Friday, June 15, 2007

Sabah trip, Day 10: 6th June, Kinabalu Park

My first new bird of the day was courtesy of my wife, who was obviously more alert than me at first light! I could hear what I had dismissed as a Common Tailorbird (which doesn't even occur in Borneo!) when my wife said, "I don't think this is a tailorbird. Take a look." I did, and and added Temminck's Babbler to my list! Once we knew the call, we heard several more birds singing along the road to the power station, but only at first light.

I decided to attack the Silau-Silau trail today, as there have been several recent reports of both the trogon and the broadbill there. Not far from the top I came across a pair of Snowy-browed Flycatchers nesting in a mossy branch over the stream.

The nest site was about 4.5 m above the stream.

The female at the nest. She was carrying food, so was presumably feeding young.

The male. These aren't the best shots but the birds were certainly conscious of my presence so I didn't hang around.

The rest of the trail was very quiet, with only Grey-chested Jungle Flycatcher and Short-tailed Green Magpie being of note. It was frequently wet underfoot, with the trail being used as a streambed for much of its course. Eventually it joined the Liwagu Trail. I decided Liwagu was an acronym for Legs In Water, Avian Glimpses Unlikely!

The best I could do in gloomy conditions - a Short-tailed Green Magpie.

Finally I gave up on the trails and decided to hang around the Botanical Garden, whereupon I immediately hit birds!

A rubbish shot of an Eye-browed Jungle Flycatcher, but it didn't hang around, and this was as close as I got.

A Grey-throated Babbler gives me the eye!

Mountain Tailorbirds are dead common, they're just difficult to photograph. This is my best effort yet!

I was pleased to get decent views of Bornean Whistlers at last. There were a number around the Garden, calling in fluty tones to each other.

I finally got reasonable pictures of an Indigo Flycatcher. They're such confiding birds, they make ideal photographers' models.

I believe this is Brooke's Squirrel, but it would be good if someone could correct or confirm my id.

The Malay Lacewing is a stunning butterfly, both from above and below. Unfortunately this pic doesn't really do it justice.

I spent a couple of hours going round and round the Botanical Garden and it seemed perpetually alive with birds. Best of all, while I was creeping through the undergrowth, trying to get a better view of a White-crowned Forktail, I stumbled across a Crimson-headed Partridge! It was a fleeting view, but unforgettable, as the bright crimson back of the head shone in a patch of sunlight.

In the afternoon I tried walking down the road from the Tempohon Gate. This proved to be a much more productive strategy than following the forest trails, although the light wasn't great for photography. I had frustrating views of a large spiderhunter flying overhead above the canopy, almost certainly Whitehead's!

For our last night in the Park we transferred to Grace Hostel, which I would recommend for anyone on a budget - clean and comfortable. At night we had some decent rains for the first time in several days. The number and variety of moths that came to the lights was just amazing - I counted almost 30 species in just one small stretch of corridor - imagine how many there must be out there!

Moth bonanza! At times like this I am humbled by the artistry of the Creator of the universe!

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