In late March, I made my second 2-day trip to Mulu National Park in
Sarawak, East Malaysia. I had been working in nearby Miri and it is a
convenient and relatively cheap excursion from there.
The last time I was there, in early October, I had been disappointed in the
number of both birds and species. This was mainly because Bransbury in "A
Birdwatcher's Guide to Malaysia", claimed that Mulu is "one of the best
birding destinations in Malaysia". This trip confirmed for me that a lot
must have changed at Mulu since Bransbury did his research for the book in
the late 1980s or early 1990s. There was a group of English birdos there
and they confirmed that their birding was also really poor. My numbers
were approximately as in October 2000 and read like this (Bransbury claims
about 300 species for the area):
Walk to Deer Cave: 6 species in 5 hours (nobody else on the trail)
Walk towards Clearwater Cave: 8 species in 2.5 hours
Walk to Deer Cave: 7 species in 3.5 hours
Walk towards Clearwater Cave: 5 species in 1.5 hours
I did not go on the multi-day walks to Gunung Mulu or the Pinnacles to look
for high-altitude species.
The number of species is not much fewer than the total number of birds
seen, since there were no bird waves at all and most birds were
singletons. The Sunda Laughing Thrush, 3 of which I saw last year, were
not to be found this year near Deer Cave entrance as described in
Bransbury. I would not recommend a bird-watching trip to Mulu National
Park unless you are already in the vicinity.
In case it sounds really bad, I did see a few splendid birds, some of them
very briefly including Red-billed Malkoha, Red-naped (or was it Diard's)
Trogon, Scarlet-rumped Trogon and Red-throated Barbet.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly if you require more detail
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