Baya Weaver


The Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus) is a weaverbird found across South and Southeast Asia. Flocks of these birds are found in grasslands, cultivated areas, scrub and secondary growth and they are best known for their hanging retort shaped nests woven from leaves. These nest colonies are usually found on thorny trees or palm fronds and the nests are often built near water or hanging over water where predators cannot reach easily. They are widespread and common within their range but are prone to local, seasonal movements mainly in response to rain and food availability.

The above description is very closed to where we found the species in Borneo.  They we first sighted in Sandakan and now a new group is also found in the interior of Sabah, at Tenom town.  This birds were said to have migrated from Philippines.

The tree they are building the nests don’t seem to be thorny, but the tree is grown at the middle of wetland.

Following is posts of Close up shots about the male (has a yellow color plumage at forehead) and female Baya Weaver.

Male Weaver

Male Weaver

Female weaver

Female Weaver

The male weaver usually build a half completed nest and invite the female to inspect it.  If the female is satisfied with the nest, the male will then construct the entrance tunnel.   Following is a sequence of shots about how the female enter the nest.

    

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Square-Tailed Drongo-Cuckoo


Image

Using Canon 5D Mk3, EF 300mm Lens, ISO4000, F/8, 1/200

 

Information from Wikipedia

Square-tailed Drongo-Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris including brachyurus, musschenbroeki. This has white bars on vent and outer undertail, tail only notched with slightly flared tips. In flight a white wing-stripe is visible from below. This is found in South East Asia and is a summer visitor to the Himalayas from Kashmir to eastern Bangladesh. The calls are series of piercing sharp whistles rising in pitch but shrill and choppily delivered.

Blue-headed Pitta


Using Canon 5D Mk3, 300mm Lens, ISO5000, f/5.6, 1/80s

Pitta, is the main target bird that we want to photograph for our trip to Danum Valley, which has the highest type of pitta recorded there.  This trip we were lucky to find 2 species of them.  One being this Blue-Headed Pitta, which is an endemic species and not easy to encounter even at the valley.

We spent one whole morning walking on the jungle trail being beaten by leeches. But the price pays off.  After about 3 hours of tracking, our bird guide spotted this lovely colourful bird came out from the brushes and hooping on the trail looking for food.  We were took by the guide that pitta’s main food is leeches.  That’s why were have to pay the price before we could photograph this bird.

About 8 of us line up at the small trail waiting quietly for the guide to make the call to attract the pitta to the open area where we can take a clear short.  We took the shot at a very low light condition, and we need to pump up our ISO to 5000-6400.

Reference from Wikipedia

The Blue-headed Pitta, Pitta baudii, is a species of bird in the pitta family Pittidae. The species is endemic to the island of Borneo, where it occurs in Brunei, Kalimantan (Indonesia), Sarawak and Sabah (Malaysia). Its natural habitat is tropical lowland evergreen forests. While it does occur in disturbed of secondary forests, it is most common in primary forest. It usually occurs below 600 m (2,000 ft),it has been recorded up to 1,200 m (3,900 ft), but this record has not been verified.

The Blue-headed Pitta is a medium-sized pitta, at 17 cm (6.7 in) in length. The plumage of the male is very brightly coloured, with a bright blue crown, black cheeks, white throat, chestnut red back, violet blue tail and belly, and black wings marked with white. The colours of the female are more subdued, with a buff coloured back and head and blue only being found on the tail.

Danum Valley & The Borneo Rainforest Lodge


Part of the accommodation, standard unit

The Danum Valley, a primary rainforest jungle, is 78KM away from the nearest town called Lahad Datu. The valley is far removed from human habitation. Renowned for its rich variety of both plants and wildlife, Borneo’s mammals include such extremely rare and endangered species as the Sumatran Rhino, Benteng Elephant, Clouded Leopard, Bornean Gibbon, and Leaf Monkey. The Orangutan and Proboscis Monkey are both found only in Borneo. Bird life is equally extensive and varied with over 275 individual species having been recorded, giving Danum Valley a reputation for being one of the best places for viewing Borneo’s wildlife.

The Borneo Rainforest Lodge is a basic and rustic international-standard lodge built beside the Danum River. Unlike mass-market tourist destinations, the lodge accommodates a maximum of 60 people, ensuring each guest a unique and individual jungle experience. The fine facilities with basic comforts make it possible to explore the incredible diversity and complexity of the rainforest and offer a unique opportunity for guests to understand the primeval Borneo Rainforest in today’s conservation realities.

Lodge activities include jungle walks, bird watching with resident nature guides, canopy walkways high above the jungle floor that allow the viewing of the rainforest from the treetops and night safaris with sights and sounds emanating deep from within the rainforest.

3D/2N stay at the Lodge

After much introduction,  here is how we go there from Kota Kinabalu (state capital of Sabah, Malaysia). There were 11 of us in a group. All of us used car as means of transport to Danum Valley, except for 2 friends who flow from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu and catch a ride to the valley.  This is a better way to get to the lodge as for the rest of us,  we spent almost 10 hours on the road in order to get to the lodge.   6 and a half hours to drive from KK to Lahad Datu town. Then another 2-3 hours from Lahad Datu to the lodge.  To tell you the true, it worth the efforts.  It’s totally a different environment once you are at the lodge. It’s like a get away place to be.  You are surrounded by the nature forest, air is so different from that in the city.

We are a group of bird and wildlife photographers, being there made us so excited as we are going to see some rare spices of birds and wildlife. Our main target for this trip is to look for few species of pitta, like the Banded pitta, Giant pitta, blue headed pitta, black headed pitta and there rest….

Being in the forest, and in a valley,  there is always rain, at least once a day. So the area is wet and humid.  Good thing is the lodge provide a good accommodation and good food.  To share some of the pictures taken at the lodge.

The Reception cum Restaurant at the lodge.

Resting area at the restaurant

Interior of the standard unit

At the balcony, a relaxing place to be

Gathering area at the restaurant

Dinning area, overlooking the Danum river

Guest parking area.

Macro


Using Canon 5D Mk3, 800mm Lens, ISO640, f/10, 1/400 -1/3Ev

This was actually a birding trip to Mt. Alab, a place which we have missed for sometime since the last visit.  The weather was cloudy and drizzling.  Birds are no where to be found.  While waiting, we saw this insect hanging on the barbed-wire. It’s body is about 3 inches long.  (Haha, shooting macro using a big lens, still my first time)…

Then we saw this green spider. In fact, there were many such spiders around the brushes.

Using Canon 5D Mk2, 100-400mm Lens, ISO400, f/8,1/500

Then another type of insects.

Using Canon 5D Mk2, ISO400, f/11, 1/125s

Crab-eating macaque


The crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis) is a cercopithecine primate native to Southeast Asia. It is also called the “long-tailed macaque”, and is referred to as the “cynomolgus monkey” in laboratories.

The scientific name of the crab-eating macaque is Macaca fascicularis. Macaca comes from the Portuguese word macaco, which was picked up from makaku, a Fiot (West African language) word (kaku means ‘monkey’ in Fiot). Fascicularis is Latin for ‘a small band or stripe’. Sir Thomas Raffles, who gave the animal its scientific name in 1821, did not specify what he meant by the use of this word, although it is presumed it had something to do with his observation of the animal’s colour.[3]