On 9 September 2020 the 1StopBorneo Wildlife team visited Tambisan Island just off the coast of the Dent Peninsula in East Sabah to look for rare Filipino figs and birds that might have crossed the 55 km gap between the Tawi Tawi island in the Philippines and the coast of Borneo. Unfortunately the forest on Tambisan island has been mostly replaced with coconuts.
The fig list included two giant stranglers Ficus drupacea and Ficus virens growing next to each other on the south coast near Kampung Tambisan, and also Ficus microcarpa and Ficus septica. All these figs are common both in coastal areas of Borneo and also the Philippines.
Ficus septica is one of a few figs that evolved in the islands east of Borneo and has now spread throughout Sabah and Brunei. There is only one record from Sarawak in the far north and none from West Kalimantan.
All photos by Shavez Cheema and Chun Xing Wong of 1StopBorneo Wildlife
The orange arrow top left points to the small island of Pulau Tambisan. Unfortunately on this visit there was no evidence of any of the rare birds that occur on Tawi Tawi such as the endemic Sulu Bleeding-heart Pigeon, The Tawi Tawi Brown Dove, The Pink -bellied Imperial Pigeon and the Sulu Hornbill.
Tambisan Island just off the cost of NE Borneo in East Sabah
A view of the giant Ficus drupacea strangler from the south coast of Pulau Tambisan.
The base of the trunk of the giant Ficus drupacea with Shavez Cheema to show the scale.
The Ficus drupacea was fruiting during the visit on 9 September 2020.
This photo shows a giant Ficus virens strangler growing next to the Ficus drupacea on Tambisan island.
Ficus septica Tambisan island, Sabah on 9 September 2020.
Ficus microcarpa, Tambisan island East Sabah.