Wednesday, 21 February 2018

21st February 2018 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

After very kindly receiving a copy of the excellent Lynx Birds of the Indonesian Archipelago from my parents for Christmas and after a chance meeting in KL a year ago with Andy Paul, the owner of The Owl House in Ba'kelalan, Sarawak, we decided to investigate the possibility of planning a trip combining a visit to Ba'kelalan with visiting Gunung Kerinci in Sumatra and the Kinabatangan River at Sukau in Sabah. I had previously visited Sabah with JFC enjoying a great time at Danum Valley Field Centre, Mount Kinabalu and Poring Hot Springs.

I contacted the tour operators resident at each site being Dwi Wahyudi at Kerinci, Sumatra, Andy Paul at Ba'kelalan, Sarawak and Romzi Awang at Sukau, Sabah and received prompt and very encouraging replies from all three. In the meantime I had read that Garnet Pitta occurred at Lambir Hills National Park in Sarawak, that being within a 30 minute drive of Miri Airport which was the the jumping-off point for a flight into Ba'kelalan, was too tempting to ignore - it proved straightforward to book a chalet within the National Park online. In a matter of a few days we had booked our flights from Shetland to Kuala Lumpur and then onward flights with Air Asia and MASwings. 

We received brilliant personalized service throughout from Dwi, Andy and Romzi to whom we are very grateful for making all of our ground arrangements including being met at the various airports and transported to the sites and then guiding us in the field. We cannot recommend all three, and their respective teams, highly enough. Two taxi booths present inside Miri Airport ensured a smooth transfer to Lambir Hills where the husband of the resident cook in the dining hall was enlisted to drive us back to Miri airport a few days later.

With the trip falling at the traditional start of the dry season it soon became evident that a number of species were already paired and nest-building. However, for some species, especially Pittas, it still proved a good time to hear them vocalizing. We encountered a single wet day at Kerinci and a few showers on other days, an occasional brief shower in the afternoons at Ba'kelalan and just a couple of brief afternoon showers at Sukau.

We arrived on-time into Kuala Lumpur courtesy of Loganair and British Airways and walked to the conveniently situated Tune Hotel where we slept well.

Swiftlet sp. 5
House Crow 1
Common Myna 8