Nothing new here but some of this stuff might be useful to the less hardcore birders perhaps travelling with a family, and gives a realistic idea of what you might expect to see in a short trip.
We took the easy option which might have been a little more expensive than making arrangements on arrival in Sabah, but did ensure an almost troublefree trip, and made maximum use of time.
We contacted Wildlife Expeditions via e-mail, gave them a list of places we wanted to visit and asked them to cost a tour. The price was RM 5,495, which included all accomodation, meals, transfers, internal air travel, entrance fees and services of a guide. At cRM 5.5 = £1.00 I felt we were offered value for money. We spent three nights In the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Koto Kinabalu which was something of an extravagance, and if you specified you wanted a cheaper hotel the price could be reduced accordingly.
Wildlife Expeditions would have been entirely within the terms of their contract if they had herded us around in a large group with only a casual interest in wildlife. However we were nearly always the only people using a vehicle or boat, which meant we could make decisions about when to stop or where to go and it was clear the guides had sufficient perception to realise what different people required from a holiday and tried to provide it.
I was somewhat anxious about the security of booking and paying for a holiday by e-mail, but when we arrived in Sabah it was obvious Wildlife Expeditions is one of the biggest players in the market and very well established.
There are well stocked bookshops in Koto Kinabalu. Borneo Books in the shopping complex by the Hyatt Hotel stocks a wide range of titles. Some are very obscure; how often do they sell a copy of 'Phasmids of Borneo'?
A field guide to birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali, by John MacKinnon and Karen Phillips - essential.
A field guide to the mammals of Borneo by Junaidi Payne and Charles Francis. Very useful.
A photographic guide to the snakes and other reptiles of peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand by Merel Cox et al. This covered most species we encountered and was much cheaper than 'Snakes of Borneo'.
Birds of tropical asia Sounds and sights, CD-ROM for Windows, by Jelle Scharringa. This includes most Bornean endemics and I obtained a copy from Wildsounds at a cost of £39.95.
There are many trip reports for Sabah, almost all covering the same sites. We found one by Moira and Graeme Wallace on the Surfbirds Website very useful, also a very detailed report by Sam Woods and Tim Marlow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Both John MacKinnon and also Phil Round (in Birds of Thailand) offer useful advice of techniques of birding in tropical forest. We are absolutely not experts but would offer these suggestions based on our experience.
While the importance of making early starts is often stressed is seems true that good birds can be found at any time of day. As the sought after species are often at low densities the more time you spend walking trails the more you will find. On a short trip, therefore, don't be tempted to have a siesta between 12.00 and 4.00 - get out there, but take plenty of water.
At Mt.Kinabalu NP insects are attracted to streetlights and at dawn parties of insectivorous birds tour the lights, and are easily seen. This would also offer an ideal opportunity for photography.
At dawn keep to wider tracks and clearings. It is very hard to find anything under the forest canopy as light levels are so low. Early morning is also a good time to see larger birds such as Hornbills, Raptors, and Pigeons flying over clearings.
After a 'bird wave' has apparently passed wait a while before wandering on. It often seems shyer, skulking species follow along behind.
Lots of reports suggested it is a waste of time taking a camera. We found the birds more approachable than in Thailand and although you will need flash for virtually every shot you can get good results with (say) a 400mm lens. We didn't concentrate on photography, preferring to watch a bird first. Besides birds there is a wealth of subject material in the form of invertebrates, reptiles and orchids.
I hesitated about bringing my telescope, but was glad I did, for stunning views of birds like raptors and hornbills perched in tall trees.
I took a tape recorder and a prepared tape of key species. This was a complete waste of time and I can confidently say it did not help us to see a single species.
It was definitely a surprise and a handicap that we didn't meet any other birders during our trip, so there was no sharing of information. None of the lodges we stayed in had any sort of log of observations (the one at Borneo Rainforest Lodge had been stolen!). We did suggest this would be useful on the comments forms left in rooms.
12th August. Arrived Koto Kinabalu 16.30 in spite of near thing with connection in Brunei due to delay at Heathrow. Taken by representative of Wildlife Expeditions to Hyatt Regency Hotel; extremely luxurious. A few common urban birds seen around city; Great and Intermediate Egret, Brahminy Kite, Wood Sandpiper, Green Imperial Pigeon, Little Swift, Glossy Swiftlet, Asian Glossy Starling, Crested Myna and White-breaseted Wood Swallow. Koto Kinabalu far less frenetic than most Asian cities and driving quite sedate.
13th August. Caught 7.40 flight to Lahad Datu. With clear skies one could inspect the landscape below, with huge areas of clearance or oil palms I would estimate 70% of natural vegetation cover under the route had been removed.
From Lahad Datu it is a 2-3 hour drive along an unsealed road (good standard) through the concession area. Much of this area has been selectively logged. Obviously less destructive than clear felling, although vegetation structure is very different to primary forest with an open canopy and a dense luxuriance of vines. Borneo Rainforest Lodge is sited in superb primary forest and provides an indulgent standard of comfort.
We had the afternoon to walk the nature trail, Segama and Tekala Trails, and in the evening were taken on a night drive. Birds seen included Helmeted, Rhinoceros and Bushy Crested Hornbills, Red-rumped Trogon, Black Magpie, Buff-necked Woodpecker, Collared and Stork-billed Kingfishers, Crested Serpent Eagle, Tree Sparrow, Yellow-bellied and Red-eyed Bulbul, White-browed Shama, Slender-billed Crow, Short-tailed and Rufous-crowned Babbler, Silver-rumped Swift, Rufous chested Flycatcher, and Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot while mammals included Bornean Gibbon, Plain Pygmy, Low's and Prevost's Squirrels and Long-tailed Macaque.
This first night drive was grievously disappointing.
14th August. We left the lodge at dawn and basically spent the entire day walking trails in the area - concentrating on the Hornbill, Segama and Tekala trails. It was generally hot and humid and birding was hard work, but we wanted to maximise the time available. The more notable birds seen during the day were White-fronted Falconet, Great Argus, Diard's Trogon, Black and Yellow Broadbill, and Hill Myna, we also noted Emerald Dove, Grey-rumped Tree Swift, Rufous Piculet, Lesser Green Leafbird, Feruginous Babbler, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher, Spotted Fantail, Purple-naped Sunbird, Grey-breasted Spiderhunter and Dusky Munia. Mammals included Oriental Small-clawed Otter and Maroon Langur. We had the services of a guide (Denny) for some of this time. Denny knew the calls of most birds, particularly key species. Once again we did a night drive and this time it was rather more successful with Brown Wood Owls, several flying squirrels of 2 species and 2 mouse deer.
15th August. Once again spent all daylight hours walking trails in the area, as well as spending time on the canopy walkway. It was less humid , but visibility was poor due to the haze from burning forests in Kalimantan. The more notable birds were Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo, Black and Red, Green and Banded Broadbills, Black and Crimson Pitta, Blue-headed Pitta, Bornean Bristlehead, Black Eagle, and Buffy Fish Owl. Other additions to the list were Savannah Nightjar, Black-nest Swiftlet, Asian Black Hornbill, Black-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Scarlet Minivet, Black-headed Babbler, Finch's and Hairy-backed Bulbul, Verditer Flycatcher, and Asian Paradise Flycatcher, Mammals seen included Colugo and Yellow-throated Marten. At night we walked the hornbill trail with a spotlight with a Leopard Cat the chief highlight.
16th August. We left Borneo Rainforest Lodge at 7.00, and drove to Lahad Datu. As we were the only passengers we could stop when necessary to view birds, which included Wallace's and Changeable Hawk Eagles, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Cattle Egret, Oriental Pied Hornbill and Blue-throated Bee-eater. At Lahad Datu we met our new guide (Harry) in a smooth transfer and were taken to Sukau, via Gomantong Caves. Harry was employed by Wildlife Expeditions, and although not a specialist birder had a very detailed knowledge of a wide range of tropical ecology, and was professional in every sense. Apart from the small oasis at Gomantong, the entire journey from Lahad Datu to Sukau (3 Hours) is through oil palm plantations, which is quite depressing.
On the access road to the caves three Orang-utan in a fig tree was the obvious highlight, while the caves themselves were fascinating. Below the 60m chamber with clusters of bats and swiftlets is a 10m high pile of guano, crawling with cockroaches and burying beetles, while improbable scaffolding and ladders allow access for the nest collectors.
We arrived at Sukau River Lodge in the early afternoon. As access is by boat walking is rather restricted, but there is a trail behind the lodge. The area that can profitably explored by boat is quite limited. A small creek (Menanggul River) enters the main Kinabatangan River by the lodge, and is heavily used by all the six lodges in the area. Fortunately most of the wildlife appears to be habituated to tourists, but it could diminish any 'wilderness experience'. On the main river the standard procedure seemed to be to take a cruise of a few kilometres to an oxbow lake, where there was also a short trail. As most boats were filled with tourists who just want to see monkeys I was prepared for a bad experience, but Harry ensured that for all but one trip, when we shared with another family, we had exclusive use of a small boat. This was excellent as we could explore different areas and spend as long as we wished looking at particular birds and animals. As even Orang-utans only hold peoples attention for five minutes or so it would have been really frustrating to be in a large group.
New birds seen in our afternoon boat ride up the Menanggul were, Striated Heron, Little Green Pigeon, Blue-eared Kingfisher, Striped Wren-Babbler, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird, Rufous-winged Philentoma, Black-naped Monarch, and Scarlet backed Flowerpecker. As expected Proboscis Monkeys were obvious and easy to see along the river.
For each of the nights we spent here we tried spotlighting along the nature trail. It was hard work and little was seen, but on the first night we did encounter Malay Badger. The lodges used to offer night cruises, but the conservation department has asked that these be stopped because of disturbance to wildlife.
17th August. In the morning we went on a boat ride to the oxbow lake, where we walked the trail there, in the afternoon we revisited the Menanggul River. Most of the river presents unbroken gallery forest, but away from the banks one does not have to go very far to find extensive clearance. In between times I ignored the heat and explored the trails around the lodge. New bird species for the day were Oriental Darter, Grey and Purple Herons, White-bellied Sea-eagle, Spotted Dove, Jerdon's Baza, Red-breasted Parakeet, Greater Coucal, Wrinkled Hornbill, Dollarbird, Maroon Woodpecker, Bronzed Drongo, and Crested Fireback. Bearded Pigs were seen behind the lodge.
18th August. The haze was very bad, quite markedly reducing visibility. Our routine was basically the same as yesterday, except we went up the Menanggul River at dawn, and in the afternoon visited some limestone formations downstream of Sukau. Birds seen included Hooded Pitta, Lesser Fish-eagle, Raffles's Malkoha, Black-throated Babbler, Scaly-crowned Babbler, Common Iora, Storm's Stork, Asian Koel, Black-capped Babbler, Mangrove Blue-flycatcher, Pied Fantail, Crimson Sunbird, Straw-headed Bulbul, Barn Swallow, and Long-tailed Parakeet. No new mammals were seen but we did have great views of two Orang-utans.
Buffy Fish Owl
19th August. We revisited the same areas along the rivers as on the previous two days. It would have been nice to explore different areas, but even re-visiting the same sites always produces something new. Additions to the list were Lesser Adjutant, Drongo Cuckoo, Brown Barbet, Red-naped Trogon, and Orange-bellied Flower-pecker, while incredible views of Buffy fish Owl, and an hour spent with Orang-utans were excellent.
20th August. We left Sukau River Lodge at and were driven to a jetty at the end of a creek deep in a mangrove forest. The two hour journey was once again through endless oil palms, with just a brief view of the Dipterocarp forest at Sepilok to emphasise what has been lost through deforestation. From here we caught the boat to Liberan Island. The journey used to be from Sandakan, but the new departure point makes it substantially shorter. In the afternoon we went on a trip through mangroves on the mainland. This was really very poor for birdlife, surprisingly so because the habitat looked excellent. We returned to Liberan through a tropical storm, and must have come quite close to being struck by lightning as I was too polite to reject the steel umbrella brought to us by one of the staff at Liberan Island Lodge. The phenomenon of sparks leaping to my hand soon convinced me it was better abandoned.
Liberan Island is covered in coastal scrub, and there were many birds on view, even if most were the common species of degraded habitats. The additional species were Pacific Reef Egret, Whimbrel, Grey and Greater Sand Plovers, Crested Tern, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Common Pipit, and Olive-backed Sunbird.
21st August. The morning was spent bird-watching or fishing unsuccessfully on Liberan Island. Huge schools of bait-fish alongside the jetty were being repeatedly attacked by large Trevally, but plugging with a Rapala Magnum did not bring a single take. Perhaps the problem was the lure did not stand out amongst millions of small fish. We then went to Selingen Island, 20 minutes boat ride and the only one of three turtle islands that tourists can visit. Apart from the fact that a lodge was been built in the centre of the 8 hectare island, the park is very well managed, and turtle conservation is taken very seriously. Populations are carefully monitored and appear to be stable, following an increase after establishment of the park. Tourist behaviour is closely regulated but this does not detract from the experience of seeing nesting Green Turtles, knowing that the reason is to minimise disturbance.
Snorkelling off Selingen offered 10m visibility over a reasonable reef in deeper water. The shallow reef was very damaged, apparently due to low salinity and sedimentation from rivers.
Birding produced Black-naped and Bridled Terns, Pied Triller, Mangrove Whistler, Plain-throated Sunbird, while Island Fruit Bats were seen on Selingen.
22nd August. We left Selingen to reach Liberan Island Lodge for breakfast. From there we returned to the mainland and drove to Sandakan via Sepilok. From here we caught the flight to Koto Kinabalu, and after checking into the Hyatt Hotel made a late afternoon visit to Likas Bay.
Although it offers photographic opportunities and I totally support the work they do at Sepilok we did not personally find the feeding of the released Orang-utans a particularly inspiring experience. Even though wild Orang-utan visit the platforms it cannot compare with seeing them foraging naturally. Admission to Sepilok is RM 30 for which it would be possible to spend the day wandering trails through stunning forest, but we only had time for a short visit.
On the journey and at Sepilok we saw Lesser Sand-Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Plaintive Cuckoo, Brown-backed Needletail, and Greater Racket-tailed Drongo.
Likas Bay lies a few km to the north of Koto Kinabalu and was reached by taxi (RM10 one way. All the taxi drivers seem to know where it is). There is one saline and three freshwater lagoons. All are heavily disturbed by fishermen and stray dogs and the birding is from the main road. In addition the beach alongside the site is truly disgusting, easily the most littered shore I have ever seen. In spite of the insalubrious surroundings there were birds here and we saw Little Egret, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Cinnamon Bittern, White-browed Crake, Common Moorhen, Purpple Swamphen, and Striated Grassbird.
23rd August. Went from Koto Kinabalu to Mt.Kinabalu National Park. The journey took 2 hours. Before leaving I visited the fish market. There was a range of small Hammerhead and Thresher Sharks, Spanish Mackerel, Albacore,Bonito, enormous Sting Ray, Blue-spot sting ray, Barramundi, Parrrotfish, Grouper, Coral Trout, Threadfin Salmon, Trevally and Barracuda, as well as squid and mud crabs. As with the beach at Likas Bay the rubbish in the harbour was unbelievable.
The road to Mt.Kinabalu winds through a patchwork of secondary forest and temporary of permanent cleared patches for bananas, vegetables and wild rice. Presumably soil erosion with 45' slopes and an annual rainfall of 200" must be something of a problem.
We stopped at a roadside stall for souvenirs, and it was also possible to try birdsnest soup for RM 15. I have catholic tastes but it really was quite unpleasant.
We arrived in the beautiful montane forest of Mt.Kinabalu at midday and spent the time walking the Silau-silau and Liwagu Trails, although heavy rain, usual in the afternoon, supressed our activities. The trails are well maintained and sign posted and very quiet, as most visitors just come to climb the mountain. Unfortunately shortly before our arrival winds of 150km/h had brought down many trees and most trails were officially closed, although it was possible to use them by climbing over obstacles.
The birding was reasonably productive and by the end of the afternoon these species had been added; Checker-throated Woodpecker, Sunda Cuckoo Shrike, Grey-chinned Minivet, Hair-crested Drongo, Black-and-crimson Oriole, Bornean Treepie, Sunda and Chestnut-capped Laughing-Thrush, Sunda Whistling Thrush, Yellow-breasted and Mountain Leaf Warblers, Eye-browed Jungle Flycatcher, Indigo flycatcher, White-throated Fantail, Bornean Whistler, Short-tailed Magpie, Mountain Imperial Pigeon, Snowy-browed flycatcher, Black-capped White-eye, Little Cuckoo Dove, White-crowned Forktail, Mountain Tailorbird, Golden-naped Barbet and White-breasted Waterhen. Four-striped Ground Squirrel was a new mammal.
We stayed overnight at Wildlife Mountain Lodge, which is 1 km from the park entrance.
24th August. From 5.30-8.00 I walked along the Power Station road in the park, and then back along the Silau-silau trail. At this point the weather was stunning with clear skies and fantastic views of the mountain. We then went to Poring Hot Springs. This is still part of the park, but at an altitude of 500m the vegetation is Dipterocarp forest and the bird communities are different to around the park centre. In contrast to the coolness at 1,500m+ it is hot and humid at Poring, and this makes it hard work as the trail to the Langanan Waterfall is really steep in places (far more arduous than the Mt.Kinabalu summit trail). There is also a canopy walkway here.
New species seen were Besra, Red-throated Barbet, Buff-rumped Woodpecker, Greater Green Leafbird, White-browed Shortwing, Grey-throated Babbler, Chestnut-crested Yuhina, and White-browed Shrike-Babbler.
Tree-shrews were encountered, with Slender at Poring and Mountain near the park Headquarters.
25th August. From 6.00-8.00 am I walked along the Silau-silau trail and the power station road. There were good opportunities to photograph birds visiting streetlights at dawn. After breakfast we went to the start of the summit trail (extra entrance charge RM 10), and followed it for 3 km, altitude c2,300m and vegetation of elfin cloud forest. There was low cloud and mist for most of the route. This was not too much of a handicap, but from 12.00 torrential rain brought observations to close and ensured a miserable walk back to the park centre. We then had to return to Koto Kinabalu.
In spite of conditions some interesting sightings were made including Crimson-headed Partridge, Temminck's Babbler, Mountain Wren Babbler, Mountain Blackeye, Lesser Gymnure, Ear Spot Squirrel and Bornean Mountain Ground Squirrrel.
26th August. In the morning we took a boat to Palau Manukan. There was no longer a regular service (we were told) so we had to charter a whole boat for RM 84. Leaving at 8.00 am and returning by 12.00 this gave us three hours on the Island. There was also a RM 10 landing fee. The snorkelling was brilliant with crystal clear visibility of 25m+. The reefs were in good condition, although there was plenty of litter on the seabed. Fish life was profuse, but Green Turtles were the best sighting.
The scrub and forest covering the island can be explored by the1.5 km jogging trail. I had left about an hour to explore this, but this wasn't enough to find any Tabon Megapodes, and the only new species recorded for the trip was Gull-billed Tern on the journey out.
At 3.00 pm we were taken to the airport for our flight back to Heathrow, via Brunei and Abu Dhabi. I approve of international airports with a 45min check in time!
Systematic list of birds seen and heard.
Numbers correspond to 'A field guide to the birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali' by MacKinnon and Phillips.
28. Oriental Darter. Quite common along the KR with up to 25 seen daily, the largest numbers along the oxbow lake.
33. Grey Heron. A single seen along the KR, and a few examples at Likas Bay and Koto Kinabalu.
34. Purple Heron. Four were seen along the KR on 17/8, with c13 at Likas Bay on 22/8. A high proportion of these birds were juveniles.
36. Striated Heron. Not particularly common, but singles seen twice at KR, Liberan Island, and up to 4 at Likas Bay and along Koto Kinabalu seafront.
39. Cattle Egret. The only ones seen were with Water Buffalo on the road to Sukau on 16/8.
40. Pacific Reef-Egret. Eight were seen on Liberan Island, often on the jetty. There were 7 white and one dark phase bird. Another 2 were seen on Palau Manukan and five roosting in mangroves on our return from Liberan Island.
42. Great Egret. Much the most common and widespread heron. Odd examples were seen along the Danum River, with larger numbers (up to 12 daily along the KR. Some 50 were seen around Likas Bay on 22/8, although some of these may have been Intermediate. On 23/8 several birds were observed scavenging dead fish from the open sea, picking them from the water surface with their bills, and swallowing them in flight.
43. Intermediate Egret. A few identified at Koto Kinabalu airport and at Likas Bay.
44. Little Egret. Five seen at Likas Bay on 22/8.
45. Black-crowned Night-heron. Quite large numbers at Likas Bay, with c30, including many juveniles around the lagoons.
51. Cinnamon Bittern. Seen at Likas Bay, 2 flushed by stray dogs, others seen in flight, and had great views of others creeping out from cover. I had previously seen this species in Thailand, but these were infinitely better views.
57. Storm's Stork. One of the hoped for species at the KR. One distantly from the oxbow lakes on 18/8 was a definite but unsatisfactory sighting, but on 19/8 we had great flight views of four, and then three birds from the main river on 19/8.
60. Lesser Adjutant. Two flew over the KR on 19/8, while another was seen close to the jetty for the Liberan Island boat ride. The coastline around here is reputedly reliable for this species.
81. Jerdon's Baza. One seen in the grounds of Sukau River Lodge o 17/8, and another sighting along the Menaggul River on the 18/8. Both seemed secretive and kept to cover.
82. Oriental Honey-Buzzard. One was seen along the access road from the Danum Conservation Area on 16/8.
87. Brahminy Kite. Fairly common in coastal areas, and along the KR, with up to 8 daily at the latter location, and 5 daily at Liberan and Selingen Islands and over Koto Kinsbalu Harbour.
88. White-bellied Fish-Eagle. Obviously still a reasonably common species along large waterways and the coast. An adult and two juveniles seen daily at The KR, 5 along the coast near Liberan Island, and up to three scavenging over Koto Kinabalu harbour.
89. Lesser Fish-Eagle. Only one was seen - along the Menaggul River at dawn on 18/8, perched deep in overhanging vegetation.
93. Crested Serpent-Eagle. Two seen soaring over the road to BRL on 13/8, and a perched birds there on 16/8. One seen along the KR. Apparently the edge of oil palm plantations are favoured hunting areas because of the large snake population.
100. Besra. One was seen along the power station road at MKNP in the early morning of 24/8. It was calling and apparently nest building. The north Borneo race (rufotibialis) has virtually unbarred rich rufous underparts, resembling Oriental Hobby
102. Crested Goshawk. One flying below the canopy along the Hornbill trail in the DV was the only sighting.
108. Black Eagle. One flew across the Danum river, viewed from BRL on 15/8.
111. Changeable Hawk-Eagle. One dark phase bird was seen soaring over oil palm plantations along the road to Suaku on 16/8, while a light phase bird was seen on Liberan Island. Dark phase birds are said to predominate in Borneo.
113. Blyth's Hawk-Eagle. A probable juvenile of this species was flushed at very close range along the Waterfall trail at Poring Hot Springs, but I only had brief views as it twisted away between the trees.
114. Wallace's Hawk-Eagle. A splendidly powerful and agile small eagle. One was perched on a dead tree along the access road from BRL on 16/8. Two birds both perched and soaring over the KR, gave terrific views on 18/8 and 19/8. A juvenile Hawk-eagle was seen soaring over Sepilok on 22/8.
116. White-fronted Falconet. A single bird was seen from the canopy walkway at Danum Valley on 13/8, at one point perching on the walkway itself.
134. Crimson-headed Partridge. On 24/8 two were calling along the Power Station Road at MKNP, while on 25/8 I had superb close range views of three along the Silau-silau Trail as they wandered along the path in front of me, before crossing the stream using fallen logs.
137. Crested Fireback. We dipped on a pair reported along the Danum River trail from BRL, but enjoyed brilliant views from the boat of two males along the Menaggul River on 17/8 and 18/8.
145. Great Argus. Birds were actively calling and displaying during our stay at BRL, and they proved relatively easy to see. There were three dancing grounds constructed along the Hornbill Trail and two males were seen here on 14/8, with another along the Segama Trail on 15/8. The birds seemed quite unconcerned as they quietly foraged over the forest floor.
156. White-browed Crake. One was seen creeping from cover at Likas Bay, and another was flushed by stray dogs.
157. White-breasted Waterhen. Rather surprisingly the only sighting was in the garden of Wildlife Mountain Lodge at Mt.Kinabalu.
159. Common Moorhen. Common at Likas Bay, with c30 seen.
161. Purple Swamphen. Five seen at Likas Bay.
172. Grey Plover. One at Liberan Island on 27/8.
181. Mongolian (Lesser Sand) Plover. Twelve on Selingen Island on the morning of 27/8.
182. Greater Sand Plover. One on Liberan Island on 27/8.
185. Whimbrel. Six birds seen around Liberan Island.
197. Wood Sandpiper. Several around pools at Koto Kinabalu Airport on 12/8, and 5 at Likas Bay.
199. Common Sandpiper. Seen regularly in small numbers at Damun River, KR, on islands and along Koto Kinabalu seafront.
201. Ruddy Turnstone. One on Selingen Island.
217. Sanderling. One on Selingen Island.
237. Gull-billed Tern. At least one between Koto Kinabalu and Palau Manukan. Others had probably been seen earlier.
241. Black-naped Tern. Always an exquisite species, some 10 were seen from Selingen Island on 21/8.
242. Bridled Tern. One seen from Selingen Island on 21/8.
245. Crested Tern. The most regularly seen tern, with small numbers seen on boat trips to Liberan, Selingen and Palau Manukan Islands. Up to 30 seen fishing in small flocks.
256. Little Green Pigeon. Subtly gorgeous, like all Green Pigeons, a pair were seen in courtship along the Menaggul River on 16/8. Up to 40 Green Pigeons were seen daily along the KR, but most were not specifically identified.
257. Pink-necked Green-Pigeon. Ten were seen on Liberan Island, and a single on Selingen Island.
264. Green Imperial Pigeon. Seen regularly in small numbers around Koto Kinabalu, at the KR, and over mangroves near Liberan Island, with up to 10 daily in these locations.
266. Mountain Imperial Pigeon. Heard daily at MKNP ( a low repetitive 'oom-oom'), and two calling birds seen, both conveniently high in a dead branch.
275. Little Cuckoo Dove. Up to 4 seen daily at MKNP, but only in flight.
277. Spotted Dove. Fairly common along roadsides, villages and degraded habitats.
278. Zebra Dove. One seen in Lahad Datu (introduced species).
279. Emerald Dove. Five seen along Hornbill Trail at BRL, and two along the Kinabatangan River.
281.Red-breasted Parakeet. A flock of 8 and a single seen on a boat ride on the KR on 17/8.
282. Long-tailed Parakeet. A pair seen in flight over the KR on 18/8, while on the morning of 20/8 c50 were seen from Sukau River Lodge.
288. Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot. Seen twice from the canopy walkway at BRL, but not easy to get decent views of this avian bullet.
292. Hodgson's Hawk Cuckoo. One was seen perched in forest along the Segama Trail at Danum Valley.
298. Plaintive Cuckoo. One on a fence as we left Sepilok on 27/8.
305. Drongo Cuckoo. One seen on a dawn boat ride along the Menaggul River on 19/8.
306. Asian Koel. One along the Nature Trail at Sukau River Lodge.
310. Raffles's Malkoha. This was the only Malkoha speceis seen, with a pair along the Menaggul River on 18/8.
315. Greater Coucal. Just one seen in the grounds of Sukau River Lodge.
338. Brown Wood-Owl. Superb views of two perched on wires and posts close to the staff quarters at BRL. Seen on the night drive of 14/8.
333. Buffy Fish-Owl. On 15/8 one gave tremendous views as it called from various perches around BRL. It was heard calling nightly from Sukau River Lodge, and seen briefly there, but one found along the Menaggul River on 19/8 gave even better photographic opportunities.
350. Savanna Nightjar. One seen from the veranda at BRL on 14/8.
355. Black-nest Swiftlet. Probably a few examples seen along the Danum River, and large numbers at nests in Gomantong Caves.
356. Mossy-nest Swiftlet. Identified at nest sites on limestone formations near Sukau on the KR.
358. Glossy Swiftlet. Common and widespread, seen at Koto Kinabalu, Lahad Datu. A fairly large nesting colony in the gateway to MKNP.
362. Brown-backed Needletail. One or two birds over the car-park at Sepilok on 22/8.
363. Silver-rumped Swift. Common over the Danum River at BRL, with c30 seen together, but this was the only location we recorded it.
365. Little Swift. Seen in fairly large numbers in Koto Kinabalu.
367. Grey-rumped Treeswift. Small flocks seen regularly along the access road to BRL, as well as over the Danum River.
370. Red-naped Trogon. An excellent male was seen along the nature trail at Sukau River Lodge on 19/8.
371. Diard's Trogon. An adult male and two juveniles were seen at the far end of the Hornbill Trail from BRL.
374. Scarlet-rumped Trogon. A female seen along the Segama Trail at Danum Valley. Two pairs were seen roosting on exposed branches along the nature trail At Sukau River Lodge while spotlighting, but only seen once during the day here.
378. Blue-eared Kingfisher. Up to five seen daily along the Kinabantagan and Menaggul Rivers at Sukau. A reasonably confiding species that perches low to the water.
383. Stork-billed Kingfisher. This spectacular kingfisher was frequently heard and reasonably easy to see along both the Danum and Kinabatangan Rivers, with up to three seen daily at both locations.
381. Black-backed (Asian Pygmy) Kingfisher. One was seen roosting on an exposed branch during the night drive of 13/8, and another was seen along the Menaggul River on 19/8.
389. Collared Kingfisher. Fairly common on wires along roadsides with c10 seen on journeys. Several seen on both Liberan and Selingen Islands, often foraging over reefs at low tide.
394. Blue-throated Bee-Eater. First seen along the access road from BRL, this species was fairly common along the Kinabatangan River, with small flocks of 4-6 birds seen regularly.
396. Red-bearded Bee-Eater. Only heard, from the canopy walkway at Danum Valley.
397. Dollarbird. One seen along the Danum River, with 1-3 examples seen perched along the KR daily.
399. Bushy-crested Hornbill. A party of five flew across the Danum River near BRL on 13/8.
401. Wrinkled Hornbill. This species was easiest to see flying across the Kinabatangan River, with two pairs on 17/8, and singles on 18 and 19/8.
404. Asian Black Hornbill. Four were seen from the canopy walkway at Danum on 14/8. At the Kinatabangan River three parties of 5-7 birds were seen flying over the forest canopy, and an adult with a juvenile on 19/8.
405. Oriental Pied Hornbill. One was seen over the road to Sukau, miles from any forest, while another flew across the Kinabatangan River on 17/8.
406. Rhinoceros Hornbill. I can't decide if this or the next species is the most magnificent of the Bornean Hornbills- at any rate both are fantastic. Usually seen in flight, but also seen feeding in fig trees, picking off fruit with delicacy before tossing it to the throat. Two were seen along the Nature Trail at BRL, another along the Danum River Trail, and three from the canopy walkway. A bird obviously roosts regularly along the access road to BRL and was seen while spotlighting.
408. Helmeted Hornbill. There was a fruiting fig tree along the Nature Trail at BRL, and Helmeted Hornbills were seen here on 13 and 14/8, a single male, and a group of three.
413. Red-crowned Barbet. A pair were seen excavating in a rotten branch from the canopy walkway in the Danum Valley.
414. Red-throated Barbet. One seen chiselling into a dead tree at Poring Hot Springs.
420. Golden-naped Barbet. One seen as it called from the top of a dead branch near the visitor centre at MKNP.
424. Brown Barbet. A somewhat atypical barbet, and one that does not apparently require neck and eye strain to see. A group of five were seen at Sukau River Lodge on 19/8, all birds lined up on one branch.
427. Rufous Piculet. This tiny pecker was seen along the access road to BRL on 14/8, foraging in quite low vegetation.
434. Checker-throated Woodpecker. One was seen accompanying a wave of laughing thrushes etc. in MKNP.
438. Buff-rumped Woodpecker. Close views of one at a nest site at Poring Hot Springs.
439. Buff-necked Woodpecker. This species accompanied bird waves, with one seen along the Nature Trail at BRL on 13/8, and another along the Nature Trail at Sukau River Lodge.
446. Maroon Woodpecker. Quite a noisy bird, singles were seen on two occasions along the Nature Trail as Sukau River Lodge.
450. Black-and red Broadbill. None of the illustrations in books do justice to the broadbills, those seen look far more striking in the field. A pair of this species was seen at BRL on 15/8, while it was seen daily around Sukau River Lodge, with up to six seen regularly, along the Nature Trail, or the Menaggul River.
451. Banded Broadbill. One with a mixed species party of birds at the end of the Segama Trail, BRL.
452. Black-and-yellow Broadbill. One was seen from the canopy walkway in the Danum Valley, and a second bird was seen along the Nature Trail at Sukau River Lodge.
455. Green Broadbill. Stunning views of a calling male along the access track to BRL. The bird was under the canopy of a bush, and a pleasing set of photographs was taken. A second was seen along the waterfall trail at Poring Hot Springs.
459. Giant Pitta. Heard calling 1km along the Hornbill Trail from BRL. Tried the tape with no result.
461. Blue-headed Pitta. Heard calling from the canopy walkway and along the Segama trail at Danum, and also once along the Nature Trail from Sukau River Lodge. In an area with many rotting logs at the end of the Segama Trail we followed a very ill defined trail and here had crippling views of a male calling on a log. It came so close a terrific photo could have been taken, but I was so mesmerised I didn't get out the camera. A female was calling nearby and seen briefly. Definitely bird of the trip.
466. Garnet/Black-and-crimson Pitta. Two were calling along the Hornbill Trail at Danum on 14/8, but did not respond to taped calls or whistles. Another was calling along the Danum River Trail on 15/8 and a careful approach gave great views of the Pitta, calling from a rotten log.
468. Hooded Pitta. Two heard calling along the Menaggul River on 17/8, with another at dawn on 18/8. We approached closely to the calling bird, but unfortunately only saw it as it flew to a new calling position.
469. Banded Pitta. One calling from the trail at the oxbow lakes off the Kinabatangan River could not be located.
473. Barn Swallow Common along the Kinabatangan River.
474. Pacific Swallow Common and widespread.
478. Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike. Three seen in the canopy of Dipterocarps along the canopy walkway at Danum on 14/8.
482. Sunda Cuckoo-Shrike. Two birds accompanying a large mixed party of birds along the Power Station Road in Mt.Kinabalu NP, and a single in the grounds of Wildlife Mountain Lodge.
485. Pied Triller. This smart little bird was quite common on Liberan Island, with 5 seen.
490. Grey-chinned Minivet. Parties of 8-10 birds seen on 23 & 24/8 along the Power Station Road in Mt.Kinabalu NP.
492. Scarlet Minivet. Eight seen from the canopy walkway in the Danum Valley.
494. Common Iora. Just one seen, at Sukau River Lodge.
495. Lesser Green Leafbird. One seen in a flowering shrub at Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
496.Greater Green Leafbird. One seen from the canopy walkway at Poring Hot Springs.
500. Straw-headed Bulbul. A pair seen downstream of Sukau along the Kinabatangan River, and a single in riverside vegetation by Sukau River Lodge.
504. Black-headed Bulbul. A few examples seen in the Danum Valley and around the Kinabatangan River.
514. Yellow-vented Bulbul. A common Bulbul in forest edge, degraded habitats and villages in the areas of Sabah that we visited.
517. Red-eyed Bulbul. Seen along most trails around Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
519. Finch's Bulbul. One from the canopy walkway in the Danum Valley on 14/8.
522. Yellow-bellied Bulbul. One of the more attractive bulbuls, this species was seen regularly along forest trails in the Danum Valley, and also around Sukau River Lodge.
524. Hairy-backed Bulbul. Singles were seen along the Danum River on 14/8, and 2 along the trail at the oxbow lake off the Kinabatangan River.
520. Ochraceous Bulbul. A few seen along trails in Mt.Kinabalu NP.
532. Bronzed Drongo. A single bird seen on three accasions along the Nature Trail at Sukau River Lodge.
534. Hair-crested Drongo. Seen at Mt.Kinabalu NP. Although 2 were seen along trails much easier to see at dawn, when several birds visit streetlights to take nocturnal insects.
536. Greater Racket-tailed Drongo. One along trail at Sepilok, and another at Poring Hot Springs.
541. Black-and crimson Oriole. 1-2 birds with a large mixed party of birds along the power station road in Mt.Kinabalu NP on 23/8.
542. Asian Fairy Bluebird. Two birds seen from the canopy walkways at Danum and Poring, and three birds seen flying across the Menanggul River on various occasions.
544. Short-tailed Magpie. A gaudy but quite stunning bird, with fluorescent turquoise on the crown not shown in illustrations. Singles seen along the power station road, at Wildlife Mountain Lodge, and regularly at dawn around streetlights. The song is surprisingly melodious (thrush-like) for a corvid.
547. Bornean Treepie. Regularly seen in small parties in Mt.Kinabalu NP. Another species that visits streetlights at dawn.
549. Black Magpie. Noisy and fairly common, but quite difficult to see in the Danum Valley. Parties were encountered daily along most of the trails.
550. Slender-billed Crow. Small numbers seen in the forest edges at Danum and at the Kinabatangan River.
553. Bornean Bristlehead. At least two birds were located at the start of the Danum River trail, just over the suspension bridge. They were located by call and generally quite difficult to see, keeping to the tops of Dipterocarps. They were being harassed by Black Magpies which had the beneficial (as far as we were concerned) of forcing them into the open. An excellent and highly unusual 'must see' bird. Another party was seen from the canopy walkway.
617. White-browed Shortwing. Two were singing in the early morning along the Silau-silau trail in Mt.Kinabalu NP. A tape brought no result but a careful approach gave a view of one bird on the forest floor.
559. Black-capped Babbler. I thought this was quite a smart babbler, seen along the Nature Trail at Sukau River Lodge. Shy and always working along the ground.
560. Temminck's Babbler. Two feeding around streetlights at dawn in Mt.Kinabalu NP. Always kept to cover, but did work their way up through low vegetation.
562. White-chested Babbler. Quite common along overgrown steams with freshwater mangroves, such as the Menanggul River, with c5 seen daily.
563. Ferruginous Babbler. A very active bird, a few examples were seen along trails in Danum.
564. Short-tailed Babbler. Singles seen along the Nature trail and the Hornbill Trail in the Danum Valley.
571. Scaly-crowned Babbler. Small numbers identified at the Kinabatangan River.
572. Rufous-crowned Babbler. One of the more common babbler species at Danum.
577. Striped Wren-Babbler. One was seen well, ferreting around in fallen leaves, during a boat ride along the Menaggul River. The sort of bird where it was a clear advantage to have a boat to ourselves for.
578. Mountain Wren-Babbler. This species proved easy to see along the Summit trail in Mt.Kinabalu NP. Three noisy parties were located, and the birds were extremely confiding. I took some photos, although their active nature, and at times too close to focus approach made this difficult.
588. Grey-throated Babbler. Two parties of 5-7 birds seen along the power station road, and another group along the Summit Trail in Mt.Kinabalu NP.
593. Black-throated Babbler. A few examples seen along the Nature Trail at Sukau River Lodge.
595. Chestnut-winged Babbler. A pair seen in the Danum Valley, and small parties of 4-5 birds regularly along the Nature trail at Sukau River Lodge.
601. Sunda Laughing Thrush. Four seen in a large mixed party of birds along the Power Station Road in Mt.Kinabalu NP, and another two visiting streetlights at dawn.
605. Chestnut-capped Laughing-Thrush. Much the most common laughing-Thrush at Mt.Kinabalu NP, with sometimes large parties seen along all trails. Another species that is particularly easy to see at dawn around streetlights.
607. White-browed Shrike-Babbler. Quite a stylish little bird that slowly and carefully inspects foilage when hunting, a pair was seen along the Kiau View trail, and three along the Summit Trail in Mt.Kinabalu NP.
609. Brown Fulvetta. At least two identified in the Danum Valley.
613. Chestnut-crested Yuhina. This endemic species was easy to see around the visitor centre and park entrance at Mt.Kinabalu NP, with several parties of c10 birds seen daily.
614. White-bellied Yuhina. Small numbers seen at danum, Sukau and Poring.
621. Magpie Robin. Fairly common along roadsides, gardens and in oil palm plantations in Sabah.
623. White-browed Shama. A beautiful species, this was seen quite commonly both in the Danum Valley, and along the Kinabatangan River, with c5 seen daily, and rather more heard singing.
628. White-crowned Forktail. A superb species, totally eye-catching in flight, one was seen along the Liwagu River in Mt.Kinabalu NP.
637. Sunda Whistling Thrush. The first was seen along the Silau-silau Trail in Mt.Kinabalu NP, but it was easiest to see around dawn with c6 birds seen along the verges of the Power Station Road.
650. Yellow-breasted Warbler. This was a commonly seen species in the understory at Mt.Kinabalu NP, and often in mixed species parties c10 seen daily. Also attended dawn streetlight feasts.
655. Mountain Leaf Warbler. About as common as the preceding species at Mt.Kinabalu NP, and often associating with it.
662. Striated Grassbird. Several (c8) were seen in long grass and thickets at Likas Bay so it was obviously common here. I am somewhat mystified because MacKinnon only lists it for Java and Bali, and I can't find a mention of it in any trip reports. Could it be a recent colonist?
667. Rufous-tailed Tailorbird. A few examples seen skulking in undergrowth along the Kinabatangan River. Also seen on Palau Manukan.
668. Mountain Tailorbird. Seen twice in mixed parties of small birds in Mt.Kinabalu NP. A very active bird, and consequently hard to observe, although not at all shy.
671. Yellow-bellied Prinia. A few examples seen in riverside vegetation at Sukau, and very common on Liberan Island.
677. Bornean Stubtail. At least five were heard along the summit trail in Mt.Kinabalu NP, but they were maddeningly elusive, and not seen, even though we were very close to them at times.
680. Friendly Bush-Warbler. One calling at 2.5 km along the summit trail at Mt.Kinabalu NP. I tried a tape of the call, but as with every other species it brought no result, the bird continuing to call, but coming no closer.
681. Brown-chested Jungle-Flycatcher. One seen along the Danum River Trail near Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
685. Eye-browed Jungle-Flycatcher. One seen at the start of the Kiau View trail in Mt.Kinabalu NP, and another attending streetlights at dawn.
690. Verditer Flycatcher. A family party was seen from the restaurant at Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
691. Indigo Flycatcher. A quiet but confiding bird, small numbers seen daily at Mt.Kinabalu NP, often along streams, or attending streetlights at dawn.
697. Snowy-browed Flycatcher. Seen in similar numbers and locations as the preceding species, always in the understory. Does not really merit its alternative name of Dull Flycatcher!
698. Rufous-chested Flycatcher. A smart male seen along the Danum River trail on 13/8 was the only one seen.
709. Malaysian Blue Flycatcher. I found Cyornis flycatchers difficult to get to grips with. This species was definitely seen around the area of Borneo Rainforest Lodge and at Sukau, daily in small numbers.
711. Mangrove Blue Flycatcher. This species was definitely seen at Selingen and Palau Manukan (singles) and probably at the Kinatabangan River.
713. Grey-headed Flycatcher. One seen in grounds of Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
716. White-throated Fantail. Very common in Mt.Kinabalu NP.
717. Spotted Fantail. Several seen at Danum
718. Pied Fantail. Common in gallery forest along the Kinabatangan River, and very common on Liberan and Selingen Islands.
719. Black-naped Monarch. Quite common along the Menanggul River at Sukau, with 5-10 seen daily. Easy to see with its distinctive habit of taking insects from the surface film of the river.
721. Rufous-winged Philentoma. Two or three seen in a mixed species party along the Menanggul River on16/8, and two along the Sukau River Lodge Nature Trail.
723. Asian Paradise-Flycatcher. A female was seen along the access track to Borneo Rainforest Lodge, and males (white colour phase) were seen along the Danum and Kinabatangan Rivers.
724. Bornean Whistler. Quite common in Mt.Kinabalu NP, with c10 seen daily. Yet another species seen around streetlights at dawn.
725. Mangrove Whistler. Just one seen in the grounds on Liberan Island Lodge.
736. White-breasted Wood-Swallow. A common, widespread and conspicuous species in open habitats throughout Sabah. Particularly common on Liberan Island.
733. Common Pipit. Common, with c 20 seen in grassy areas around Liberan Island Lodge. Presumed to be non migrant Paddyfield Pipits.
742. Asian Glossy Starling. Quite common in Koto Kinabalu, with 50-100 seen daily. Several hundred arrived in the evening at Liberan Island to roost in tall coconut palms.
751. Crested Myna. Small numbers seen in Koto Kinabalu.
752. Hill Myna. A classy bird, some eight were seen from the canopy walkway in the Danum Valley on 14/8. They attracted attention with loud calls, but generally kept high in the canopy.
755. Plain-throated Sunbird. Two males were seen on Liberan Island.
758. Purple-naped Sunbird. Two or three seen in the grounds of Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
761. Olive-backed Sunbird. Abundant on Liberan Island, some hundreds seen.
763. Crimson Sunbird. Two males on hibiscus flowers in Sukau might have got more attention if they hadn't been competing with the sight of two Orang-utans.
766. Little Spiderhunter. Seen daily in small numbers at Borneo Rainforest Lodge, also at Sepilok.
771. Grey-breasted Spiderhunter. Singles seen at Borneo Rainforest Lodge and Poring Hot Springs.
782. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker. One seen along Menaggul River on 19/8. I did not make much effort with flowerpeckers and deservedly saw neither of the endemic species.
784. Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker. One male of the Bornean race (dark throat) seen along the Menaggul River on16/8.
792. Black-capped White-eye. Fairly common in mixed species parties in Mt.Kinabalu NP, with 5-10 seen daily.
799. Mountain Blackeye. Five seen along the summit trail in Mt.Kinabalu NP, working above parties of Mountain Wren Babblers.
811. Dusky Munia. Several small flocks seen in gardens of Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
814. Black-headed Munia. Common along roadsides and on the airport at Koto Kinabalu, with the largest numbers (200-300) seen around Likas Bay.
800. Eurasian Tree Sparrow. In contrast to its dire status in Britain, this is a common species around towns and villages throughout Sabah.
The list follows 'A field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo' by Payne and Francis.
1. Lesser Gymnure. Two were seen along the summit trail in MKNP, with the best views of one at the rest station at 2.2 km. An engaging insectivore, alternating frenzied activity with periods of immobility, just its mobile snout quivering in different directions.
2. Slender/Lesser Treeshrew. One seen foraging quite high (6m) at Poring Hot Springs.
3. Mountain Tree Shrew. Five were seen in MKNP, one along the summit trail, the rest close to the visitor centre. Some gave excellent views at photographic range as they worked through tangles of low vegetation.
4. Island Flying Fox. Perhaps 10 were seen on Selingen Island on 21/8.
5. Wrinkle-lipped Bat. Juvenile and infant bats that had fallen to a grisly end on the guano/cockroach mountain were of this species, so one would suppose the majority of the two million bats in the cave are as well. Large numbers of bats were also seen in limestone formations near Sukau, and in a bat cave along the waterfall trail at Poring.
6. Diadem Roundleaf Bat. Three examples were found along the Hornbill Trail, hanging from exposed branches.
7. Colugo. One was seen clinging to an exposed trunk along the Segama Trail at Danum. Although supremely camouflaged it also eased out of sight behind the tree.
8. Maroon Langur, Troops of five to ten individuals were seen on three occasions at Danum Valley. They varied in colour from pale cream to rich orange red (this is age related).
9. Proboscis Monkey. Very easy to see along the Kinabatangan and Menaggul Rivers at Sukau. Five different troops were seen here, four were harem groups, and one a bachelor group, whose proximity provoked calls and crashing threat displays from the mature male in a harem group. Highly entertaining and fascinating monkeys, often leaping in spectacular style from one tree to another. A group was also seen in coastal mangroves near Liberan Island.
10. Long-tailed Macaque. The most common primate in Sabah. Two troops of c10 were seen at Danum, while several groups were seen along the Kinabatang and Menanggul Rivers at Sukau, with c40 seen daily. Others were seen in coastal mangroves.
11. Pig-tailed Macaque. Rather less common, troops were seen along the pathway to Gomantong Caves, along the Menanggul River, and at Sepilok. More terrestrial then Long-tailed Macaque.
12. Bornean Gibbon. Seen at Danum; five resting in a tree in the evening of 13/8, and on 14/8 probably the same group feeding in a wild rambutan tree. One was repeatedly goading a Macaque, swinging up to it and pulling its tail, then retreating as the Macaque wheeled round, baring its teeth. Heard calling daily at Sukau, but not seen.
13. Orang-utan. To see wild Orang-utan was one of the main reasons for visiting Sabah. They were seen daily by others at Danum, but we failed to connect so it was a real relief to find three in a huge fig tree on the road to Gomantong cave. There was a mother and tiny baby and a juvenile. The spent most time resting while the mother fed industriously on figs. Another was seen briefly along the Menanggul River on 16/8, while on 18/8 and 19/8 we had views of probably the same mother and juvenile feeding on a wild durian tree. The durians obviously had to be handled with care and the female took a considerable time to open them, while the juvenile made equal effort to pinch the fruit.
14. At Sepilok 4 rehabilitated Orang-utan and two wild ones were seen at the feeding platform, but this did not compare with finding them for ourselves.
15. Giant Squirrel. One seen poorly along the Kinabatangan River on 16/8, with two calling near the oxbow lake.
16. Prevost's Squirrel. This handsome species was seen on four occasions in the Danum Valley, feeding on succulent blossom.
17. Plantain Squirrel. Two seen at Sukau, and one in Sandakan.
18. Ear-spot Squirrel. Examination of photos taken of a squirrel near the centre at MKNP appear to confirm this was Ear-spot, rather than Bornean Black-banded.
19. Low's Squirrel. One feeding on the ground along the Nature Trail at BRL.
20. Bornean Mountain Ground Squirrel. Some 20 were seen along the summit trail at MKNP, with the rest shelters obvious locations to see several.
21. Four-striped Ground Squirrel. JC saw one near the visitor centre at MKNP.
22. Plain Pygmy Squirrel. This minute species could be taken for a lizard as it ascends vertical trunks. Three were seen around BRL, with one photographed on the walkway to our chalet.
23. Red Giant Flying Squirrel. Out of nine flying squirrels seen during the night drive of 14/8 two were positively identified as Red Giants, noting the black tip to their tail as they shinned up the trunks of Dipterocarps.
24. Thomas's Flying Squirrel. Two were positively identified on the night drive of 14/8.
25. Yellow-throated Marten. On 15/8 had great views of one foraging at all levels in the rain forest, along the Hornbill Trail. This was in mid afternoon and it surprised me that the animal was active at this time.
26. Teledu (Malay Badger). One example of this curious carnivore, with a musty smell was seen while spotlighting along the nature trail behind Sukau River Lodge.
27. Oriental Small-clawed Otter. During a mid afternoon walk one came ambling along the Segama trail towards me, before leaving the path and slipping into the river. Pleasing to see this species, having dipped on it in Thailand.
28. Leopard Cat. We had brilliant views of this exquisite small carnivore while spotlighting along the Hornbill trail on the night of 15/8.
29. Bearded Pig. Three were seen along the nature trail at Sukau River Lodge, including an enormous boar, that reputedly could be aggressive, while a group of five were seen along the Menanggul River. Large areas of forest floor had been rooted up by these animals.
30. Lesser Mouse Deer. Two mouse deer were seen while spotlighting on 14/8, and again on 15/8. Furtive and keeping to cover a specific identification was not possible but I am informed by the guides that Lesser Mouse Deer is more common at Danum. JC saw one in daylight on 14/8
Reptiles and other beasts.
List follows 'A photographic guide to snakes and other reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand'.
Reticulated Python. A fairly small individual (c2.5m) curled up in a tree over the channel to the oxbow lake, Kinabatangan River.
Sumatran Pit Viper. One resting in a tree at Sepilok.
Equatorial Spitting Cobra. Only JC was fortunate enough to see this species as one crawled over her as she relaxed by our chalet on Liberan Island.
Striped Kukri Snake. One along the jogging trail on Palau Manukan.
Malayan Bridle Snake. This beautiful species was seen in foliage along the Menanggul River.
Twin-barred Tree Snake. Another very colourful species, one was seen on the walkway at Poring.
Mangrove or Yellow-ringed Cat Snake. This handsome snake was fairly common along the Kinabatangan and Meanggul Rivers, with six seen in total.
Grey-tailed Yellow Cat Snake. One along the Menanggul River.
Tockay Gecko. One specimen of this striking reptile found in our chalet on Liberan Island.
Giant Forest Gecko. One at Sukau River Lodge. Other small unidentified Geckos frequently seen.
Anglehead Lizard sp. Seen and photographed at Danum.
Green Crested Lizard. A few seen and photographed at Danum.
Flying Lizard (Draco sp) One seen at Danum.
Salvator's Water Monitor. One 2m individual seen at Danum. Fairly plentiful around Sukau, with several congregated around a decaying Bearded Pig. One massive individual dominated the carcass and chased away all smaller lizards. Also seen on Liberan, Selingen and Palau Manukan and in mangroves.
Skink sp. Generally common.
Saltwater Crocodile. Not common at all on the Kinatabangan River. Only two tiny individuals seen.
Bornean Terrapin. Only one terrapin was seen, on a lagoon at Likas Bay. Markings resembled the picture on the chart of 'protected animals in Sarawak'.
Green Turtle. Seeing a large (105cm carapace) female depositing 94 eggs in the nest chamber on Selingen was an excellent experience, even if it was shared with 36 other people. Another Turtle close by had excavated a body pit, but left without laying. This is apparently quite usual, even without disturbance, as by morning there were 20+ tracks on a small section of beach, but only 7 clutches had been laid. Some 10 hatchlings were seen scurrying for the sea. On Palau Manukan three sightings were had of Green Turtles underwater, feeding on eel grass inside the reef.
Other creatures noted were female Trilobite Beetle, Common Birdwing, Tiger and Brown Leeches, Tissue paper Butterfly, Giant Pill Millipedes.