Monday, September 9, 2013

Gunung Lucia of Tawau Hills Park, Part 2.

Here are the birds that I managed to photograph, the punishing terrains as well as the long jungle trekking preclude us from lugging our usual bird photography gears, hence most images are only good for record.

 Eyebrowed Wren-babbler Napothera epilepidota, my lifer,  scarce sub-montane and montane resident, a small terrestrial wren babbler with very short tail, seen once below Lucia Camp and once above. It can be distinguished from the similar endemic Mountain Wren-babbler Napothera crassa by white spots on tips of its wing covert feathers.
 Endemic Blue-banded Pitta Pitta arquata, one of the most sought-after pittas, my only other lifer for the trip,  an elusive slope specialist, saw it once and photographed under very dark forest cover.
 Red-bearded Bee-eater Nyctyornis amictus, resident near Lucia Camp.
 Endemic Bonean Spiderhunter Arachnothera everetti, another resident near Lucia Camp.
 Cinereous Bulbul Hemixos cinereus, feeding on trees next to the Helipad above Lucia Camp.
 Ashy Drongo Dicrurus leucophaeus, most probably the only place to see this sub-montane and montane bird in Tawau is here in Lucia and Magdelena.
 Spotted Fantail Rhipidura perlata, occurs from lowland to montane forests, my second encounter in Tawau Hills Park.
 Dark-sided Flycatcher Muscicapa sibirica above 900 m, a common northern winter migrant to Borneo, from my observation, it is commoner than Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica.
 Orange-breasted Trogon Harpactes oreskios, a mainly sub-montnae species, quite a number of birds were heard above the Lucia Camp approaching the Summit, but not easy to take good photograph.
 A young Moustached Babbler Malacopteron magnirostre , feeding next to the Helipad above Lucia Camp, around 1,000 m.
 An evidently nesting Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher Rhinomyias umbrantilis, between Lucia Camp and Summit, around 1,000 m, contrary to 500 m as stated  in Myers.
An endemic female Bornean Banded Pitta Pitta schwaneri,  it had been calling from its road side perch, I mistook its call for something else, as it sounded coarser than those on record.

Other birds heard or seen but not photographed are:-
Brown Fulvetta (heard almost along the entire journey,  to well over 1,000 m).
Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker (the only Flowerpecker seen, feeding infront of the Lucia Camp).
Great Argus (heard and seen a pair crossing the trail).
Spectacled Bulbul (seen feeding above Lucia Camp).
Brown Barbet (seen feeding above Lucia Camp).
Asian Paradise Flycatcher (seen feeding near Lucia Camp).
Verditor Flycatcher (seen feeding near Lucia Camp).
Bold-striped Tit Babbler (seen feeding near Lucia Camp).

Happy birding.

Photodocument of the wild birds of Borneo.

Standard references for my blog.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Gunung Lucia of Tawau Hills Park, Part 1

Gunung Lucia, at 1,201 m above sea level, is one of the several landmarks within Tawau Hills Park. It is 13.25 km of uphill jungle trekking from Park Headquarters, Lucia Camp is at 10.55 km for you to rest for the night as it might be too tiring for ordinary folks like me to finish the trip in a day.

Gunung Madgelena is slightly less than 4 km further away and about 100 m higher up.

Members of the public are only allowed access to these two mountains, they share the same trail for most of the journey, visitors to both mountains use the same Lucia Camp for accommodation.

With their high altitudes, they are two of the few accessible, albeit tough to go,  places in east coast of Sabah to see some montane and sub-montane birds.

Here are some images of the journey. Birds will come in part 2.

At Park HQ before the hike.Compare the persons in this to the last photo when we are at the summit, here we are fully charged while in the last photo we are all spent.
Direction Sign at 1.7 km indicating that there is 10.7 km to go.
Muddy and slippery climb right after 2 km.
Location map at the edge of Kerangas forest.
View of Kerangas forest.
Another view of Kerangas forest.
Resting Hut at 6 km, located inside the Kerangas Forest.
This is the second resting hut, it is at 8 km.
Typical look of the trail.
Lucia Camp, we stayed here for 2 nights, it has piped spring water but no electricity, it has beds for sleeping and utensils for cooking. Without a trace of light, the starscape here is nothing short of spectacular.
Directional sign after another rest hut at 12 km, here the trail splits into two, the one going to the left leads to Gunung Magdelena. Of course, we took the shorter one.
Ku and Kong on the trail next to a wall of over hanging mosses before the summit of Lucia.
Ground Zero.
My bird photography buddies, Kong Ket Leong, Ku Kok On and myself.