Guided by Scott Watson. This was a set-departure tour, and the report includes the Highlands Extension. The tour also linked up with Malaysia: The Introtour – click here to see that trip report.
It is safe to say that this year’s Borneo tour was a complete success, with 287 birds recorded, including a stellar 44 endemics. Add to this a cool 27 mammal species plus a plethora of weird and wacky reptiles, insects, and flowers, this tour really caters to those with an interest in rare, endemic lifeforms!
There were numerous highlights during this 16 day tour, in fact too many to list here. A real stunner was seeing a pair of the ultra-rare and shy endemic BULWER’S PHEASANTS in the dense forest of Danum Valley! A bird seen by relatively few birders. A morning along the Kinabatangan River heated up when we found 9 different, critically endangered, STORM’S STORK of which 6 were circling in the air above us at once! How about seeing the Whitehead’s trio during the extension (Trogon, Broadbill, and Spiderhunter), or seeing all 8 possible Hornbills, including the giant HELMETED HORNBILL. We also found 9 species of Barbets including all the endemics, and we recorded 5 species of Pittas, with stunning views of the beautiful BLUE-HEADED PITTA. Birds were not the only highlights though, with our multiple encounters with BORNEAN PYGMY ELEPHANTS being simply ridiculous, and watching one frolicking and playing with a log in the river was just out of line! We watched as 4 million Wrinkle-lipped Bats exited a cave while BAT HAWKS picked of their numerous winged appetizers. Our encounters with the wild and wonderful ORANGUTAN were numerous and memorable, as were the comical PROBOSCIS MONKEY. All of these encounters are great, but if you also add the exceptionally friendly local guides and drivers, the world class accommodation and service, and the mouth-watering food, you can be sure that this tour will be a crowd pleaser, as it did for yet another year with Tropical Birding.