Saturday, 8 March 2014

Danum Valley

What a day this was and we began with a pre-breakfast walk along the forested road which was alive with birds. The star bird was undoubtedly a stunning Black-crowned Pitta we were able to watch feeding beside a narrow trail – and in fact it was on view for a couple of minutes allowing us to really study its beautiful plumage. A little distraction came by a group of 5 Crested Firebacks walking quietly through the same patch of forest – our only sighting of the tour.

Black-crowned Pitta

 A number of new trip birds were found along the walk, including Cinnamon-rumped Trogon, Banded Broadbill, Bornean Blue Flycatcher, Plain Sunbird, and Straw-headed Bulbul along the river. We also saw Yellow-bellied Bulbul, Dark-necked Tailorbird, and a super confiding Short-tailed Babbler. At one spot we had a flurry of babblers with Sooty-capped, Scaly-crowned, Rufous-crowned and a pair of Ferruginous Babblers.

Cinnamon-rumped Trogon

Other goodies included Wallace’s Hawk-eagle, Diard’s Trogon, Chestnut-winged Babbler, Pygmy Ibon, as well as better views of White-crowned Shama.

White-crowned Shama

After breakfast we walked up the hill which was very steep in places and not particularly ‘birdy’ although a Blue-banded Kingfisher was a very surprising bonus sitting next to a small stream and a Red-throated Barbet was scoped in a tall tree. During our two hour stake-out of a calling Blue-banded Pitta, David spotted a male Banded Kingfisher below us and that was about all. Well, that is until Lee picked out the calling pitta from a dense area of tangled vines and we had to scramble down the steep slope and get just the right angle to view the bird from. But what a result and our second pitta species today. A male Siberian Blue Robin gave us reason to pause on the steep trail back down to the lodge.

The only bird I remember form the exceedingly quiet late afternoon walk is Chestnut-rumped Babbler. But calling Giant and Blue-headed Pittas will have to wait for later…..

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