Saturday, May 4, 2013

Sabah, Borneo May 2013 Part 3 - Mount Kinabalu and Kota Kinabalu

Arriving back in Kota Kinabalu from Sandakan, East Sabah, I checked into my excellently positioned hotel the Pacific Satura. Being 11pm I was immediately upgraded to a suite (favour) and unpacked and repack my bags ready for a big day tomorrow. A 4am start to Mt. Kinabalu. Now for sleep

I had only one day in Kota Kinabalu, so I decided on employing a guide. I was introduced to CK Leong ( through Endemic Guides in Kuala Lumpur. He turned out to be the legend of the region. CK picked me up on time at 5am and I slept most of the drive up the mountain. At 4,095 metres Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak in South East Asia and has an exceptionally unique wildlife. I wasn’t necessarily targeting anything specific so my trip was quite relaxed.

Mount Kinabalu

We started birding at sunrise at the highest point of the road and worked our way down. Within the first 5 minutes I was on 4 Lifers with Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush, Golden-naped Barbet, Bornean Treepie and Bornean Whistling-Thrush all in the carpark at the top. Nice. We then headed down into the forest picking up Crimson-headed Partridge and White-browed Shortwing.

Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush

The park is an easy place to walk. The climate is coolish, being at 1880 metres, but I still wore shorts. You can choose to follow the road down or meander on the many, well defined and documented, trails thought the forest. We elected to do a bit of both, driving down a bit, heading into the forest but coming back to the car each time. It seemed the specialties were more towards the higher regions and the regulars were lower around the café stop at the bottom.

A few notable moments were the amazing views we had of Whitehead's Broadbill when one obligingly flew in within 3 metres of us to have a look see. The other was following a pair of the Bornean version of White-crowned Forktail along a river. This bird is split in some quarters.

Black-sided Flowerpecker

We finished the day looking around the grounds at the bottom for Black-sided Flowerpecker. A number of them flew overhead high up in the hazy sky but not ID’able. We were about to leave when CK had to shoot of to the restroom so I decided to head across to the accommodation on the other side of the road to check through the flowing plants. This was rewarded with a cracker view of both male and female up close. Fortunately I got a photo otherwise CK may have doubted me!

Pacific Satura Hotel beach
We arrive back at the hotel again in the dark and I settled back into my amazing suite to sort through the happenings of the day. The joy was that I suddenly realised I had overtaken my brother Mike’s world list of 1496. Yay! The horror was that I realised I was on 1499. How could I get one more? I knew I had a couple in the bag that were as yet unconfirmed from my Sepilok trip but I couldn’t count on them. As I went to bed I was scheming how to get one more to crack the 1500. My plane the next day left at 12:30pm so I had to be there at 10:30. I thought “hire a boat from the next door harbour and head across to Manukan Island in hope of securing the Tabon Scrubfowl”. Nope, too expensive for one bird. “I know, when I get back to Singapore, head straight to the Botanic Gardens for the off chance of the Red-legged Crake” Nope, I can’t see Ilona being overly keen on that one” So I resigned myself to 1499 and concluded my brother would be the first to 1500.

Beach at Prince Phillip Park

As part of my resignation I decided to sleep in. Yeah right. I was awake at the crack of dawn with a thirsty desire to find the elusive last one. It was over breakfast that I remembered CK Leong saying something about a park near by that had a parrot that was regular there. So after a walk around the hotel grounds and a few photos, I packed up and hired a taxi to the airport via the said park. Upon arrival of Prince Phillip Park I immediately headed for the trees by the beach. I was greeted with a nice assortment of commoner birds similar to the hotel and then all of a sudden there it was in the trees. First one, then another. Blue-naped Parrot. Stoked. 1500. What could I say!! As I walked out I encountered a Crested Myna which I thought I had seen in Thailand but I was delighted to discover it was in fact No. 1501.

Blue-naped Parrot

A brilliant 5 days and now for home refreshed and satisfied beyond expectations.
Birds seen on Mount Kinabalu (L – Lifer)
  1. Crimson-headed Partridge L
  2. Glossy Swiftlet
  3. Golden-naped Barbet L
  4. Whitehead's Broadbill L
  5. Grey-chinned Minivet
  6. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
  7. Bornean Whistler L
  8. White-throated Fantail
  9. Short-tailed Magpie L
  10. Bornean Treepie L
  11. Mountain Tailorbird
  12. Sunda Bush-Warbler
  13. Mountain Warbler
  14. Yellow-breasted Warbler L
  15. Chestnut-crested Yuhina L
  16. Black-capped White-eye
  17. Mountain Wren-Babbler L
  18. Sunda Laughingthrush L
  19. Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush L
  20. Grey-throated Babbler L
  21. Eyebrowed Jungle-Flycatcher L
  22. White-browed Shortwing L
  23. Bornean Whistling-Thrush L
  24. White-crowned Forktail
  25. Snowy-browed Flycatcher L
  26. Black-sided Flowerpecker L
  27. Temminck's Sunbird

Birds seen at the Pacific Satura Hotel -  Kota Kinabalu
  1. Intermediate Egret
  2. Striated Heron
  3. Spotted Dove
  4. Zebra Dove
  5. Glossy Swiftlet
  6. White-breasted Woodswallow
  7. Yellow-vented Bulbul
  8. Oriental Magpie-Robin
  9. Asian Glossy Starling
  10. Olive-backed Sunbird
  11. Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Birds seen at Prince Phillip Park - Kota Kinabalu (L – Lifer)
  1. Cattle Egret
  2. Spotted Dove
  3. Zebra Dove
  4. Glossy Swiftlet
  5. Dollarbird
  6. Blue-naped Parrot L
  7. White-breasted Woodswallow
  8. Crested Myna L
  9. Olive-backed Sunbird
  10. Eurasian Tree Sparrow

No comments: