Friday, March 13, 2009

Getting Started.... Borneo Highlands

Last week I had the good fortune to accompany David Bakewell, a well-known birder from Penang, Malaysia, on a several days' run visiting Buntal Bay, Borneo Highlands, Kubah National Park and a few other areas around Kuching here in Sarawak. Aside from falling into a deep hole while trying to spot a pitta (moral: naturalists must watch their feet occasionally), I had a wonderful time even though most of these were old haunts for me. In nature, there is always something new to see, especially when you are in the company of expert wildlife spotters like Yeo Siew Tick (as David and I, most fortunately, were). David has his own blog, and he is a fast and expert man with a camera, so I refer you to for a selection of some of the more exciting birds and other wildlife we turned up. Until you do that, though, here are a few snaps of my own:
Borneo Highlands is not a national park; it is a golf course development on the Indonesian border... but it s surrounded by mid-mountain forest, and boasts a splendid overlook into Kalimantan. Once you tire of the view, you can turn around a bit and watch the plume of morning mist streaming from Mount (or Gunung) Penrissen, the highest peak in the area:

For the birds you can see at this lovely spot, check out David's blog entry. For one he didn't post, try the photo below: a Blyth's Hawk-Eagle, "digiscoped" on the cheap by holding my video camera up to David's telescope eyepiece and capturing a frame. The result, as you might expect, isn't terrific, but the bird is:

I discovered, though, that if you stare at the birds too much you can miss (or even tread upon) something as strange as this trilobite beetle larva as it slowly trundles its way through the leaf litter:
David is an insect-watcher too - he found this amazing cerambycid (or longhorn) beetle (Cyriopalus wallacei, according to Yeo) in, of all places, the washroom at the Borneo Heights Lodge..

.... and with that, I'll end this entry, with the promise of more to come from Kubah!


  1. Well worth it - see David Bakewell's blog. Bornep High;ands should be a stop on international birding tours, for Pygmy White-Eye and Bornean Barbet at least!

  2. Make that BORNEO Highlands... guess you can't edit comments!

  3. Borneo is wonderful! That "trilobite beetle" is actually a firefly larva, Lambycidae.