Wednesday, 14 March 2018

14th March 2018 Kinabatangan River, Sabah

Romzi's name is synonomys with one species more than all others - Bornean Ground-Cuckoo! This morning there was no deviation from our quest. We set off early along the Menanggul River and Romzi's small boat and supreme boat-handling skills saw us travel deeper along its reaches than many can venture. We tried playback at several sites where there was some visibility of the forest floor but nothing. Then, by now late in the morning, a Ground-Cuckoo called back but it was distant. Romzi maneuvered the boat to the opposite riverbank, waited quietly for a while when the tension was palpable, used playback again and I saw a movement as a Ground-Cuckoo walked into view and jumped up onto a branch calling, looking around and pumping its tail... Wow! Amazing! It sat there for a few minutes surveying the scene before jumping down onto the forest floor and start walking around. It was then in and out of view walking around on the forest floor for around 40 minutes. A brilliant encounter. We returned to Romzi's homestay buoyant with our success. Our afternoon departure was delayed by torrential rain and the skies still looked threatening as we ventured out. It was hard to imagine how the afternoon could prove anything other than an anticlimax but some days just seem to define a visit to a site. First-up was another species of Cuckoo that has evaded me for years, and on any other day could easily have proved the highlight, a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo. A pair of Wallace's Hawk-Eagles then made several passes over the boat, and reveling in the success of the day, Romzi suggested that we take a long trip to another site for White-crowned Hornbill, that then amounted to a speedboat-like twitch. It paid off handsomely, with a pair obliging, and a Rhinoceros Hornbill putting in an appearance for good measure. A long way from home, rather than return for dinner, we opted to stay out spotlighting... and bingo, another much-wanted species performed... Large Frogmouth. Romzi and our visit to the Kinabatangan River had easily exceeded our expectations, and after enjoying a late meal prepared by Romzi's brother, we could sleep easily for what was left of the night!

Pink-necked Pigeon 2
Green Imperial Pigeon 8
Common Sandpiper 10
Whiskered Tern 1
Oriental Darter 6
Storm's Stork 1
Lesser Adjutant 1
Eastern Great Egret 1
Purple Heron 10
Striated Heron 1
Black-crowned Night-Heron 1
Lesser Fish-Eagle 1
Crested Goshawk 1
Bushy-crested Hornbill 10
Oriental Pied Hornbill 2
Rhinoceros Hornbill 2
Stork-billed Kingfisher 4
Sabah Dwarf-Kingfisher 1
Blue-throated Bee-eater 4
Dollarbird 4
Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot 1
Black-and-red Broadbill 4
Blue-winged Pitta 1
Sunda Pied Fantail 2
Sunda Slender-billed Crow 2
Barn Swallow 10
Pacific Swallow 2
White-chested Babbler 2
Ashy Tailorbird 1
Asian Glossy Starling 4
Malaysian Blue Jungle-Flycatcher 2
Tree Sparrow 6

Bornean Ground-Cuckoo along the Menanggul River

our return along the Menanggul River

Lesser Fish-Eagle along the Menanggul River

Romzi's homestay along the Kinabatangan River

Kinabatangan River

Whiskered Tern along the Kinabatangan River

Eastern Great Egret along the Kinabatangan River

Purple Heron along the Kinabatangan River

Storm's Stork along the Kinabatangan River

Male Bushy-crested Hornbill along the Kinabatangan River

Female Bushy-crested Hornbill along the Kinabatangan River

Female Pink-necked Green Pigeon along the Kinabatangan River

Chestnut-winged Cuckoo along the Kinabatangan River
unfortunately the camera settings were all wrong when it chose to fly!

Pair of White-crowned Hornbills along the Kinabatangan River

Rhinoceros Hornbill along the Kinabatangan River

Wallace's Hawk-Eagle along the Kinabatangan River

Proboscis Monkey along the Kinabatangan River

Black-crowned Night-Heron along the Kinabatangan River

Large Frogmouth along the Kinabatangan River