Monday, 13 August 2012

BORNEO August 2012: Rafflesia Centre, Sabah

13 August.  Our final morning in Sabah was restricted to a couple of hours birding along the road by the Rafflesia Information Centre in the Crocker Range before returning to Kota Kinabalu for our flight home.  Our afternoon visit (on 6th) hadn't been particularly productive and we were not too optimistic we'd do any better this time especially as it was rather a dull morning and I was feeling rather lethargic after the exertions of the Mesilau Trail!  We heard Crimson-headed Partridge and Mountain and Bornean Barbets, the latter for the third time on the trip - somewhat frustrating as it would have been new for me.  We did see 4 Bornean Bulbuls which were rather more impressive than anticipated and the more usual Black & Crimson Oriole, Sunda and Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrushes and Chestnut-crested Yuhina. 

We found the trip harder than expected (although I have memories of our visit in 1987 being hard too), in fact one of the hardest destinations I've been to.  We considered that July-August is not the best time of year to go to Borneo, although as in 1987 it was the only time Nick could be away for more than two weeks.  The exceptional dryness probably meant that 2012 wasn't a good year to go but we weren't to know that when booking the trip back in January.  Given the circumstances we considered the trip had been successful (Yeo finding us Blue-banded Pitta on day one almost guaranteed that!) although Bornean Ground Cuckoo and Hose's Broadbill were major misses.  I saw nine new birds, including four of my six targets (Blue-banded & Bornean Banded Pittas, Bornean Bristlehead and Everett's Thrush).  Nick saw six new birds and, having seen the Banded Pitta and Bristlehead before, two of his four targets.

Blue-banded Pitta at Kubah (Yeo Siew Teck 24 July 2012) 
possibly my favourite field guide cover

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