Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

October 31, 2016

Poring Hot Springs

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 12:46 pm

Sabah Birding.

I was at Poring Hot Springs for two days and did not see many birds. The place was super packed out with Malaysian tourists, but. I went for a walk along the edges of the park, following the river to the camping area.

Yellow-vented Bulbul
Yellow-vented Bulbul

I came across this weird worm looking thing with a hammer head. So I named it the Hammer-headed Worm.

Hammer-Headed Worm
Hammer-Headed Worm

This Common Sandpiper was lurking around on top of a bridge covered in muddy water. I have no idea what he was feeding on.

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

I think this is a Plain Sunbird, but I really have not much idea. My books are totally crap.

Plain Sunbird, maybe ?

Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail

And last but not least, a chocolate tree. I did not know they grew cacao in Borneo. doh!

Chocolate Tree
Chocolate Tree

Poring Hot Springs bird list

Yellow-vented Bulbul
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Oriental Magpie-Robin
White-breasted Waterhen
House Swallow (Hirundo tahitica)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
Lesser Cuckooshrike ???
plain sunbird ???
Chestnut-crested Yuhina or White-bellied Erpornis (Erpornis zantholeuca) no.
Asian Brown Flycatcher

October 29, 2016

Last Day birding on the mountain

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 11:22 am

Mount Kinabalu Birds.

The last day at Mount Kinabalu. I just went for a walk along the road from the lodge. Down in the garden, I was lucky to spot this Bornean Treepie.

Bornean Treepie
Bornean Treepie (Dendrocitta cinerascens)

The Bornean Treepie has a rufous face and underparts with pale grey cap and back. The wings are black with white patch. It has a very long grey tail with black tips. It is a Borneo montane endemic.

martin or swallow
Swift or Swallow ?

I am not sure what this is. I cannot find it in any of my books. Tearing my hair out.

scarlet minivet
Scarlet Minivet

I found this track off the road and ventured down this hill near a nursery. Luckily I found a couple of nice birds.

Chestnut-crested Yuhina
Chestnut-crested Yuhina (Yuhina everetti)

I am not too sure what this is. Is it a Streaky-breasted Spiderhunter (Aracnhothera affinis) or Whitehead’s Spiderhunter ??? Edit: Whitehead’s Spiderhunter. Thanks to Chai Thiam Lau for the ID.

id needed
Whitehead’s Spiderhunter (Arachnothera juliae)
“Unique to the Bornean highlands, this remarkable and highly-sought-after spiderhunter, with its bright white streaking and yellow rump, is utterly unmistakable. Forages actively in the canopy, often singly or in pairs, but sometimes with mixed flocks, frequently probing into flowers and mossy vegetation. Gives a clicking nasal call, “bu’chuk-yih-WEEEE”, or just the nasal “WEEEE”.” (wiki).

Mt Kinabalu birds
Whitehead;s Spiderhunter (Arachnothera juliae)
Bornean Treepie (Dendrocitta cinerascens)
Scarlet Minivet
Chestnut-crested Yuhina (Yuhina everetti)
Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush
Spotted Dove

October 28, 2016

Burung di Gunung Kinabalu

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 1:32 pm

Borneo Birds

Another walk up the hill to the park. This time I went along the Liwagu Trail and then went back along the Silau Silau Trail. I did not see anything. Near the Botanic Gardens I spotted a bunch of woodpeckers and just managed a photo.

Checker-throated Woodpecker
Checker-throated Woodpecker (Chrysophlegma mentale)

The Checker-throated Woodpecker is distinguished from Banded and Crimson-winged Woodpeckers by the lack of red on the crown and by the throat pattern. Found in lowland hill dipterocarp and lower montane forest up to 1600 meters.

jungle creek
A creek in the jungle

Along the road back to the lodge, I spotted a Chestnut-crested Yunia. Lighting is really shocking but I wangled it somehow.

Chestnut-crested Yuhina
Chestnut-crested Yuhina (Yuhina everetti)

The Chestnut-crested Yuhina is found in Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia where it is endemic to the island of Borneo. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

Back at the lodge, another Black-capped White-eye.

Black-capped White-eye
Black-capped White-eye (Zosterops atricapilla)

Mt Kinabalu birds

Checker-throated Woodpecker (Chrysophlegma mentale)
Chestnut-crested Yuhina (Yuhina everetti)
Ashy Drongo
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Black-capped White-eye

Zoology 101

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 8:30 am

Bugs of Borneo.

These are some of the weird bugs and moths that I have seen up at Mount Kinabalu. There are heaps of interesting animals in this neck of the woods. This strange horned katydid looking thing bit me. And it drew blood.

horned bug thing
the horned devil that bit me!

Some of the moths hanging around the lodge.

moth 1
Moth 1

moth 2
psychedelic moth

These moths

huge moth
huge moth

Mt Kinabalu Botany Tour

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 7:59 am

Plants of Borneo.

I went on a tour of the Botanical Gardens at Mount Kinabalu and he showed me all sorts of amazing plants.

slipper orchid
Slipper Orchid


The Pitcher Plant, also known as the monkey cup, is a group of carnivorous plants in the genus Nepenthes. Kinabalu, with 11 species, in the centre of biodiversity of this genus. Pitcher Plants can be found as far as Madagascar to the northern tip of Queensland in Australia and up north to southern China.

Pitcher plant
Pitcher Plant. Malay name Periuk Kera.

These are wild bananas with seed inside the fruit. Cultivars are different. ha ha.

wild banana
Wild Bananas


October 27, 2016

Birds of Borneo

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 10:15 am

Birds of Kinabalu.

Breakfast at 7am this morning. While waiting for breakfast, I spotted a few birds in the garden at the lodge. I have no idea what this first bird is. I thought Ashy Minivet but no. Was it a white-vented whistler ? no. Finally I have no idea what it is. edit.: Asian brown flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica)

ID needed please
Asian Brown Flycatcher

In the distance these hornbills flew past. They turned out to be Wreathed Hornbills.

 Wreathed Hornbill
Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulates )

Ashy Drongo
Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)

Then I trudged up the hill to the Kinabalu Park. The clouds had parted enough to see the top of the mountain. It was very rugged.

rugged mountain
Rugged mountain

Paid my 15 ringgit entrance fee and walked down the hill towards the Botanical Garden. I had a tour of the Botanical Gardens with the ranger and spotted this Bornean Whistling-Thrush.

Bornean Whistling-Thrush
Bornean Whistling-Thrush (Myophonus borneensis)

 Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

I was not sure if this was a Black-capped White-eye or a Everett’s White-eye, but I think the black cap did it for me. The yellow stripe down the tummy was a bit of a dummy pass.

Black-capped White-eye
Black-capped White-eye(Zosterops atricapilla)

And finally, a Kinabalu Squirrel, spotted near the lodge.

Kinabalu Squirrel
Kinabalu Squirrel (Callosciurus baluensis) tupai, in malay.

Kinabalu Birds

Yellow-vented Bulbul
Spotted Dove
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Olive-backed Sunbird
Ashy Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus)
Black-capped White-eye(Zosterops atricapilla)
Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)
Bornean Whistling-Thrush (Myophonus borneensis)
Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)
Wreathed Hornbill (Rhyticeros undulates )

Kinabalu Squirrel (Callosciurus baluensis) in malay tupai.

October 26, 2016

Raining in Sabah

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:30 am

Klias River and Gunung Kinabalu.

Yesterday I went on a tour to see the Proboscis Monkeys at Beaufort, south of Kota Kinabalu. Half way there we encountered a massive storm coming and it started raining patchily here and there.

storm is coming
Storm is coming.

We got to the river and had a cuppa and the weather was fine.

klias river
River bank.

As soon as we got out on the river, it started bucketing down. We did see some Proboscis Monkeys but you could not see a thing it was so dark. ha ha What a waste of time and money.

raining on the river
Raining on the river.

Our boatman stopped at some tribal people who had prawn traps and some tourists bought some prawns and these yabbie-looking things. Maybe small lobsters or marron or similar.

our boatie getting drenched
Our boatie getting drenched.

Mount Kinabalu

The next day I jumped on a van to Mount Kinabalu. Again, halfway up the hill it started pouring and did not stop all the way. After I got there , it did let up, so I photographed some birds in the garden of my lodge and then went for a walk up the park. It is open at 7am. If it is not raining, I am up there.

mount kinabalu
mount kinabalu in the fog.

White-throated Fantail
White-throated Fantail ( Rhipidura albicollis)

This is the same one as back home. doh!

Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush
Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush (Garrulax treacheri treacheri)

The Chestnut-hooded Laughingthrush is endemic to Borneo. It was split from Chestnut-capped Laughingthrush (Garrulax mitratus).
There are three subspecies:
treacheri – Sabah
griswoldi – Central Borneo.
damnata – East Sarawak and East Kalimantan.

October 25, 2016

Kota Kinabalu – Sabah

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 11:51 pm

Fish Markets and Wetlands.

This morning I woke up early at 6am, had a kopi-o down the road and headed to the harbour.

Me at KK harbour
Me at harbour

There were heaps of fish being sold and bundled around here and there. The floors were slippery with fish slime and you had to be very careful or you could go arse over tit real easy.

fish market
Selling Fish.

The bad dudes wanted me to take their photo, so I obliged.

bad boys in the fish market
Bad mofos

Lots of trawlers were docked in the harbour.

Kota Kinabalu Trawlers
Master of all I survey.

After breakfast, I arranged for a taxi to come take me to the Kota Kinabalu Wetlands. The tide was high so it was not the best time to go there I think.

Kota Kinabalu wetlands

I managed to get at least one tick, the Ashy Tailorbird. This one is a juvenile which is paler and has a whitish throat. They are found low down in mangroves, scrub, riverside bush. They range from Burma to Palawan and Java.

Ashy Tailorbird
Ashy Tailorbird (Orthomotus ruficeps)

Mangrove Skink
Mangrove Skink (Emoia atrocostata), Bengkarong in Malay.

The Mangrove Skink has smooth and brownish to greyish metallic skin. Eyelids are movable and the tail detaches easily. Retreats at night in bases of the tree buttresses. Active at dawn whilst foraging for insects. Most active when the body temperature is between 25-27 degrees Celsius. Most skinks lay eggs but some bear live young.

October 22, 2016

Miri Waterfront

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 12:49 pm

A Walk To The Beach.

It took me a while to get going, but eventually I got motivated and started out late into the heat of the morning sun. I should have got going earlier, doh!

miri river
Miri River.

I walked along the Miri River to the mouth, then turned left towards the beach.

Miri River mouth
Boat heading out the mouth of the Miri River

A dark morph Reef Egret flew past but I was too slow to get a decent shot.

dark morph Reef Egret
dark morph Reef Egret

The beach had some ridable little waves but the water was like mud – very dirty. And there may be crocodiles in the water. I think crocodiles are more deadly than sharks.

Miri Point
Miri Breakwater. Surf, anyone?

I was not game to walk along the beach and stick my toes in the water. Chicken!

Brahminy Kite
Brahminy Kite

It was getting hot so I headed into town and saw a stall with some coconuts, so I asked for a kelapa mudah. Yip. Ibu chopped the top off and stuck a straw in it and away I sucked. She was from Kalimantan in Indonesia. I think there might be a lot of Indonesians in Sarawak, but I have a feeling they keep a low profile.

Miri Bird List

Yellow-vented Bulbul
dark morph Reef Egret
Brahminy Kite
Little Egret

October 21, 2016

Bintulu Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 2:03 pm

The Chinese Cemetery.

I found a little bit of bush just down from where I was staying near the Bus Terminal. It was just a raggedy bit of scrub next to the Chinese Cemetery. There were quite a few birds about. Nothing really new except for a Black-and-White Bulbul. The egrets were just pecking away next to the highway, oblivious to the passing traffic.

ID needed please
Not sure what this is.

The light was horrendous. It was overcast and dark and most of the photos were coming out all yucky. But I perservered and hopefully I will get something out of this maelstrom. The monsoon rain has eased off and today was fine but cloudy all day.

Pink-necked Green-Pigeon
Pink-necked Green-Pigeon

This is a pretty good tick for me. I have never seen one of these before.

Black-and-White Bulbul
Black-and-White Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanoleucos)

Asian Glossy Starling
Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis)

Chestnut Munia
Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)

Bintulu bird list

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Cattle Egret
Pink-necked Green-Pigeon
House Swallow
Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)
Spotted Dove
Zebra Dove
Asian Glossy Starling (Aplonis panayensis)
Black-and-Wihte Bulbul (Pycnonotus melanoleucos)
Yellow-vented Bulbul

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