Tuesday, April 06, 2010

28th March 2010: Kinabatangan Jungle Camp, Sabah

There's been a drought in Sabah apparently. However, since I arrived on 21st, the drought ended! It had rained every day in Sandakan while I was there, but in Sukau, there had not been a drop. I arrived at Kinabatangan Jungle Camp at about 11am. At 1pm the rain started! It poured till 3pm. Robert Chong, our expert guide, rubbed his hands in anticipation. The birds had been very quiet for the previous two weeks, but now he was sure the rain would bring the birds out!

Birding on the Kinabatangan is literally laid back! You sit in a boat and are taken down the river, and all the birds and wildlife are viewed from the reclining position. Very cool!

Within five minutes of leaving the jetty we came across this fine male Orang utan stuffing his face.

I believe only the dominant male grows the enlarged cheek flanges, so I felt very fortunate to see this guy. Nearby was a female and a cute baby, but the light was so bad I could not take any decent photos.

The light didn't improve, but the birds seemed to love the rain, and were out in force. This subadult Wallace's Hawk-Eagle was drying itself out on a dead branch.

One of several Rhinoceros Hornbills - including six in one tree. The white iris reveals that it's a female.

These ropes have been strung across a tributary of the Kinabatangan by the Sabah Wildlife Dept to help orang utans cross the river, but the Proboscis Monkeys were very happy to use them too!

Mum and baby. Note the webbed feet!

The alternative to crossing the bridge is swimming, which is not to be recommended with these hungry monsters around!

Later on we saw a male Proboscis Monkey, with his adoring harem around him.

"It's a tough job being the alpha male, but somebody's gotta do it!"

Wrinkled Hornbill is one of the rarer hornbills in the Peninsula, but they seem common here. This is a male - one of a group of eight birds.

The books show male Wrinkled Hornbills as having a rather wan, pale yellow neck and bill - not very exciting at all. But in reality, they are a riot of colour - yellows, oranges, red and blue. The literature claims that the yellow and orange is just 'staining', but all the males we saw looked to have very similar 'staining'. I reckon they get a bad press!

Females are less impressive.

If only there'd been a bit of sun...!

A PINK hornbill! Finally the setting sun did poke its nose through the clouds, resulting in a pink glow on the breast of this male White-crowned Hornbill.

The hornbills here do seem to like to fly across rivers, which is great for photographers!

Sitting in a boat going upstream into the sunset is a particularly relaxing way to end the day!

Did I say end? Not quite! After dinner we were back in the boat again doing a night cruise. This was a bit disappointing after the excesses of the afternoon. Only Buffy Fish-owls seemed determined to please and were out in force. We saw six.

One more treat was in store on our return to camp however. A Malay Badger regularly comes hunting for worms around the camp. She's known as Elizabeth by the staff. A bit camera-shy on this occasion, so I only got a rear view!


Simon Taylor said...

An excellant post. It sounds likt a thoroughly enjoyable place to be, so different from the UK

Erwin said...

Oh gosh.. so beautiful, wish I could be there right now :-) All the best

digdeep said...

Thanks guys! Yes, it's beautiful. You should go!


col wise said...

enjoyed reading this and some great pictures

John Holmes said...

We met Elizabeth, too ! And a boyfriend...

J & J