I've just returned from a trip to Peninsula Malaysia, Borneo and Java and
have a few notes for south-east Asian birding enthusiasts.
I had done Malaysia before on an extensive trip so was looking for
specialties I'd dipped on in the past. Highlights on the peninsula were
Rusty-naped Pitta at Frasers Hill (a pair just after the first stream
crossing on Bishop's Trail) and Mangrove Pitta at Air Hitam Dalum, near
Penang, where local birder Tan Choo Eng was very helpful. I went to Kuala
Gula south of Penang where the reintroduced Milky Storks are free-flying and
nesting, but are still being fed; a handful of truly wild birds remain in
On Borneo, I spent a week at the Danum Valley Field Centre. Highlights here
include a male Bulwer's Pheasant, a stunning Blue-banded Pitta, Black-headed
and Blue-headed Pittas, great views of Bornean Wren-Babbler, a party of
Pygmy White-eye, Helmeted Hornbill, Crested Partridge, Brown-backed
Flowerpecker, Malaysian Hawk-Cuckoo, Cinnamon-rumped Trogon and
As I had visited Mt Kinabalu previously, I went to the Crocker Ranger near
Tambunan, where nice birds included Bornean and Mountain Barbets,
Red-breasted Patridge and Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter.
On Java, good birds at Gung Gede Pangrangro included Javan Trogon, Javan
Hawk-Eagle, Javan Cochoa, Spotted Crocias, Pink-headed Fruit-Dove, Waterfall
Swift, Mountain Serin, Sunda Cuckoo, Salvadori's Nightjar and Javan Owlet.
At Carita I failed to see White-breasted Babbler in three mornings and fear
they have all been trapped. This remnant of lowland rainforest is supposed
be a reserve but I saw a constant stream of villagers on the track with
guns, axes and bird-trapping gear, with the authorities doing zilch to
protect the area. I did see Black-banded Barbet, Sunda Scops-Owl, Javan
Frogmouth and Javan Sunbird here.
At Pulau Dua I had Streaked Weaver, Javan Plover and White-headed Munia, and
the first bird I saw at Maura Angke was a Sunda Coucal.
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