Pond Herons, which Borneo has two, Javan, Ardeola speciosa, and Chinese, Ardeola bacchus, are as good as impossible to positively identify during the northern winter months when they are in eclipse plumage. However, as Chinese Pond Heron is a winter migrant, as opposed to the resident Javan Pond Heron, any bird seen from late April to September (before the migratory season) can reliably be identified as Javan Pond Heron.
This bird was photographed in Penampang padi field in December 2009, however as Chinese Pond Heron is reported to be scarce in contrast to the abundant residential Javan Pond Heron, I choose to identify this bird as Javan Pond Heron, my lifer and my number 299th photographed bird of Borneo..
I have not seen a single Pond Heron in Tawau, their absent could be due to the lack of padi fields and most accessible coastal swamps have been taken by private owners for aquaculture. Nevertheless, population of migratory egrets are plenty in Tawau and seems not to be affected by these habitat deficiencies.