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Borneo Bird Festival 2011 Overview

Review Borneo Bird Festival
The Borneo Bird Festival 2011 was recently at the RDC in Sepilok, Sabah was a huge success with over 4000 people attending this annual birding festival which is in its third year.

This is an overview of what happened throughout the festival in photographs from October 14th to 16th here at the Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) at Sepilok which is about 30 minutes from the town of Sandakan on the east coast of Sabah, Borneo. 

Borneo Bird Festival

This was actually my second time attending the Borneo Bird Festival and my first attempt in doing some actual birding during the festival. I visited the place at about 6.30 am on the first day and everyone was in a jovial mood.

Participants and sponsors were seen setting up their booths while officials were busy with final arrangements. Around the RDC grounds, avid early birders (bird watchers) were lugging their 'bazookas' (huge camera lenses) around in search for birds while guests were starting to arrive by about 8.00 am.

By noon, there was already a very good crowd and the weather throughout was fantastic. The average time that birders start their day is about 5am and so that was my itinerary for the entire three days there.

Sandakan RDC
Morning light at the RDC in Sepilok, Sandakan

The 3rd Borneo Bird Festival saw a number of invited speakers from around the world which included Steve Shunk (USA), Samson Ho (Hong Kong), Alex Tiongco (Philippines), Denise Goodfellow (Australia), Dr. Bharat Jetva (India), Quentin Phillipps (United Kingdom), Wong Tsu Shi (Malaysia) and Cede Prudente (Malaysia).

Sabah Tourism Board General Manager Datuk Irene Benggon was there to officiate the event while the many activities included a bird race, bird photography contest, birding for kids and kids face painting.

There are also various exhibitions by organizations like WWF Malaysia, Borneo Sun Bear Conservation (BSBC), Sabah Parks, Sabah Forestry and even some of the eco-friendly resorts like Tabin Wildlife and Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley.

Sabah Borneo Bird Event
Avid birders with heavy duty equipment spot a bird in the bush

Apart from the main birding events, there were also activities catered to all walks of life including a children's coloring contest, Batik painting, tree climbing demonstration, blind foot massages and guided bird walks for beginners.

I absolutely had a fantastic time learning about birds and bird watching here while I also met many new friends and acquaintances from around the world and locally.

Among them was twitter friend Pummkin (Pamela Lim) whom I bumped into by chance sitting next to her at the LCCT boarding room as we were both headed here for the bird event. Here are a series of pictures taken by me at the recent Borneo Bird Festival 2011 in Sabah.  

Borneo Bird Festival Photos

Malaysia Nikon Fieldscopes
Nikon Fieldscopes on display at their booth during the Borneo Bird Festival 2011

Bird watching at RDC Sepilok
Bird seen at the RDC

Sabah Bird Watching Camera
An early morning participant gets his gear ready

Sabah Face Painting
Even Angry Birds made an appearance at the Borneo Bird Festival

Sabah Broadbill Photo
A Broadbill seen at the RDC Canopy Walk

Tee from Nikon shows Datuk Irene the new fieldscope
 Sandakan Photo Irene
Tee and Irene from Sandakan Foto with the new Nikon EDG Fieldscope with VR

Malaysia Nikon Mirrorless Camera
Nikon V1 Mirrorless Lens Camera on display at the festival - New product not in the market

Bird Watchers in Sandakan
Couple of birders in full camo at RDC

RDC Bird Watching
Birding warfare?

 Bird Watching Kids
Kids looking for birds at the Treetop Walkway at RDC

Giant Flying Squirrel at RDC
Giant Flying Squirrel at RDC in Sabah

Sabah Black Flying Squirrel
Black Flying Squirrel from Sabah

Apart from the bird watching at RDC in Sabah, there were some unexpected surprises during dusk along the steel canopy walk.

A rare Black Flying Squirrel who made its home in one of the dead tree stumps gave a pleasant surprise to a number of birders when it came out and perched on a tree branch.

This happened just when the sun went down and with the assistance of a bird guide holding a flashlight, about 10 birders took photographs of this rarely seen squirrel. I must have spent a good 30 minutes photographing this moment.

Sabah Oriental Pied Hornbills
Couple of Oriental Pied Hornbills spotted

Sabah Raptor Photo
An eagle flying high in the skies of the RDC

Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC)
PO Box 1407
90715 Sandakan, Sabah
Telephone: +60 089 533780 / 781
Website for the Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) in Sabah

Tickets/Entrance Fees for the RDC on normal days:
  • Adults: RM10 (US$3)
  • Children (5-17 yrs) RM5 (US$1.50)
  • Children (Under 5 yrs) Free
Opening Hours for the RDC:
  • Daily 9am - 6pm
  • Birders start as early as 7am
Borneo Bird Festival 2010 Organiser : Sabah Tourism Board
Contact Person : Noredah Othman (Sabah Tourism Board)
Telephone : +6088 212121
Fax : +6088 212075
Email Contact : noredah@sabahtourism.com

Event Borneo Bird Festival
The prize giving event during the festival
At the last event which was the Borneo Bird Festival 2010, I was formerly introduced to bird watching by Cede Prudente and the many birders there.

They took me on walks around the RDC while thought me much about the basic birding equipment that was required. I attended the many talks held and learned quite a bit back then.

If you know some of the names of the birds featured here, please do share them with me as I need to get a Birds of Borneo Book one of these days.

Till the next event, I hope to see more new faces and also learn more about birds and hopefully by then, I would have already bought my 500mm lens or even a Nikon Digiscope for some serious birding at the next Borneo Bird Festival in Sabah.


Scrapbooking said...

Nice place, I like to witness t he festival.

Malaysia Asia said...

Thanks Scrapbooking, there is the 4th Borneo Bird Festival in Sabah next year. Hope you get a chance to visit.

Silver Jewelry Jaipur said...

nice it is really fabulous i really love this post like it a lot

Malaysia Asia said...

Thank you very much S.J.J.

Anonymous said...

i love sabah very much and always envisaged going there, to a resort like sepilok with someone special.

Steve Shunk said...

Cheers, David! The colorful little bird above is a "Bornean" Brown-throated Sunbird, an endemic subspecies in Borneo. It was a pleasure birding with you as we watched him feed over the canopy walkway. I hope to see you again soon!

Malaysia Asia said...

Thanks very much Steve! It was indeed a pleasure to have met you and hear your talk. I hope toy catch you again at the next Bird Festival in Sabah.

Aingel83 said...

coolness~ I love to watch birds too but not that much of an enthusiast to actually travel for it =) Sabah is a very beautiful state. I can't wait to go to KK nxt year. David, do u have any recommendation on the hotels there? where do u usually stay? One entry on the list of hotels like the one on Bandung would be very appreciated =D

Malaysia Asia said...

Aingel, thanks very much and yes, I will consider doing a hotel list for KK in time to come.

AiNGEL83 said...

u're the best, David! I LOVE MALAYSIA ASIA =) looking forward for the email informing me of the entry on the list. thanks!