There was a seminar on 20th November 2009 in Kota Kinabalu I wanted to attend and went there on the night of Thursday (19th November). Touched down KK at 11.00 pm after flight delay. Spent the night resting at Capital Hotel.
Woke up next morning, at first wanted to go to take a look at the sea front to try my luck but saw these instead right outside the hotel window on a tree along Jalan Tun Razak. Have to take pictures of them as I find Pink-necked Green Pigeon Treron vernans are not that common in Tawau.
Pink-necked Green Pigeon
Pied triller Lalaga nigra
After taking the shots of the above from my room, I went to the sea front but there wasn't much activity there. Took picture of this landmark Blue Marlin along the sea front for record.
Kota Kinabalu landmark
The morning until 2.00 pm was occupied by the seminar. Fetched Sifu Karim at about 2.30 pm at Tanjung Aru Town and went straight to Tanjung Aru beach to photograph the famous resident feral colony of Blue-naped Parrot Tanygnatus lucionensis. Here it is, my first lifer for this trip. Blue-naped Parrot occurs naturally on Si Amil, Maratua and Mantanani islands, but population on Mantanani has been extinguished, their best hope now is in Tanjung Aru. (Phillips, 2009)
After photographing the Blue-naped Parrot, we left for Penampang to look for Snipe. Snipes and other migratory water birds that frequent the inland fresh water fields, marshes and swamps during northern winter are not easy to find in Tawau as there is virtually no padi field in Tawau. We reached our destination and found the sky was overcast.
Penampang padi fields
Sifu Karim and me
We scanned the fields for snipes but there was none to be seen, however, there were plenty of Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola, Black-winged Stilts Himantopus himantopus, Little Egret Egretta garzetta, Great Egret Ardea albus, Intermediate Egret Egretta intermedia, Chestnut Munia Lonchura atricapilla, Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia and presumably White-winged Tern Chlidinias leucopterus or Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus flying and skimming in the distant water-filled fields.
Amongst the numerous Chestnut Munia, we found this Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata, foraging with the large Chestnut Munia flock, which is my 2nd lifer for the trip. Java Sparrow Padda oryzivora is easier to spot in Tawau than Scaly-breatsed Munia. The Scaly-breasted Munia is quite easy to spot among the Chestnut Munia flock once you get used to it as its color is not as brownish as the Chestnut Munia.
On a branch far far away, this Peregrine Falcon Falcon peregrinus perched. Peregrine Falcon is reputed to be the fastest raptor in the world, stoop speeds certainly reach 160 km/h, sometimes possibly 250 km/h (on occasion allegedly 400+ km/h), feeds mainly on small birds and bats. Borneo has its resident Peregrine Falcon race (F. p. ernesti) which is a rare bird in montane forests. and in hilly areas of lowlands This bird is the migratory race, and my 3rd lifer for the day. Phillips mentioned that migrant race as peregrinator (Phillips, 2009), whereas the more popularly accepted race migrating to Borneo is either F. p. japonensis or F. p. calidus, where the latter is a little paler than the former.
A flock of Crested Myna Acridotheres cristatellus (4th Lifer) was found feeding from a tree quite a distance away. Crested Myna has short crest and ivory colored bill. I have not seen Crested Myna nor Javan Myna Acridotheres javanicus in Tawau, though they seem to be quite common in Sandakan and here.
Crested Myna below a White-breasted Woodswallow
As the light began to fade, a pair of this rare bird flew in, albeit perched far away, its appearance was totally unexpected, a real bonus. The Blacked-collared Starling Sturnus nigricollis (5th Lifer) is a large bird, as big as a Hill Myna Gracula religiosa and a scarce vagrant in Borneo.
Photodocument of Wild Birds of Borneo #283 to #287.