Saturday, June 30, 2007

Back in Cebu City

Well, we're back in Cebu City in the Philippines after a successful two weeks in Borneo. We pretty much struck out on the mega rarities but still saw about 160 species including about 110 lifers. Best bird was probably the Garnet Pitta I was able to whistle into close range. We also saw six species of hornbills including the super Rhinocerous Hornbill and the hard to find White-crested Hornbill. We got quite a few babblers and bulbuls but did poorly on trogons, woodpeckers and raptors. We completely missed the Whitehead's trio at Mount Kinabalu. All in all it was a great trip and we came in under budget spending about $1400 for the two weeks. I'll file a complete trip report with pics when we get back to the states in three weeks.

Next up will be a day trip to Olongo Island next week to look for shorebirds. After that we'll make a trip to Bohol to visit Raja Sikatuna National Park to look for some of the endemics like Yellow-breasted Tailorbird and Streaked Ground-babbler we have missed on past trips. I'm armed with calls this time so maybe we'll do better.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hello from the jungles of Borneo

We've been here in Borneo for only four days and so far have seen 101 species of birds including 63 lifers. And I've only had to suffer four leech bites. The biggest one was a two inch tiger leech our boatman removed from my neck. It took about half an hour to stop the bleeding. We spent three days at Sepilok Forest Edge Resort which has some a great trail through the forest and two days at Robert Chong's Kinabatangan Jungle Camp. Our sightings include six species of hornbills, two pittas, six babblers and lots of other good stuff. We also have seen seven species of primates including Orangutan aand Bornean Gibbon. We'll post some pics later. Tomorrow we're off to Poring Hot Springs for more great birds. Selemat tinggal.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Sweating in the Philippines.

Honey and I made it safely across the Pacific and here we are sweating in Cebu City in the Philippines. Honey's parent's humble home has no air conditioning so we're have a bit of a difficult time adjusting to the heat. We've been doing family stuff so there's been no time for birding. This is my short list so far.

Brahminy Kite
White-breasted Water-hen
Rock Pigeon
Glossy Swiftlet
Asian Palm-swiftlet
Collared Kingfisher
Pacific Swallow
Yellow-vented Bulbul
Pied Fantail
Red-striped Flowerpecker
Olive-backed Sunbird
Eurasian Tree-Sparrow
Chestnut Munia

Day after tomorrow we head to the Malaysian state of Sabah on Borneo to do some real birding. We'll be there two weeks and then back to the Philippines were we plan to bird a bit more.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

We're off to the Philippines and Borneo!

After a long hard school year and an interesting spring migration it's time for a change of pace. Honey and I are heading to the Philippines and Sabah, Malaysia on the island of Borneo. The primary purpose of the trip is to visit Honey's family on the island of Cebu in the Philippines. After a few days we're flying over to Sabah for two weeks to do some serious birding. We plan to bird at Sepilok, Kinabatangan River, Poring Hot Springs and Mount Kinabalu. As usual we're on our own and planing to spend less than $1500 on the Borneo portion of the trip. Organized tours regularly charge $3-4000 each. I'm sure we'll see fewer birds, but they'll be our birds.

Then it's back to Cebu. In between family stuff we plan to bird the Raja Sikatuna National Park on the island of Bohol (I'm armed with Yellow-breasted Tailorbird calls) and check for shorebirds of Olongo Island. We may try for the critically endangered Cebu Flowerepecker this year. And I'm still thinking about a run for the Philippine Eagle in Mindanao or maybe over to Negros for Flame-templed Babbler.

Here's some of my equipment. How about a $30 SanDisk mp3 player loaded with calls and songs from 180 species with a $10 Radio Shack speaker.

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I do my photography with the 10 meg Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50. Not as good as a digital SLR with a big lense but still has manual focus that is lacking on other megazoom point and shoots.

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Out field guide is Birds of Borneo, Sumatra, Java and Bali by MacKinnon and Phillipps. This book has been out of print for some time and I was lucky to find a used copy on Not sure if I'll carry the Philippine field guide as I pretty much have it memorized.

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We'll try to keep the blog updated a few times while on our trip. Adios muchachos!