Silvered Leaf Langurs, Bukit Malawati, Malaysia.
Posted 29 February 2016 - 08:36 PM
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Posted 29 February 2016 - 08:57 PM
KL is fine - there are many worse cities to spend time in, but my it is growing at a breakneck pace....ever taller high-rises springing up left right and centre! Still, the people are friendly and the food is tremendous (and so affordable by UK standards!)
I had a couple of days out from KL - Bukit Malwati and the fireflies in Selangor, and a few days on Langkawi with flying everything...Lemurs (which aren't lemurs!), lizards, snakes and squirrels.....I was chuffed to see all of these, with only the snake not showing off its guiding skills. Watching the Flying Lemurs (or Colugos) in action was an absolute highlight!
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Posted 29 February 2016 - 09:02 PM
Hello @Wildog...yes I know, I pop my head in every now and again, to have a read, but you're right, I've been much too quiet. I'm home for a few weeks and then back for another 6 week stint at Easter.
I was baffled by the colour of the youngsters - the best explanation I heard is that being canopy dwellers, they are predated upon by large eagles. When the alarm call goes up, any of members the troop will grab the youngsters, and having them day-glo orange helps this process....
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Posted 29 February 2016 - 09:04 PM
Nice! I hope you have had sunny days at Langkawi ... our visit there was rain, rain, rain !!!
Posted 05 March 2016 - 12:23 AM
@Whyone? Great to see some photos of silvered leaf monkeys, I don't think I've seen them with their orange newborns.
There are a variety of different species of leaf monkeys also known as langurs, lutungs or surilis quite a few of them have orange babies some like the silvery lutungs or silvered langurs that you saw are really bright and some are pale orange and I think some may have white babies like their African cousins the black and white colobus. Since all primates have good colour vision it would make sense that this bright colouration allows them to quickly spot their babies and grab them if they see a predator. Another explanation which I think has been suggested is that it protects them from adult aggression, if the troop male is on the warpath attacking other males that may be trying mate with the females the babies don’t get caught in the crossfire but I think first theory is probably the primary reason.
If you’re still in KL you should consider visiting Bukit Fraser if you've never been there, I'm sure you're already be aware of Fraser’s Hill, this former colonial hill station is regarded as the best birding site on the Peninsular. I don’t know how much has changed since I visited but there’s good forest with a number of trails you can walk, but some of the best birding is on a road going around the top of the hill called the Telecom Loop. The road is a very easy walk from the village and because it’s tarmac, it’s basically flat and a loop it makes for very easy birding you can see a very impressive haul of birds in a very short time along with the occasional great view through the trees. If you’re not really a birder there is a chance of seeing siamangs (gibbons) I was lucky and saw a young male beside the road and when walking in the forest I also heard them duetting in the distance. With luck you might also see white-thighed surilis or leaf monkeys which I also saw and dusky leaf monkeys/langurs which I didn’t see but have seen in Thailand. There are also long-tailed and southern pig-tailed macaques though I didn’t see either and there’s a variety of other wildlife. If it’s not raining it would be good place to go out at night to look for nocturnal species like palm civets and more colugos.
As I say I don’t know how much has changed but I went by bus to Kuala Khubu Bharu and then taxi and despite the best efforts of the taxi driver to take me to a hotel I didn’t want to go to I stayed in a self-catering bungalow Bangelo Termeloh which had a stunning view looking straight into the forest. I then just walked from there down to the village where there was a shop that had some food and certainly one cafe/restaurant, picked up a trail map from the WWF FHNEC (Nature Education Centre) Office and spent a couple of days birding. I saw over 30 different species of birds in just 2 and a bit days. It should be very easy to drive yourself there though the road up the hill was I recall alternate one way so unless it’s changed you have to be there at the right time because at certain times it’s up only and at other times down only.
If you had much more time then you could go to Taman Negara in search of tapirs but you really need to go for more than a couple of days and it’s a lot further from KL.
You might not have time to visit Fraser’s Hill but I thought it was worth mentioning if you are still in KL and can take a weekend off.
Posted 08 March 2016 - 09:49 AM
@inyathi thank you very much indeed for taking the time to write such a helpful and informative post - I very much appreciate your suggestions.
I am heading back to KL over Easter weekend for another 6 weeks and will certainly get a car to take me out to Bukit Fraser for the day. I have read a lot about Taman Negra and you confirm my thoughts that it need to be more than a weekend / long weekend trip - so thank you also for that.
I am hoping to be back again July - early August, and the plan is to take 3 - 4 weeks off at the end of this work period - this will give me the time to visit places like Taman Negra properly. I am also planning to visit Sabah / Sarawak and if you have any advice to offer here, I would love to hear it.
- inyathi likes this
Posted 09 March 2016 - 07:38 AM
Taman Negara is a special place ... however it is also a dense rain forest and sightings are difficult to photograph. For us, it was a 4 days trip (in 1999); one day arrival ... what an adventure, up the river in their narrow boats with big outboard engines ... thrilling!!, 2 days in the lodge, one day return. We have seen majority of wildlife in and around the lodge.
In Sabah do not miss going to Kinabatangan River (orangutans and proboscis), or if budget allows to Danum Valley! I wish I could join you!!
Posted 09 March 2016 - 11:46 AM
I would also recommend the Kinabatangan River - we saw Proboscis monkeys, macaques (2 sorts), Silvered and Red Leaf Monkeys, Oriental Short-clawed otters, lots of birds, and Borneo Pygmy Elephants. We stayed 4 nights (2 at 2 different lodges)
The SIlvered Leaf Monkeys also have some individuals that are called a Pale Morph - a similar colour to the baby colour you show but some adults are this colour. We saw some along the river.
I would also recommend Danum Valley (it is expensive). If you are in Sarawak, we thought Kuching was a very nice little city.
I have put a link to my trip report (April 2015) - I have linked to the start of the section on the Kinabatangan River (from post 86)
Posted 10 March 2016 - 10:44 PM
Thanks @Whyone? I have been to both Sarawak and Sabah and while they are both worth visiting Sabah is much the better of the two for wildlife.
In Sarawak I basically visited Kuching and the three most accessible parks close to the city Bako, Gunung Gading and Kubah, of the three Bako is by far the best for viewing wildlife. Bako contains almost every habitat found in Borneo except what they call big timber rainforest, much of the interior is more heath like than forest and many of the shrubs alongside the trails are festooned with pitcher plants of various species which adds extra interest. Most of the wildlife I saw was around the HQ and accommodation area at Telok Assam and in the nearby mangroves, proboscis monkeys, silvered leaf monkeys, long-tailed macaques and some pretty tame bearded pigs. Sitting in a hut on the boardwalk through the mangroves one evening I saw a family of 9 Oriental short-clawed otters, I hadn’t realised at the time that they lived in such large groups so I initially thought they might be mongooses of some kind. Getting there is very easy it’s about 45 minutes from Kuching to Kampunk Bako by road and another 30 minutes or so by boat to Telok Assam. At the time I was there the accommodation consisted of self-catering chalets/bungalows and there was also canteen where you could get meals. The trails were all well marked so you don’t need a guide to get around, plenty of insect repellent is recommended as the mossies were awful when out in the bush.
Kubah is beautiful rainforest which is floristically interesting because it has some rare endemic palms and there are various trails through the forest that you can walk and waterfalls you can visit and from some viewpoints you can look back over Kuching which is close by, but other than birds and a vine snake the only other animals I saw were a pair of mongooses. Attached to the park is the Matang Wildlife Centre which is a rehab centre for wildlife including orangs but I didn’t go there and I believe it’s just a bit like a not very good zoo. Gunung Gading also has beautiful rainforest the river that comes down of the mountain is stunning in places and it’s great to go for a swim in some of the pools, at the top of the mountain there was really no view you couldn’t see anything through the trees. The main reason for visiting GGNP is to see the Rafflesia flowers unfortunately when I went there were no open flowers, if there are flowers open a guide will take you to see them. The most accessible ones can be reached via a boardwalk but they can guide you to ones further out in the forest if these ones aren’t in flower, all I saw was a flower bud that looked a little like a large orange cabbage. I’m glad I went to these two parks even if I didn't see a lot of wildlife my expectation was that I likely wouldn't see many if any mammals but I was bound to see some birds even if they're not noted birding sites. The one other place I went to was the Semmengoh Orang-utan Rehab centre which wasn’t a bad place and I got to see some semi-wild orangs in their natural habitat. They were at the time intending to close the place down and move all of the remaining animals to Matang but it was such a popular tourist attraction that they decided not to close it down after all.
When I went Sarawak I didn’t visit Gunung Mulu NP as this would have involved another flight on from Kuching to Miri and then from there I think it was at the time quite an expedition to get to the park now you can fly direct there either from Kuching, Miri or Kota Kinabalu (KK) in Sabah. The Deer Cave in Mulu is the largest cave system in the world and the park is also famous for the Pinnacles of Mulu eroded jagged ‘knife blades’ of karst limestone rock that project up out of the forest. The hike to the Pinnacles is I believe at least part of the way very tough and is a 3 day 2 night trip with compulsory guides and you have to provide your own food and the first part is by boat and if the river is low you have to jump out and help push, the summit of Gunung Mulu is a 4 day round trip, I really didn’t think I had time to fit in a trip to Mulu especially if I wanted to do the Pinnacles hike. The park apparently has the highest number of endemic birds for any site in the whole of Borneo to see some of these you really have to go on either the Pinnacles or summit hikes in total there are over 300 bird species I think which is pretty amazing for Borneo. Almost all of the birding/wildlife tours of Borneo are in Sabah though Birdquest do now do a Sarawak tour but interestingley they don't go to Mulu which suggests the important endemic species can be seen more easily elsewhere, There is obviously other wildlife there but apart from bats in and around the caves I think you have to be very lucky to see other mammals, though I guess you could get lucky and spot something interesting on a night walk perhaps a tarsier or a mouse deer. If you do want to go to Mulu I suspect that to do any of the serious hikes you need to book pretty far in advance but there are some unguided walks that you can do and there is a canopy walkway.
Having decided not to go to Mulu I therefore didn’t go to the city of Miri and the other parks nearer to the city Lambir Hills, Loagan Bunut and Niah Caves so I don’t really know what wildlife you might be able to see at these places. I also didn’t visit Batang Ai NP which is in the south of Sarawak on the Indonesian border this is I believe the only park in the state that still has a population of wild orang-utans however I don’t think they’re at all easy to see there and my impression is that going there is more about having a traditional longhouse experience than necessarily seeing wildlife and I think the hiking is not that easy but I don’t really know for sure.
To really see Bornean wildlife then Sabah is the place to go,although the rate of forest loss to make way for oil palms is simply appalling in the areas of forest that are protected there seems to be more wildlife than in most of Sarawak or at least it’s easier to see. While I had some good views of proboscis monkeys in Bako you will see many more of them on the Kinabatangan River and there are elephants here which are completely absent from Sarawak and go to the right places like the Danum Valley and you can expect to see wild orangs and Bornean gibbons and maroon (red) leaf monkeys and with luck Hoses’s leaf monkey. Others who have been there more recently than I have can better advise on Sabah, however I might add something on Mt Kinabalu.
Posted 11 March 2016 - 09:12 AM
@Whyone? why you are just across the straits from us here in this little island!
i didn't realise langkawi houses so many flying creatures! and all they advertise and promote are the beautiful and very very expensive beach resorts. who did you go with to see the wildlife and where did you stay?
I remember visiting Frasers' Hill as a young adult many years ago and we would see marvellous colourful butterflies along the streams and I do recall i was bitten by a snake but fortunately there was no venom. I havent visited for years but i hear a lot has changed and there is a lot of commercial development that has changed the entire ambiance and cut back the forest edges which is such a great shame.
I hope you are going to do a TR on your adventures - i for one would closely read every word!
Posted 11 March 2016 - 10:40 AM
@Kitsafari - I also had no idea there were so many flying (actually gliding) creatures on Langkawi and it was brilliant to see them all - I am no expert, but they are amazing examples of convergent evolution...I'm sure papers must have been written on this!
We stayed in one of the expensive beach resorts you mention - the Andaman - but it was selected because it is rightly renowned as being one of the very best places in the world to see Colugos. National Geographic actually took rooms on the third floor (were we also stayed), which has an open balcony facing onto the forest, so you are at 'Colugo level' - perfect for seeing them roost and glide. From here they filmed most of their Flying Lemur documentary. I'm sure people watching it imagined they had trekked out into the rainforest and lived rough for months in terrible conditions to make this film....rather than staying in a 5* resort and filming from the balcony outside of their room!!!!
As for guiding...I did my usual thing and just wandered off on my own! Probably not the most productive way to spend my time, but its how I like to do things. I do have the cell number for a snake expert on Lankawi and fully intend to call him as and when I return however.
I hope to get to Fraser Hill during April and will certainly report back here.
Edited by Whyone?, 11 March 2016 - 11:24 AM.
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Posted 11 March 2016 - 11:05 AM
@Whyone? that's brilliant! we stayed at the Datai years ago, well before it branded itself as a "luxurious" lodge beyond our means. but we didn't see anything gliding then. that was prob because we weren't looking up, but were looking down!
looking forward to hearing about your fraser hill and taman negara trips.
Edited by Kitsafari, 11 March 2016 - 11:05 AM.