rewarded us with fantastic views. Bornean Bristlehead was also great, and being a family tick, it was our key target bird. The Wren-Babblers, three more Pittas, the lovely White-crowned Forktails, and the neat Eye-browed Jungle-Flycatchers are also worth a mention. And our general trip highlights were walking the beautiful Liwagu Trail at MKNP and the trail to the viewpoint at BRL.
A Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo, Payne and Francis - an excellent book, set out in the format of a good bird field guide
A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali, MacKinnon and Phillipps
Various trip reports posted on www.birdtours.com, fatbirder.com and surfbirds.com
Birds of Tropical Asia CD Rom - we downloaded relevant calls from here to minidisk. This is a great CD-ROM, but as most of the calls are not recorded in Sabah, some of the local subspecies sound different
As usual, I put together a spreadsheet of the probabilities of seeing each bird based on previous trip reports, and this proved reasonably accurate. I'm happy to send it to anyone who might find it useful.
Problems and annoyances
There were no significant problems on this trip – the lodges and hotels we stayed at were all lovely and very efficiently run. However, when I was trying to make bookings at BRL and MKNP by email, both were rather slow to respond by email, but persistence paid off!
There were surprisingly few biting insects – we hardly needed to use mosquito repellant at all. We took malaria tablets as based on our doctor's information, there is a malaria risk in Sabah. Certainly there were leeches in Danum Valley, but the only precautions we took were tucking our trousers into our socks and occasionally spraying our shoes with repellant. We had to flick a few off our clothes, but we got very few bites. Leeches are apparently much worse in the wet season, but it’s possible to buy leech socks at BRL.
After getting to bed at 1am, following working until 10pm, then 'end of busy season drinks’ and finishing packing, it was very tough getting up at 3am so we could get to Vienna in time for our 6.55am flight to Amsterdam. However, the flight was on time and I slept for most of it.
We had about 2 hours at Schippol before our flight to Kuala Lumpur, which was also on time. Malaysian is definitely the best airline we've flown with - I got my special meals with no problems at all (and they were nice), and we had individual tv screens with a wide choice of movies on demand.
We arrived at Kuala Lumpur at around 6.30am and then flew to Kota Kinabalu, arriving around noon. We then got a taxi to Mount Kinabalu National Park (“MKNP”). However, after breaking down for the third time on the way up the mountain, we all agreed that trying to restart the taxi and continue was a bad idea, so the driver flagged down a minibus to take us the rest of the way to the Park, which actually wasn't very far.
After checking in we got a ride the short way to our room at Hill Lodge. We had a great view of the mountain from outside our room – whilst the top was sometimes hidden behind clouds, most of the time it was clear. We also had great weather the whole time we were there, with no birding time lost to rain. MKNP is a great place, with extremely friendly, helpful and efficient staff, and exceptionally well-maintained trails.
After showering and unpacking we had about an hour to bird along the road before it got dark. It was quite quiet, but we still got a few lifers, including Eye-browed Jungle-Flycatcher.
We got up around 5.40am after a really good night's sleep. We started on the Silau Silau trail, where lots of birds were calling, but we hardly saw anything, and because I'd had so little time to study the calls, I couldn't even identify most of what we were hearing. However, we did get great looks at a White-browed Shortwing by the path. Coming off the trail, we then birded our way back down the road to the lodge, and then from there down to the Balsam restaurant for a late buffet breakfast.
The birding from the grass behind the restaurant was great - Sean spotted a Golden-naped Barbet, which saved us having to search for one of the many that were calling.
We then birded our way very slowly back to Hill lodge, seeing a few flycatchers outside the gift shop near the fitness centre.
After lunch at the Balsm Restaurant (rather mediocre), we birded the Kiau view trail, which was through lovely forest but wasn't everso birdy, although we did get great looks at Checker-throated Woodpecker.
This morning we set off just before dawn (around 6am). We birded up the Power Station Road, seeing both Bornean Whistling-Thrush and Everett's Thrush by the side of the road. We also went a short way onto the Kiau View trail, which got us a very brief look at a Crimson-headed Partridge, and onto the Silau-Sioau trail, but it was very quiet. We then waited for 20 minutes at the shelter for the taxi I'd tried to book to take us to Timpohon Gate, but it didn't arrive. So instead we continued up the road to the Mempening Trail and birded that back down to the headquarters. We got back just before 10am and had a late breakfast at the Balsam restaurant.
We then went back to Hill Lodge, getting great looks at one of the many calling Oriental Cuckoos on the way, and then onto the lower part of the Silau Silau trail, which was by then rather quiet.
Around 2pm we got a taxi up to Timpohon Gate and then walked down the Bukit Ular trail. We got great looks at an adult and juvenile Bornean Whistling-Thrush, but otherwise it was very quiet. We then walked back down the road and then onto the upper part of the Silau Silau trail, where we got a glimpse of a White-crowned Forktail flying along the stream.
This morning we had an early breakfast at the Balsam Restaurant before meeting our guide for the hike up to Laban Rata. On the way to breakfast we saw two Velvet-fronted Nuthatches, Temminck's Babbler & another Eye-browed Jungle-flycatcher. We set off from Timpohon Gate at 7.30am and got to Laban Rata just before noon. The hike was really tough - steep uphill almost all the way (6km). But it felt good to get there. Mountain Black-eye was common after the second or third shelter, and we saw quite a few Sunda Bush-Warblers. We also saw Flavescent Bulbul at around km3.0.
We had lunch at Laban Rata and then had to head back down at a fairly rapid pace as our guide told us we needed to be back by 3pm. We actually got back around 3.30. Unfortunately that didn't leave us much time for birding. However, just after we set off back down, we got superb looks at a perched Island Thrush, a bird I thought we'd not see without going higher.
We got back to our room just after 4pm and had a very welcome shower. We then walked up the road to the upper end of the Silau Silau and Kiau View trails and played the tape for Crimson-headed Partridge, which we’d heard around there twice before, but with no response.
After that we had dinner in the Liwagu Restaurant as usual.
We got out about half an hour before dawn this morning and walked up to the Kiau View and upper Silau Silau trailheads to try again for partridges there, but we didn't see anything. We both had very sore leg muscles from yesterday.
We then had breakfast at the Balsam Restaurant before getting a taxi at 7am up to Timpohon Gate (taxis can’t be booked for earlier than this). We then spent nearly five hours slowly birding the Liwagu River Trail, which was really beautiful and, for the first hour or two, really birdy. As soon as we got onto the trail we saw a Red-breasted Partridge, albeit not very well, immediately followed by some pretty obliging Mountain Wren-Babblers, and a bit further on we got great views of a female Whitehead's Trogon. After that it got quieter - I saw a Whitehead's Broadbill as it flew rapidly past, but we couldn't relocate it and Sean didn't see it at all. In the meantime, Sean saw a Kinabalu Squirrel, which I missed. Just before the end of the trail we got great looks at a White-crowned Forktail on the river.
We had a buffet lunch at the Liwagu Restaurant and then birded our way up to the reception building to make a few arrangements, and then back towards our room, with a few birding stops and a break to sit in one of the gardens for a while. After that we rested for a couple of hours before going to the Liwagu Restaurant for dinner.
This morning we checked out early, had breakfast at the Balsam Restaurant and then got a taxi up to Timpohon Gate. We then walked very slowly down the Bukit Ular Trail. I’d got the impression from reading other trip reports that it was very good for birding, so we'd thought that it was quiet on our first visit there because of the time of day. However, it was still quiet early in the morning. However, we were glad we did it because a tiny creature in the undergrowth that I at first thought was a mouse turned out to be a gorgeous Bornean Stubtail, our last new bird at MKNP. Further on we got a bit more bird activity, but nothing else new, and no partridges (I really wanted to improve on the brief glimpses we'd had of both species).
Coming off the Bukit Ular Trail, we walked down the road to the Mempening Trail, which we followed back to near the Balsam Restaurant without seeing anything new. Just near the restaurant, we had another try at seeing a calling Large Hawk-Cuckoo. We imitated its call and it moved round us and must have been close, but we just couldn't see it. After a while it stopped calling and we gave up.
As we still had some time before we needed to leave, we walked part of the Silau Silau trail, which was worthwhile as we saw a White-throated Fantail nest with three tiny nestlings in a small hollow in the bank. We'd seen a few Fantails flying out of the bank as we passed on several trails, and Sean had thought they might be nesting. However, I'd assumed not as I knew they had cup nests and I’d thought these would be in trees or bushes. Further on we saw a pair of Little Pied Flycatchers.
We then went for a buffet lunch at the Liwagu Restaurant, after which we walked up and then back down the upper part of the Silau Silu trail. We saw a fly-by White-crowned Forktail twice, and I saw what was probably a White-browed Shortwing. Whilst waiting in vain for it to reappear, we got a small mixed flock, of mostly common species, plus one babbler that I couldn't identify, and our third sighting of Eye-browed Jungle-Flycatcher.
After that we headed back to the info centre to collect our bags and our clean laundry (done for free due to the length of our stay). The reception staff then found a driver to take us to Kota Kinabalu airport for our short flight to Sandakan. We arrived there late evening, and were taken by Annie Chong to Labuk B&B. We had a lovely room, but there were many barking dogs to keep me awake during the night, plus noisy roosters from very early in the morning.
Early this morning we did some birding in the grounds of Labuk B&B, seeing Black-headed and Dusky Munias, Blue-throated Bee-eaters and a Gray-capped Woodpecker. After a light breakfast we were driven to the Kinabatangan River, where a small motorboat met us and took us to Kinabatangan Jungle Camp (KJC), owned by Robert Chong, who has an impressive record of finding Sunda Ground-Cuckoo for visiting birders.
It was quite a long way from Labuk B&B to the turnoff for the river, and then we had an hour's drive on an unmade road through extensive palm oil plantations. Actually all we saw for almost the entire drive from Lahud B&B was oil palms, and even from the river we could see some - it's amazing that there are still some great birds and large mammals along the river given how little forest seems to be left.
We arrived at KJC just before noon and rested in our room for a while before having a short walk around (there are no trails to walk from the lodge area, but it's surrounded by forest). We then had lunch. KJC isn't an upmarket lodge, but it's very nice, and we had a cool and comfortable room with a very efficient fan and a great shower. They were also very good about catering for my special diet, but all the meals were very small (we usually have a big breakfast when birding, but at both Lahud B&B and KJC, breakfast was limited to two eggs and a few small slices of toast).
Later we went out on the boat with Robert, and saw some good birds, including a large number of Rhinoceros Hornbills, and we also got great looks at Indian Elephants and Proboscis Monkeys. However, we didn't see or hear the Ground-Cuckoo or any Pittas. The large number of boats from other lodges didn't help, as there are only a couple of tributaries to bird along, and the one where Robert tends to find the Ground-Cuckoo happened to also have the elephants, which all the tourist boats were looking for.
This morning we went out on the boat for a couple of hours just after it got light. It was quite quiet, with no sign of Ground-Cuckoo or pittas. We then returned for a quick breakfast before heading out again for a couple more hours - this time we saw even less, although Wrinkled Hornbill was a lifer for me.
After that we rested in our room for a while before and after lunch, as it was very hot. We went out again on the boat at 4pm, and this time we saw a gorgeous Black-headed Pitta.
We had a last boat trip this morning, for a final try for the Ground-Cuckoo, although doing this meant that we didn’t have time to visit Gomontong Caves. This time we at least heard one, but it only called twice and we didn't see it at all. Whilst we were still trying for it, a Hooded Pitta started calling, and we saw that very well, which was some consolation.
After breakfast we started the long, hot and uncomfortable drive to Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley. One of Robert's drivers took us to the junction with the main road, where he arranged us a taxi to the BRL office in Lahad Datu. From there, we were taken, together with a Dutch visitor, on the 2 hour drive to BRL. This was mostly on an unsurfaced road, but it was a bit less bumpy than the road to the Kinabatangan River, and mostly through secondary forest rather than oil palm plantations.
It was great to arrive and get to our lovely room at the end of a short walkway, with a verandah overlooking the river. After a short rest we went for a wander, but the fact that I'd not had time to learn the bird calls for this area meant that identifying the few birds we saw was extremely difficult. Without Wangkong to guide us at BRL, we wouldn’t have seen nearly as many birds as we did.
Dinner was great. All meals at BRL are buffet, and we also got an additional and vegetarian dish each lunch and dinner, which was always extremely good. After dinner we met Wangkong, our birding guide from tomorrow afternoon (he was double booked for the morning), and he gave us a trail map and advice on which trails to walk in the morning. Contrary to comments in some earlier trip reports, it seems to be fine to walk the trails at BRL alone. However, we noticed that people who hadn’t booked an individual guide were given scheduled group activities, but I assume it’s possible to opt out.
This morning we birded the entrance road as far as the canopy walkway, and then returned for a very good breakfast. As soon as we left our room we got a lifer - Black-backed Kingfisher - and the second quickly followed - a gorgeous Brown Wood-Owl. We saw it fly over the road just after we'd left the lodge area, and then it moved a second time. I thought it was an owl, and this was confirmed when Sean spotted where it had landed and we got excellent close views.
The rest of the walk produced a few new birds for the trip, but no more lifers for me, and nothing rare. On the way back we looked to see if the owl was still there (it wasn't) and instead we saw a pair of Diard's Trogons. We then got several sunbirds, flowerpeckers and spiderhunters near the lodge, but no Pygmy White-eyes (Wangkong later told us that they migrate and are not at BRL at that time of year).
After breakfast we walked the Hornbill Trail. Highlights there were a very obliging Great Argus and a Buff-rumped Woodpecker. We then went onto the canopy walkway and watched Asian Fairy-Bluebirds and various bulbuls in a fruiting tree.
After a cool shower and lunch we sat on our verandah for a while before meeting Wangkong at 3pm to walk the Hornbill trail and then back to the road on the Sapa Babandil trail. Lifers for me were a Red-billed Malkoha in the canopy and a Rufous Piculet. Wangkong's efforts to get us Black-throated Wren-Babbler almost paid off. We got very close to a bird that called a couple of times, and saw it moving the vegetation, but the bird itself remained hidden.
Just after Wangkong had left us, the afternoon downpour started. We sheltered under a little pagoda by the small pond until it eased a bit.
We'd tried to arrange a private night walk or drive for the evening, but again we ended up being told we should go on the regular 8.30pm trip, which we weren’t keen on as we didn’t want to do anything in a big group (with hindsight we were being a bit too rigid about this). So after dinner we took our torch and wandered a short way down the track, but we didn’t see a lot until Sean had the idea of looking for frogs on the pond, which was great as we saw at least six.
This morning we had a 6am breakfast and then set out birding with Wangkong. After yesterday's lowish lifer count I was not feeling too hopeful about today's prospects, but actually we did pretty well, with Wangkong doing an excellent job of whistling in the birds.
The first success was Black-throated Wren-Babbler, proving that persistence pays off. Wangkong heard one from the road quite close to where we'd heard them yesterday, so we walked a little way into the undergrowth. The problem though is that they only give an occasional burst of song, so it was very hard to pinpoint exactly where they were. At one point a lovely pair of Bornean Blue-flycatchers appeared, which we saw very well, but by this time I thought the Wren-Babblers had probably moved away. However, after a bit more waiting, one responded again to Wangkong's whistles and I spotted it in the undergrowth. We then got great views as it tossed leaves on the forest floor - a really finely marked bird.
We then continued along the road and, whilst Wangkong had a rest, Sean and I went onto the canopy walkway, where we found a lot of bird activity. The highlight was Banded Broadbill, which showed very well in a nearby tree. I also saw Black-and-yellow Broadbill, but it flew before Sean saw it.
After that we continued along the road, but by then it was very hot and rather quiet. At what will, in a month or so, be the end of the canopy walkway (construction of the extension is almost complete), we saw a gorgeous Red-bearded Bee-eater.
After that we went onto the Tekala Trail and from there onto the Segama Trail back to the lodge. Partway along the Tekala, Wangkong heard a Bristlehead - another bird that calls infrequently, and after a fair bit of searching, he spotted one just below the canopy of a very tall tree, and we got surprisingly good views. It was great to get the most important bird for the trip on only our second full day here. There's no way we would have seen it without Wangkong - he knows the birds and the forest extremely well, and he worked hard to get us the birds we most wanted to see.
We got back to the lodge in time for a welcome cool shower before another great lunch. We then had a couple of hours sitting on the balcony and flopping on the bed under the fan, before heading out again at 3pm (and getting a lifer Finsch's Bulbul just as we were leaving our room).
We took the same route as yesterday afternoon (the Hornbill Trail then back down the road), but we saw a completely different set of birds. Our first lifer was Helmeted Hornbill, just below the canopy of a very tall tree. Wang Kong is very good at finding exactly the right place to stand to see canopy birds through gaps in the lower vegetation. Next we saw our first Orang-u-tans as they crashed through some vines. Further on we got great looks at a smart Gray-chested Jungle-flycatcher and a Large-billed Blue-flycatcher. Then we heard a Chestnut-necklaced Partridge calling behind us, so we retraced our steps and had amazing views of it calling - it was a lot closer than it sounded.
By the time we got to the road, the regular late afternoon rain was starting, so we walked back quite fast, arriving at our cabin just as it got torrential. We then enjoyed cool showers and a rest, whilst listening to the rain outside, before going to dinner.
As expected, the rain had stopped by the time we'd had dinner, so we went on a night walk with Wangkong. Almost as soon as we started down the road, we got a Greater Mouse-Deer. We then walked down the track to the staff accommodation, and got two fleeting looks at a Malay Civet (the first seen at BRL this year according to Wangkong). Next we walked the nature trail, and saw a weird green lantern bug, a smallish lizard with chameleon-like eyes, and a large butterfly.
We again set off around 6.30am to walk the Tekala and then the East Trails. Our first new bird was a wonderful Blue-headed Pitta, which we saw really well. We then got even better views of a Bristlehead than we’d had yesterday, and shortly after seeing that one in the canopy from the trail, I saw two fly across the river when we were going over the suspension bridge.
The next great bird was a Bornean Wren-babbler. Wang Kong had been trying to get us this since our first day, and this was the first that had responded to his whistles. It circled us for some time, but almost always landed behind the vegetation and moved again quickly. However, I managed to get a very good, if rather brief, look at it, and Sean saw it reasonably well.
Further on we tried for Giant Pitta. One responded, but some distance away. We went to where we thought it was, but despite trying for some time, we got no further response.
Our final new bird this morning was an impressive Crested Jay. We then headed back to the lodge for a shower and then lunch.
This afternoon we set out at 3pm and headed for the place we'd heard Giant Pitta this morning. However, despite trying for some time, we didn't even hear a call. At the same time, a Rufous-tailed Shama was calling but remained elusive. Then the rain came early, together with thunder and quite stong wind, so that curtailed our afternoon’s birding. However, although we got nowhere with the birds, we did see a couple of interesting things - a large hairy spider carrying an even larger egg sac, and a Bornean horned frog (a brown frog with horns above the eyes, that looked exactly like a dead leaf).
After dinner we did the standard night drive, as I'd discovered it was only an hour long so I thought we could cope with being in a group for that long. Actually only 8 people went on it anyway, they were all nice, and it was great. First up were roosting Red Leaf Monkeys and a Greater Mouse-Deer. After that it was all new for us - a Common Palm Civet crossing the road, and then a Long-tailed Porcupine by the road. Then nothing for the rest of the drive to the entrance gate and back, until we got to the pond, where there was a Leopard Cat under the boardwalk, which looked a lot like a leopard cub. Apparently they eat frogs and snakes, and there are certainly many frogs on that pond.
Today Wangkong wasn't available, but he'd arranged a 5.30am breakfast and a 6am lift to the entrance gate for us. So we spent the morning birding our way back the 3.5km or so down the road, with a longish stop at the canopy walkway. For some time we saw hardly anything, and mostly the walk wasn't very productive. However, when we got to where the new part of the canopy walkway meets the road, we got superb views of a Red-bearded Bee-eater and a Narcissus Flycatcher.
We spent quite a while on the canopy walkway. I again saw Black-and-Yellow Broadbill very well, but failed to get Sean onto it. And again we both saw Banded Broadbill well. In addition, Sean spotted a pair of very close Raffles's Malkohas, and we also saw a Green Iora.
We got back to the lodge around 11am, and had an ice lolly to cool down (although it was actually a very pleasant temperature, at least in the shade).
This afternoon we set out just before 3pm and walked the trail to the Jacuzzi Pool, where we failed to find Chestnut-naped Forktail. Instead we saw a Checker-throated Woodpecker and added Greater Racket-tailed Drongo to the trip list. Best of all, back near the suspension bridge we got great views of an adult Rufous Piculet feeding a juvenile. These birds are incredibly tiny, and it seems strange to see something so small behaving like a woodpecker, but on plant stems not branches.
After that we walked to the canopy walkway and went up briefly, but we didn't stay long as Sean was getting anxious about getting soaked again, although actually it hardly rained at all in the end. Just before we got back to the lodge, we heard a Black-and-yellow Broadbill calling, and this time I managed to get Sean onto it before it flew.
After dinner we did a private night drive for 2 hours. It was quieter than yesterday, but further from the lodge we saw 2 Malay Civets, 2 Common Palm Civets and a few Sambar Deer, including one with antlers, and on the way back we saw a Garnet Pitta roosting near the road - it looked like a bright red ball of fluff.
This morning we had breakfast at 6am and then set out with Wangkong to walk the Jacuzzi Trail, and then up to the viewpoint, which was a bit of a climb, but not too tough. We also had a look at the coffins on the cliff (these are remains of 400 year old ironwood coffins, and a few bones). Whilst we were up there I spotted a young Orang-u-tan, hanging from a branch and scratching his chin.
At the lookout we sat for a while, enjoying the magnificent view, and also seeing a Peregrine fly past. After that we continued to Fairy Falls, which was beautiful, and then we spent about 40 minutes trying to get a Blue-banded Pitta that was calling from way down a steep slope to come a bit closer. Eventually it stopped calling and we gave up and continued on towards Serpent Falls. Wangkong then waited for us at the trail junction whilst we went to look at the waterfall (again it was beautiful).
When we got back, Wangkong was whistling to another Blue-banded Pitta, which again didn't sound close. It was hard to judge the direction of the call, but we got it right, and after a short time of peering down a slope, Wangkong saw it fly further on. We moved in that direction, and Wangkong and Sean soon saw it again, with me getting onto it just in time to see a brief flash of colour as it disappeared. But fortunately the bird soon hopped up and perched in full view, giving us great looks at its olive back and the little blue spangles on the back of its head. Then it obliged us further by turning around and showing off its red belly and "band", which looked like an elaborate necklace of blue beads. A truly amazing bird - the field guide absolutely doesn't do it justice.
We then continued on the trail, getting back around noon for a much needed shower and lunch.
This afternoon we set out again at 3pm and did the Danum Trail. It was uncomfortably hot. The highlight for me was when the other guests tubing on the river flushed a Great-billed Heron - a bird I've failed to find on four previous trips. Otherwise it was quite quiet.
After dinner Sean and I did some spotlighting on our own, round the nature trail and a short way along the road. We got loads of eyeshine from bugs, and saw one lizard, lots of frogs and five Greater Mouse Deers, but nothing new.
This morning we set out with Wangkong at 6.30am for our last birding session at BRL. We walked the Elephant Trail but it was very quiet - although a Giant Squirrel was new for me (Sean unfortunatley only glimpsed it). Near the end of the trail we heard a Giant Pitta call on the other side of the river, so I suggested crossing, which we did (it wasn't deep, but the pebbles were either slippery or sharp, so it was a bit uncomfortable). On the other side, Wangkong saw a bird on the ground that was the right size for Giant Pitta, but it disappeared before any of us could see it properly. Then after playing the call, Wangkong and I saw two birds running fast on the ground. Unfortunately they weren't close, and although we waited and played the Giant Pitta call for some time, they didn't come back. They probably were Giant Pittas, but we can’t be sure.
After that we had to return to the lodge, but on the way we got excellent looks at a Buff-necked Woodpecker.
After an early lunch, we boarded the coach at 12.30 for the 3 hour drive to Lahud Datu airport. It was hard leaving BRL - we'd have happily stayed a lot longer. Our flight to Kota Kinabalu took only about an hour - it was depressing that almost all the land we flew over was covered in oil palms. As with so many places, it seems that natural habitat is confined to relatively small protected areas.
Back in KK, we got a taxi to the Berjaya Palace Hotel. This looks great from the outside and is nice and friendly, but was a bit shabby inside, which probably explains the low price. Whilst our room was comfortable, we got very little sleep thanks to a chorus of barking dogs outside.
With the help of the hotel, we'd arranged for a taxi to collect us at 5.30am and take us to the Rafflesia Reserve in the Crocker Range. We arrived at about 6.30am, but the reserve didn't open until 8.30, so we birded along the road for a while, hearing a lot of Mountain and Gold-whiskered Barbets, but not seeing any. When the reserve opened, we walked slowly down the trail one trail. This has a loop section, but I'm not sure how long it is as we didn't have time to go right to the end. It was beautiful forest, but quiet, except for the calls of many invisible barbets! So the only notable additions to our trip list were Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove and Bornean (Streaky-breasted) Spiderhunter. There was no sign of Whitehead's Spiderhunter.
Around midday we headed back to Kota Kinabalu to get showered and changed, before our driver of this morning collected us and took us to the airport for our late afternoon flight to Kuala Lumpur, where we connected with a flight to Amsterdam, and then got another flight to Vienna. Our long flight back was operated by KLM (as a codeshare with Malaysian Airlines). There was quite a contrast - forget movies on demand - we didn't even have individual tv screens. But at least the flights were on time.
We arrived back at Vienna Airport around 9am.
MKNP = Mount Kinabalu National park
PHS = Poring Hot Springs
BRL = Borneo Rainforest Lodge
LB = Lahud B&B area
KR = Kinabatangan River
R = Rafflesia Reserve
KK = Kota Kinabalu
' = seen before by me on a previous trip
! = endemic
The bird list is taken from Avisys with BirdArea, and is based on Clements.
Darter Anhinga melanogaster - KR (many)
HERONS, EGRETS AND BITTERNS
Great-billed Heron Ardea sumatrana - BRL (1 by the river)
Purple Heron Ardea purpurea - KR (several)
Great Egret Ardea alba - LB, KR (many)
Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia - KR (a few)
Little Egret Egretta garzetta - LB, KR (a few)
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis - KK
Striated Heron Butorides striatus - KR (one)
Storm's Stork Ciconia stormi - KR (seen from the boat on at least 3 occasions; also 1 semi-wild one around the lodge)
HAWKS, EAGLES AND KITES
Black-shouldered Kite Elanus caeruleus - KR (1)
Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus - KR (several)
White-bellied Sea-Eagle Haliaeetus leucogaster - KR (2 seen)
Lesser Fish-Eagle Ichthyophaga humilis - KR (2), BRL (2)
Mountain Serpent-Eagle Spilornis kinabaluensis - MKNP (1 soaring above the upper end of Power Station Road)
Crested Serpent-Eagle Spilornis cheela - KR (2, including great looks at one perched), BRL (2 from the canopy walkway)
Crested Goshawk Accipiter trivirgatus - KR (3 seen), BRL (1 on the drive to the lodge)
Black Eagle Ictinaetus malayensis - BRL (1 soaring over the road late afternoon)
Rufous-bellied Eagle Aquila kienerii - KR (1)
FALCONS AND CARACARAS
White-fronted Falconet Microhierax latifrons - KR (great looks at a perched bird)
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus - BRL (1 from the viewpoint)
PHEASANTS AND PARTRIDGES
Red-breasted Partridge Arborophila hyperythra - MKNP (heard on upper Silau Silau, seen at top of Liwagu River Trail)
Chestnut-necklaced Partridge Arborophila charltonii - KR (heard twice), BRL (excellent views of one on the Hornbill Trail)
Crimson-headed Partridge Haematortyx sanguiniceps - MKNP (near start of upper end of Kiau View trail. Heard on Mempening & Silau Silau)
Crested Fireback Lophura ignita - BRL (2 on the entrance road early one morning, 1 from a trail)
Great Argus Argusianus argus - BRL (excellent looks at a male on the Hornbill Trail, the Tekala Trail and the trail up to the viewpoint. Heard often)
Common Sandpiper Actitis hypoleucos - KR (many)
PIGEONS AND DOVES
Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis - KK, LB
Ruddy Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia emiliana - R (several)
Little Cuckoo-Dove Macropygia ruficeps – MKNP (1)
Zebra Dove Geopelia striata - KK
Little Green-Pigeon Treron olax - KR (1 small group)
Pink-necked Pigeon Treron vernans - KR (several)
Thick-billed Pigeon Treron curvirostra - BRL (a few from the canopy walkway)
Green Imperial-Pigeon Ducula aenea - KR (many), BRL (a few)
Mountain Imperial-Pigeon Ducula badia - MKNP (several seen, many heard), R (several)
Blue-rumped Parrot Psittinus cyanurus - BRL (1 seen from the trail to the viewpoint)
Long-tailed Parakeet Psittacula longicauda - KR (two small flocks flying over the river)
Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot Loriculus galgulus - KR (one small flock flying over the river), BRL (one on a broken trunk on the Tekala Trail)
Large Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus sparverioides - MKNP (heard often but not seen despite a couple of attempts to locate a calling bird)
Moustached Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus vagans - BRL (heard)
Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo Cuculus fugax - KR (heard once), BRL (heard)
Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus - KR (several heard), BRL (heard)
Oriental Cuckoo Cuculus saturatus - MKNP (heard often, one seen near Liwagu Restaurant), KR (one seen), R (heard)
Banded Bay Cuckoo Cacomantis sonneratii - heard at LB & KR
Plaintive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus - KR (2 seen, many heard), BRL (2 seen from the restaurant, more heard)
Violet Cuckoo Chrysococcyx xanthorhynchus - BRL (1 flying over the river)
Asian Drongo-Cuckoo Surniculus lugubris - KR (1 seen, several heard), BRL (several heard)
Raffles's Malkoha Phaenicophaeus chlorophaeus - BRL (a pair seen from the canopy walkway)
Red-billed Malkoha Phaenicophaeus javanicus - BRL (1 seen from the Hornbill Trail)
Chestnut-breasted Malkoha Phaenicophaeus curvirostris - KR (2), BRL (2 from the canopy walkway and 2 outside our room)
Bornean Ground-Cuckoo Carpococcyx radiatus - KR (extensive searching only resulted in briefly hearing one call)
Greater Coucal Centropus sinensis - LB & KR (several seen, many heard), BRL (2 seen from the road, more heard)
Lesser Coucal Centropus bengalensis - KR (several heard)
Buffy Fish-Owl Ketupa ketupu - KR (4 seen on a night trip on the boat)
Brown Wood-Owl Strix leptogrammica - BRL (1 seen very well from the road near the lodge)
Large-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus macrurus – LB (1 seen on track up to LB, several heard)
Glossy (White-bellied) Swiftlet Collocalia esculenta - MKNP, KR, BRL, R (many)
Mossy-nest or Black-nest Swiftlet - KR (many all black swifts seen from the river), BRL (a few). Without seeing the nests, we couldn’t tell these species apart.
Silver-rumped Needletail Rhaphidura leucopygialis - BRL (many)
Gray-rumped Treeswift Hemiprocne longipennis - KR (2 seen), BRL (2 seen), R (2 from the road)
Whiskered Treeswift Hemiprocne comata - BRL (1 from the road)
TROGONS AND QUETZALS
Red-naped Trogon Harpactes kasumba - KR (1 calling bird glimpsed), BRL (heard a couple of times)
Diard's Trogon Harpactes diardii - BRL (a pair by the road near the lodge)
Whitehead's Trogon Harpactes whiteheadi - MKNP (a female on Liwagu River Trail)
Scarlet-rumped Trogon Harpactes duvaucelii - KR (1), BRL (2)
Blue-eared Kingfisher Alcedo meninting - KR (several seen)
Black-backed Kingfisher Ceyx erithacus - BRL (1 seen from our verandah, 2 near the lodge, & 1 heard on the Tekala Trail)
Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis - KR (several seen)
Collared Kingfisher Todirhamphus chloris - LB, and on drive to KR
Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus - BRL (1 seen on two occasions near where the extended canopy walkway meets the road)
Blue-throated Bee-eater Merops viridis - LB (2 in the gardens), KR (a few), BRL (1)
Oriental Pied-Hornbill Anthracoceros albirostris - KR (several)
Rhinoceros Hornbill Buceros rhinoceros - KR (many flying to roost, plus a few other sightings), BRL (several)
Helmeted Hornbill Buceros vigil - BRL (1 from the Hornbill Trail)
Bushy-crested Hornbill Anorrhinus galeritus - BRL (several)
Wrinkled Hornbill Aceros corrugatus - KR (2 flying)
Gold-whiskered Barbet Megalaima chrysopogon - R (many heard)
Red-crowned Barbet Megalaima rafflesii - BRL (1 seen near the viewpoint)
Mountain Barbet Megalaima monticola - R (several heard)
Golden-naped Barbet Megalaima pulcherrima - MKNP (many heard, but only seen behind Balsam Restaurant and on Bukit Ular)
Blue-eared Barbet Megalaima australis - KR (many heard), BRL (heard)
Rufous Piculet Sasia abnormis - BRL (1 in low vegetation by the road, 2 near the suspension bridge at the start of the East Trail)
Gray-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopos canicapillus - LB (1 in the gardens)
Rufous Woodpecker Celeus brachyurus - BRL (heard and glimpsed)
White-bellied Woodpecker Dryocopus javensis - KR (a pair seen very well from the river), BRL (1 on the Danum trail)
Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus mentalis - MKNP (1 on the Kiau View Trail), BRL (1 on the Jacuzzi Trail)
Maroon Woodpecker Blythipicus rubiginosus - BRL (heard)
Buff-rumped Woodpecker Meiglyptes tristis - BRL (1 on the Hornbill Trail)
Buff-necked Woodpecker Meiglyptes tukki - BRL (1 seen very briefly near the viewpoint, and 1 seen very well on the Danum Trail) BROADBILLS
Dusky Broadbill Corydon sumatranus - BRL (heard)
Black-and-red Broadbill Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos - KR (several heard, 3 seen very well)
Banded Broadbill Eurylaimus javanicus - KR (a couple heard), BRL (great views of one from the canopy walkway on two occasions and 1 near the lodge)
Black-and-yellow Broadbill Eurylaimus ochromalus - KR (a few heard), BRL (several heard, 1 seen from the canopy walkway on two occasions, and 1 near the lodge)
Green Broadbill Calyptomena viridis - BRL (heard on the Danum Trail)
Whitehead's Broadbill Calyptomena whiteheadi - MKNP (one flew past us on the Liwagu River Trail)
Giant Pitta Pitta caerulea - BRL (heard on the East Trail, the Danum Trail and elsewhere; 2 birds glimpsed from the Danum Trail may have been this species)
Blue-headed Pitta Pitta baudii - BRL (great views of one on the Tekala Trail)
Hooded Pitta Pitta sordida - KR (excellent views of a calling bird)
Blue-banded Pitta Pitta arcuata - BRL (bird of the trip, seen at the start of the trail to Serpent Falls)
Black-headed Pitta Pitta (granatina) ussheri - KR (excellent views of a calling bird), BRL (a roosting bird seen on a night drive; also heard on several trails)
Pacific Swallow Hirundo tahitica - KR (several), BRL (many)
Sunda Cuckoo-shrike Coracina larvata - MKNP (2 seen in the lower part of the park)
Fiery Minivet Pericrocotus igneus - KR (1 small group)
Scarlet Minivet Pericrocotus flammeus - BRL (1 from the canopy walkway)
Gray-chinned Minivet Pericrocotus solaris - MKNP (several seen)
Black-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus atriceps - BRL (a few from the canopy walkway)
Black-crested Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus - R (1 near the info centre)
Flavescent Bulbul Pycnonotus flavescens - MKNP (at around km3.5 on the Summit Trail)
Yellow-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus goiavier - LB & KR (many)
Olive-winged Bulbul Pycnonotus plumosus - KR (a few)
Cream-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus simplex - BRL (a few)
Red-eyed Bulbul Pycnonotus brunneus - LB, KR & BRL (many)
Spectacled Bulbul Pycnonotus erythropthalmos - BRL (seen once)
Finsch's Bulbul Alophoixus finschii - BRL (1 in a tree near our room, 2 on the trail to the viewpoint)
Ochraceous Bulbul Alophoixus ochraceus - MKNP (near Hill Lodge, near the Balsam Restaurant, and several on the Mempening Trail), R (a few)
Gray-cheeked Bulbul Alophoixus bres - BRL (a few)
Yellow-bellied Bulbul Alophoixus phaeocephalus - BRL (2 from the road)
Hairy-backed Bulbul Tricholestes criniger - BRL (several)
Buff-vented Bulbul Iole olivacea - BRL (a few)
Greater Green Leafbird Chloropsis sonnerati - BRL (a few)
Lesser Green Leafbird Chloropsis cyanopogon - BRL (several)
Blue-winged Leafbird Chloropsis cochinchinensis - R (several seen from the road)
Common Iora Aegithina tiphia - KR (1)
Green Iora Aegithina viridissima - BRL (1 from the canopy walkway)
Bornean (split from Sunda) Whistling-Thrush Myophonus borneensis - MKNP (Power Station Road, Bukit Ular Trail and Summit Trail)
Everett's Thrush Zoothera everetti - MKNP (1 on the Power Station Road)
Island Thrush Turdus poliocephalus - MKNP (1 just below Laban Rata)
White-browed Shortwing Brachypteryx montana - MKNP (seen twice on the Silau Silau Trail)
OLD WORLD WARBLERS
Bornean Stubtail Urosphena whiteheadi - MKNP (seen once on the Bukit Ular Trail)
Sunda Bush-Warbler Cettia vulcania - MKNP (Power Station Road and top of Kiau View trail; many on the Summit Trail)
Mountain Tailorbird Orthotomus cuculatus - MKNP (heard often, seen a few times), R (a few)
Dark-necked Tailorbird Orthotomus atrogularis - KR (a few), BRL (several)
Rufous-tailed Tailorbird Orthotomus sericeus - BRL (several)
Ashy Tailorbird Orthotomus ruficeps - MKNP (behind Balsam Restaurant - no doubt about identification, but we didn’t expect it at this elevation), KR (a few)
Arctic Warbler Phylloscopus borealis - MKNP (1), BRL (2)
Mountain Warbler Phylloscopus trivirgatus - MKNP (many)
Yellow-breasted Warbler Seicercus montis - MKNP (many)
OLD WORLD FLYCATCHERS
Gray-chested Jungle-Flycatcher Rhinomyias umbratilis - BRL (1 on the Hornbill Trail)
Eyebrowed Jungle-Flycatcher Rhinomyias gularis - MKNP (1 on the Power Station Road near Hill Lodge, 1 near the Liwagu Restaurant building, 1 on the upper Silau Silau trail)
Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica latirostris - MKNP (3), BRL (a few)
Brown-streaked Flycatcher Muscicapa williamsoni - BRL (1)
Narcissus Flycatcher Ficedula narcissina - BRL (1 opposite where the end of the canopy walkway extension meets the road)
Snowy-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra - MKNP (road near Hill Lodge, on Summit Trail, and on Silau Silau trail)
Rufous-chested Flycatcher Ficedula dumetoria - BRL (a pair on the Segama Trail)
Little Pied Flycatcher Ficedula westermanni - MKNP (Silau Silau Trail and near the fitness centre)
Verditer Flycatcher Eumyias thalassina - 1 en route to MKNP
Indigo Flycatcher Eumyias indigo - MKNP (several in lower parts of the park)
White-tailed Flycatcher Cyornis concretus - MKNP (3 seen)
Long-billed Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis caerulatus - BRL (1 on the Hornbill Trail)
Malaysian Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis turcosus - KR (1 seen), BRL (several near the lodge and from the bridge to the East Trail)
Bornean Blue-Flycatcher Cyornis superbus - BRL (a pair near the road)
Oriental Magpie-Robin Copsychus saularis - MKNP (1 around the Balsam Restaurant)
White-crowned Shama Copsychus stricklandii - KR (1 outside our room), BRL (many)
Rufous-tailed Shama Trichixos pyrropyga - BRL (1 heard from the Hornbill Trail)
White-crowned Forktail Enicurus leschenaulti - MKNP (seen 4 times on the Silau Silau Trail), BRL (1 on the entrance road)
Gray-headed Flycatcher Culicapa ceylonensis - BRL (seen twice)
White-throated Fantail Rhipidura albicollis - MKNP (many)
Pied Fantail Rhipidura javanica - KR (several), BRL (several)
Spotted Fantail Rhipidura perlata - BRL (several on the trails)
Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea - BRL (1)
Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi - BRL (a few, including 2 gorgeous white males)
WHISTLERS AND ALLIES
Bornean Whistler Pachycephala hypoxantha - MKNP (many)
Sunda Laughingthrush Garrulax palliatus - MKNP (Power Station Road and upper Silau Silau Trail)
Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush Garrulax mitratus - MKNP (quite common), R (a few)
White-chested Babbler Trichastoma rostratum - KR (a few seen, more heard), BRL (a few seen near our room and near the river)
Ferruginous Babbler Trichastoma bicolor - BRL (seen twice on the trails)
Short-tailed Babbler Malacocincla malaccensis - BRL (a few seen)
Temminck's Babbler Pellorneum pyrrogenys - MKNP (Power Station Road near Hill Lodge, & on the road towards the Balsam Restaurant)
Black-capped Babbler Pellorneum capistratum - KR (heard), BRL (1 near the canopy walkway, 1 on the Hornbill Trail)
Moustached Babbler Malacopteron magnirostre - BRL (a few from the canopy walkway)
Sooty-capped Babbler Malacopteron affine - BRL (1 group)
Scaly-crowned Babbler Malacopteron cinereum - BRL (1 on the trail to the viewpoint)
Rufous-crowned Babbler Malacopteron magnum - BRL (several)
Bornean Wren-Babbler Ptilocichla leucogrammica - BRL (1 seen on the East Trail)
Striped Wren-Babbler Kenopia striata - BRL (1 heard on the Hornbill trail; 1 seen very well on the Tekala Trail)
Black-throated Wren-Babbler Napothera atrigularis - BRL (great looks at one near the road)
Mountain Wren-Babbler Napothera crassa - MKNP (one group near top of the Liwagu River Trail)
Gray-throated Babbler Stachyris nigriceps - MKNP (many)
Chestnut-rumped Babbler Stachyris maculata - BRL (1 from the entrance road)
Chestnut-winged Babbler Stachyris erythroptera - BRL (seen a few times from the entrance road, also 1 on the East Trail and others heard)
Striped Tit-Babbler Macronous gularis - BRL (a few seen near the road, on the trails and from the restaurant; more heard)
Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler Macronous ptilosus - BRL (heard on the Elephant Trail)
White-browed Shrike-Babbler Pteruthius flaviscapis - MKNP (several seen, more heard in lower parts of the park)
Brown Fulvetta Alcippe brunneicauda - BRL (2 on the Danum Trail)
Chestnut-crested Yuhina Yuhina everetti - MKNP (many)
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis - MKNP (3 in a tree outside the Liwagu Restaurant), BRL (a few from the canopy walkway and near the lodge)
SUNBIRDS AND SPIDERHUNTERS
Ruby-cheeked Sunbird Chalcoparia singalensis - BRL (1 near the lodge)
Plain Sunbird Anthreptes simplex - BRL (several)
Purple-naped Sunbird Hypogramma hypogrammicum - BRL (several)
Purple-throated Sunbird Leptocoma sperata - KR (1 near the lodge)
Olive-backed Sunbird Cinnyris jugularis - 1 en route to MKNP
Temminck's (Scarlet) Sunbird Aethopyga temminckii - MKNP (behind the Balsam Restaurant and a female on the Silau Silau Trail)
Long-billed Spiderhunter Arachnothera robusta - BRL (1 on the Danum Trail)
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra - BRL (many)
Gray-breasted Spiderhunter Arachnothera modesta - BRL (a few near the lodge)
Bornean (Streaky-breasted) Spiderhunter Arachnothera affinis everetti - R (1 from the trail)
Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker Prionochilus maculatus - BRL (a few)
Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker Prionochilus xanthopygius - MKNP (near the Balsam Restaurant)
Yellow-vented Flowerpecker Dicaeum chrysorrheum - BRL (a couple near the lodge)
Orange-bellied Flowerpecker Dicaeum trigonostigma - BRL (a couple near the lodge and from the entrance road)
Black-sided Flowerpecker Dicaeum monticolum - MKNP (1 near the fitness centre)
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker Dicaeum cruentatum - KR (a few from the track between the river & the main road)
Black-capped White-eye Zosterops atricapillus - MKNP (many)
Mountain Black-eye Chlorocharis emiliae - MKNP (Summit Trail - many above about 2500m)
Dark-throated Oriole Oriolus xanthonotus - KR (2 seen), BRL (1 seen from the road)
Asian Fairy-bluebird Irena puella - KR (2 flying near the river), BRL (several from the canopy walkway and the road)
HELMETSHRIKES AND ALLIES
Rufous-winged Philentoma Philentoma pyrhopterum - BRL (1 from the Hornbill Trail)
Maroon-breasted Philentoma Philentoma velatum - BRL (1 by the road)
Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus - MKNP (1 near the Power Station and seen twice near the Liwagu Restaurant)
Bronzed Drongo Dicrurus aeneus - BRL (a few seen from the road, and one near the viewpoint)
Hair-crested Drongo Dicrurus hottentottus - MKNP (several seen)
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo Dicrurus paradiseus - BRL (1 on the Jacuzzi Trail)
White-breasted Woodswallow Artamus leucorynchus – KK (a few on the telegraph wires)
Bornean Bristlehead Pityriasis gymnocephala - BRL (seen on two days in the canopy from the Tekala Trail, and 2 flying over the river near there)
CROWS AND JAYS
Crested Jay Platylophus galericulatus - BRL (1 heard, and later 1 seen, on the East Trail)
Green Magpie Cissa chinensis - MKNP (Mempening trail)
Short-tailed Magpie Cissa thalassina - MKNP (seen a few times on various trails)
Bornean Treepie Dendrocitta cinerascens - MKNP (especially around the Power Station Road)
Slender-billed Crow Corvus enca - KR (several), BRL (a few)
Asian Glossy Starling Aplonis panayensis - KK (many from the Berjaya Palace Hotel and by the roads)
Common Hill Myna Gracula religiosa - KR (a few by the river on one occasion)
WAXBILLS AND ALLIES
Dusky Munia Lonchura fuscans - LB (in the gardens), BRL (behind the restaurant)
Chestnut (Black-headed) Munia Lonchura atricapilla - LB (in the gardens)
OLD WORLD SPARROWS
Eurasian Tree Sparrow Passer montanus - LB
Mountain Treeshrew Tupaia montana - MKNP (several, including close views of one eating, and we unfortunately saw one get caught and killed by a cat)
Bornean Smooth-tailed Tree Shrew Dendrogale melanura - MKNP (several on the Summit Trail)
Red Leaf Monkey (Langur) Presbytis rubicunda - BRL (a few)
Silvered Leaf Monkey (Langur) Presbytis cristata - KR (1)
Proboscis Monkey Nasalis larvatus - KR (many settling to roost in trees by the river)
Crab-eating (Long-tailed) Macaque Macaca fasciclaris - KR (many), BRL (a few)
Pigtail Macaque Macaca nemestrina - BRL (a few)
Bornean Gibbon Hylobates muelleri - BRL (a few)
Orang-utan Pongo pygmaeus - KR (1 heard), BRL (2 from the Hornbill Trail, 1 from the viewpoint)
Giant Squirrel Ratufa affinis - BRL (1 from the Elephant Trail)
Kinabalu Squirrel Callosciurus baluensis - MKNP (1 from the Liwagu Trail, which only Sean saw)
Prevost's Squirrel Callosciurus prevostii - KR (one noisy one by the lodge), BRL (several)
Bornean Black-banded Squirrel Callosciurus orestes - MKNP (several), R (1)
Jentink's Squirrel Sundasciurus jentinki - MKNP (several, mainly at higher elevations, including on Summit Trail)
Bornean Mountain Ground Squirrel Dremomys everetti - MKNP (several)
Plain Pygmy Squirrel Exilisciurus exilis -BRL (a few)
Long-tailed Porcupine Trichys fasciculata - BRL (1 on a night drive)
Malay Civet Viverra tangalunga - BRL (1 on a night walk, 2 on a night drive)
Common Palm Civet Paradoxurus hermaphroditus - BRL (1 on one night drive, 2 on another)
Leopard Cat Felis bengalensis - BRL (1 on a night drive)
Indian (Asian) Elephant Elephas maximus - KR (one group in the forest by the river)
Bearded Pig Sus barbatus - KR (several by the river), BRL (a few near the lodge)
Greater Mouse Deer (Chevrotain) Tragulus napu - BRL (several near the lodge)
Sambar (Deer) Cervus unicolor - 3 on a night drive
There were also many frogs, lizards and interesting bugs, but unfortunately we didn’t have a field guide so we couldn’t identify most of them.