Friday, April 02, 2010

26th March 2010: Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok, Sabah

The second morning dawned bright after rain, and once again it was a long vigil on the canopy walkway in the hopes of seeing the Bristleheads.

This is the 'microrhinus' race of Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, endemic to Borneo. It has an interesting eye colour. According to Myers, the female should have a yellow iris and the male a pale blue one.

Bushy-crested Hornbills are common at RDC, and this one was sunning itself at first light at the entrance.

One of several endemic races of Oriental Magpie Robin - this one is 'adamsi', distinguished by its white vent.

The male Van Hasselt's Sunbird was in his usual spot.

Another endemic race, the Brown Barbets of Borneo have an attractive chestnut orange throat. The pale bill identifies this one as a female.

This Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike was, unusually, on its own. It looks like a subadult bird.

There were several Crested Goshawks in the vicinity, including this juvenile.

And a pair of adults engaging in the typical wing-fluttering courtship display, fluffing their white ventral feathers out on either side of the tail.

In the afternoon I saw this bird carrying a skink or tree lizard into the trees, but was unable to locate a nest.

A group of ants hauling a cockroach along a wire. I was amazed at the coordination this feat required! No wonder the proverb says: "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise!"

An interesting female sunbird was hanging around the Van Hasselt's Sunbird tree. At first I thought it might be a Van Hasselt's, but in the end I concluded it must be a Brown-throated - of yet another endemic race, 'borneensis'. With the greyish nape and brownish wings, it looks quite different from the Peninsula birds.

More little birds! Plain Flowerpecker (race 'borneanum') is described by Myers as 'very uncommon'.

One of a pair of Thick-billed Spiderhunters near the Bristlehead Tower.

The long wait for the appearance of the Bristleheads was made bearable by many photo opportunities provided by various swifts and swiftlets.

One of the 'Aerodramus' trio.

Glossy/White-bellied Swiftlets

Silver-rumped Needletail

Brown-backed Needletail. I first noticed the white streak down the belly of this species on the birds I photographed in Perlis. As not all seemed to have it, I assumed that it was something attached to the bird's feathers, like a piece of spiderweb or something. Seeing it on the birds here as well, it is obviously a plumage feature, although not one I have seen alluded to anywhere. I wonder if it is unique to this species?

Watching them involved in courtship flights is like watching military jets in formation - brilliant!

Another view of a Giant Squirrel.

The previous evening at dusk, a few Red Giant Flying Squirrels had put on a display, but it was too dark for photography. This evening, the first male was out of his hole by 4.30pm. He seemed to realize he'd got up too early, and dozed off on this branch.

After a while he shinned up to a fork in the tree to have a better look at me. Having recently seen 'Alice in Wonderland', I was reminded of the Cheshire Cat!

The first flight of the evening. Catching these guys in flight, in focus, is a good challenge for any wildlife photographer!

Safe landing! Since they can't hover, the squirrels move up into a stall position just before landing, otherwise they would go 'Splat!' against the tree I guess.

Once landed they have to go through the process of shinning up the tree again to get enough height for the next launch.

Up we go!

This animal spent a lot of time sniffing perches and then marking them with his own scent.

Nobody else was up yet, so time for another snooze!

Aha! A second animal appeared at last!

Up to the top...

And then launch off!

As more and more animals emerged, a furious game of tag ensued!

Oi! What are YOU doing there?!

Moment of impact!

Then up it went again!

Where's the other guy gone?

Whoops! There he is!

Time to go!

As it got darker they looked more and more like cats!

Well, maybe not!

Under all that fur, there's not much more than skin and bone.

Who's been here?

A second Bristlehead blank day, but the flying squirrel show more than compensated!


Terence Ang said...

Nice shot of the Red Giant Flying Squirrels and the accipiter.

John Holmes said...

We saw one of these at the RDC about three weeks ago.

Our shots were poor, though.

Still, it's a great spot, and we got the Bristlehead, Diard's Trogon White-bellied Woody and Oriental Dwarf kingfisher there..

We're fans !

digdeep said...

Thanks Terence.

Hi Jon and Jemi - so I missed you by 3 weeks! I saw all that stuff except for one... :-(