Saturday, June 09, 2007

Sabah Trip. Day 4: 30th May, Danum Valley Field Centre

An Oriental Magpie Robin singing at dawn. It's the same species as we get in the Peninsula, but this form has an all black body.

We set off at first light to get to the Giant Pitta location in the hope of finding it on the ground early in the morning. En route we had reasonable views of a female Great Argus as it crossed the path. Once more the GP called incessantly yet remained resolutely invisible. No wonder it's such a mythical bird! To see what one looks like, click here!

Eventually the bird moved off invisibly into the distance, and again we were forced to give up. Thereafter, things improved markedly, first with this Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler...

... and then a stunning male Rufous-collared Kingfisher.

On our walk back along the waterfall trail, we came across this Rufous-tailed Jungle Flycatcher, which was a new bird for me.

This was followed by brief views of both Maroon-breasted and Rufous-winged Philentoma, and then a nice look at a Spotted Fantail.

This dung beetle was laboriously pushing its cargo along the trail.

An attractive flying lizard landed on a nearby tree and began displaying by extending its strikingly coloured dewlap.

Back on the Nature Trail near to the Centre, we spotted a Diard's Trogon again. By the broken tail feathers we could tell it was the same individual as the one I had photographed yesterday.

Here's a rear view...

...and one from the front. The bird actually allowed me to walk around it and photograph it from different angles!

Bird activity was again excellent in the trees beside the restaurant verandah.

I guess these are Greater rather than Lesser Green Leafbirds, though the yellow eyering and throat on the female is not as well-marked as on birds in the Peninsula, nor does the bill seem particularly heavy. I find this pair of species one of the most difficult identification challenges in this region.

It was good to get fine views of this lifer seen earlier - a male Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker

A Buff-rumped Woodpecker pays a brief visit. Years ago we rescued a young Buff-rumped Woodpecker that had been caught by orang asli. "Bertie Buff-rump" gave us hours of amusement by climbing all over our furniture. Bertie may be gone, but Buff-rumped Woodpeckers will always be a special bird for me.

This flower was favoured by the visits of two spiderhunter species, Little ...

... and Grey-breasted.

A male Plain Sunbird drops in for a snack.

A fine Buff-vented Bulbul - so distinctive when seen well.

A Rufous-bellied Eagle also put in an appearance.

Not to be outdone by the birds, the butterflies put on a superb show as well.

In the late afternoon I went for a walk around the Grid.

On the bridge I watched a young Whiskered Treeswift being fed by its parent. Wow, that looks just yummy!

Kids are never satisfied!

On the Grid I saw a female Blue-headed Pitta - again brief views - and better views of a Black-and-Crimson Pitta. Again, no photo, but this is what one looks like!

The day ended with us watching Rhinoceros Hornbills, Large Green Pigeons and best of all, a Binturong, feeding in a large fruiting fig outside our room. If you don't know what a Binturong is, read tomorrow's posting!


Anonymous said...

Hello David, I was wondering if you made it to Danum or not. Nice write up. Sure would like to see those Pittas. Having once seen the Giant Pitta (the experience is something I will never forget) I know why you kept trying.


digdeep said...

Hi Peter,

Good to see you've been seeing some nice birds in Europe!