I went to Bonneo (Sabah) at Christmas and visited the Danum Valley
Rainforest Lodge. It was fantastic birding. The lodge had Mr Sham as bird
guide and he knew where the birds were. The highlights were Borneon
Bristlehead, Chestnut-capped Thrush, Malaysian Flycatcher, Borneo Blue
Flycatcher, Black Magpie, Crested Jay, all 7 hornbills including the
endangered Wrinkled, White-fronted Falconet, Wallance's Hawkeagle,
Blue-banded Kingfishers, Black-backed Kingfisher, Borneo Wrenbabbler, and 3
species of pittas seen. There was a canopy walk of 670 metres which was a
good place for early morning birding. I saw Orang-Hutan 3 times including a
huge male. The Borneo Gibbon was common and seen every day. 2 tourists saw
a herd of Elephants next to the lodge. The lodge is very confortable but
expensive. It is not possible to stay at the field centre, unless you are a
biology student who intend to carry out a field project approved by an known
institution. The Rainforest Lodge is probably the best place for birding in
Asia, if you want to get away from noisy people. There were only 5- 9 people
and none of them on forest trails. The Innoprise Corporation Sdn Bhd the
commercial arm of Yayasan Sabah (Sabah Foundation) plans to build a tented
camp at Maliau which is a extinct crater in the eastern section of the
concession area. This place is also called the lost world (shown on TV). The
rim is about 1000 metres above sealevel and the forest is 100 percent
vergin. Consequently, it would be possible to see the mid-altitude species
such as Horse's Broadbill, some of the frogmouths and perhaps Bulwer's
Pheasant. The camp should be open by July 1997.
Bookings can be done to
Block D, Lot 9-10, 3 Floor, Sadong Jaya Complex, P.O. Box 11622, 88817 Kota
Kinabalu. Fax 6088.262050 or 254227 or 244140
A 4 night package for 2 people would cost M$ 1265 or about 600 AUD dollars.
But you get what you pay for!! I would say it is one of the best places I
have been birding in creature comfort. A trip from Brisbane to see
Erect-Crested Penguin in Victoria would cost at least the same.
It was my intention to go to Uncle Tans Camp (very rough, people told me
that rats disturb your sleep and things get stolen). Also, the camp was
flooded because of deforestation upriver. Storms stork is seen at this camp
between April and August. I went to Sukau which is downstream from Uncle Tan
on Kigbarangan River. We saw Probescus Monkey and also Wringled Hornbill.
Gumanton Caves had 3 species of swift nests, but it was not the best time of
year for swifts.
I went to Sepilok Reserve. There is a nice, comfortable and affordable
lodge called Wildlife Lodge next to the Reserve. A single room costs 70
Malay Ringit and food less than 20. Unfortunally the trails in the forest
are not maintained and are officially closed. It was not possible to reach
the mangroves and I had to return halfway because of the risk of getting
lost. I saw a Barred Eagle Owl beeing mopped by Drongos and Shamas. Sepilok
is getting very commercial and crowded. Unfortunally most of the forest
between Lahad Datu and Sandakan has been replaced with sterile oil palm
plantations which are almost as extensive and destructive as cattle ranching
in the Amazon.
Please contact me on if you have any questions about
Niels Poul Dreyer