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When: Feb 24, 2016 12:00 AM to Mar 10, 2016 12:00 AM
Dan van den Broek

Feb. 24 - Mar. 10, 2016 | Explore the world’s third largest island and many of the unique habitats on this 15-day adventure through the Malaysian state of Sabah.

New price!! $5995 for members!

February 24 - March 10, 2016

Borneo, a land of rugged mountains, ancient people, and dense jungles teeming with wildlife and birds that defy the imagination … Explore the world’s third largest island and many of the unique habitats on this 15-day adventure through the Malaysian state of Sabah.

Bornean Bristlehead - Charles Ryan
Bornean Bristlehead - Charles Ryan

Destinations and Birds

The first two nights of the trip will be in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, exploring and birding this interesting city as we adjust to the new time zone and culture. From there we head directly to Mt. Kinabalu, where we will bird the flanks of the highest peak in Southeast Asia in search of species such as the Whitehead's Trogon, Gray-throated Minivet, Indigo Flycatcher, and perhaps even the rare Crimson-headed Partridge. From here we travel to Sepilok, where we'll visit the Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Center, famous for its canopy towers and walkways that offer premier birding opportunities and views of the tree tops in the otherwise dense rainforest. This region is known as a birding hotspot and is perhaps the best location to spot the Bornean Bristlehead, one of the most sought-after of Borneo's endemics.

Orangutan - Charles Ryan
Orangutan - Charles Ryan

Next it's off to the Sukau Rainforest Lodge, where more than birds await our group of intrepid travelers. This region along the Kinabatangan River is the home of the strange Proboscis Monkey, a rare species of primate found only in Borneo, and the Bornean Pygmy Elephant, whose mysterious origins are still in debate. The fascinating birdlife of this region will not disappoint! Many beautiful species await our discovery, including the Hooded Pitta, Rhinoceros Hornbill, and Blue-eared Kingfisher, just to name a few. Lastly we'll venture into the Danum Valley, and stay at the comfortable Borneo Rainforest Lodge where a vast tract of lowland rainforest is home to the legendary "man of the Forest," the Orangutan. Sightings of this massive primate are all but guaranteed, but not so for the other mammals such as the Palm Civet, Slow Loris and strange and bug-eyed Western Tarsier. Before leaving Borneo, we'll have three days to bird this fantastically rich area, as we search for Sooty-capped Babblers, Purple-naped Sunbirds, Long-billed Spiderhunters, and a multitude of other avian denizens of Borneo's glorious rainforest.

After one last night in the town of Kota Kinabalu to catch our breath, re-pack our gear, and enjoy our camaraderie over dinner, we'll fly home with enough memories of this magical island to last a lifetime.

Registration Details

Contact Dan van den Broek at 971-222-6105 or dvandenbroek@audubonportland.org to sign up or if you have further questions.

Leaders: Dan van den Broek, Tim Donner & local guides
$5,995 members / $6,295 non-members
: $3,400 required to secure your place
Group Size
: 14 participants + leaders

Fee includes: All ground transportation, all double-occupancy lodging, all meals except some dinners, local guide fees and gratuities, fees for all planned excursions, and the services of your skilled leaders. Not included: Airfare to & from Borneo and some dinners. Remember, a portion of your fee is a tax-deductible donation to the Audubon Society of Portland.

Borneo: The Trip of a Lifetime 

by Barb Hill, 2013 Trip Participant
Published in the September, 2013 issue of The Warbler
This spring, Audubon Society of Portland completed its first-ever trip to the fascinating island of Borneo. A group of 13 travelers had an outstanding opportunity to experience a wide variety of wildlife and ecosystems in this unique and intriguing country. Led by Steve Robertson and Dan van den Broek, with assistance from local guide Charlie Ryan, the group traveled across northern Borneo in the Malaysian State of Sabah, renowned for its rich biodiversity.

We started our journey with a stop at an orangutan rehabilitation center where the rare primates are seen moving freely in forested habitats. While here we gained a better understanding of the efforts to conserve and rehabilitate one of the iconic species of Borneo. The first field visits were at Mt Kinabalu National Park, with its 13,435-foot namesake at the center. As the highest mountain in the Southeast Asian tropics, it is a Mecca for natural diversity with habitats ranging from lowland tropical rainforests to subalpine. The Park has over 5,000 plants, including over 700 species of orchids and 375 species of birds. Many of the species are endemic to the Park, such as the Bornean Flowerpecker and the Mt Kinabalu Squirrel, both seen by the group.

We then traveled east to the Sepilok Forest region and the Rainforest Discovery Center, with its quarter-mile of impressive canopy walkway and towers that allowed us to observe forest habitats and wildlife — including the magnificent Rhinoceros Hornbill and the soaring Giant Red Flying Tree Squirrel — from over 80 feet above the forest floor. A visit to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center allowed us to observe another of Borneo’s rare and unique species and the dedicated work to conserve and restore this species.

Next we experienced a great change in ecosystems during our stay on the Kinabatangan River at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge, with its great veranda overlooking the river. Multiple boat trips, at all times of the day and night, gave us opportunities to observe riparian associated birds, mammals, and reptiles such as Storm’s and Lesser Adjutant Storks, Crested Serpent Eagle, Water Monitor, and Salt Water Crocodile. The river was a hotspot for our observation of primates, which included Proboscis Monkey, Silver and Red Leaf-Monkeys, and Pig-tailed Macaque. Of the trip’s many memorable experiences, one that stands out is when the entire group enjoyed spectacular views of a group of Bornean Pygmy Elephants as they fed and frolicked nearby on the river bank.

Our last location was deep in the tropical rainforest at Danum Valley Field Center — a renowned research center focusing on rainforest ecology, conservation and study. We went on field visits with researchers who shared their immense knowledge of the Danum Valley. We were able to spend extended days in pristine old-growth Dipterocarp Forest observing Borneo Falconet, Tiger Shrike, Bornean Bearded Pig, Leopard Cat, and many other species. The comical and special sighting of a Slow Loris, who truly was moving slow, was unforgettable.

In total the group saw 177 species of birds, 15 species of mammals, and 6 species of reptiles, in a range of habitats from high-elevation mountain to rivers and rainforest. Overall, Borneo has to rank on the top of any list for those who wish to see one of the world’s strongholds of wild natural beauty and unique biodiversity.

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