Borneo Bird Festival 2011 Overview

Borneo Bird Festival 2011 2012 2013

Borneo Bird Festival 2011 which was recently held 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. 

This was actually my second time attending the Birding Event and my first attempt in doing some actual birding during the festival. I visited the place at about 6.30am 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 8am. 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.

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, kids face painting and exhibitions by various 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.

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 birdwatching 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.  


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

Bird seen at the RDC

An early morning participant gets his gear ready

Even Angry Birds made an appearance at the Borneo Bird Festival

A Broadbill seen at the RDC Canopy Walk

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

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

Couple of birders in full camo at RDC

Birding warfare?

 
Kids looking for birds at the Treetop Walkway at RDC

Giant Flying Squirrel at RDC in Sabah

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.

Couple of Oriental Pied Hornbills spotted

An eagle flying high in the skies of the RDC

Prize giving ceremony at the end of the Bird Festival

Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC)
PO Box 1407
90715 Sandakan, Sabah
Malaysia.
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

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 2012 in Sabah.

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