Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 15, 2016

The Waterfront at Kota Kinabalu

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The Harbour

Well, here I am back in Kota Kinabalu. I really like it here. The people are nice, it is a good relaxed vibe. And there is a harbour. I seem to be drawn to the ocean. Late this afternoon I went for a walk towards the fish markets, where they were setting up for the fish fry – ikan bakar.

Trawler pulang
A trawler coming home.

Just past the fish markets was a night market where you could buy all sorts of meals for dinner. I chose Mi Bakso Ayam, a javanese favourite. I always think of Bogor when I eat it.

night markets
The night markets

They also had murtabak and all sorts of sweets, pisang goreng, kurripups, dan lain-lain. After my feed I went for a walk along the promenade, then bought some pineapple for dessert.

Kota Kinabalu harbour
Kota Kinabalu Harbour.

And for an added bonus, this is a photo of me at Tawau. The kids begged me to take their photo so I could not refuse. I was taking photos of the Black-crowned Night Herons and everyone was gawking at me, wondering what the crazy white man was doing.

kids at Tawau
Minta gambar.

November 13, 2016

Tawau Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:14 pm

Black-crowned Night Heron.

I arrived in Tawau, Sabah, in the early afternoon and after a feed and nanna nap set off along the water front hoping to see frigatebirds. But it was not to be. Right at the end of the waterfront walk, I found a pond that was covered in Black-crowned Night Herons.

Black-crowned Night Heron adult
Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax) adult

Black-crowned Night Heron juvenile
Black-crowned Night Heron juvenile

There were a heap of them in the trees nesting. This nest had a couple of small babies.

Black-crowned Night Heron nest
Black-crowned Night Heron and babies

Here is a Black-crowned Night Heron very young juvenile that is taking tentative steps out of the nest.

very young Black-crowned Night Heron
very young Black-crowned Night Heron

Tawau bird list

Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)
Asian Glossy Starling
Brahminy Kite
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker
Common Sandpiper
Chestnut Munia
Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum cruentatus)

November 12, 2016

Semporna Birds

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 11:48 am

Eastern Sabah.

Today was hot. Not much wind so the sea was very clear. In the morning I got a button sewed on my pants and went around searching for a new pair of crocs. I did some hard bargaining but did not accept the price of 20 ringgits. I walked away.

Lesser Frigatebird
Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel)

In the afternoon I took the camera out to get a shot of the frigatebirds that I saw wheeling about in the afternoons. I got some good shots so I am quite happy about that.

Lesser Frigatebird
Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel)

Lesser Frigatebird
Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel)

Collared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher

This Collared Kingfisher was roosting on the hotel roof.

local transport
Local transport

This is how all the locals get around.

Semporna Birds.

Lesser Frigatebird (Fregata ariel)
Brahminy Kite
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
Collared Kingfisher

November 10, 2016

Last day in the jungle

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:07 am

day 5 kinabatangan

The last morning boat ride along the Kinabatangan River in Eastern Sabah. We saw a variety of monkeys and a few birds.

c7d-1423
White-crowned Hornbill (Berencornis comatus)

This is the fifth hornbill that I have seen in this area. That makes six in Sabah.

silver langur
Silver Langur

Storm's Stork
Storm’s Stork

Sometimes there are torrential downpours. It is the wet season.

pouring rain
Raining Lots.

And a bonus photo of a dead boat in the harbour at Lahad Datu.

lahad datu boat
Dead Boat.

And here is the final list of birds and animals that I saw on the Kinabatangan River.

Final Kinabatangan River bird list

White-crowned Hornbill (Berencornis comatus)
Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus)
Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracocerous albirostris)
Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)
Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus)

Purple Heron
Storm’s Stork (Ciconia stormi) – rare.
Lesser Adjutant
Intermediate Egret
Little Egret
Oriental Darter

Grey-headed Fish-Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)
Brahminy Kite
Crested Serpent-Eagle
Jerdon’s Baza
White-bellied Sea-eagle

Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea)
Oriental Magpie-Robin
Dollarbird
Common Hill-Myna (Gracula religiosa)
Javan Myna
Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
Bornean Black Magpie
Large-billed Crow
Black-and-Red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)
Blue-throated Bee-eater
Stork-billed Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher

Mammals and Reptiles

Long-tailed Macaque
Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus)
Silver Langur
Orangutan
Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis)
Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus parosus)
Grey-tailed Racer
Biawak – Water Monitor (Varanus spp.)

November 9, 2016

Kinabatangan Birds Day 4

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:22 am

Kinabatangan River Day 4

8/11/2016. And the river keeps flowing past. I keep thinking about the classic movie Apocalypse Now, starring Marlon Brando and Martin Sheen, where Sheen has to go up-river into the jungle to “take out” an insane Colonel Kurz, who has gone troppo. It is like that here, except on a package tour.

silver langur
Silver Langgur

I was told by my boat driver that this one is a morph. I have no more information about this yet.

Black-and-Red Broadbill
Black-and-Red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)

I saw another Broadbill but was too slow to take a photo. We saw this Black-and-Red Broadbill down the river. It is a very dark photo, so I had to increase the exposure by more than a stop. The Black-and-Red Broadbill can be seen near rivers where its messy-looking nest overhangs.

Jerdon's Baza
Jerdon’s Baza

Very excited about this bird. I have been wanting to see these.

pm. On the afternoon boat ride we went up the tributary stream and saw some good stuff. The Wrinkled Hornbills were feeding on the palm oil fruit.

Wrinkled Hornbill. male
Wrinkled Hornbill

We sighted a few Rhinoceros Hornbill as well.

Rhinoceros Hornbill
Rhinoceros Hornbill

And a big tick for this Stork-billed Kingfisher

Stork-billed Kingfisher
Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)

Kinabatangan bird list

Black-and-Red Broadbill (Cymbirhynchus macrorhynchos)
Blue-throated Bee-eater
Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea)
Jerdon’s Baza
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Rhinoceros Hornbill
Wrinkled Hornbill
Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)
White-bellied Sea-eagle

Mammals

Silver Langgur, red morph ?
Proboscis Monkey
Long-tailed Macaque

Kinabatangan Animals Day 3

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:08 am

Kinabatangan day 3

7/11/2016. I have decided to stay for another two days because there are so many birds here I may as well hook in while the fishing is good. The light is pretty shocking but that is because it is the rainy season. My fault. doh!

Grey-Tailed Racer
Grey-Tailed Racer (Gonyosoma oxycephalum)

Our boat driver saw this snake from the river and it took me quite a while to see it. The local name is banana snake.

Black Hornbill
Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus)

I saw another hornbill this morning, the Black Hornbill. I thought it was a Pied Hornbill but the Black Hornbill does not have the white on the front.

Purple Heron
Purple Heron

I have been seeing lots of these on the river. But this one stayed still.

Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) male

I finally saw a male Wrinkled Hornbill. They are quite extraordinary.

Wrinkled Hornbill
Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus)

A couple of males yukking it up.

Bornean Black Magpie
Bornean Black Magpie

A couple of these were crossing the river.

Large-billed Crow
Large-billed Crow

There are a few similar crows here.

Storm's Stork
Storm’s Stork (Ciconia stormi)

These birds are quite rare. I did not have a clue.

Greater Coucal
Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)

I had to decide between Short-Toed Coucal or Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis) or Lesser Coucal. I hope I was right. doh!

Kinabatangan River bird list

Dollarbird
Storm’s Stork (Ciconia stormi) – rare.
Oriental Pied Hornbill
Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus)
Black Hornbill (Anthracoceros malayanus)
Purple Heron
Crested Serpent-Eagle
Crested Honey-Buzzard ???
Grey-headed Fish-Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)
Oriental Darter
Common Hill-Myna (Gracula religiosa)
Javan Myna
Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)
Bornean Black Magpie
Large-billed Crow

Kinabatangan Reptiles

Grey-tailed Yellow Racer

Kinabatangan River Birds Day 2

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 9:52 am

Nature Lodge Kinabatangan Day 2

6/11/2016. We went for a walk through the jungle last night. Saw nothing but a Bornean Blue Flycatcher but the photo turned out blurry. I am not good at night time photography. This morning we went on another river cruise at 6am. It took a while to wake up but eventually I got going.

Oriental Pied Hornbill
Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracocerous albirostris)

I got a good shot of a pair of Oriental Pied Hornbills. The male is at the top.The male has a larger extended top storey on his bill.

Grey-headed Fish-Eagle
Grey-headed Fish-Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)

I got a great shot of a Grey-headed Fish-Eagle. You can see the hooked beak and the white tummy.

long-tailed macaque
Long-tailed Macaque

This guy looks very much like somone I know. What are you looking at?

proboscis monkey
female Proboscis Monkey

This female Proboscis Monkey was having a feed of leaves.

On the afternoon boat ride we got rained upon at the start but it started to clear up a bit. I just missed taking a photo of a Stork-billed Kingfisher but I was lucky enough to photograph a Buffy Fish-Owl. I did not expect to see any owls.

Buffy Fish-Owl
Buffy Fish-Owl (Ketupa ketupa)

The Buffy Fish-Owl is one of the biggest owls in open country. They feed on fish, frogs and other small animals. They are found in forests near rivers and tall secondary vegetation. They range from Myanmar to Java.

Rhinoceros Hornbill
Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)

My dream has come true. I finally saw and photographed a Rhinoceros Hornbill, one of the most magnficent birds in the world. The Rbinoceros Hornbill is black with a white abdomen and a black stripe across a white tail. The casque is orange-red with a yellow tip. Ranges from Malaysia to Indonesia.

Wrinkled Hornbill  female
Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) female or juvenile

And I saw another Wrinkled Hornbill. Still have not seen the male yet. But I have now seen all the hornbills in this area. woot!

Oriental Pied Hornbill
Oriental Pied Hornbill

Seen quite a few pairs of Pied Hornbills. The male has a much larger casque than the female.

Kinabatangan bird list

Oriental Pied Hornbill (Anthracocerous albirostris)
Rhinoceros Hornbill (Buceros rhinoceros)
Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus)
Grey-headed Fish-Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)
Oriental Magpie-Robin
Purple Heron
Stork-billed Kingfisher
Crested Serpent-Eagle
Oriental Darter

Mammals and Reptiles

Proboscis Monkey
Long-tailed Macaque
Orangutan
Saltwater Crocodile

East Sabah birds 1

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 9:34 am

Kinabatangan River Cruise. Day 1

5/11/2016. I finally relented and paid for my money to go on a Kinabatangan package. I paid 371 Ringgit at the Harbourside Backpackers in Sandakan. I got driven to the resort and I only have to pay for drinks and rental for gum boots and torch. I am not one for package tours but this one has been fantastic so far. I went with the Nasalis Larvatus company. Highly recommended.

Saltwater Crocodile
Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus parosus)

First thing we saw on our afternoon boat ride was a medium-sized salty. Same as the ones back home in Australia.

Green Imperial-Pigeon
Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea)

A long way in the distance so a crappy shot, but it is a record and a tick.

Grey-headed Fish-Eagle
Grey-headed Fish-Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)

These are really easy to identify with their white pants, tummy, pale grey head and very hooked beak.

proboscis monkey
Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus) in malay – Monyet Belanda

I got some relatively good shots of the Proboscis Monkeys after the disaster of the Krias River deluge. This is a baby.

proboscis monkey female
Proboscis Monkey female

The female has a smaller nose than the male.

Proboscis monkey male
Proboscis Monkey male

The male Proboscis Monkey has a big honk and a fat gut. The chicks seem to dig it.

Proboscis Monkey Harem
Proboscis Monkey male with harem

The dominant male has many wives. Here he is up top, whingeing about where is his dinner.

long-tailed macaque
Long-tailed Macaque

These are the horrible monkeys that steal your food and your bag. Nasty bitches!

Wrinkled Hornbill female
Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) female

Another tick and record shot only. Too far away for a decent shot.

Bornean Pygmy Elephant
Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis)

Seeing the Bornean Pygmy Elephant was a great experience. They are rarely seen, so we were very lucky indeed. There was a mob of about half a dozen animals grazing on the grass near the river.

silver langur
Silver Langur

We spotted these on the wires across a tributary river. These were built specifically so the monkeys could get across the river.

Kinabatangan bird list

Grey-headed Fish-Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)
juvenile Brahminy Kite ?
Intermediate Egret
Little Egret
Wrinkled Hornbill (Aceros corrugatus) female
Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea)

Mammals and Reptiles.

Long-tailed Macaque
Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis larvatus) in malay – Monyet Belanda
Silver Langur
Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus parosus)
Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis)

November 4, 2016

Birding at Sandakan

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 6:52 am

Eastern Sabah.

This morning I took off along the waterfront at Sandakan looking for birds. I did not expect much but there were a few good ones. I am not sure about the first one if it is a Grey-tailed Tattler or Common Sandpiper.

Grey-tailed Tattler or Common Sandpiper
Grey-tailed Tattler or Common Sandpiper

I am getting worse at identification. These guys were repairing a trawler. Putting in a new bow-post. They had already put on new decking planks and a few side planks.

Ship Builders
Repairing the trawler

I was quite stoked to get a decent shot of a kingfisher at last.

Collared Kingfisher
Collared Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)

The Little Heron or Striated Heron is quite common in peninsular Malaysia as well as Australia.

Little Heron
Little Heron (Butorides striata)

Little Heron
Little Heron (Butorides striata)

And some Asian Glossy Starlings. An adult on the left and a young one in the middle.

Asian Glossy Starlings
Asian Glossy Starlings

Sandakan bird list

Little Heron (Butorides striata)
Grey-tailed Tattler or Common Sandpiper
Collared Kingfisher (Halcyon pileata)
Asian Glossy Starling

November 3, 2016

Sandakan Harbour

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 1:37 pm

Eastern Sabah.

I arrived in Sandakan this afternoon. It is a lot hotter in the city. I got all my business done – money, mosquite repellant, Oral Rehydration Salts (ORS), washing, and got my pants cuffs taken up. I found a tukang jahit (tailer) to sew them. He was working in a doorway with a foot driven sewing machine.

unloading crabs
Unloading crabs

I went for a walk along the harbour past the fish markets and had a look at what the trawlers were unloading. These guys had heaps of crabs.

dragging the fish
Moving the fish

After they unload the fish off the boat, they drag them along the wharf and put them onto trucks.

fishing trawler
A fishing trawler

In the fish markets, I saw this very weird ray looking thing. I have no idea what it is.

ray thingy ?
Weird ray thingy

sandakan harbour
Looking south from the harbour

I nearly ran into this komodo dragon lizard thingy along the harbour. It hissed at me and luckily this guy warned me it was there. The malay name is biawak. Varanus albigularis. Same family/genus as our Australian Goanna.

biawak
Biawak

And a late one from Sepilok. I am reasonably sure that it is a Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex). But as usual, still not sure.

Cream-vented Bulbul
Cream-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus simplex) ?

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