Friday, August 1, 2014

Pilgrimage to Bornean Peacock Pheasant's shrine.

I visited Sungai Wain Protection Forest in Kalimantan Timur, Indonesian Borneo at the end of March 2014 to try my luck on the super rare endemic Bornean Peacock Pheasant Polyplectron schleiermacheri. I only present some images for the trip here, further info on Sungai Wain Protection Forest are readily available from the Internet.

We flew from Tawau to Tarakan via Maswing and took a domestic flight from Tarakan to Balikpapan, the rest of the journey was by road.

Aerial view of areas around Tarakan on approach, I think these are aquaculture ponds.
 Warning sign before approaching PERTAMINA's water reservoir.  
 PERTAMINA's water reservoir in front of the Kampung Sungai Wain entrance to the Protection forest, I was told this was built during the Dutch colonial era.
 Notice board at the entrance of Protection forest, listing the prohibited activities.
 Boardwalk over peat swamp at the entrance.
 Another section of Boardwalk.
 Resting platform. We need to cross the boardwalk before reaching the forest proper.
 First camp, where we stop to rest and eat.
 Our homestay house.
 View of Kampung Sungai Wain, near the entrance to the Protection Forest.
 View from the back of our homestay house.
Mobile hawker of Sungai Wain
 Malaysian Honeyguide Indicator archipelagicus, a rare bird in Sabah, my 1st lifer.
 Garnet Pitta Pitta granatina, a bird that does not occur in Sabah, another lifer.
 Plantive Cuckoo Cacomantis merulinus
 Dusky Munia Lonchura fuscan, a Bornean endemic.
 Abott's Babbler Trichastoma abbotti, my third lifer. This species is super rare in Sabah.Note its longer tail and different call as both this and the very similar looking Horsfield's Babbler Trichastoma sepiarium occur here.
 Abbott's Babbler
Horsfield's Babbler, sharing similar habitats with Abbott's Babbler, note its short tail.
 Sooty-headed Bulbul Pycnonotus aurigaster, another lifer. This species was first recorded in Borneo in Palangkarya, Kalimantan Tengah in 1984, it has now established itself in south-east Borneo.
Little Spiderhunter Arachnothera longirostra.
 Female Borneo Peacock Pheasant, heavily cropped from the image below (head is blocked).
 Uncropped image of the above image, you can see twigs, leaves, and branches working against you while you try to take a clear shot of the pheasant.
 Uncropped image showing an out-of-focus male.
 Crop of the above image, you can see the unmistakable head pattern of the male Peacock Pheasant here, with its white throat and red eye patch.
This is an in-focus shot of the back and tail of the male with its head blocked from view.

The star of the trip is the Peacock Pheasant, Sungai Wain is may be the easiest place in Borneo to see it. To take a good photo is another matter altogether as all ground birds are tough to photograph, they are more often than not blocked by foliage, twigs, undergrowth and stumps. 


Ron-Nature Adventures said...

Didn't know that primates can be "buas" as well. Congrats on your lifers and the peacock pheasant. A man's curiosity has no end.

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Thanks Ronnie, I think it is fair to warn, a lone Pigtail Macaque can be buas, but they use an Orangutan instead. ha...ha...

Anonymous said...

Must have been very, very rewarding to see the pheasant... and probably equally frustrating not to get a clear shot when you're that close. Thanks also for a good reminder to re-examine the horsfield/abbott's babblers in brunei! Congrats on your lifers, cheers Folkert

John Holmes said...

"Well Done" for seeing the Bornean Peacock Pheasant…it's a pity they didn't want to be famous !

Choy Wai Mun said...

So many lifers and a peacock-pheasant! Must have been one awesome and exciting trip.

Wong Tsu Shi said...

Thanks a lot Folkert, John and Choy, it was rewarding in terms of lifers and at the same time it was frustrating not be able to take good shots of the Pheasant.

Jason Bugay Reyes a.k.a horukuru said...

Excellent trip sifu!

Wanna try Palawan this January?

Anonymous said...

Can I find out the coordinates of your homestay house? I have the journey to get there.