kittykat23uk

Bornean Mammal Tour 2017 - A Quest For The Elusive Mammals of The Bornean Rainforest

75 posts in this topic

@@Alexander33 . Their average total length (including tail) is about 4–6 feet (1.2–1.8 m), I gues this one was over 4, probably close to 5 ft.

 

21/2 We had a boat trip from 06:00 to 09:30. It was a very misty start. Proboscis Monkeys were the only mammals seen.

 

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P2211642 adj copy Proboscis Monkey by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

But we did see quite a few birds including:

 

Great egret

Darter

Oriental pied hornbill

Black hornbill

Wrinkled hornbill

Crested serpent eagle

Wallace's hawk eagle

Lesser fish eagle

Black and red broadbill

Stork-billed kingfisher.

Dollarbird

Blue throated bee-eaters

 

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P2211670 copy Wrinkled hornbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2211683 adj copy Pied Hornbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2211722 adj copy anhinga by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2211736 adj Wallace's hawk eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2211750 Crested serpent eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2211822 adj copy Black and red broadbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2211858 adj copy Black and red broadbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2211864adj copy Oriental pied hornbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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The area around the homestay was quite open and there were a few birds knocking around. Not so many perhaps as at Kinabatangan Jungle camp where i stayed previously, which was also much better for seeing both Bearded pigs and some particularly large monitor lizards that come to feed on the scraps. KJC was also a great place to see the rare Storm's Stork- we did see it on this trip too but nowhere near as well.

 

Birds seen included:

Yellow vented bulbul

Red-throated sunbird

Pacific swallow

Dusky munia

 

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P2211964 adj Red-throated Sunbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2211973 adj copy Red-throated Sunbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212017 Sunbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212041 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212052 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170221_135143 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also a very impressive spider

 

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P2211881 Golden Orb-web Spider (Nephila pilipes) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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Our afternoon boat trip was from 1530-1800 reptiles and primates were the main stars with Crocodile and water monitor.

 

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P2212063 adj copy by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212071 Monitor lizard by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212079 Monitor lizard by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212083 Monitor lizard by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

We also enjoyed watching a large group of pig-tailed macaques- babies proved very entertaining.

 

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P2212103 adj copy Pig-tailed Macaques by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212108 ADJ copy Pig-tailed Macaques by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212114 adj copy Pig-tailed Macaques by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212134 adj copy Pig-tailed Macaques by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212135 adj copy Pig-tailed Macaques by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212151 adj copy Proboscis Monkey by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212167adj (3) Proboscis Monkey by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212182adj copy Proboscis Monkey by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212192adj Proboscis Monkey by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212197adj copy Proboscis Monkey by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212225 Wrinkled Hornbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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wow that 2nd Buffy Fish Owl shot is fantastic! And love the Broadbill.

 

I took a look at some of the big birding company tours to Borneo, and they seem to go somewhere between May and September, but mostly in July/August. So I'd guess that's the best time for strictly birds.

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Here's a couple of videos from the trip on the river:

 

 

 

 

 

Proboscis monkeys were in evidence though the lighting conditions failed to enable any decent action shots from being taken.

 

 

A group of four Grey tailed racer snakes together in a grove of trees overhanging the river.

 

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P2212252 Grey-tailed racer snakes by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212266 Grey-tailed racer snakes by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212276 Grey-tailed racer snakes by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212283 Grey-tailed racer snakes by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212299 Grey-tailed racer snakes by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

At the end of the afternoon we observed two Orangutans making nest, sadly the views were very poor as they were mainly obscured by foliage two thirds of the way up a mature tree.

 

33487561626_898b54d6d0_c.jpg

P2212301 Orangutan in a nest by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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Wonderful biodiversity. Thanks for sharing. I'm planning a trip to Kalimantan, Indonesian side but the logistics are proving to be slightly challenging, especially when travelling with my family. Orangutans are the big draw, but not a must. I may drop that idea and follow your footsteps. I'd be glad to see just half of what you had seen.

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@@Chakra Thank you. If your main goal is to see orangutans, have you thought about Sumatra? Someone I know absolutely loves going to Gunung Leuser, you have to trek in and stay the whole day as there are no roads but he said you can see 10-15 orangutans on some days.The treks are more difficult than places like Danum though as it's more hilly.

 

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P2212302 Orangutan in a nest by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

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P2215607adj Kinabatangan river- Osman Homestay by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Our evening boat trip ran from 2015 – 0000. We first saw a Small-toothed Palm Civet feeding on fruit, frogs, a stork-billed kingfisher and a few Large Flying Foxes showed very well as they fed, one clearly bit off more than it could chew and ended up dropping a large fruit.

 

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P2212312 (2) adj Small-toothed palm civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212316 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212326 Stork-billed Kingfisher by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212330 adj by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We had two very frustrating experiences with elusive mammals on the bank in thick vegetation. The first time, Osman spotted something and drove the boat to the bank. Mike, with his spotlight, jumped off the boat and ran off to search for whatever it was. We did not receive any guidance from either Mike or Osman as to whether it was appropriate to wait until called or to follow immediately.

Eventually Margarita led the charge to try and catch up with Mike. We were unable to locate the animal. There seemed to be some disagreement between Mike and Osman as to what it was. Clearly Osman thought it was our target flat-headed cat. But Mike thought it was most likely a civet.

 

The second frustration came with another eyeshine and similar activity of driving the boat to the bank. This time we all followed Mike on foot through the sticky mud bank creeping through mangroves as we tried to follow Mike who was slithering on his belly through some quite dense scrub ahead of us. Just as we were closing in, Mike stood up in frustration and strode back towards us muttering “Malay Civet”. After the effort we put in to see the animal it was quite annoying not to even look at it, even though it was a “common” species.

 

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P2212341 Black-crowned Night Heron by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Mike picked up on the call of a Bay owl, a species that he had never seen before. So we waited whilst he tried to call the bird in and he was very successful in his efforts as we managed to locate the diminutive owl and obtain some cracking views!

 

 

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P2212359 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212386adj by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212418adj 4) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Our next star mammal came in the form of a confiding Western Tarsier which again our guide managed to spot from a massive distance away towards the end of the boat trip at 2340. This tarsier was so cooperative as we all filled our memory cards with snaps. I absolutely love these little critters and this little guy made it into the list of top mammals for the trip!

 

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P2212451 adj Tarsier by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212460 adj Tarsier by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212467 adj Tarsier by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212488 adj Tarsier by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2212502 Tarsier by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Thomas's Flying Squirrel ended the night at close to midnight.

 

 

22/2/17 Jens and I took a morning boat trip. Margarita slept in. Again it was a very misty start. We focused on waiting for the two Orangutans to wake up, but the poor light conditions again scuppered any chance of decent shots. Whilst waiting, we saw a presumed Large Tree Shrew.

 

A big croc was also seen, but very little else could be photographed well, although we saw a pair of falconets, and black and red broadbill again.

 

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P2222579 adj 3 copy Crocodile by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A pic of the gang

 

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20170222_095309 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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@@Chakra Thank you. If your main goal is to see orangutans, have you thought about Sumatra? Someone I know absolutely loves going to Gunung Leuser, you have to trek in and stay the whole day as there are no roads but he said you can see 10-15 orangutans on some days.The treks are more difficult than places like Danum though as it's more hilly.

 

 

Yes, you are absolutely right. Gunung is probably the best place for the Orangutans. I have heard one can see them while siting on the balcony of the eco lodge at Bukit lawang and guaranteed during the trek. But again it's a long way out with the family in tow. Camp Leakey and the Tanjung Puting NP in central Kalimantan/Borneo is a little more accessible and easier with a river boat trip. But I'm honestly very tempted to follow your itinerary. Keep it coming.

 

 

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5 Poring

Steve did one night at Lupa Masa prior to joining the rest of the group on the 22nd, largely to break the long road journey from Kota Kinabalu to Deramakot but also to have a look at an area which has produced some notable mammal sightings in the recent past. Lupa Masa is a jungle camp set in secondary forest in Mount Kinabalu National Park. The factlities are basic but the staff are welcoming and the visitor's book tells of Sunbear, Malay Weasel, Long-tailed Porcupine and other highly desirable species. It also seems to be a herpetologist's dream with a long list of cobras, kraits and so on listed in the book.

Unfortunately, recent encroachment from nearby villages and illicit hunting has virtually wiped out the population of larger mammals.Today, there are still a few Long-tailed Porcupines, (which they couldn't find on the night walk that Steve did whilst there), and some Squirrels. A Plain Pygmy Squirrel appeared while Steve was eating breakfast the next morning and, on the walk back to Poring, Steve saw a plain brown Squirrel with a long, slender tail which was identified as Brookes' Squirrel, (restricted to mid or lower altitudes in Kinabalu). Otherwise, the night at Lupa Masa produced little of note.

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6 Deramakot
Deramakot is quite a large Forest Reserve stretching some 70 kilometres from the main gate near Telupid in the west to the Kinabatangan River in the east. A fairly rough logging road runs laterally across the Reserve linking these two extremes and the HQ and Base Camp, (where we stayed), lies about half way along it in the centre of the forest. There are various side roads along the way which are narrower (and even rougher) which offer interesting walking possibilities. Near the Base Camp are several official trails for walking, including the short (but steep and muddy) Domingo's Management Trail.

 

6.1 Scheme of Attack
Our main plan of attack would be to drive the main track at night as far in both directions as time would reasonably allow. Mike told us that there were two or three areas where Clouded Leopard sightings were most frequent and that the bulk of recent sightings were of two big males that he had dubbed "Trump" and "Obama". Appropriately, Trump's territory was to the right and Obama's to the left of the Camp. Mike shared our view that the more time we could spend in the best areas and the greater the distance we could cover the better our chances would be. It wasn't really any more scientific than that - we would find our Leopard (or not!) through sheer force of time and effort over the nine nights we had available.

 

We also tried one early morning drive, (which was fruitless) and any number of crepuscular drives (also uneventful). In fact, the forest seemed to wake up quite a bit after it had got dark, an unusual pattern as in most places dawn and dusk are particularly productive times.

 

6.2 The vehicle and notes on group size
We used Lang's truck throughout our stay in Deramakot. The high clearance of the vehicle was definitely needed when plugging the deeply pitted logging roads.

 

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20170226_162506 Lang and his Truck (red) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

When night-driving, the four guests were positioned in the flat-bed, with Mike perched with spotlight on top of the roof on the spare tyre. We established a regular rotation system with two people standing and two sitting on the narrow bench seat (with cushions). This worked as well as possible but on occasions when animals were spotted in the road ahead, those in the back had a very restricted view. During downpours, it was a squeeze to accommodate all the guests in the vehicle. Mike would stay outside and weather the storm. On our final night we had a group of three and that was a much better number in terms of fit for the vehicle. The company has now got a new vehicle which I understand has proper seating and is bigger. That sounds like a good upgrade to me..

 

6.3 The Weather
The poor weather played a significant part in our ability to conduct effective night drives and was in stark contrast to the same time last year, where it had been exceptionally dry. Heavy rain occurred most afternoons and at least one or two downpours most nights. On several occasions we couldn't start a drive until around 9pm due to heavy rain late afternoon into the earlier part of the night. Other times we'd have to sit out a heavy downpour either at a convenient residence or inside the cab of the vehicle. In addition, we'd frequently put up with more persistent, but lighter rain, whilst trying to keep our camera gear dry. The downpours made the forest roads treacherous, and Lang excelled himself with his expert driving skills.

 

6.4 The Night Drives
Despite the weather, we were on the road spotlighting for at least six or seven hours each night, often returning a few hours before dawn. On a couple of occasions we set out in the late afternoon and took our dinner with us. On others we took dinner at the Camp and set off afterwards when the rain eased off. Some species were seen every night - or at least on most nights. These included Red Giant Flying Squirrel and Thomas' Flying Squirrel, which Mike soon gave up stopping for. It soon became obvious that bright orange eye-shine high in the canopy was likely to be one or other of these species. Also very common were Malay Civet, (usually scuttling around at the edge of the road) and Small-toothed Palm Civet, (a forager in the mid-canopy). Sambar Deer were seen every night, as were Greater and/or Lesser Mouse Deer.

 

The latter has very bright yellow eye-shine and a disconcerting habit of staring back at the spotlight in a distinctly cat-like manner. Several times we found Deer in the Camp itself. We presumed that they did this to seek sanctuary from Leopards but Mike assured us that Leopard had been seen on more than one occasion walking brazenly through Camp!
A bit less common were Slow Loris, and Common (Island) Palm Civet.

 

The general pattern of the night drives was that we would find some or all of the common species mentioned above plus perhaps one or two "specials" if the stars and planets were in alignment and the Gods favoured us.

 

22/3/17 Night drive highlights- our first night drive was from 2115-01:20.

 

We first found a Brown Wood Owl:

 

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P2220007 adj Brown Wood Owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A sleeping yellow-bellied prinia:

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P2230017 Yellow-bellied Prinia by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

and the star of the show was a very confiding Leopard cat. On this particular occasion the cat was spotted on the road and so we all piled out of the vehicle and followed it as it crept into some shrubbery before sitting down. The Leopard cat allowed us to hold it in the spotlight as we sat on the damp logging road and snapped away for several minutes. It was in no massive hurry to move off.

 

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P2230026adj Leopard Cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2230028adj2 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2230034adj2 Leopard Cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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23/02/17

 

We had a Lie in. After breakfast we spent a bit of time setting camera traps along game trails in the hope that we might catch one of the leopards on there and so help to focus our search. We had also been told that a binturong had been feeding on a fruiting fig tree the day we arrived close to where Mike planned to set a camera trap, but we passed the tree and disappointingly we did not find the binturong, nor did we see one at all during our trip.

 

We also searched for tracks but discouragingly we did not find any recent sign of leopard.

 

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P2230071 Civet track? by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170223_161359 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170223_162032 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170223_162226 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170223_162240 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170223_162255 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170223_165505 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170223_165514 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170223_211345 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A few mammals were seen including Plain Pygmy Squirrel

 

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P2230055 adj 2 Plain Pygmy Squirrel by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

Maroon Langaurs, Prevosts squirrel and Horse-tailed squirrel

 

Birds seen included Dusky broadbill, distant Rhinoceros hornbill and Asian Fairy bluebird

 

We took a night drive from 2100-0320 as it rained a lot that afternoon and into the night.

 

Very little was seen, no cats, Michael searched a while where Donald was last seen after seeing some eye shine but to no avail. Small toothed palm civet, Malay civet and Common palm civet,

Fruit bats, Sambar and Mouse deer were the best we could manage. Mike said he had a Pen-tailed tree shrew but no one else saw it. We did see another Crested Serpent Eagle.

 

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P2230126 Malay Civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2230130adj Common (Island) palm civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2230140 frog by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2240148 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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to #32

The night shots are really stunning, whether owls or that impossibly wide-eyed Western Tarsier. The yellow Grey Tailed Racer is an impressive guy. Adorable baby monkeys. I'm surprised there only a couple of frustrating incidents. The jungles of Borneo, especially at night, present a tough challenge. Overall, you have done extremely well!

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Wow - the Bay Owl is stunning. Size of a scops owl but looks like a Barn Owl or Marsh Owl.

 

Slow Loris and Tarsirs and Leopard Cat - my goodness! You certainly did well on this trip @@kittykat23uk.

 

Very cool visit to the cave as well.

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I know this is the 2nd time I've read through your report Jo but I am sure enjoying it again. You had so many of the same experiences that we did...just a few weeks earlier. Also, you have lots of great night photos. Did you use any sort of flash extender? I used one for the first time and got decent results but the rain impacted us a lot too so I didn't have the camera out for about most our night drives. So, I only have mental photos... :) .

 

I am REALLY jealous of the Tarsier. We looked and looked and looked and struck out. Just one more reason why we need to go back.

 

Alan

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@@kittykat23uk what amazing diversity on your latest Borneo safari. Those early mornings, late nights and leeches really paid great dividends in the variety of civets, cute baby macques, owls, kingfishers and the tarsier. Great sightings and thanks for sharing.

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to #32

The night shots are really stunning, whether owls or that impossibly wide-eyed Western Tarsier. The yellow Grey Tailed Racer is an impressive guy. Adorable baby monkeys. I'm surprised there only a couple of frustrating incidents. The jungles of Borneo, especially at night, present a tough challenge. Overall, you have done extremely well!

 

Thanks @@Atravelynn, Oh there were many frustrations, LOL I'm just picking out the highlights :)

 

@@kittykat23uk what amazing diversity on your latest Borneo safari. Those early mornings, late nights and leeches really paid great dividends in the variety of civets, cute baby macques, owls, kingfishers and the tarsier. Great sightings and thanks for sharing.

 

Thanks @@Treepol, the leech bites were not too bad, they bleed a lot sometimes but are generally painless.

 

32469961423_bcfebe51f5_c.jpg20170225_123107 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

33284799855_5ee323b059_c.jpg20170225_123034 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

On one night drive at Deramakot, I got stung in the face by a wasp of some kind. It felt like being punched, then after a while the pain died down and it felt like a mild nettle sting. It left no mark at all. In contrast, there are biting flies (Mike referred to them as sandflies, they were quite big), now these guys left horrible blistered welts all over my legs. These ones weep a lot and have left some scars.. I used deet but it made no difference. Leech socks help a bit but are so hot and sweatty!

 

 

 

I know this is the 2nd time I've read through your report Jo but I am sure enjoying it again. You had so many of the same experiences that we did...just a few weeks earlier. Also, you have lots of great night photos. Did you use any sort of flash extender? I used one for the first time and got decent results but the rain impacted us a lot too so I didn't have the camera out for about most our night drives. So, I only have mental photos... :) .

 

I am REALLY jealous of the Tarsier. We looked and looked and looked and struck out. Just one more reason why we need to go back.

 

Alan

 

Hi @@Atdahl, I did take a better Beamer but it didn't help much. A lot of the issues I had with night photography I think were down to the conditions - we had quite a lot of mist/fog and that really scuppers night shots. I used an FL 50R Flash on my E-M1. I also took a new lens, a Panasonic 100-400 native m43. We were really lucky with the Tarsier, that's for sure.

 

Wow - the Bay Owl is stunning. Size of a scops owl but looks like a Barn Owl or Marsh Owl.

 

Slow Loris and Tarsirs and Leopard Cat - my goodness! You certainly did well on this trip @@kittykat23uk.

 

Very cool visit to the cave as well.

 

Thanks @@offshorebirder I was lucky enough to get Bay Owl on my first trip and was surprised Mike hadn't seen one before. We did okay, not as well as some other groups I know- All the more reason to go back again!!

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24/2/17 At 0620 I was awoken by the dawn chorus and hooded pitta calling outside. I tried to sleep a bit more but eventually gave up. Then I walked the Ecology trail which was located just round the back of our chalet. The first part of the trail is quite steep up a bank but it levels out a bit once you get past that bit and heads along a forested ridge. I heard a black-crowned pitta early on, but it seemed to be in quite dense cover. I persisted with whistling in response to it's plaintive call and crept through the vines and branches trying to get a view. It took ages to lure the bird out of cover. When it finally did perch up where I could see it, it showed very nicely! It's one of my all time favorite birds, what a little stunner!

 

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P2240200 adj 2 copy Black-crowned pitta by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2240204 adj copy Black-crowned pitta by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

I didn't see a lot else on the trail, an army of termites on the move, I heard Gibbons but they were too far to locate:

 

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P2240209 Termites by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2240210 Termites by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

After walking the trail I then headed down to the restaurant. Our chalet was located up a steep slope above the restaurant so I found it a good idea to take all my kit with me before heading down. As a result on this day I didn't actually get breakfast until 13:00 and then at 14:30 we had lunch!

 

Flowers, etc.

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P2240219 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2240220 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2240228 adj copy Crested serpent eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

I stayed around the restaurant, spotting Cream-coloured giant squirrel, Prevosts squirrel, Lesser Green leaf bird, Crested serpent eagle and Asian Fairy Bluebird We then took a drive out from 4 pm. we saw Helmeted hornbill, Red-beareded bee-eater, Chestnut-naped forktail and Maroon Langaurs.

 

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P2240228 adj copy Crested serpent eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

After dark, we saw the usual mammals, as well as another leopard cat.

 

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P2240266adj Leopard cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2240278adj 2 Leopard cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2240284adj Leopard cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Buffy fish owls and a large worm were also seen.

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25/2/17 I woke up around 0830. Had a wander around, and by the restaurant saw a lovely Dusky Broadbill. There was also a Cream coloured giant squirrel, unfortunately I had accidentally changed the settings on my camera and so the pictures I took were all at stupidly high ISO, so the images didn't come out well at all. Here's one I shot on my previous trip to Borneo so you can see what it looks like:

 

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P3202327 Cream-coloured Giant Squirrel, Ratufa affinis by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

I walked Domingo's Management Trail with Jens.There were lots of black-crowned pitta calling and I did get a view of one of them.

 

Later on we all went for a drive, to look for signs of Leopard. we even checked scat..

 

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20170225_171621 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170225_171755 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170225_171812 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170225_171944 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

At the restaurant, there was Chestnut-bellied Malkoha and Lesser Green leafbird. We took a night drive, first we saw a Rough-necked monitor and then a delightful Colugo with a baby

 

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P2250366 rough necked monitor by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2250381 adj copy Colugo with baby by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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20170225_190735 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

At the restaurant, a little Sheath-tailed bat seemed to have found its way in and was just hanging around.

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P2250401 Sheath-tailed bat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A mantis had also flown into the restaurant.

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P2250403 Mantis by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260413 Buffy fish owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

We were lucky enough to encounter a herd of elephants traveling along the forest track, but as usual they quickly turned away and entered dense scrub when they saw us approaching.

 

Buffy fish owls the usual civets and a Brown wood owl were also encountered.

 

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P2260424adj 2 Brown wood owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260428adj 2 Brown wood owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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The bloody leech bite and high ISO settings were probably frustrating too. But the leopard cat balanced things out nicely. Wow!

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Yep, Leopard cats are cool!

 

26/2/17

 

I got the restaurant around 9 saw another group from New Zealand going to the Ecology trail. I took it easy for a while and photographed some birds around the restaurant. About an hour later they returned and I asked them what they'd seen. They put me onto an orangutan feeding by the generator so I rushed down to see it and had great views for quite a while. When I got back to the restaurant, I chilled for a bit and as others in the group began to surface I put them onto him as well.

 

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P2260460 (2)adj2 Orangutan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260467 (2) Orangutan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260592adj Orangutan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260702Orangutan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260718 Orangutan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260737 Orangutan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260758 Orangutan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260769 Orangutan by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260787 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260801 Long-tailed macaques by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260809 adj copy drongo by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We went for a drive late afternoon and dinner was served in the bush around 1845:

 

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20170226_184255 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Amongst the native fauna:

 

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20170226_190732 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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20170226_190823 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260825 Buffy fish owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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The first four nights had really produced only common species and we were starting to get a bit twitchy. It was definitely time for something a bit special to materialise, preferably a Leopard. Steve flippantly suggested that a ritual sacrifice was in order and, accordingly, Jens sacrificed his beard! The Gods were obviously impressed because our luck was to turn immediately and in dramatic fashion.

After dinner we took the road heading east towards the river. At first it followed the usual pattern of Flying Squirrels and Civets but, after a couple of hours, we finally struck gold. Mike suddenly signalled our driver, Lang, to stop and pointed excitedly to the roadside on the left. A group of three or four dark, slender animals were weaving their way sinuously through the wet grass. Their white throats were visible as they turned and shuffled off into the undergrowth. Oriental Small-clawed Otters!

Then, scarcely, five minutes later, Mike urgently signalled Lang to stop once more. "Marbled Cat" he hissed under his breath. For a moment we didn't know if he was serious or not but, as the vehicle slewed to an abrupt halt, there it was on a horizontal branch about forty metres away. At first it just sat on its haunches gazing back at us. Its eye-shine was surprisingly weak, (as Mike had previously said it would be), and it had been a hellishly good spot. Then, tiring of the light, it turned its back on us and sat still, staring intently into the forest beyond. (We suspected that we had interrupted it hunting Flying Squirrels).

 

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P2260831adj (2) Marbled cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260832adj Marbled cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

By giving it a rest from the light, we eventually got it to turn round and, as it stood up to stretch, all its marble cloud markings, leg spots and head stripes became visible. What a glorious sight! We watched it for over thirty minutes before eventually it decided to go about its business and descended the tree tail-first by hugging the trunk and carefully lowering itself down.

 

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P2260845adj (3) copy Marbled cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260867 (2) copy Marbled cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260869 adj 3 copy Marbled cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Both Clouded Leopard and Marbled Cat have the ability to descend head-first but this one apparently hadn't read the field guide. Then, it was lost in the under-storey and the show was over. But what a show!

 

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P2260876adj Marbled cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260877adj 2 copy Marbled cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260879adj Marbled cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

:D :D :D :D :D

 

More was to follow. Doubling back and heading towards Camp we found a Banded Palm Civet, a splendidly marked creature which slouched across the road twenty metres ahead of us giving superb views.

 

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P2260881 Banded palm civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

More frogs, and a Malay Civet hanging around camp.

 

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P2260886 frogs by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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Buffy fish owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260894 adj Malay Civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2260896adj2 Malay Civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Then, having passed back through Camp and out onto the road the other side, we finished off the evening with a Bornean Bay Owl which perched obligingly not too far away. No, it wasn't a mammal but it was a species that serious birders crave and a notable sighting in its own right.

 

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P2270901 adj copy Bay owl by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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Wow - great sighting of the Marbled Cat!

 

 

And I like the Mzungu T shirt.

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Wow Jo! Tremendous job with luring out that Pitta and getting great photos. I am jealous of that too! We didn't walk the Ecology trail so now I am kicking myself. Once again, great night shots. Better Beamer or not, you managed to capture some very nice photos in seriously tough conditions. I did not do as well.

 

For those worried about rain, bugs, and leeches. We did close to the same itinerary as Jo only a few weeks later. We had tons of rain but few bugs and the leech socks we bought online protected us 100% (even on one walk at Deramakot where I flicked 16 of the buggers off my shoes and leech socks).

 

I will post a TR once I am done enjoying Jo's (which might be awhile since hers is awesome... :) )

 

Alan

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Brilliant stuff. Really don't know what to expect next! Some seriousl good spotting going on by everyone.

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Thanks all. Needless to say Marbled Cat took the crown for mammal of the trip!

 

 

27/2/17 I encountered a strange-looking spider

 

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P2270935 strange spider by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Then had a nice leisurely day photographing some of the birds around the restaurant, including:

 

Yellow-vented Bulbul

 

 

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P2270938 copy Yellow vented Bulbul by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

A Red-billed Malkoha

 

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P2270976 adj Red-billed Malkoha by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

This splendid Dusky Broadbill

 

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P2270994 copy2 Dusky Broadbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2271044 copy Dusky Broadbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2271038 copy Dusky Broadbill by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Dark-throated Oriole

 

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P2271065 copy Dark-throated Oriole by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

My search for pittas was less successful. So I stopped to shoot butterflies instead.

 

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P2271090 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2271094 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2271107 (2) copy Dark-throated Oriole by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

But at least Malkohas were performing well..

 

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P2271141adj copy Chestnut-breasted Malkoha by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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P2271179 copy Chestnut-breasted Malkoha by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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