Yeo Siew Teck (leader, Sarawak)

Wilbur Goh (leader, Sabah)

Ian Adam

Stefan Johansson (Sarawak only)

Roxane Larouche

Fraser McConnell

Peter Marsh

Simon van der Meulen (Sabah only)

Brendan Ryan

Sarawak crew. L to R Peter, Stefan, Brendan, Ian, Roxane and Fraser
Yeo was taking the photo
Sabah crew. L to R Fraser, Brendan, Roxane, Simon, Peter, Ian and Wilbur

Birdtour Asia ran their 2022 Sabah trip, and Sarawak pre-tour extension, from 5th to 25th June. Yeo Siew Teck lead the extension and Wilbur Goh the main tour, both of whom were very competent leaders. The trips were however very different in character. The infrastructure in Sarawak is fairly basic, the weather was inclement and the walking ,in some sections, quite strenuous. By contrast in Sabah much better accommodation is available, the weather was inclement but the rain could be much more easily avoided and the walking rather less strenuous. Both parts of the trip offered wonderful birds but it was quite noticeable that birds were much more frequently encountered in Sabah than in Sarawak.

The “highlight” of the Sarawak extension was the visit to the hut at Paya Maga where we spent 2 nights. Local villagers carried up food and bedding. They also did the cooking.

The visit here was important as it is the only place on the tour that one can see the Black Oriole. We also saw Bornean Frogmouth, Bornean Banded Pitta and Blue-banded Pitta here.

The walk in is 6 or so Km of very muddy uphill track. The mud was often calf deep which made wellington boots a necessity. The incessant rain didn’t help.

The track was an old logging road which was OK but periodically there were washaways such as the creek crossing shown on the left. The logs were very slippery despite the efforts of the porters to roughen up the walking surface of the logs with their machetes.

The rain and the cool damp conditions at the Paya Maga hut meant one put on each morning the wet clothes one had taken off the night before. Brrrr!

It was quite a shock to transition from the relatively rough living in Sarawak to the luxury of the Borneo Rainforest lodge in the Danum Valley. This was our first stop on the Sabah section of the trip. Comfortable rooms with functional plumbing, delicious food and magnificent unspoiled forest combined with an abundance of birds. The only thing that detracted was the ever present, blood sucking, leaches .

Kinabatangan River morning

The Kinabatangan River provided luxury of a different kind, transport was largely by boat which made birding here very relaxing. That is apart from the tensions of trying to get a sight of the Bornean Ground Cuckoo in the hour or so after we were supposed to have left for Mt Kinabalu.

When we did arrive at Mt Kinabalu the birding was incredible. We had fine mornings every day with rain developing over lunch on a couple of days. While we were allowed to drive to the top of Power Station Road (which is as far as one can drive up the mountain) there still seemed to be a surprising amount of uphill walking to get to the lower reaches of the mountain.

The Birdtour Asia 2022 trip report for Sabah and Sarawak may be accessed here.

New birds seen on this trip were:-

  • Red-breasted Partridge (Arborophila hyperythra)
  • Crested Fireback (Lophura ignita)
©Wilbur Goh
  • Crimson-headed Partridge (Haematortyx sanguiniceps)
  • Dulit Frogmouth (Batrachostomus harterti)
  • Gould’s Frogmouth (Batrachostomus stellatus)
©Fraser McConnell
  • Bornean Frogmouth (Batrachostomus mixtus)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Sunda Frogmouth (Batrachostomus cornutus)
  • Plume-toed Swiftlet (Collocalia affinis)
  • Bornean Swiftlet (Collocalia dodgei)
  • Bornean Ground Cuckoo (Carpococcyx radiceus)
  • Black-bellied Malkoha (Phaenicophaeus diardi)
  • Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus)
  • Sunda Cuckoo (Cuculus lepidus)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Mountain Serpent Eagle (Spilornis kinabaluensis)
©Fraser McConnell
  • Oriental Bay Owl (Phodilus badius)
©Wilbur Goh
  • Reddish Scops Owl (Otus rufescens)
  • Mountain Scops Owl (Otus spilocephalus)
  • Whitehead’s Trogon (Harpactes whiteheadi)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Helmeted Hornbill (Rhinoplax vigil)
  • Rufous-collared Kingfisher (Actenoides concretus)
  • Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Blue-throated Bee-eater (Merops viridis)
  • Golden-whiskered Barbet (Psilopogon chrysopogon)
  • Red-throated Barbet (Psilopogon mystacophanos)
  • Mountain Barbet (Psilopogon monticola)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Yellow-crowned Barbet (Psilopogon henricii)
  • Golden-naped Barbet (Psilopogon pulcherrimus)
  • Bornean Barbet (Psilopogon eximius)
  • Rufous Piculet (Sasia abnormis)
  • Checker-throated Woodpecker (Chrysophlegma mentale)
  • Olive-backed Woodpecker (Gecinulus rafflesii)
  • Blue-naped Parrot (Tanygnathus lucionensis)
  • Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot (Loriculus galgulus)
  • Hose’s Broadbill (Calyptomena hosii)
  • Whitehead’s Broadbill (Calyptomena whiteheadi)
©Wilbur Goh
  • Bornean Banded Pitta (Hydrornis schwaneri)
© Fraser McConnell
  • Black-crowned Pitta (Erythropitta ussheri)
  • Blue-banded Pitta (Erythropitta arquata)
  • Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus hirundinaceus)
  • Sunda Cuckooshrike (Coracina larvata)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Lesser Cuckooshrike (Lalage fimbriata)
  • Bornean Whistler (Pachycephala hypoxantha)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Black-and-crimson Oriole (Oriolus cruentus)
  • Black Oriole (Oriolus hosii)
©Fraser McConnell
  • Crested Jayshrike (Platylophus galericulatus)
©Wilbur Goh
  • Bornean Black Magpie (Platysmurus aterrimus)
  • Bornean Green Magpie (Cissa jefferyi)
  • Bornean Treepie (Dendrocitta cinerascens)
  • Penan Bulbul (Alophoixus ruficrissus)
  • Charlotte’s Bulbul (Iole charlottae)
  • Cinereous Bulbul (Hemixos cinereus)
  • Streaked Bulbul (Ixos malaccensis)
  • Spectacled Bulbul (Ixodia erythropthalmos)
  • Scaly-breasted Bulbul (Ixodia squamata)
  • Bornean Bulbul (Rubigula montis)
  • Cream-eyed Bulbul (Pycnonotus pseudosimplex)
  • Pale-faced Bulbul (Pycnonotus leucops)
  • Sunda Bush Warbler (Horornis vulcanius)
  • Bornean Stubtail (Urosphena whiteheadi)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Yellow-breasted Warbler (Phylloscopus montis)
  • Mountain Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus trivirgatus)
  • Chestnut-crested Yuhina (Staphida everetti)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Pygmy White-eye (Heleia squamifrons)
  • Black-capped White-eye (Zosterops atricapilla)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Mountain Blackeye (Zosterops emiliae)
  • Grey-hooded Babbler (Cyanoderma bicolor)
  • Rufous-fronted Babbler (Cyanoderma rufifrons)
  • Bare-headed Laughingthrush (Melanocichla calva)
  • Sunda Scimitar Babbler (Pomatorhinus bornensis)
  • Black-throated Babbler (Stachyris nigricollis)
  • Black-throated Wren-babbler (Turdinus atrigularis)
  • Grey-breasted Babbler (Malacopteron albogulare)
  • Moustached Babbler (Malacopteron magnirostre)
  • Bornean Black-capped Babbler (Pellorneum capistratoides)
  • Temminck’s Babbler (Pellorneum pyrrogenys)
  • Striped Wren-babbler (Kenopia striata)
  • Mountain Wren-babbler (Gypsophila crassa)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Sunda Laughingthrush (Garrulax palliatus)
  • Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush (Pterorhinus treacheri)
  • Fruithunter (Chlamydochaera jefferyi)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Everett’s Thrush (Zoothera everetti)
  • Dayak Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis montanus)
  • Sunda Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis caerulatus)
  • Bornean Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis superbus)
©Simon van der Meulen
  • Fulvous-chested Jungle Flycatcher (Cyornis olivaceus)
  • Indigo Flycatcher (Eumyias indigo)
  • Eyebrowed Jungle Flycatcher (Vauriella gularis)
  • White-browed Shortwing (Brachypteryx montana)
  • Bornean Forktail (Enicurus borneensis)
  • Bornean Whistling Thrush (Myophonus borneensis)
  • Rufous-chested Flycatcher (Ficedula dumetoria)
  • Bornean Leafbird (Chloropsis kinabaluensis)
ⓒ Simon van der Meulen
  • Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus maculatus)
  • Scarlet-breasted Flowerpecker (Prionochilus thoracicus)
  • Black-sided Flowerpecker (Dicaeum monticolum)
  • Ruby-cheeked Sunbird (Chalcoparia singalensis)
  • Red-throated Sunbird (Anthreptes rhodolaemus)
  • Temminck’s Sunbird (Aethopyga temminckii)
ⓒSimon van der Meulen
  • Long-billed Spiderhunter (Arachnothera robusta)
  • Spectacled Spiderhunter (Arachnothera flavigaster)
  • Whitehead’s Spiderhunter (Arachnothera juliae)