We had a good walk from the lodge this morning, and despite not finding Hooded Pitta we scored with a cracking Chestnut-necklaced Partridge skulking in the dark and shady forest floor. We also saw Short-tailed and Black-capped Babblers here and there was a small flock in a nearby tree with Large Woodshrike and several Dark-throated Orioles.
|Large Woodshrike - very gloomy early morning light...|
A distant dead tree held a Blue-eared Barbet and a pair of Bornean Brown Barbets and there was a close pair of Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrots as well before we headed back for breakfast and then set out on the hour and a bit drive to Gomantong Cave. Upon arrival we followed the boardwalk to the cave and along the way we saw another Black-capped Babbler and a very confiding Scarlet-rumped Trogon.
Once at the cave we followed the path inside where we saw Mossy-nest and Black-nest Swiftlets in huge numbers, despite the work going on collecting nests for the food trade. Unfortunately all of the Edible-nest Swiftlet nests had already been harvested and overall I don’t think this was a very good experience, seeing the guys collecting the nests and making quite a racket. You have to ask why people want to eat this stuff and surely there’s some alternative? Walking back to the coach we saw a Sooty-capped Babbler gleaning insects from the nearby trees and a Rufous-chested Flycatcher sang away beside the boardwalk allowing walk-away views.
It was just a short 20 minute drive to the Kinabatangan River and a quick 5 minute journey to our excellent lodge. After lunch we set out on our first boat ride and this proved to be a fantastic way to see the wildlife of the area in a very relaxed fashion. We saw Storm’s Stork quite quickly and had seconds later in the afternoon as we sailed along.
|Easy birding along the Kinabatangan River|
The variety of birdlife you can see along the river is extraordinary and during our journey we saw Bushy-crested, Black, Oriental Pied, Rhinoceros and the much-wanted Wrinkled Hornbill as well. There was also a Peregrine, Crested Serpent-Eagle, Crested Goshawk, Grey-headed Fish-Eagle, Bat Hawk, Blue-throated Bee-eater, a gang of noisy Bold-striped Tit-Babblers and Chestnut-breasted Malkoha.
The undoubted non-avian highlight was a large male Proboscis Monkey feeding close to the river and we spent some time watching him – what a beast! But I suppose the largest Crocodile I’ve ever seen ran it a close second. This monster was along a quiet tributary and it certainly sent a few shivers along my spine – we definitely needed a bigger boat!
|Proboscis Monkey - reminds me of someone....|
A flyby Great Slaty Woodpecker somehow eluded most of us, but a Hooded Pitta put on quite a show, with several low flyovers before we finally nailed it on its song perch. We ended with another Black-and-red Broadbill and a Lesser Adjutant before returning to the lodge at sunset.
|Black-and-red Broadbill is very common here|
After a great dinner we spent an entertaining hour during which a Bornean Brown Wood Owl (hedging my bets on the name as it is a potential split!) appeared several times, followed by an awesome Large Frogmouth frozen on a branch right over our heads, and we ended with a mean-looking one-eyed Buffy Fish Owl that appeared nearby, with a Small Toothed Civet also seen. Wow!
|Brown Wood Owl - a future split and another endemic...?|
|Buffy Fish Owl|