This birding and birdlife photography program focuses on the lowland dipterocarp forests of Tabin Wildlife Reserve, home to an amazingly rich diversity of birds, including rare and endemic species, due to the abundance of food plants. The relatively low canopy allows sufficient natural light to make bird viewing and photography a rewarding experience.
TABIN River Lodge OR Hill Lodge Twin Share Bed Room
Drive from Lahad Datu to Tabin Wildlife Reserve on gravel road for about one hour. The rare Storm’s Storks, Bornean Falconets have made Tabin their home and can sometimes be seen on the way nearby Tabin. Check into a charming timber lodge at Tabin Wildlife Resort, nestled within the rainforest. The lodge comes complete with private veranda and hot water shower, a most welcome luxury in the forest. Explore the vicinity of the resort and be pleasantly
surprised by the abundance of bird life. The open-sided Sunbird Café is surrounded by greenery and flowering plants which attract a number of brightly coloured birds. As you sip your coffee, your eyes will be kept busy following active species such as Crimson Sunbird, Little Spiderhunter, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker and many others tiny and colorful bird species. You also may be entertained by the melodious calls of White-crowned Shama nearby. A bird hide facing the flowing Lipad river provides a wonderful site for viewing birds. Huge boulders in the river are a favourite perch for the Oriental Darter, Lesser Fish Eagle and Kingfishers, especially after rain or in the very early morning. Take a stroll along the road nearby the resort, the Flycatchers, Bulbuls, Broadbills are commonly found in the bushes, and a pair of Scarlet-rumped Trogon sometimes make an appearance here. You will most likely be able to spot one or more of Borneo’s
seven species of hornbill such as Helmeted Hornbill, White-crowned, Rhinoceros, Wreathed, Oriental Pied, Wrinkled, and Asian Black Hornbill either flying in groups across the sky, or in pairs perching on bare branches.
After dinner, followed by a trip to look out for nocturnal wildlife and birds. The Brown Wood Owl, Buffy Fish Owl and Nightjar are some of the species that you may sight along the reserve road.
After a simple early breakfast depart for the active Lipad mud volcano. The soccer field-sized Lipad mud volcano serves as a mineral salt lick for wildlife and birds. The endemic Black and Crimson Pitta has been sighted along the trail leading to the mud volcano. After jungle- trekking for 20 minutes, arrive at the elevated bare area of the mud volcano where you can try to identify the multitude of animal footprints. The adventurous can try the effects of the volcanic mud, said to be responsible for a fine complexion. Climb the observation tower and admire the contrasting landscape of the bare area and its surrounding thick forest. Asian Paradise-flycatcher, Finsch’s Bulbul, Black-throated Wren-babblers, White-crowned Forktail, Dark-throated Oriole, Malaysian Blue Fly-catcher are some of the species that may be seen around the area. A nearby fig-tree is a busy feasting place for hornbills and other birds and primates during the fruiting season. Across from the observation tower, bare branches of towering trees
are favourite perching place for Green Imperial Pigeons and Jambu Fruit Dove with its wonderful coloured chest. After dinner, go for a night drive to discover more nocturnal bird species such as one of the most elusive rare endemic – Bornean Frogmouth. Sometimes you may also see the Crested Fire-backed, Crested Serpent Eagle perching on bare branches.
After an early breakfast, you will depart for birding along the road leading to the Core Area of Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The fully regenerated secondary forest with its
relatively lower canopy and good natural light provides a delightful birding experience. You will be entertained by wild bird songs and the calls of Borneon Gibbons. On some bare tree trunks, busy Dollar birds can be found. The Rufous Woodpecker, Bronzed Drongo, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Speckled Piculet, Chestnut-capped Thrush, White-fronted Falconet, Long-tailed Parakeet, Temminck’s Sunbird, Purple-throated Sunbird and many others elusive birds and eagles may be seen. The abundance of wild ginger plant attracts a variety of colourful birds, including the Thick Bellied Flower pecker. Picnic lunch will be set up overlooking the river or the valley, a truly enjoyable experience. If time permits, you will trek along the Tomanggong Roadwhere the Blue-headed Pitta, Giant Pitta may be sighted.
After breakfast, either relax in Sunbird Café while enjoying more birds in the surrounding garden, or venture to the riverside and bird hide to discover further species.
Will be depart from Tabin with an early lunch.
Note: Activities are subject to weather condition, and may be re-organised to best meet operational situation
What to bring: Binoculars, spottingscope (if available), insect repellent, long sleeve
shirts & long pants, raincoat, sun hat, swim wear, comfortable trekking shoes, torch light, water bottle & personal toiletries.
For birds photography purposes, 300mm and above tele-lens are recommended.
What you will expect from this tour ?
BORNEO NATURE TOURS AND PHOTOGRAPHY provide extra ordinary services as follows:
- Expert-help from professional birdlife photographers on composition, equipment & more.
Tour to picturesque regions, lead by experiences birds photography guide to those strategic birds photography spot.
- Focus on key species such as the endemic birds of Borneo, and those species have special activities ie. nesting and rearing the young.
- Dawn-to-dusk birding with limited time for rest, relaxation and outside interest.
- Provide birds guide and photography guide expert in Chinese and English.
Optional interest – searching of animals, insects, frogs and anurans.