Thursday, July 07, 2011

29 June - 4 July 2011: Poring, Sabah

Just back from a relaxing few days in Sabah, initially to do a survey of bird life around a new Jungle Camp, entrancingly called "Lupa Masa" (Forget Time), and then to spend a few days in the more familiar Poring Hot Springs park area.

The dining area. The place really blends in with its surroundings, and it is not difficult to indeed forget time there. The story of the genesis of this place can be read here. It's not long before the only clock you take notice of is the natural rhythm of the dawn-day-dusk-night.

You sleep in 'sulaps' - ingenious structures housing cozy hammocks complete with mosquito nets. From one of these some lucky visitors had wonderful views of a Yellow-throated Marten family at play.

I wasn't quite as lucky, but was fortunate enough to photograph this male Purple-naped Sunbird while laying on my sleeping-bag!

It was only a few metres away, yet completely oblivious to my presence! Very nice!

Not a bad place to cool off after a hot day in the jungle! Complete with fish which nibble your toes, and the occasional Bornean Forktails and Bornean Whistling-thrush.

The endemic Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker was a common visitor to the dining room verandah.

Black-winged Flycatcher-shrikes were also seen there daily.

If you visit the camp, look out for this fellow - I think he's wanted for rustling!

Lupa Masa offers some exciting possibilities for exploring the quieter areas behind the national park. I spent the last few days of my stay in the park proper, trekking up to the spectacular Langanan Waterfall.

You can't go to a place called "Poring' and expect not to get wet, it is RAINforest after all! The rain was fairly predictable, however, usually arriving around midday or early afternoon, giving me clear mornings.

On my first day I decided to reacquaint myself with one of the Park's more well-known residents - Blue-banded Pitta.

This was a markedly brighter bird than the one I photographed at Kubah in Sarawak - too bad I didn't quite get the same photographic opportunities!

The red on this bird is far more intense and 'pure' than on the Kubah bird, and the blue chest-band is broader (cf these pics and these.

I spent a lot of time on the trails hoping for a shot of Bornean Banded Pitta, but a single call was the closest I got for my efforts!

I was pleased to get a look at the Bornean melanops race of Banded Kingfisher. This one was wrestling with a large stick insect. As I watched, it flew to another branch where a juvenile was waiting quietly.

Too bad my camera's autofocus popped out at the critical moment, but I was interested to see that the fledglings are sexually dimorphic - this one is clearly a male.

A bit late now, but a sharp shot at last!

Another juv Banded,another endemic subspecies (brookei), but a Broadbill rather than a kingfisher - rather overflashed! This and Black-and-Yellow were my only broadbills of the trip. Despite much searching, the Hose's remained elusive.

A few non-avian images. The second butterly was huge, and in flight had exactly the colour scheme of a White-crowned Shama (and it was nearly as big!).

Some friendly frogs!

A Plain Pygmy-squirrel...

...which was not only cute...

...but also fascinating! As it moved around it constantly rotated the rear of its body to rub itself against the bark of the vine - whether to scent-mark, alleviate some itch, or for another reason I couldn't tell.

OK, so sometimes I was bored!

This Grey-headed Canary-Flycatcher seemed to be permanently stationed on this particular dead branch at all times of day and every day. This enabled me to try out every possible variation of ISO, flash setting and shutter speed, and still only come up with a rather mediocre series of photos! I'm hoping one day someone will help me understand how to use flash properly!

I'll finish off with two hard-to-photograph species:

Olive-backed Woodpecker (juv?) male.


And a rather fine White-necked Babbler.


Hawkeyes a.k.a Kiah said...

Drooling, so many rare birds sighted.

J B said...

Lovely to see some pics from around the camp and park, again many thanks.


Ari said...

Owh!what a lovely place to be spending your time in, Dave, and birds are really fantastic!

Erwin said...

Some beautiful photos again Dave! Cute squirrel too!

digdeep said...

Thanks to all. It is a great place - you should go!


WAWO said...

Dave, hi, sent you 2 emails, not sure of if you have got them or not and so I am posting here just to let you know. If you did not get them please email me and I nwill try again but very interested in your most recent email.

many thanks

John Holmes said...

Jealous of Blue-banded Pitta - a total of several weeks in Sabah and it's always escaped me....

"Lupa Masa" looks interesting, too. The Sutera Resorts accommodation inside Poring (and Mt. Kinabalu) has really got expensive in the last 3-4 years so a few alternatives will be welcome.

Cede Prudente said...

David, this is great find! Looking forward for a visit one day...

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Wow, the pitta is just stunning! I'd really love to see it once in my life! Also great shots of the Olive-backed Woodpeckers and the White-necked Babbler, two major rarities in Thailand.

Chatterbirds said...

Wonderful shots of some breathtaking species. The pitta is just incredible! Thanks for sharing your trip!