Sunday, June 24, 2012

Journey to the west. Part 2.

We continued to Rafflesia Centre at 11.00 am after late braskfast. Rafflesia Centre was drizzling when we reached there in the afternoon. Not much bird activity was observed.

Endemic Bornean Barbet Megalaima exima
Endemic Bornean Leafbird Chloropsis kinabaluensis 
Little Cuckoo Dove Macropygia ruficeps
Endemic Black-capped White-eye Zosterops atricapilla
Activity was so low that they have to find something to keep them busy.
We left for Crocker Range Park the next morning, a place that we did not visit before, trying our luck, and managed to photograph the following birds after spending the day there, leaving well after 6 p.m. in the evening, enjoying fellowship with fellow bird photography sifus Ng Chee Peng, Alvin Chang and Vun Soo Kiong.

Gray-headed Canary Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis, a not so common bird elsewhere but was feeding in flocks there.
Common endemic Yellow-Rumped Flowerpecker juvenile Prinochilus xanthopygius
Female Bornean Blue Flycatcher Cyornis superbus, my lifer bird. It perched in the shadow part of the understory, i had no choice but to use high ISO to get a record shot. The similar looking Hill Blue Flycatcher is ruled out because of the rufous belly, the former would have pale lower breast and belly.
A Rofous Piculet Sasia abnormis with a mishappened upper mandible, at first I wondered how it manage to feed.  but it looks active and healthy so it must be able to feed quite well.
Female Rubycheek Chalcoparia singalensis
Endemic Bornean Banded Pitta Pitta schwaneri,  split in 2010 by F. E. Rheindt and J. Eaton. My other lifer bird, this male decided to come out at 5.35 pm, in semi darkness under thick jungle shade, I had to use ISO 6400 just to get the record shot.

The final morning of our trip was spent in Rafflesia Centre, it was dominated by thick mist and heavy downpour. The rain finally stopped and allowing us an opportunity to photograph for 2 hours before starting our journey back to Tawau at noon.
Thick mist and bad light
Walking in the rain.
Endemic Chestnut Crested yuhina Yuhina everetti. One of the commonest montane birds of Borneo, feeding noisily in flocks from tree to tree.
Unmistakable endemic Bornean Treepie Dendrocitta cinerascens.
Endemic Whitehead's Broadbill Calyptomena whiteheadi, but this one was too far away.
Happy birding.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Journey to the west. Part 1.

30th and 31st of May was Harvet Festival followed by DYMM King's birthday on the 2nd of June, the extended public holidays were perfect for an overland travel to Kinabalu Park, Rafflesia Centre and Crocker Range Park.

It took eight hours to drive from Tawau to Kinabalu Park, we spent two days there, trying our luck with the elusive Partridges, my travel companions managed to photograph the Crimson-headed Partridge Haematortyx sanguiniceps while I had to contend with a glimpse of them running across the trail.

We bumped into two Chinese bird photographers from Shen Zhen, China, who would be in Sabah for about a month, travelling to the usual popular birding spots here. One of them at 61 years had just retired from government service. We met him the next day at the power station near the Timpohon Gate, to our shock, he had remarkably walked from Park Headquarters lugging with him his 600mm f4, and Cannon 1D Mk 4 on a huge hydraulic Video head sitting on an equally huge Manfrotto tripod, the combined weight could easily exceed 15 kgs, mind you, they were not packed in back-packs but fully set-up with tripod extended and ready to shoot. The walking alone was 5.5 kilometers, and it was all the way up from 1550m to 1866m above sea level. Our walk from Bukit Ular Trail back to Timpohom Gate at 1.5 km uphill drained most of our energy, his feat put all of us to shame.
The Gentleman with a cap is the one I mentioned in the paragraph above.
I only managed to photograph 3 lifers which was not as good as my fellow bird photographers Ku Kok On and Kong Ket Leong who scored 5 lifers each. The duration of the trip was dominated by rain which had severely reduced our opportunity to take photographs.

 Endemic Chestnut-hooded Laughing-thrush Rhinocichla treacheri feeding on moths just outside the restaurant.
 Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus foraging at eye-level outside the restaurant.
 My second lifer of the year, Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus mentalis which occur both in lowlands and montane habitats in Borneo.
 Checker-throated Woodpecker Picus mentalis
 Chestnut-hooded Laughing-thrush Rhinocichla treacheri feeding in the rain
Endemic Bornean Green Magpie Cissa jefferyi.
 Endemic Golden-naped Barbet Megalima pulcherrima
 The rain made visibility so low that I was struggling to shoot this male Snowly-browed Flycatcher Ficedula hyperythra with ISO 6400.
 Here is the female also at ISO 6400
 Endemic Bornean Whistling-thrush Myophonus borneensis.
 Juvenile Bornean Whistling-thrush Myophonus borneensis.
 Indigo Flycatcher Eumyias indigo
My first time encounter with the Female Temminck's Sunbird Aethopyga temminckii.

Coming up next are photos from Rafflesia Reserve and Crocker Range National Park, our next stop.

Happy birding.