Fishing & Birding in Kuching, Sarawak
When: August 2018 Weather : Variable, windy, rainy, 25-33C
Nikon P900 Leica M240 35mm Summilux
This was our fishing trip to the South China Sea, heading out from the Sarawakian capitol of Kuching in Borneo. The weather forecast had been variable but it looked like we were going to hit a window of clear weather for the 3 night live aboard trip. Little did we know…
the next morning we headed further afield another 5 hours out and caught some groupers, red emperors, catfish and a sweetlips…..but just as we were settling down to lunch…the white caps appeared, the wind gusted and the swell grew….many of our group got sicker and sicker and all fishing activities ceased as we hung on for dear life….
We just had to sit there and ride out the storm which at times had waves up to 4m high….but as the hours went on, the storm only minimally abated and by 5pm we decided to forego the next two nights’ fishing and head back to shore….only problem was we were 9 hours from Kuching way out in the South China Sea! Our 62ft fishing boat slowly started making its way back cresting and troughing the waves and after what seemed an eternity, we finally made land at 3am nearly 10 hours after setting off, exhausted but thankful that we made it back safely.
Having curtailed our fishing trip, we now had an extra day in Kuching which is no hardship for a birder especially as Sarawak is known as an excellent birding location. Car hire is affordable in Kuching and I used Flexi car rentals who delivered and picked up the car to and from my hotel all for about USD40 for 24 hr rental.
Although we had set sail from the Santubong river, I’d never birded in the area before so in the evening, we headed out to Santubong National Park, about 40 min out of Kuching. We couldn’t really find the Visitor Centre of the NP so headed straight onto the Permai Rainforest Resort at the foot of Mount Santubong where there was supposed to be a bird hide….(there wasn’t!). We paid our entrance ticket and set off along the well kept paths through the dense rainforest….
There was a lot of birdsong but the heavy canopy made for difficult viewing; still it was an interesting hour at the Permai Rainforest resort which has well kept trails to walk.
Early the next morning we set off at 7am for our familiar birding location of Kubah National Park, also about 40min from Kuching….the birdsong here was even more than in Santubong but the birds were equally elusive this morning.
As we walked further up the main road, we could hear the persistent ‘tnk tnk’ of a distant trogon but no sign of the bird was seen… we had a look around the famous frog pond and headed further up the hill….several things flew over our heads…a dark blue bird, a bird with a bright yellow belly and then a bright red flash…..it landed high up a tree..
So although our fishing trip had been curtailed by the weather, it meant I managed to squeeze in some unexpected birding! The birding is a lot more challenging though without a guide as I found….although the very babbler biased sightings were still fun.
Thanks to KC Lim for help in identifying birds.