Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Kinabatangan Magic

Another pre-breakfast visit to the walkway at the Rainforest Discovery Centre was interesting as the forest was really quiet for the first hour but bird activity slowly increased and we saw Bornean Bristlehead again, along with Brown-throated Sunbird, a brief Maroon Woodpecker, the Grey-streaked Flycatcher was still present on its usual stump and Common Hill-myna flew by, but the Black-and-yellow Broadbill that flew in and landed 8 feet away from us was the star sighting. No matter how often I see them, I’m constantly dazzled by their beauty – what a bird.

Black-and-yellow Broadbill

After breakfast we returned to RDC and walked the trails for an hour and saw a Plaintive Cuckoo, Yellow-bellied Prinia, Orange-bellied and Scarlet-backed Flowerpeckers, and finally we found the endemic Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker.

Then we left on the drive towards the Kinabatangan River, stopping for lunch along the way. We also visited Gomantong Caves where Edible-nest, Black-nest and Mossy-nest Swiftlets can be seen on their distinctive nests – and hence you can tick them off with pride (apparently). So it’s really hard to identify these birds in the field and the only reliable way is to see their nests – oh come on, why not lump the lot of them and move on with our lives! 

Hooded Pitta

But the walk to the caves was through lovely forest and held a calling Hooded Pitta, in fact we saw two different birds, plus a Black Hornbill, Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Angle-headed Lizard and a flying lizard sp flew right over our heads and landed on a tree in front of us. 

Scarlet-rumped Trogon

The walk out was sort of better with a female Orang-utan with a youngster clinging to her belly at eye-level right next to us. An absolutely amazing experience to see them but she soon disappeared back into the dense foliage. I was also very pleased to see a pair of White-crowned Hornbills here as well – a much-wanted lifer. At the car park a Bat Hawk looked very majestic in the scope, as it sat on its perch at the top of a leafless tree.

Upon arrival at the river we said goodbye to Sam, our excellent driver and hopped into a boat for the 10 minute ride to our excellent lodge. We literally just dumped the luggage into our rooms, well after being instructed how to construct the sari we were supposed to wear for dinner – oh dear! With that done we set of along the river and what a time we had with another Black Hornbill, 2 sightings of Wrinkled Hornbill (another lifer!), Oriental Pied Hornbill and flocks of Bushy-crested Hornbill being a major highlight. 

Wrinkled Hornbill

The Kinabatangan River is rather wide and surrounded by excellent mature forest and with the number of hornbills present it must be a very rich and lush environment. We had been on a roll with our animal list expanding rapidly, so when we came across a herd of Bornean Pygmy Elephants everyone was very excited indeed. 

Bornean Pygmy Elephant

There were also Long-tailed Macaques, and eventually a troop of Proboscis Monkeys were seen lounging in the riverside trees. 

Proboscis Monkey

At least 2 Storm’s Storks were around as well, whilst Changeable Hawk-eagle and a fine adult Rufous-bellied eagle were flying over the forest in the increasingly clearing skies. We also had Pink-necked Green-pigeon, a perched Indian Cuckoo, Dollarbird, and an Orange-backed Woodpecker came out of its nest-hole.

Storm's Stork

 After dinner this evening a Colugo was spotlighted in the garden.

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