Monday, April 16, 2012

Birds of Ba Kelalan Birds List

My Ba Kelalan Birds List (Limited just around the school compound).

1. Yellow Bittern - feeding in fish pond

2. Little Egret - very common in paddyfield

3. Intermediate Egret - common in paddy field

4. Great Egret

5. Cattle Egret

6. Blyth's Hawk-eagle - In flight

7. Changeable Hawk-eagle - Perched on bamboo

8. Osprey - In flight

9. Brahminy Kite - In flight

10. Black Eagle - Pair in flight

11. Crested Serpent Eagle - Perched on tree

12. Crested Goshawk - Building nest on "Terap" Tree

13. White-breasted Waterhen - very common bird in paddy field

14. Wood Sandpiper - near fish pond

15. Ruddy Cuckoo-dove - Feeding in groups of four.

16. Little Cuckoo-dove - Perched on a tree

17. Spotted Dove - common bird

18. Emerald Dove - Feeding on the ground

19. Thick-billed Green Pigeon - Pair perched on a tree

20. Pink-necked Green Pigeon - in group of four to twenty

21. Green Imperial Pigeon - Feeding during fruit season

22. Greater Coucal

23. Lesser Coucal

24. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha - Feeding in pair

25. Red-bearded Bee-eater

26. Dollarbird

27. Gold-whiskered Barbet - Feeding wild berries

28. Crimson-winged Woodpecker

29. Black-and-yellow Broadbill - perched on tree

30. Greater Green Leafbird - feeding in pair

31. Scarlet Minivet - feeding in pair

32. Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike - perched on tree

33. Tiger Shrike - perched on tree

34. Asian Fairy Bluebird - 1 male and 4 female feeding

35. Ashy Drongo - very common bird

36. Hair-crested Drongo - Common bird and nesting nearby

37. Short-tailed Green Magpie - feeding in pair

38. Common Green Magpie - feeding in pair

39. Bornean Treepie - perched on high tree

40. White-breasted Woodswallow - common bird

41. Pacific Swallow - very common bird

42. Red-headed Tailorbird/Ashy Tailorbird - feeding

43. Black-headed Bulbul - feeding in group of 4 to 10

44. Yellow-vented Bulbul - most common bird

45. Cream-vented Bulbul - perched

46. Red-eyed Bulbul - perched and feeding

47. Cinereous Bulbul/Ashy Bulbul - perched on tree

48. Bornean Bulbul/Black-crested Bulbul - Feeding in pair

49. Artic Warbler - Feeding

50. Sunda Bush-warbler - Perched on tree

51. Bornean Wren-Babler - Feeding in the bushes

52. Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush - Feeding in group of 4 to 6

53. Oriental Magpie Robin - common bird

54. White-rumped Shama - perched

55. Asian Brown Flycatcher - common bird

56. Blue-and-white Flycatcher - perched on tree

57. Pied Fantail - common bird

58. Plain Flowerpecker - Feeding

59. Orange-bellied Flowerpecker - very common

60. Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker - feeding

61. Yellow-vented Flowerpecker - feeding

62. Purple-throated Sunbird/Van Hasselt’s Sunbird - feeding in pair

63. Olive-backed Sunbird - feeding

64. Crimson Sunbird - feeding

65. Plain Sunbird - feeding

66. Brown-throated Sunbird - perched

67. Ruby-cheeked Sunbird - perched

68. Little Spiderhunter - feeding

69. Yellow-eared Spiderhunter - feeding

70. Long-billed Spiderhunter - feeding

71. Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter - feeding on banana flower

72. Chestnut Munia/Black-headed Munia - very common

73. Dusky Munia - very common

74. Grey Wagtail - perched near the river

75. Eurasian Tree Sparrow - very common

I also saw a pair of hornbill in flight but they're quite far away uphill.

I will update the list from time to time.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Birds Of Ba Kelalan Part 4

White-rumped Shama

White-breasted Woodswallow

Hawk-cuckoo?? Tiger Shrike??
(Please help me identify this bird)

(Please help me identify this bird)

Plain Flowerpecker???
(Please help me identify this bird)

(Please help me identify this bird)

Birds Of Ba Kelalan Part 3

Pied Fantail

Pacific Swallow

Oriental Magpie Robin

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

Pink-necked Green Pigeon

Little Cuckoo-dove

Hair-crested Drongo

Greater Green Leafbird (female)

Greater Coucal

Olive-backed Sunbird

Birds Of Ba Kelalan Part 2

Eurasian Tree Sparrow

Dusky Munia

Crimson Sunbird

Crested Goshawk

Gold-whiskered Barbet

Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush

Chestnut-breasted Malkoha

Chestnut Munia (Black-headed Munia)

Brown-throated Sunbird

Common Green Magpie

Birds Of Ba Kelalan Part 1

Birds around Ba Kelalan Primary School.

Scarlet Minivet

Scarlet Minivet

Ruby-cheeked Sunbird

Red-eyed Bulbul

Short-tailed Green Magpie

Black-headed Bulbul
These birds are quite far away and I didn't have good shot of them.

Bornean Bulbul (Black-crested Bulbul)

Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Black And Yellow Broadbill

Ashy Drongo
One of the most common birds in Ba Kelalan. I shot these birds in front of my house as they wait to feed on leftover insects which attracted to the light during night time.

Ashy Tailorbird

Friday, February 10, 2012

Long Banga to Bario - a birding route worth exploring

[Note to the reader - I normally record my travels on my own blog, A Wandering Naturalist, but as I am chronically late in updating it I am putting a more timely birding report here, courtesy of Nazeri Abghani.  I'll undoubtedly pirate the account for my own site in future! - Ronald Orenstein]

On January 14, 2012, I flew to Long Banga (at the invitation of my friend Isai Raja) for my first visit to the Kelabit Highlands.  The highlands are Isai's home country, and his plan was to take me off into the forest to see birds (and to give him, and the residents of the highland kampungs, some idea of the potential of the area as a birding tourism destination).

A combination of rain, road conditions and outside events changed our plans considerably over the ensuing week.  I was the sole birder in our party, and my knowledge of Bornean bird songs is not as great as it should be.  All the same, I had a number of birding successes - enough to suggest that the route I covered is worthy of a more thorough examination (besides taking me through a very lovely and surprisingly rich area).

The area around Long Banga itself has been heavily logged, and as if that wasn't enough was the site of a disastrous forest fire over a decade ago.  Our first destination, though, was Long Peluan - a kampung to the north, along a tributary of the Baram River, that is close to an area of unlogged dipterocarp forest.  

We took an afternoon trip along the river, watching the winged fruits of the dipterocarp trees pinwheeling constantly into the waters below to be snapped up by waiting fishes.  The only birds of note were the disappearing shapes of what were probably a pair of Bushy-crested Hornbills flying into the forest.  According to the people at Long Peluan, this is the common hornbill in the area - but a brief glimpse was all I was able to get.

The next morning we made a pre-dawn start for what turned out to be our destination for the following three days, Pa Mada. The logging road between Long Peluan and Pa Mada is “navigable” – by which I mean, navigable in a four-wheel drive vehicle manned by a really skilled driver.

Fortunately we had such a combination; the road was slick from recent rains, and boasted ruts that could stand in for the Grand Canyon.  Isai and his brother Barahim decided to set off early (by 4 AM), so I wasn’t able to see much of the roadside forest near Long Peluan itself.  

Dawn found us traversing some forty or more kilometers of what appears to be excellent lower montane habitat, amid some really beautiful mountain scenery. The country reminded me of one of my favourite spots in Sarawak, the overlook point at Borneo Highlands - except that there was a lot more of it. 

The above is a perfect example of a "record shot" - It's a terrible picture, but there is no question as to what it is.  That white tail, crossed with a wide black band, can only belong to a Rhinoceros Hornbill, my first sighting of Sarawak's state bird in Sarawak.

 We saw both Rhinoceros (a pair) and Wreathed Hornbill on the drive, and heard Great Argus (not to mention seeing a barking deer and a palm civet, and hearing unseen troops of Bornean gibbons serenading us for much of the ride).  I suspect that better birders with more time could find all sorts of things along this road (and if it could only be fixed up and properly maintained, and the forest around it protected, the road could be one of the scenery and wildlife highlights of Sarawak - a Kelabit Highway, perhaps?).

I did not see any real rarities, though I strongly suspect that a more thorough survey could turn up some interesting stuff.  Judging by call (I saw one bird well), Mountain Barbet, a species not always easy to find in the better-known spots, appears common in the area (I hard, but did not see, numbers of Bornean Barbets as well.  Other than that the birds seemed not unlike those that turn up at Borneo Highlands.  The big difference, of course, is that the road provides access to a lot more habitat.

For example, here is a Blyth's Hawk-Eagle soaring above us - a species I last saw circling overhead as Borneo Highlands was declared part of an Important Bird Area.

After many shaky hours on the road (at an average speed of just over 8 km/h!), we arrived at Pa Mada.  Our intention was to stay there overnight, but vehicle problems and road conditions kept us there for three days.  I wasn't sorry, because there is some nice birding in the vicinity - particularly along the road towards Pa Dali.

I did not have an altimeter with me, but I would place Pa Mada at the interface between the highlands and the low country.  Thus, Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrushes, a bird I normally associate with higher elevations, were common, as were Bornean Bulbuls.  Pa Mada was also the only place I saw Pygmy White-Eyes.

However, I also found Straw-headed Bulbuls here (to my surprise), and, on two successive days, a noisy party of about ten Dusky Broadbills (a long-wanted life bird for me).  The broadbills appeared to be a core flock species, gathering around them birds such as Chestnut-breasted Malkohas - and, with them, pygmy squirrels.  I find it quite fascinating that small squirrels join bird parties both in Borneo and Central America - a quite independent development, as the two groups of squirrels are not close relatives.

 I was surprised by how few migrants I saw on the trip, but I did spot this immature Tiger Shrike in a thicket along the road.

We finally got over the last bit of road to Bario (seeing, on the way, a mixed party of Sunda Cuckoo-Shrikes and Black-and-Crimson Orioles).  Bario is too open and settled to be more than a base of operations for birders, though it is a bit startling to see a Wreathed Hornbill (someone's pet, obviously), perched on a telephone wire!

After a overnight in Bario it was back to Pa Mada, conquering the muddy roads en route (note the high sign from Isai, right, celebrating our navigation of a particularly glutinous patch).
Our best bird on the way back - a Helmeted Hornbill, vanishing into the distance (to my astonishment Yeo Siew Teck recognized the bird at once, from this photo!).

At Long Peluan I wanted to see some of the adjacent forest.  This meant an arduous (well, for me, not for my kampung companions) slog to the top of the ridge across the river, to the pristinely-cleared display ground of a Great Argus (which we heard nearby, but did not see - no surprise there).  From the same spot we heard another near-invisible species, Blue-banded Pitta - and saw a few birds (not pittas!) as well.

Here, for example, is the female of a pair of Red-naped Trogons (note the blue, not violet, facial skin - it isn't Diard's Trogon).

Much more unusual were an agitated pair of White-necked Babblers that simply wouldn't leave us alone.  I can only assume that they had a nest in a nearby thicket - I could have photographed them all day, and this is usually a shy bird indeed.  The alarm note is a repeated, harsh "chaak!".

A bit of ethno-ornithology - The headman Gan Tuloi at Long Peluan supplied me with the following Kelabit bird names (Kelabit bird names are not always species-specific):

Bulwer's pheasant - bang ngio (male)
Great Argus - ruweh 
Red-naped trogon - long
Bushy-crested Hornbill - eang or eng
Rhinoceros Hornbill - menangang
Helmeted Hornbill - manudun
Barbets - pelah
Eurylaimine Broadbills - gelanau
Green broadbills - tukee
Blue-banded Pitta - metai
Asian Paradise Flycatcher - aweh beringing
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo - aweh langan (langan means blowpipe)
Oriental Magpie Robin - beru ngrian
White-necked Babbler - Langiret
Sunbirds - Ngai
Flowerpeckers - ciwit (c is soft)
Dusky Munia - Pirit itam (itam=black)
Chestnut Munia - Pirit sia (sia=red)
Pin-tailed Parrotfinch - tukee tepuh (sugar cane)

...and here is my Bird List:
1. Great Argus - heard
2. Eastern Cattle Egret
3. Great Egret
4. Intermediate Egret
5. Little Egret
6. Crested Serpent Eagle
7. Besra? [small accipiter with deep rufous underparts, Pa Mada]
8. Blyth's Hawk Eagle
9. White-breasted Waterhen
10. Swinhoe's [?] Snipe [details not seen, Bario]
11. Common Sandpiper
12. Rock Pigeon
13. Ruddy Cuckoo Dove
14. Spotted Dove
15. Emerald Dove
16. Little Green Pigeon
17. Mountain Imperial Pigeon
18. Dark Hawk Cuckoo - heard Pa Mada
19. Indian Cuckoo - heard Pa Mada
20. Plaintive Cuckoo
21. Black-bellied Malkoha [probable]
22. Chestnut-breasted Malkoha
23. Greater Coucal
24. Whiskered Treeswift
25. Glossy Swiftlet
26. Red-naped Trogon
27. Bushy-crested Hornbill[?]
28. Rhinoceros Hornbill
29. Helmeted Hornbill
30. Wreathed Hornbill
31. Gold-whiskered Barbet
32. Mountain Barbet
33. Yellow-crowned Barbet
34. Bornean Barbet (heard)
35. Banded Woodpecker
36. Crimson-winged Woodpecker
37. Grey-and-buff Woodpecker
38. Dusky Broadbill
39. Banded Broadbill (heard)
40. Black-and-yellow Broadbill (heard)
41. Blue-banded Pitta (heard)
42. Sunda Cuckooshrike
43. Scarlet Minivet
44. Black-and-crimson Oriole
45. Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike
46. Pied Fantail
47. Ashy Drongo
48. Hair-crested Drongo
49. Slender-billed Crow
50. Tiger Shrike
51. Van Hasselt's Sunbird
52. Crimson Sunbird
53. Little Spiderhunter
54. Thick-billed Spiderhunter
55. Long-billed Spiderhunter
56. Orange-breasted Flowerpecker
57. Greater Green Leafbird
58. Blue-winged Leafbird
59. Asian Fairy Bluebird
60. Dusky Munia
61. Chestnut Munia
62. Eurasian Tree Sparrow
63. Grey Wagtail
64. Oriental Magpie Robin
65. White-rumped Shama (heard)
66. Rufous-chested Flycatcher
67. Asian Brown Flycatcher
68. Scaly-breasted Bulbul
69. Black-headed Bulbul
70. Bornean Bulbul
71. Straw-headed Bulbul
72. Yellow-vented Bulbul
73. Red-eyed Bulbul
74. Ochraceous Bulbul
75. Barn Swallow
76. House Swallow
77. Yellow-bellied Warbler
78. Arctic Warbler
79. Brown Fulvetta
80. Chestnut-crested Yuhina
81. Pygmy White-Eye
82. White-necked Babbler
83. Chestnut-winged Babbler
84. Chestnut-backed Scimitar-Babbler
85. Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush
86. Ashy Tailorbird
87. Yellow-bellied Prinia