About 3 weeks ago I sent to Birding Oz a request for information on Brunei
- I received no reply.
Nigel Wheatley's "Where to watch birds in Asia" (1996, $50 from Andrew
Isles) devotes one and a half pages - including half a page of map - out of
its 463 pages to this country which is apparently about the size of greater
Melbourne. The only site described in the book is Temburong, a forested
slice of the country divided from the rest of Brunei by an odd finger of
Sarawak. One usually gets to Temburong by ferry from the capital. I only
had a weekend and a late afternoon to watch birds and so will have to
leave Temburong until another time.
The roads in the main part of Brunei are reasonable good and hire cars are
available at about the same or slightly higher rates than Australia. I
borrowed a car from my company and drove to what were described as natural
places in the tourist guides. Lake Merimbun, the largest lake in the
country is inland, about half way between the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan,
and Kuala Belait where I was working. The site is pleasant with forests to
the edge of the lake. There are several timber walkways on the edge of the
lake, most of which had fallen down and so trails are limited in
length. It was Saturday but I was the only visitor to the place. Birds of
note here were Hill Myna and Black-thighed Falconet.
Another road going inland closer to Kuala Belait leads past another lake,
Luagan Lalak where the walkway system is being extended. Here I saw
Long-tailed Parakeet and Darter. The road continues to the Wasai Kadir
waterfall where a track follows the stream to the falls. Where there
should have been forktails, I only saw a Striated Heron. At the end of the
bitumen, a track leads to Bukit Teraja, a steep climb with few birds which
I did not finish. Where the road joins the main coast road is the Sungai
Liang Recreation Park with nice forest but no birds.
Between Kuala Belait and Kuala Balai is a very bumpy road through primary
and secondary forest. Here I saw quite a few Oriental Pied Hornbills
including a flock of about 12. Also seen were Green Imperial Pigeon (?),
Silver-rumped Needletails and more Hill Mynas and Long-tailed Parakeets.
Just north of Seria is the Anduki Jubilee Park which I visited in the early
morning. This park had a good selection of secondary forest birds.
I also visited four of the hundreds of offshore oil and gas platforms
offshore from Brunei. There were Eastern Reef Egrets and a Black-capped
Kingfisher living on the tubular members of the structures near to the
water. I also saw singles of Black-naped Tern and Black-headed Gull.
Overall, it was not too exciting and you would have to think twice about
making a special visit to the part of the country that I saw.
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