Reports, with Bird Lists, of our Meetings, Walks and Outings

In the jungle of Sarawak/Borneo
by Christopher Rose
and Dr Angelika Wosegien

Date: Thursday 16 November 2017 at 19:30


Ken Cottam presented Jacqui Green with a long-service pin badge of a puffin, to thank her for ten years volunteering with the RSPB.  Congratulations Jacqui!

Fifty-four people were fortunate to attend this meeting at which Christopher Rose (a group member) and his wife, Dr Angelika Wosegien, gave an audio-visual presentation on the birds, fauna, flora and culture of Sarawak and Borneo.  The sounds of the jungle and the authentic calls of most birds and mammals featured, combined with the knowledge of the presenters and super photography, made for an exotic and colourful presentation.

It was a wonderful reflection of the huge diversity of life that exists in the jungles of this region.  However, it was in many ways a depressing picture of how indiscriminate deforestation and the palm oil industry are placing so many of the wonderful creatures and plants at severe risk of extinction.  It was clear that the orangutan is very unlikely to exist outside of some zoos within the next 20 years.  What an appalling thought!

The overall bird species count was 101 and in addition there were numerous frogs, plants, snakes, primates and other mammals.

Some notables were orangutans, Horsefield’s fruit bat (possibly the world’s smallest fruit bat), Blyth's hawk-eagle, green lora (only one nest of this bird ever found), banded broadbill, Asian black hornbill (the national symbol of Borneo), mangrove kingfisher (more than 50 sub-species exist), proboscis monkey (endemic to the area), the rare velvet-fronted nuthatch and the rare endemic silver-leafed langur with its bright orange coloured young.  Possibly the two star birds of the presentation were the black-naped monarch and the beautiful, elusive and rarely photographed blue-banded pitta.

There were also some interesting cultural scenes including jungle tribes that were head-hunters until 1963.

The audience had a feast of wildlife, beautifully presented in sound and picture and described in an interesting and amusing manner.  We will certainly try and persuade Christopher and Angelika to come back and present on another exotic region of the world.

In the absence of Peter Gaines and Brian Clews the What’s About in our area report was given by Ken Cottam:

The hawfinch invasion of southern England continues with reports of sightings from all around Berkshire and Buckinghamshire including 57 seen in Great Hampden (Bucks) and ten in Windsor Great Park.

  • Jubilee River – Lots of Cetti’s warblers, water rails calling, stonechat
  • Dinton Pastures – 2 bitterns, 2 ferruginous ducks, little egret, blackcap, hawfinch – 3 days running in Lavell’s car park
  • Theale – black-necked grebe
  • Cookham – raven over Quarry Wood
  • Moor Green – green sandpiper, yellow legged gull and a man-eating pheasant – reported chasing bird watchers and pecking at boots, shoe-laces, feet and ankles!
  • Padworth pits – goosander
  • Little Marlow – goosander, 14 little egrets, 40 siskin
  • Staines reservoir – 2 black-necked grebes, 2 water pipit, rock pipit
--- Original Programme Information ---

Yellow-rumped flowerpecker
Yellow-rumped flowerpecker

Sarawak is part of Borneo, the third largest island in the world, which is divided between three countries. The Bornean rainforest has – as one of the oldest in the world – an immense diversity of flora and fauna. Alfred Russel Wallace formed the theory of evolution here.

In Sarawak we visited Kubah and Bako National Parks, the Semenggoh Wildlife Reserve and Borneo Highlands. There is a brief look at the capital Kuching and a visit to an indigenous longhouse home to give some cultural insight. Visiting Borneo one should not miss to view the Orang-Utan and the endemic Proboscis monkey, we include these and two other monkey species.

The talk includes insects, animals, amphibians and many different bird species that a nature enthusiast could expect to see in this jungle environment. The talk is synchronised with birdsong/calls and wildlife sound recordings made on location. Kubah National Park is known for its rich amphibian diversity and we were able to photograph many species, but of course the highlight is the exotic colourful bird life. Semenggoh Wildlife Reserve is an important refuge for the Orang-Utan. We will give some insight into the status of their conservation. Bako National Park is the least visited by nature lovers, being accessible only by boat journey but was the most rewarding for wildlife diversity.

Spotted Stream frog Male Proboscis monkey
Spotted Stream frog Male Proboscis monkey


Christopher is an enthusiastic world birder, long standing life member of the RSPB and a member of the RSPB East Berks Local Group.

After meeting the biologist, Dr Angelika Wosegien (PhD in bird behaviour), in Lesvos they began travelling the world together organising exploratory journeys to differing regions. They have collated their photos and findings into slide/digital shows for the past 16 years in Germany where they mostly reside. Angelika’s research has been published in scientific journals and she has written articles for German bird/Nature magazines.

Their key interest is photographing birds. To make their shows appealing to a wide audience they also make images of all wildlife and flora and additionally high quality sound recordings. Always trying to photograph as many different species as possible they do not tire to observe birds of the commoner species as this often reveals interesting and undocumented behaviour.

Scarlet-rumped Trogon
Scarlet-rumped Trogon

All pictures are © Copyright. Do not reproduce without permission from Dr Angelika Wosegien.

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