Sunday, 16 November 2014

Brunei, August 2014




Brunei as a young birder



Back at Beaufort train station, we arranged a taxi into Sarawak, where we then got another taxi to Bangar in Temburong, Brunei.  There we stopped at a shop, which knew the owner of our lodge and called him for us.  Within 5 minutes we were being driven to meet our boat in the Ulu Ulu National Park.  It all could have gone badly wrong, but somehow worked really well.  We were camping at our eco lodge for two nights, birding around the immediate area.  It was well set up for tourists and I would definitely recommend it as a place to visit.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at camping lodge
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig at camping lodge
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig

Mum had arranged this part of the trip, just to see what the habitat in Brunei was like, as no one comes here.  As a young birder, it was particularly interesting to come here as I don't think that any other young birder has birded here before.


It was a strange place but everyone seemed to like their Sultan, who seemed very generous.  Like they pay no tax and pay $1 for going to the hospital. Definitely a great ruler!


The next day we walked some trails around our campsite, which was productive.  We also made the journey up river to climb the steps to the canopy walkway.  The boat journey was pretty rough with lots of rapids for the boatman to get through, which was a lot of fun.  Who needs white water rafting when you have journeys like these?  We also got caught in a really heavy rainstorm which didn't help our birding but was brilliant.  This area was predictably rubbish for birds but we knew that before we went to the canopy walkway.


Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on boat to canopy walkway, Brunei, Borneo
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig




Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on steps to canopy walkway, 
Ulu Ulu NP Brunei, Borneo
Photograph taken by and copyright Helena Craig


We did see some good birds in Ulu Ulu National Park, but no new species.  We found out as we were being dropped off that there was another trail on the other side of the river, opposite the campsite, that would have been best for birds, where even Black Partridge had been seen.  That was frustrating to find out afterwards but hopefully I can go back there one day and see some great birds that are maybe difficult to see in Sabah.  There is a bird race at that reserve in Brunei now, so that will improve this place as a birding destination.



Ulu Ulu National Park Brunei, Borneo
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig

Birds we saw here were Black-thighed Falconet, Scarlet-rumped Trogon, Green Broadbill, Black-and-white Bulbul, Chestnut-rumped and Moustached Babblers, Red-thoated Sunbird and Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker.  I would recommend Brunei as a place to visit for birding but maybe with a bit more time than we allowed.  It is also possible to stay at the research station in the national park, but you have to apply six months in advance.  I am sure that would be good for birds as it is surrounded by great forest.



Millipede/centipede species on steps to canopy walkway
Photograph taken by and copyright Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig


After two nights, we got a boat to the capital, Bandar Seri Begawan, for an early evening plane to Kuala Lumpur. First though we had time for a little tour of the sites.  At the airport, we found a great cafĂ© with working wifi, so all sat silently together.


Next, Taman Negara, Malaysia.



About the writer



Young Birder Birdgirl Mya-Rose Craig on Scilly
Photograph taken by and copyright Chris Craig



Mya-Rose Craig is a 12 year old young birder, conservationist, writer and speaker.    She is based near Bristol and writes the successful Birdgirl Blog, with posts about birding and conservation from around the world.  She was the youngest person to see 3,000 birds in 2013 and she hopes to see her 4,000th bird in Antarctica, her 7th continent, in 2015.  Please like her Birdgirl Facebook Page and follow her on Birdgirl Twitter















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