16 October 2011

On the trail of endemics...BORNEO (9 Oct)

Birders visiting Borneo dream of the endemics that the island boasts (some 50 or so of them with new taxonomic changes). And so did we. Having arrived at Danum Valley the day before today we were to have our first real shot at the lowland endemics found in the thick jungles of Danum. The morning began well when a troop of Crested (Bornean) Firebacks stalked the lodge grounds. Very different from the birds we had seen on the Peninsula, as these ones have a yellow (and not white) tail. Then we hit the trails hard. First on the list was a Large-billed Blue Flycatcher which performed with aplomb. Next on the agenda was the endemic Bornean Ground-Babbler that shows how good babblers can be. They are not all boring brown jobs! Then it was showtime. A distant calling pitta had us rapidly re-routing, and taking a side trail. I pressed play on the I-pod and a movement by a fallen tree betrayed the presence of a dreamy Blue-headed Pitta, a bird to die for! (and an endemic, confined to Borneo). Then it was on to another endemic babbler, the Black-throated Wren-Babbler. Known for being shy and tricky we feared the worst as they called and called but remained hidden. The something changed, as they came steaming in to challenge my I-pod at close range. Superb.

However, this day will be long remembered for more than just birds. Normally a pitta would take center stage on any day, but a radio call and hurried change of plans brought us one of the wildlife highlights of a lifetime...

1 comment:

Dave said...

Too much fun!
Great work Sam.