Tuesday 27 May 2014

Kinabalu National Park, Sabah - May 2014 (Part 5)

15th May: This was our last morning at Mount Kinabalu, and we were desperate to get the Trogon onto our list! We were up again before dawn, drove up to Timpohon Gate and waited. The sky was very clear after yesterday's shower, and we had an amazing view looking at the summit. The tamed Bornean Whistling Thrush was yet again there to greet us, it gave us very close views beneath the shelter at Timpohon Gate, it was picking insects off the floor; likely to be attracted by the lights that were left overnight, a free buffet for birds! Activity was surprisingly low, with the usual crowd of birds. Around 6:30, a group of birdwatchers arrived, and who may it be but David Bishop, leading a group of American birders! It was a huge coincidence as we met each other the last time I visited Sabah at Danum Valley in July 2012, and here we met again in Sabah at another location, what were the chances! It was their first day at Mt. Kinabalu, so we exchanged some information about whereabouts of birds including the Fruithunter's location, he pointed out we should try find the Trogon by the main road along Silau-Silau trail.

Bornean Whistling Thrush

But before that, we decided to try out Bukit Ular trail, supposedly the most likely trail you will encounter the elusive Everett's Thrush. However, we saw very little in the trail, except for a huge group of Long-tailed Macaque. So we got back to our car as quick as possible and drove down to the Silau-Silau trail. As we birded along the road we met David again and he pointed out a group have just been photographing the Trogons at the 1.5km mark earlier in the morning! So off we went to the location, by that time it was 9:30am, and we knew it was a long shot, but we gave it our best and waited for an hour. The Trogon never came, only a flock of Ochraceous Bulbul and a pair of Indigo Flycatchers. Having arranged to check out by 10:30am, we left and accepted it was not our time to see the Trogon this time, it will have to wait!

Ochraceous Bulbul

Indigo Flycatcher

It was a very short and straight forward drive to Poring, stopped at Ranau to refuel and we arrived at the reception by 11:30am. Poring Hot Spring is a local holiday resort that boasts it's natural hot springs and is very popular amongst local bathers. The weather was considerably hotter then that of Mount Kinabalu. We stayed at the pre-booked Serindit Hostel, a comfortable shared building with private rooms but shared bathrooms and TV lounge. It was a lot more luxurious then Tahubang Lodge and includes breakfast, but the price was also considerably higher. Birding was done mainly on a single trail leading towards Langanan Waterfall, the trail is 3.8km one way, mostly up steep hill. As we plan to start our walk to the waterfall trail early tomorrow morning, we arrange a packed breakfast service with the reception. The staffs were very friendly and helpful, so all in all i think the higher price tag is still acceptable and considering we are only staying here for two nights it's not so bad.

During lunch we sat at the balcony looking out, here we spotted many lowland species such as Red-eyed Bulbul, Common Iora, Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike and Lesser Green Leafbird. However they were on a tree very far away and there really wasn't much point in photographing them. It started raining during lunch so we retreated to our air conditioned rooms until the rain subsided.

Red-eyed Bulbul

Once the rain stopped we headed out, we walked the area around the football field as well as walking to the Kipungit Waterfall; a much smaller waterfall compared with Langanan but still nice to see. We spotted an out of place Mountain Barbet at a fruiting tree, Brown Fulvettas, Crimson Sunbirds, Black-headed Bulbul at a distance and other bulbul species such as Red-eyed, Spectacled and Scaly-breasted Bulbul, all too far away.

Mountain Barbet

Brown Fulvetta

Crimson Sunbird

Black-headed Bulbul

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