Borneo Bird Festival, Sabah Malaysian Borneo
The first Borneo Bird Festival was held at RDC ( Rainforest Discovery Centre ) in the city of Sandakan near the world’s famous Sepilok Orang Hutan Sanctuary from 10 October to 15 October 2009. The occasion was graced by Datuk Masid manjun, Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd ( president Malaysian Nature Society), YM Tenku Adlin, Richard Grimmett, Head of Conservation, Birdlife International, Dr Geoffrey Davidson, Sabah Tourism Board and Sabah Forestry Department of the Rainforest Discovery Center and other bird enthusiasts from the region.
The event was also a platform for launching two new books on the birds of Borneo; Phillipp’s Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo by Quentin & Karen Phillipps and A Field Guide to the Birds of Borneo by Susan Meyers. A wide range of topics were discussed during the seminar ranging from bird tourism, conservation, where to see birds in Sabah , bird watching ethics, how to photograph birds along with activities for the school children on conducted bird tours and art contest.
The judging of Bird Photography Contest during Borneo Bird Festival
Last but not least was the Borneo Bird Festival bird photography contest with the winning prize of US$1000 for the top slot. I had the privilege to be one of the panel judges along with Cede Prudente and Dr Geoffrey Davidson to pick the thirteen winners.
Bird watching in Sabah
Why bird watch in Sabah ?
The state of Sabah in Borneo has a record of 622 resident and migratory birds which 32 species are considered endemic to Sabah. The few sought after birds in Sabah are Whitehead’s Trogon, Whitehead Broadbill, Bornean Brown Cuckoo, Blue-headed Pitta and the Bornean Bristlehead. RDC near Sepilok is considered a lowland rainforest. It is one of the known locations to see the Bornean Bristlehead. While I was in RDC, I saw the BBH a few times but did not have the chance to photograph it.
What can you do near Sandakan in East Sabah After spending a few days in Sukau at the Kinabatangan River photographing wildlife of the floodplain forest. I spent the next 5 days at RDC . There, I met many new friends coming from peninsula Malaysia, Sarawak, Japan, Taiwan, UK and local birding communities from Sandakan and Tawau just for the festival who had the same interest and preservation of the welfare of birds and wildlife in general.
The next Borneo Bird Festival will be held on 14 -16 October 2011. Photo Travel Asia will tell you more.