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Back to Borneo - A Trip Made Possible by SafariTalk


Atdahl
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It's been exactly a month since we returned from Borneo and I am starting to post some trip reports on my website.  So, I thought I would share the different installments here.  I know that providing links aren't as fun as posting the report within SafariTalk but I am lazy and don't really want to have to write things twice. It's hard enough to get the motivation to write it once. :)

 

In any case, I will be posting some more detailed logistical stuff here since I don't include that in the TRs I write.  If anyone as any questions, feel free to ask and I will be happy to answer them if I can.  Borneo is an amazing island to visit within fantastic wildlife, people, and food.

 

So, why was this trip made possible by SafariTalk you ask?  Well, that's because it was going to be very expensive for just the two of us to go and frankly I wasn't sure if 2 people could even get a private tour in Deramakot.  So, we put out a call for people to join us on both Safaritalk and Mammalwatching.com.  As it turns out, the only people that could commit were @monalisa and her husband.  So, if it wasn't for them, and Safaritalk, there would likely have been no trip for us.  In addition, they turned out to be great travel companions.

 

If we ask nicely  @monalisa might even post some or her pictures in this report and provide a different perspective on events. After all, I tend to have a drink or two when writing reports so even I don't always know what the heck I am writing.

 

Here was our itinerary:

4 Nights Sepilok - Forest Edge Resort
6 Nights Daramakot
3 Nights Kinabatangan - Sukau Rainforest Lodge
3 Nights Danum - Borneo Rainforest Lodge

1 Night Sepilok - Forest Edge Resort

 

Here is a link to the first installment which is really just our super fun travel days:

http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2018/05/back-to-borneo-travel-days.html

 

Here is a link to Day 1 in Sepilok:

http://focusedonnature.blogspot.com/2018/05/sepilok-day-1.html

 

And here are a few teaser pics:

 

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Can you name this creature?

DSC_4146_edited-1-L.jpg

 

Alan

Edited by Atdahl
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Only one question @Atdahl did you get the leopard??

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Cool photos, as always, and Borneo, although all the plantations etc. obviously never disappoints. As for rewriting the trip report twice, it is not needed as you could easily copy/past text, and adding photos (or links) is only extra work. Anyway, it will be great reading, either here or on your blog site!

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Thanks for this! Borneo is on my list, but honestly, I have no idea if we'll ever make it. Too far, too expensive, too hot...but it looks amazing, so who knows?

 

I agree, waking up at 3:30 am to go away on vacation is easy; 6 am to go to work - a huge chore. 

 

Loved all the pics, but the young orangutan is a cutie. Can't wait to see more. Was this time better weather-wise? Better season, or just luck?

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@kittykat23uk, no point keeping folks in suspense.  The answer is "no" to the Leopard.  Of course it wasn't for a lack of trying.  So, they are still there somewhere waiting for your next trip to show themselves...Any idea when you might go back?  I wouldn't rule out another trip for us at some point.  Deramakot is such a huge draw of course but so is Danum for us.  

 

 @xelas, yes the endless see of palm oil plantations is a bit depressing.  Although, it seems like Sabah is doing a much better job than other areas when it comes to preserving forest and wildlife.  Our driver mentioned that tourism is now a bigger money maker that palm oil there which has helped the scales shift a bit more towards conservation.  You are right of course about pasting the report but it is the links that I would have to redo and that's the lazy part I mentioned :).

 

@xyz99, yes it's far (depending on where you live).  But, it's much cheaper than Africa (I am happy to share prices if you PM me) based on my research.  However, it is hot.  But, the humidity is what gets you more than the heat if you ask me.  But after so many trips to the rain forests of the world we know what to expect and it's not really worse than other rain forests.  Since it's our first destination in Asia, all the wildlife was new to us and that more than made up for the heat and travel distance.

 

Alan

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Sorry to hear that @Atdahl although I do confess a bit of relief that my failure to join you this time did not result in my being gripped off, but I do of course feel your pain! :(

 

no actual plans on the cards right now. Got Brazil to go first and my dad is talking about trying to get to Canada  next year for the polar bears and other things.  But if there is enough interest here or on mammalwatching.com  to do another cat quest, who knows? :)

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Quote

You are right of course about pasting the report but it is the links that I would have to redo and that's the lazy part I mentioned

  

You don't have to redo anything Alan. Just copy and paste it over. I sent you a PM. 

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Mystery creature - Bornean Slow Loris?

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@Atdahl So glad that ST came good for you and hooked you up with another member. Great to see and thanks for the feedback.

 

Matt

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@Atdahl I will read

this closely as it’s close to the top of my list, but please share polar bear plans as they’re formulated, I’m interested!

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@Atdahl

 

Oh, good, I’ve been looking forward to this report very much. That slow loris wasn’t slow enough, was it, but at least you got the sighting. Can’t wait to hear more, and I hope @monalisa will chime in as well. 

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16 hours ago, amybatt said:

@Atdahl I will read

this closely as it’s close to the top of my list, but please share polar bear plans as they’re formulated, I’m interested!

Was that directed at me  @amybatt

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Thanks to @pault, I am going to attempt to copy and paste the next installment of the trip here.  So, stay tuned to see if that works or not.

 

@Whyone?, You are correct. Although they changed the name to Philippine Slow Loris a few years back.  They are quite adorable.  Thankfully, better looks are still ahead

 

@amybatt,  At first I thought you were looking over my shoulder recently since I was looking into a trip to see Polar Bears...but I think it's @KittyKat that mentioned it here.  I bet there are lots of people looking forward to learning more about that trip as her plans take shape.

 

As a side note, does anyone else have issues with the @STName not working when replying after you enter a few.  Seems to happen every time for me.  I got 3 to work in this reply but then it stopped working when I tried @KittyKat...if anyone has a solution to that I would be grateful.

 

Alan

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Sepilok - Day 2

 

Well, Mother Nature finally caught up to us after a day and a half of sun.  It rained most of the night and we had a huge thunder storm at 4AM which woke us up.

 

The day before we had decided to go to the Rainforest Discovery Center early.  So, despite the continued off and on rain, we were out at 6AM and headed to the RDC.  We got rained out for every trip to the RDC last year and it appeared our luck would be no better this year.  By 7:30AM the rain showed no signs of stopping so we left the RDC all wet...again.

 

Back at Forest Edge, we hung out in the covered dining room area for the rest of the morning watching a few birds brave the rain:

 

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker:

Scarlet-backed Flowerpecker

 

Luckily, the rain subsided around lunch time and wasn't an issue the rest of the day.

 

For the afternoon, we had arranged for Gary to take us to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey sanctuary.  At first, none of us really wanted to go because morally this sanctuary is a bit of a gray area.  The sanctuary is owned and operated by a palm oil company.  It only exists because this company found the monkeys while tearing down all of the surrounding habitat.  Luckily, someone at the company took pity on these monkeys and preserved some jungle/mangroves for them.

 

But, did we really want to give money to a palm oil company to see these monkeys that we assumed were really only semi-wild since they lived on a forest "island" in the middle of a palm oil plantation?

 

After talking it over and reading more about the sanctuary online, we decided to go since Proboscis monkeys were likely but not guaranteed at the river later in the trip.  Gary ended up dispelling our fears a bit by letting us know that the monkeys were not land-locked and could actually leave the sanctuary because all the mangroves for miles were connected and protected. So, the monkeys were wild (although fed daily in the sanctuary to supplement their wild diets) after all and we also had the chance to see Mudskippers at the mangroves.

 

That last part sealed my "yes" vote since the Mudskipper was on my target list for this trip.  The others were on board too and we ended up having a great time at the sanctuary.

 

The sanctuary is home to other wild primates including these Silver Leaf Monkeys:

Silver Langurs

 

Silver Langur

 

It wasn't long before we spotted a Mudskipper and they were fantastic.  This is a Blue-spotted Mudskipper:

Blue-spotted Mudskipper

 

The Mudskipper is a fish that lives on land. It uses its pectoral fins to walk around and it can breathe on land as well (although not like we do).  It's quite an evolutionary marvel and pretty cool looking too.  Its eyes stick out above its head and can move independently of each other:

 

Head On View

 

Once my infatuation with the Mudskippers subsided, we headed to the main platform and soon the staff was putting out some food for the Proboscis Monkeys.  They get a combination of vegetables and non-sweet pancakes.  Because these monkeys are "baited" they are used to people and the photo opportunities are outstanding.  So, be prepared for Proboscis Monkey overload:

 

Proboscis Monkey with Baby

 

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Juvenile Proboscis Monkey

 

Mother and Baby

 

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The Cuddle

 

 

One of the things that makes the Proboscis Monkey so endearing is how human like they seem.  This is a standard sitting position.  All you need is a La-Z-Boy chair and remote and it could be any one of us...

DSC_4463_edited-1-L.jpg

 

 

There were two separate troops of Proboscis Monkeys on separate feeding platforms when we were there. Our large viewing deck was in between them.  The dominate male of one of the troops was paying great attention to the male from the other troop and was staring intently at him.  As luck would have it, we were just about right in between the males so it appeared like the first male was staring at us.  He was eating and barking out calls at the other male.  As a matter of fact, he had no problem "talking" with his mouth full and showing us everything he was chewing.

 

Trust me, that wasn't ALL he was showing us either.  See, male Proboscis monkeys like to show off their junk.  There I said it.  They have a bright red penis and ink black balls and they aren't ashamed of them AT ALL.  In fact, this male took a couple swipes at his erect penis to intimidate the other male.  I wonder if that would work in meetings at work that aren't going my way...probably not.

 

All of a sudden he leaped down from the platform and on to our viewing deck.  He charged past us on all fours slapping the ground to make a great commotion as he went past.  I couldn't believe how fast and powerful he was as he scampered past us to chase off the other male.  He then came back to our viewing deck to take a quick look around on top of a sign and returned to his troop.  He moved way too fast to get a photo until he stopped on that sign to take his final look around.

 

Warning Sign

 

At first, the sign seemed difficult to interpret.  Luckily with the help of the pictures I think I understand it now:

1 - Don't let the monkeys hand you their poop (seems an obvious one)

2 - Monkeys don't like "talking to the hand" (neither does my wife)

3 - Pacman isn't allowed to talk to the monkeys (Rumor has it that Ms Pacman does all the talking in that family though)

4 - No ice skating (Sorry Scott Hamilton)

5 - Tank tops aren't allowed (good thing I didn't wear my leopard tank top belly shirt...phew)

6 &7 - It is OK to trade your two kids and buggy for one monkey (It's a deal!)

 

 

When the dominant male returned to his troop he got a little grooming reward:

Grooming Session

 

But, that session was interrupted when he spotted the other male again and started to display his displeasure sans junk:

 

Dominant Male Proboscis Postering

 

 

As you can see, there were a couple mothers with babies in the troop and they were great fun to watch.  Here's one final Proboscis pic (Spoiler alert: the rated R Proboscis pics are coming later):

 

Holding On

 

We had a blast watching all this interaction and hearing all the communication sounds between the monkeys.  It's much harder to see and hear all that in the wild along the river.  One thing we were surprised about is that when a couple Long-tailed Macaques came to get some food, all the Proboscis monkeys left. Even the big males were easily chased off.  The Macaques are kings of this jungle.

 

Also at the reserve we saw some new raptors, a Dog-faced Water Snake, and some unidentified rats. So, despite a few sprinkles it was a great afternoon and seeing all the wonderful Proboscis behavior was a highlight of the trip for us.

 

After leaving Labuk Bay, we headed for the RDC where we actually had no rain!  A first at the RDC for us.  So, we were finally able to explore and look for wildlife.  We found lots of it.

 

Eastern Crimson Sunbird:

Eastern Crimson Sunbird

 

Interesting vine:

Patterns

 

Our first looks at Rhinoceros Hornbill this trip:

Rhinoceros Hornbill

 

Low's Squirrel:

Low's Squirrel

 

As we were climbing up one of the towers, Andrea found a snake that was really well camouflaged.  It was another Red-tailed Racer (not sure why they call them that when every one we saw had a gray tail).

Red-tailed Racer (with Gray tail)

 

Red-tailed Racer

 

At dusk, Gary positioned us on one of the canopy walkways to see the flying squirrels leave their nest and hopefully glide to a nearby tree.  We didn't have to wait long before one emerged and glided effortlessly to another tree.  It's so cool to watch.  Too bad it was pretty dark out.

 

Just after dark we made our way out of the RDC but not before we saw this large Asian Toad:

Asian Toad

 

Dinner consisted of Pizza (Yes, Forest Edge does a pretty darn good pizza) and happy hour ice cold beer.  Even though the morning got rained out the rest of the day was really good today.  This was Gary's last day with us.  He will be missed.  He told us that our guide for the day tomorrow would be Gomi (not his real name) and that he did not know him.  Well, he can't be too bad...right?

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Wow, @pault that was super easy to just copy and paste like you said.  The font is different, but I think it looks fine.  I guess I have to stop using the "lazy" excuse now.  Thanks again for the tip!

 

Alan

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4 hours ago, Atdahl said:

Wow, @pault that was super easy to just copy and paste like you said.  The font is different, but I think it looks fine.  I guess I have to stop using the "lazy" excuse now.  Thanks again for the tip!

 

Alan

 

Tip well worth it for extra ease of access to the great photos of proboscis monkeys I think. That and the sign interpretation.:D

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The Mudskippers and the Proboscis are super-cool! And your sign interpretation just made me laugh out.:)

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Nice TR @Atdahl

I always wondered what those signs meant

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Borneo looks amazing, thanks for sharing. How long is your zoom? What did you usually use on this trip?

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Ahahahaha!! I love your interpretation of the sign!!! That is hilarious.

 

Unfortunately it's 1am at the moment here and I need to go to work tomorrow *grumble* so I can't add all that I would like to, but just wanted to say, I cannot WAIT to read the instalments about Gomi :D

 

Here's something for the proboscis collection aka best monkey ever :D

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Yes, @Atdahl and @kittykat23uk I did mean KK's polar bear trip.  I was reading/posting from the airport on a 30 hour journey home and wasn't paying close attention.

 

LOVE the sign interpretation and your proboscis monkey pics, and video, are awesome!!

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@monalisa, thanks for adding the video. It's awesome!   Feel free to keep bugging "you know who" to process more videos...:)

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Thanks all.  I am glad I could interpret the sign for you...:D

 

@xyz99, all the wildlife pictures were taken with a Nikon D7100 with the 200-500MM zoon lens.  I also used the 18-300mm for scenery shots.  I did not take a tripod this trip and did not miss it. So, all shots are handheld.  My post processing is done in Adobe Elements where I might crop, sharpen, or remove some noise.  Because of no tripod, I shot a lot of photos in the 800 to 1600 ISO range hence the need to remove some noise post processing. 

 

Alan

 

 

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On 6/6/2018 at 3:57 AM, Atdahl said:

Wow, @pault that was super easy to just copy and paste like you said.  The font is different, but I think it looks fine.  I guess I have to stop using the "lazy" excuse now.  Thanks again for the tip!

 

Alan

 

Not that I am petty, but fact is it was me that have suggested copy/past to you first (see post #3) :D

 

IMHO it is easier to read your text on this background vs. your blog's one. Looking forward for the rest to be posted here.

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20 hours ago, Atdahl said:

Thanks all.  I am glad I could interpret the sign for you...:D

 

@xyz99, all the wildlife pictures were taken with a Nikon D7100 with the 200-500MM zoon lens.  I also used the 18-300mm for scenery shots.  I did not take a tripod this trip and did not miss it. So, all shots are handheld.  My post processing is done in Adobe Elements where I might crop, sharpen, or remove some noise.  Because of no tripod, I shot a lot of photos in the 800 to 1600 ISO range hence the need to remove some noise post processing. 

 

Alan

 

 

 

@Atdahl Thanks for the details. I usually don't bother with the tripod, but the most I can hand hold is my 70-300 zoom. A lot of times, that's not enough for birds...so some of my crops are really heavy. Now, if they can make some light and good longer zoom, that would be great :)

 

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