Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

November 29, 2016


Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 2:57 am

North-East Leyte.

Tacloban is about 100 kilometers from Sogod. The bus went over the mountains and back to the coast near Macarthur. It is a reasonably big town. This morning I went for a walk along the foreshore. I think this is a Grey Tattler, not totally sure.

Grey Tattler
Grey Tattler (Tringa brevipes )

I noticed that these Collared Kingfisher have a big of brown above and below the white collar.

Collared KIngfisher
Collared KIngfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)

I saw quite a few Brown Shrike. This one was hunting along the shore.

Brown Shrike
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

This Brown Shrike caught a lizard for breakfast.

Brown Shrike
Brown Shrike

juvenile Brown Shrike
Juvenile Brown Shrike

I just managed to see this green and brown lizard.

Green and brown lizard

Tacloban Panorama
Tacloban panorama

Tacloban bird list

Spotted Dove
Common Sandpiper no, Grey Tattler
Zebra Dove
Olive-backed Sunbird
White-breasted Woodswallow
Chestnut Munia (Lonchura atricapilla)
Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)
Collared KIngfisher (Todirhamphus chloris)
Yellow-rumped Bulbul
Asian Glossy Starling

November 28, 2016

Southern Leyte, Philippines

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 1:22 am

Bato to Sogod

I had to wait at Ubay in northern Bohol until the cyclone warning had abated. Luckily I only had to stay one night. I stayed at Goody Goody Lodge, nice and super cheap at 200 pesos. The trip across to Leyte was the standard roro. Sit up top while the trucks and cars are below.

Bato creek
A creek in Bato

I found a hotel right at the port in Bato when I got there. A bit of a dive but I only had to stay one night.

Sogod harbour
Harbour at Sogod

I caught the bus to Sogod the next day. It was a nice drive through the country-side – no air conditioning but the open windows cooled me down.

River at Sogod
A river at Sogod

I found the GV Hotel as soon as I arrived at the terminal. I did not know if they would have a room but I got one easily for 450 pesos – my own bathroom, TV and air conditioning. Pretty good value.

Sogod Panorama
Panorama at Sogod

I spent two nights in Sogod. There was not much to see. I just went for walks to the beach and the harbour. The food is not as bad as people make out. I have had some decent meals but nothing of the quality of Indonesia, Malaysia or Thailand. It is not very spicy and a bit bland most of the time. Oh well, this morning I am off to Tacloban, half way across the island. It is about 130 kilometers north, which seems like a long way because most trips are about 60 kilometers per day. doh!

November 22, 2016

Jagna, Bohol

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:05 pm

Paseo Del Mar Dive Center

I caught the bus to Jagna about 10am. It was just there waiting to go at the terminal. We went along the coast road. It was a great trip with a view of the ocean most of the way.

Eastern Reef Egret, dark morph
Eastern Reef Egret

It was a very nice place right on the water-front. Nice people and pretty cheap. I needed a break from the city.

White-breasted Woodswallow
White-breasted Woodswallow

In the afternoon I went for a walk along the road and took a few photos. This fisherman was coming hoem from fishing punching into the wind. I used to do that for a couple of years and it got a bit old for me after a while.

Punching into the wind
Coming Home

The sun set as I was returning.

sunset over Jagna

This photo from the Tarsier Sanctuary at Sikatuna a few days ago came out better than expected. Still very noisy.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier

Jagna bird list

White-breasted Woodswallow
Eastern Reef Egret , dark morph
Yellow-backed Sunbird
Asian Glossy Starling

November 21, 2016

Philippine Tarsier

Filed under: Wildlife — Tags: , — admin @ 11:46 am

Tarsier Sanctuary.

This morning I woke up at 6:30am, got my free breakfast, and took a motorised tricycle to the Dao Terminal in Tagbilaran, Bohol, Philippines. I had to wait for an hour for the jeepney to go. While waiting, I was talking to a philippino couple who were going to Sikatuna, a village in the hills to cook a meal for the poor kids at the school. I bought them a couple of kilos of rice for the kids.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier (Tarsius syrichta)

Tarsiers are one of the smallest primates in the world. The Philippine Tarsier is endemic to the country. It can only be found in the Philippines and nowhere else. These special places include Bohol, Leyte, Samar, Mindanao and a few other islands.

Philippine Tarsier
Philippine Tarsier

The Philippine Tarsier is considered a near threatened species. The Tarsier is nocturnal. It is awake during the nights to feed. It feeds on insects, lizards and other small animals. It is a very private animal and does not want to be disturbed.

Loboc River Cruise
Dorky river cruise

After the tarsiers sanctuary I caught the jeepney to Loboc to go on a river cruise. Too bad I had to include a dinner with the boat ride. And it included a band that played to us as we cruised along the river. Very salubrious. I do not know why I am telling you this. It was so tacky. Plus there were no birds or animals whatsoever. doh!

November 18, 2016

Olango Bird Sanctuary

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 10:17 am

Olango Island, Cebu, Philippines.

Second day in the Philippines and I am still knackered from my night plane ride. I got up at 6am this morning and headed for the junction to get to Olango Island. I managed to get a ride on a jeepney to another junction, caught another jeepney to the Hilton hotel, where the boats leave from.

Eastern Curlew
Eastern Curlew

After waiting just a little while, I got on the boat and sailed across the strait to Olangao. There I secured a motorbike with sidecar attachment to get to the sanctuary.


At the sanctuary I registered, paid my 100 pesos and took off along the track to the hide stuck out in the middle of the bay. There were a few waders there, not a great deal.


After the hide, I just walked out along the sand flats the other side and saw a few Ruddy Turnstones and Greater Sand Plovers foraging along the sand.

Greater Sand Plover
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii )

And a great find, a Terek Sandpiper. I do not think I have seen one of these before.

Terek Sandpiper
Terek Sandpiper (Xenus cinereus)

fiddler crab
Fiddler Crab

Olango Island bird list

Eastern Curlew
Gull-billed Tern
Common Greenshank
Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)
Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii )
TEREK SANDPIPER (Xenus cinereus)
olive-backed sunbird (Cinnyris jugularis),
Collared Kingfisher

November 17, 2016

Cebu Birding

Filed under: Birds — Tags: , — admin @ 12:14 pm

Mactan Island, Cebu, Philippines.

After a hectic all-night romp from Kota Kinabalu to Manila, then to Cebu, I tried to have a sleep but it really did not work. In the afternoon I went to the beach to have a look.

Asian glossy starling juveniles
Asian glossy starling (Aplonis panayensis)

A couple of young ones on top of a dead coconut tree.

Long-tailed Shrike
Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach

The fishermen were scouring for shellfish.

shellsfish gatherers
Shellfish gatherers

gull-billed tern
gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica),

Cebu bird list

Asian glossy starling (Aplonis panayensis)
Long-tailed Shrike (Lanius schach)
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Pied Triller
gull-billed tern (Gelochelidon nilotica),

Cebu Birding resources

November 15, 2016

The Waterfront at Kota Kinabalu

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 11:13 am

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.

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
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
Bornean Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis)
Saltwater Crocodile (Crocodylus parosus)
Grey-tailed Racer
Biawak – Water Monitor (Varanus spp.)

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