Sunday, 2 November 2014

Sabah: Crocker Mountain Range & Mount Kinabalu

Borneo has one of the richest avifauna on Earth & the state of Sabah is probably the best place to start exploration of this fascinating island. I arrived at Kota Kinabalu on the late afternoon of 18th October, having endured a tiring series of flights from Sulawesi via the island of Bali. I met the rest of the group over an evening meal & early the next morning we were off to explore the Crocker Mountain Range & in particular the Rafflesia Reserve

Crocker Mountain Range.

Our plans were scuppered, when our driver told us about a major landslide which had wiped out part of the road! So we explored the trails around the Kinabalu National Park. 

 It was a major land slip!

Mount Kinabalu.

Our comfortable accommodation,
 was just outside the national park.

We spent the day exploring a variety of trails including the Silau Silau Trail. Birding was very slow in this high elevation montane forest, but we gradually winkled out a few choice species.

 Female Whitehead's Trogon.

 The endemic Sunda Laughing-Thrush.

Chestnut-Hooded Laughing-Thrush.

Bornean Whistling Thrush.
Indigo Flycatcher.

Eye-browed Jungle Flycatcher.
Bornean Whistler.
Mountain Leaf-Warbler.
 Temminck's Sunbird.

After lunch we went to the tourist information center & saw Glossy Swiflets breeding.

 Me & a few new found friends!

A Swiss girl came third in the annual
Mt Kinabalu race.
Glossy Swiftlets nesting.

The next morning dawned sunny & bright.

Getting camera equipment across
 one of the main streams.
The next morning, we once again hit the trails. This time we concentrated on the Bukit Ular Trail, which was steep & slippery. Birding was once again quite challenging, going long periods without seeing much at all, but then......

 Chestnut-headed Partridge.

This pair just came out onto the trail & the male started to call vigorously. It  is rare to get such great views of this sought after endemic.
 The equally amazing male Whitehead's Trogon.

 Leeches were common on these wet trails.
Unfortunately, these feet are mine!
The viewing area close to the Tempohon Gate.

In the afternoon we visited the Tempohon Gate area & enjoyed great views of  the endemic Bornean Black-banded Squirrel.

 They were used to being fed.

Mountain Treeshrew.
 Bornean Whistling Thrush was also tame here.

One day we visited the Mesilou Resort. In the gardens were recorded several good species:

The endemic Pale-faced Bulbul.
A migrant Blue & white Flycatcher.
Indigo Flycatcher.

 The climb to the summit.

This area has a climbers route to the summit of Mount Kinabalu & we trekked up here to see some special birds. The weather was at first wet, but it cleared & we managed to see both Mount Kinabalu Friendly Warbler; Sunda Bush Warbler; Mountain Wren Babbler & Mountain Blackeye.

We finally managed to visit the Rafflesia Center to see the largest flower in the world in bloom. It was well worth the effort & we all enjoyed our visit to this most unusual plant.
 Attracting pollinating insects by smell!
The important bit!

It was then time to move for the long drive to Sepilok. It had been a good six days around Mount Kinabalu, but the birding was slow going & hard, we missed several of the endemic megas like Fruithunter. 

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