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Still at proboscis and their parts, our guide named them Red Hot Chilli Pepper :D. Not sure if the band of the same name would appreciate the comparison :lol:. You have gathered an impressive collection of Proboscis photos; we have seen them only on boat rides, quick glimpses.



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@xelas, or course you are right about being the first to suggest the copy/paste.  I do appreciate that.  Plus, I love the 'Red Hot Chilli Pepper' name.  We had a guide that called it their "red lipstick" but yours is much better.


@xyz99, I used to have to 70-300 so I know what you are talking about.  The 200-500mm is not light but has great VR.  I didn't think I would be able to hand hold it as much as I can.  You do build up the strength to keep it steady the more you use it.  It's a great bird lens too....not that I am trying to talk you into that purchase. :)



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Sepilok - Day 3


We had some light rain overnight but nothing like the thunder and lightning the previous morning.  In fact, the sky was clear when I looked outside.  So, we had high hopes when we met at 6AM to head once again to the RDC.


Waiting for us promptly at 6AM was Gomi.  My first impression was that this guy couldn't be more than 15 years old.   My second impression wasn't much better when we learned that we would have to shuttle to the RDC since a tiny taxi was the only vehicle he could get.  Weird...but OK.


We joked to ourselves that maybe Gomi wasn't old enough to drive yet which is why he hired a taxi.


Once at the RDC, all this was forgotten as we headed up a canopy walk and Karen spotted a flying squirrel that was climbing up a tree.  It was hard to see but I, not Gomi, noticed a better vantage point and we all headed there.  Seeing a Flying Squirrel in the day time would be a real treat.


Once we got to the new vantage point, we could see the squirrel high in a tree and it appeared to be eating. It was a Giant Red Flying Squirrel. But, with the sun behind it, it wasn't great for photos.  This Wallace's Hawk Eagle nearby also seemed interested...


Wallace's Hawk Eagle


We watched the squirrel move around in the tree eating and we all hoped that it might decide to glide.  As minutes passed our arms got tired from holding up cameras, binocs, etc so we weren't paying as close attention as we should have been when the squirrel took off and literally glided right over our heads.  It was extraordinary to watch but with my camera down at that exact moment I had to raise it quickly and just shoot from the hip.  The result is far from a perfect picture but I do find it interesting since you can see the membrane and its rear appendages pretty well:


Red Giant Flying Squirrel...flying past


Once the squirrel landed on its target tree, the Wallace's Hawk Eagle came swooping in.  It was sort of a half hearted attack if you ask me but it was still fun to see and I managed to get a photo as the squirrel snapped at the eagle:


Eagle vs. Squirrel


The eagle gave up quickly which left the squirrel in perfect light for a few photos:

Squirrel Wins!


Climbing to Safety


Soon, the squirrel climbed up that tree and out of sight.


It was really a fantastic experience to see.  We had seen flying squirrel before but seeing one fly over our heads in the daytime and then climb up a tree in morning light was really special.


I chatted a bit with Gomi and learned that he had been guiding for 7 years (So, he must have started when he was 8 I said to myself) and Gary (our guide the past two days) was one of his "best friends".  Hmmm...that's weird since Gary said he didn't know him...


Next we (not Gomi) saw some birds in a far tree.  I identified them as Dollar Bird's since we just saw one earlier in the trip and I know what they look like.  Gomi said no...they were Red-breasted Parakeets.  Say what?...they are blueish green.  Hmmm....not a good sign considering those birds aren't even supposed to be in Sabah.


The only other excitement during this morning activity was a bit later when Tim (not Gomi) yelled out "Snake"!  There had been a snake apparently a few feet away that quickly crawled into the nearby bushes.  We all got close to take a look. We saw its body which was grey with a white stripe down the back.  Gomi identified it as a Gray Cobra and told us to be careful as he backed away a bit behind all of us.  Hmmm...I am no cobra expert but I had never heard of a Gray Cobra before.  We kept looking, of course, hoping the snake would come out but it stayed in the leaf litter slithering calmly along and was mostly obscured.  At one point, I was able to get a picture of its head:

White-bellied Rat Snake


It had a really big eye and sure didn't look like a Cobra head to me.  But, at this point we could only assume that Gomi was right so we were excited to see a Cobra on "our" terms basically.


Gomi did have a cell phone and apparently reached out to friends about the snake and a little bit later told us it was actually a King Cobra.  Wow, that would be cool.  But, I still had my doubts on that ID.


Next, we mentioned that we wanted to try to find the Racer snake we saw with Gary yesterday to see if it was still there.  We didn't know exactly where it was but we knew we passed Gary's office in the RDC right after seeing the snake.  Since Gomi and Gary were "Best Friends" we figured this was a good clue.  Gomi indicated he knew where to go and we followed him down the path which lead directly.......


out of the RDC and no where near where we wanted to go.  Oh well...


We "shuttled" back to the lodge in the same tiny taxi for lunch and rest.  But, Karen and I always say that we can "rest when we get home".  So, we decided to take the short jungle walk on the grounds of the lodge.  This was a really good decision with one minor "gotcha".


Plaintive Cuckoo:

Plaintive Cuckoo


Yellow-vented Bulbul:

Yellow-vented Bulbul


Next, Karen spotted something small moving in the bushes just above eye level.  We assumed it was a squirrel because they were everywhere at Forest Edge but this little critter was different.  We actually didn't know what it was at first until Karen realized it was a treeshrew.  We later identified it as a Lesser Treeshrew:

Lesser Treeshrew


It's pretty cute!


A new mammal is always a great way to start a hike.  Soon after that we found a gorgeous Kingfisher and we watched it hunt:


Chestnut-collared Kingfisher:

Chestnut-collared Kingfisher



Millipede Hunter


That was another great sighting on this short hike.  But, just as we were leaving, I noticed something small fly above the photo blind the owner has installed for Pitta Photography.  It took me a second to get a clear look.  It wasn't a Pitta...it was an owl!


Reddish Scops Owl


We later identified this Owl with the help of Peter, the owner of Forest Edge, as the Reddish Scops Owl.  We love owls and this was our first Scops owl of any kind which was really exciting.


We were probably on the trail for less than an hour so that was time well spent in our book.


However, the mood turned a bit somber as we took off our shoes before entering our room.  There on Karen's ankle was a big juicy leech.  We were proud to say that on our previous trip to Borneo no one in our group of four got bit by a leech.  But, here we were only on day 3 and Karen is already a victim on this trip.


She was likely incredibly grossed out by this but she remained calm and asked me to remove it.  It took a bit of effort to scrape it off with my fingernail but I did.  Then we searched our boots and Karen found two more leeches.  I, of course, had none because I am awesome!  But, one band-aid later and Karen was good as new.  We had not thought there would be leeches on this trail so we didn't wear our cool looking leech socks.  Lesson learned....


At lunch we traded our favorite Gomi stories from the morning and did some online research only to confirm that we didn't see a Cobra since the scales were all wrong on it's head.  Oh, well.


In the afternoon, the plan was to explore the RDC again.  Once again, Gomi was waiting promptly but with the tiny taxi again. So, after we shuttled to the RDC we began our walk.


He immediately told us the snake we saw in the morning was actually a Sumatran Cobra not a King Cobra.  OK....


Soon we encountered a couple RDC employees looking at something.  Turns out it was a Colugo splayed out on a tree resting in broad daylight.  Another nocturnal mammal in the daytime...that was really lucky (and would be a continuing theme of this trip).


Bornean Culogo


Colugo Closeup


The RDC employees said the Colugo had a baby but it was tucked out of sight so we couldn't see it.


Gomi talked about the Colugo a bit and told us that the baby was likely in the Colugo's pouch.  What?  "The Colugo has a pouch?" I asked.  "Oh yes, the baby will stay with the mother in the pouch for 6 years" said Gomi.  "Wait" I said "Only marsupials have pouches I thought and the Colugo is not a marsupial".  "It has a pouch" says Gomi.


OK, so I let the pouch thing go but Gomi's already paper thin credibility melted away with me.  The others pressed him a bit on the 6 year thing.  They even asked how long the Colugo lives to which he replied 12 years.  So, I guess they spend half their lives with a baby in their pouch.  Seemed kind of fishy to us...but we let that one go too eventually.


Next, Andrea (not Gomi) spotted a really cool green lizard which Gomi correctly identified as the Green Crested Lizard (AKA Green Tree Lizard):

Green Tree Lizard


Notice its extraordinarily long tail in the photo above.  This was a pretty lizard so I couldn't resist taking more photos:

Green Tree Lizard


That was pretty much the end of our afternoon trip but we booked a 6PM night walk at the Orangutan Sanctuary again (I will find you Tarsier!).  So, we were going to go straight there.  When we got to the RDC parking lot there was no taxi though.  Instead, Gomi went up to to a small car in the parking lot and opened the doors.  He, Tim, and Andrea got in and drove off to the Sanctuary.  I guess Gomi does have a driver's license after all, I thought.


A while later Gomi returned and this time there was a girl in the passenger seat.  Maybe she was there all along and I just missed her.  After climbing in, I noticed distinctly feminine decorating.  I think the pink tassel and steering wheel cover were a dead give away that this car must belong to his friend.  When we arrived at the sanctuary he thanked her for letting him borrow her car and made some comment about her being pretty...was Gomi a "playa"?


As we entered the sanctuary, the Red-tailed Racer was in the same tree as the night before but still not very visible so we quickly moved on to see Orangutans playing around the sanctuary buildings.  It was fun to watch them climb around the roof and drink water from the rain gutters.  There was also a big male around that was fun to watch as well.  You can tell how intelligent these apes are when you look them in the eyes.


I couldn't be sure but it seemed like the Orangutan looked at Gomi and then at me and proceeded to give me a "Sorry dude" look and then shake his head.


Orangutan Glance


For this night walk, they took us to the Orangutan Nursery area where Flying Squirrels would be likely to emerge and glide around at dusk.  So, we made a beeline for that area but not before stopping to see a much more visible Bornean Keeled Pit Viper.  That's a good looking snake:

Bornean Keeled Pit Viper


We got to the nursery and waited around for a bit.  Soon, one squirrel emerged:

Red Giant Flying Squirrel


Then another from a different tree.  Then the second one glided majestically to a nearby tree.  Then more squirrels emerged and started gliding.  We must have seen 4 to 6 squirrels glide which was fantastic even though it got too dark to photograph them.


During this Flying Squirrel circus, a young Orangutan showed up and didn't seem to like us NOT paying any attention to it.  So, it got on its back and rolled around in the grass, looked our way...then rolled more with hands and feet in the air.  It seemed to be looking for attention that we could not give.  But, there was an employee nearby that went over to it and that seemed to satisfy it.  I called it the "diva" Orangutan and it was quite entertaining.


The rest of the night walk was OK. We saw some cool stick insects, some roosting birds and lizards but no Tarsier...again! (I am beginning to doubt their existence).  Once again, as we left the center the word came out that a Slow Loris was in the Sun Bear Sanctuary across the road.  Since they were letting us in to look, we went.  This time the Slow Loris was much more visible and we soon realized that there were two in the same tree and one was moving pretty darn fast to catch the other.


Philippine Slow Loris moving quickly:

Slow Loris Moving Fast


But, it eventually gave up the chase and stayed still for a bit:

Slow Loris


Slow Loris


Wow, these guys are adorable.  But, they are venomous, believe it or not, so you certainly don't want to get near one.  The have a gland that they lick to mix with their saliva and then they coat themselves with it.  Apparently, there is enough of this venom in their mouth through licking to do some damage to someone if bitten.  Especially if that person happens to be allergic to the toxin.  So, there you have it.  Cute...but don't touch!


As we were walking back to the entrance there was a 3rd Slow Loris in a tree.  Three in one night is a pretty good haul.


Back at the entrance to the sanctuary, the car we were delivered in was no where to be seen.  Gomi came up to us and pointed to a nearby car with a guy in it and said that he would take us back to the lodge.  The car was actually big enough for all 4 of us so after looking at each other we shrugged and walked towards the car.  Gomi said he was staying at the Forest Edge and would see us later at dinner.  So, I opened the front passenger door only to find a bag of groceries on the seat.  Between that and the lack of leg room, I barely managed to contort myself enough to squeeze into the seat and off we went.  The drive back was uneventful except for the can of soup in my intergluteal cleft (look it up).


At dinner, we did see Gomi but he ended up sitting at a different table and eventually disappeared with all his stuff still on that table.  We waited a bit to say goodbye but he never came back.  So, after another nice dinner and more of our "best of Gomi" stories we walked back to the room.


On the way was a really cool Common Greenback frog:

Common Greenback


It was another really good day of animal sightings and once again there was no rain!  The daytime Flying Squirrel and Colugo and the night time Slow Loris were huge highlights.


Despite Gomi's obvious shortcomings as a guide, he was always on time with some sort of  transportation for us and he did try to find things for us.  He just didn't really succeed in anything but providing us with some false information and entertainment.  It would be better if he had just said he didn't know what something was as opposed telling us the wrong thing.  We also learned that Colugo's don't have pouches and the babies stay with their mother's for 6 months...not years.  That is why we Karen coined the name Gomi for him.  Guide Of Mis-Information.



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Alan, as Gomi was obviously a teenager it was only right that others have done his work; how would you feel to exploit a kid to work for you :P:D!


As for the Cobra snake, I have had that same story with a much older guide in Corcovado. "A very deadly snake, Mister, take care!!" Unfortunately like you also we have pressed the camera button twice (or more) and deadly snake only turns into A Salmon-belly Racer :huh:


Anyway, Sepilok delivered to you and you delivered to us, with or without Gomi valuable assistance :).

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Wow, so many great sightings and photos. The proboscis monkey shots are fantastic; but you did really well with that spectacular scarlet sunbird, the kingfisher, and the scops owl as well. 


Then the flying squirrel, very cool. The colugo is one of the strangest looking mammals I’ve seen in a while. And there’s the slow loris, again, but this time posing most cooperatively. I had no idea that they were venomous. Fascinating. 


Great trip so far, even if G(uide) o(f) m(is-) i(nformation) does seem like a particularly apt acronym. 

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@xelas, yes it seems pretty common that snake identification is not on the top of most guide's list.  But, that's what the internet is for.  Actually, with the help of our guide at Deramakot we identified the snake as a White-bellied Rat Snake.


@Alexander33, thanks!  There are more Colugo photos coming so get ready for that :).

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Sepilok to Deramakot - Days 4 & 5


I am going to combine two days into one report today.  I just don't have that many pictures for these two days for reasons that will soon become apparent.


Today (Day 4) would be our last day in Sepilok as we were transferring to Deramakot.  But, since this wouldn't happen until after breakfast, I did manage a walk around the grounds.


Plantain Squirrel:

Plantain Squirrel


One of the cool things about the Forest Edge resort is that the owner, Peter, is a big time bird photographer.  So, he has set up a few blinds around the grounds for Pitta and Kingfisher.  I didn't actually use any of the blinds but I took advantage of the pond that attracted Kingfishers.


A Blue-eared Kingfisher hung out there a lot but I have better pictures from later in the trip.


However, I did get good looks at a Stork-billed Kingfisher and a couple other birds hanging out:

Stork-billed Kingfisher


Pacific Swallow:

Pacific Swallow


Brown-capped Woodpeckers:

Brown-capped Woodpeckers


And with that, we had to say goodbye to Sepilok.  Unlike our last trip, we really felt we saw the best of Sepilok this time. The weather cooperated and we saw some great wildlife between our visits to Labuk Bay, the RDC, the Orangutan Sanctuary, and of course the grounds of the Forest Edge Resort.


Our trusty transfer driver Eric was right on time to drive us the two hours to Telupid.


Prior to the trip, we had requested the same Deramakot crew from last year.  This meant we would enjoy the guiding prowess of Mike (the hardest working guide in the business), the cooking of Gidi (I gained at least a pound a day eating her magnificent cooking), and Lang (the best off-road driver in Borneo).


So, it was great to arrive in Telupid and see Lang and his familiar 4x4 trucks.  After lunch we loaded into the familiar red and white 4x4's for the 2.5 hour drive to Deramakot.


Besides seeing quite a bit of elephant dung on the way in, the drive to the camp was pretty uneventful.  We arrived around 4PM and settled in after saying hi to Mike and Gidi.  It was good to be back but I forgot how steep the hill was up to our rooms.  It feels like more than a 45 degree angle towards the top but it probably isn't and the hill has the added benefit of helping me burn off Gidi's cooking.


At dinner we talked about the plan for that evening.  Since the weather was good and I was really keen to see Tarsier, the group decided it was a good night to do a hike looking for them.


So, when 8PM rolled around, I was really excited to get going.  I slid into my big rubber boots, slung my camera with 200-500mm lens attached over my shoulder and went to glide down the stairs from the restaurant towards the truck.  Unfortunately, I didn't glide at all.  Instead, I tripped when my boot caught on a stair and I went down head first.  My left hand and left knee landed first followed by my camera.  The crack of the camera landing wasn't that loud though.  I quickly took inventory...


Of course, the camera check came first and it looked OK and worked fine.  The lens cap and UV filter took the brunt and I don't think it hit that hard in the first place.  I ended up having no problems with the camera the whole trip...phew


However, in the dark I could see a hole in my pants and some blood on my pant leg. But, it didn't really hurt so how bad could it be?


I decided I needed to clean up a bit before heading out so we took a quick detour in the truck up to our rooms and I went in to inspect the damage.  I knew right away that it was a pretty bad gash.  There was quite a bit of blood on my leg and pants that got on the walls as I cleaned my leg in the sink.  Blood is one thing I am pretty good with though...barf not so much.


Luckily, we did have some large band-aids with us that just fit over the wound.  I cleaned up my leg as best I could and put on the band-aid.  But, it was obvious that going for a night hike in the jungle now was not a good idea.  So, reluctantly I let everyone know that I thought a drive would be better and that's what we did.


I felt really stupid for tripping and just wanted to put the whole thing behind me.


Luckily, we didn't have to wait long for something exciting to happen.  In fact, it was the first sighting of the night drive...a Binturong:



It was high up in a tree so the picture is not great, but it was a new mammal for us and one we really wanted to see.


Next came a Buffy Fish Owl:

Buffy Fish Owl


Then a Sambar Deer:

Sambar Deer


That ugly looking sore on its neck is some sort of gland used during the mating season.


The last photo encounter was with a Striped Palm Civet that would not stop moving its head:

Striped Palm Civet


We also saw an Island Palm Civet, both the Thomas's and Giant Flying Squirrels, more Sambar Deer, another Buffy Fish Owl and an Otter Civet.  Although I only saw some black fur disappear into the grass so I will take Mike's word for that last sighting.  Finally, we also saw a Leopard Cat that was too skittish for pictures.  All that in 3 hours!  Welcome to Deramakot!


While on the night drive, my knee had bled through the large bandage and we only had a couple left.  So, I didn't sleep very well as I too worried about what I should do about my knee. And then irrational thoughts about the worst case scenario took over; infection or who knows what.  I am not sure why we do things like that to ourselves but it seems to happen more as I get older.  As if ear hair wasn't bad enough!


Thankfully, we had a 5:30AM drive planned so my bad night's sleep didn't last long.  One thing I did finally decide between tosses and turns was that I needed to do the smart thing and go see a professional since I likely needed stiches.  So, before our drive I told Mike that I needed to see someone and during the drive he pondered the options since we weren't that close to civilization.


The goal of the drive was to find some Gibbons.  We struck out on Gibbons last year and really wanted to see them.  But, that meant an early start since the Gibbons only call early in the morning..hence the 5:30AM departure.


The drive itself was done in a spooky morning fog.  It was quite eerie and that was only magnified when we had our first sighting of the day...the dreaded  HEADLESS Orangutan!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!


Headless Orangutan!


Actually, it did have a head but this was the best picture I could get.  There is no mistaking what creature that is when you see that silhouette though.  There ended up being a mother and young Orangutan but they were really hard to see through the fog and pictures were basically out of the question.


Next we heard some Gibbons. Is there a better jungle sound than Gibbons calling?  They were in some trees up the road but were very hard to see with the fog and back lighting.  But, we all did get looks of them swinging through the trees.  They are extraordinary to watch since they move so fast through the trees seemingly effortless movement.  We had officially seen our first Gibbons and we weren't disappointed despite the lack of pictures.


We also had a sighting of our first ever Rough-necked Monitor lizard on a far off tree and a couple birds.


Asian Fairy Bluebird:

Asian Fairy Bluebird


Rhinoceros Hornbill fly over:

Rhinoceros Hornbill Flying


After the drive, Mike and I talked options.  There was a group leaving at 9AM on their way back to Telupid and there was room for me.  Telupid should have a clinic, if not, we would have to figure out a way to get me all the way to Sandakan which was 4+ hours one way.  That second option wasn't good.


But, then Mike realized that one of the drivers was training to be an EMT and he could take a look.  Once they located him, I took off the bandage and he immediate said "stitches" and that was that.


Luckily, he confirmed there was a clinic in Telupid so I wouldn't have to go to Sandakan.


So, I left with the group departing at 9AM and was dropped off at the clinic in Telupid.  Now, in the US a visit like this would have to be done at an urgent care facility. It would likely involve waiting for hours, reams of paperwork, prescriptions slips that would take additional hours to fill and hundreds of dollars.  Here is how it went in Borneo:


- 11AM: Sign in by presenting passport, nothing to fill out or sign

- 11:10AM: Called into Drs office.  Dr speaks perfect English

- 11:25AM: Leave Drs office after getting the wound cleaned, stitched (8 of them) and bandaged

- 11:30AM: Leave clinic with pain killer and antibiotics since the dispensary was onsite


Total Cost = 150 MYR which is less than $50.


Talk about efficiency!  I was dumbfounded.  It really illustrated how bad our healthcare system is in the US.


A driver had stayed with me this whole time and then dropped me off at the usual restaurant meeting place.  Mike was coming into town to pick me up and do some shopping.We had lunch, headed to the market, and then headed back to Deramakot.


Unfortunately, Mike's truck was having clutch issues and just as we entered Deramakot it pretty much went out.  After some tinkering, Mike figured out a way to to keep us moving.  Since I have no idea how to drive stick, his driving skills were lost on me but I know that for a while we only could drive in 3rd...then for a while it was only 1st.  He was worried about getting up the steep hills so he would floor it before getting to one just to be sure we made it to the top.


Now, if this didn't make the drive interesting enough, we put Mike's ipod on shuffle and had some great selections come up during the drive like some Scottish music complete with bagpipes and Led Zeppelin.  So, my memory of this drive is a great one because here we were driving through pristine rain forest with bagpipes and then Stairway to Heaven blaring.  I think the forests actually "echoed with laughter".  It was quite surreal.


I must take a moment to thank Mike and the AA Borneo drivers.  They all went out of their way to take care of me and ensure my knee was fixed up.  Never once did they seem like they were put out by any of my requests and didn't ask for anything from me to compensate them for their extra time.  It was truly great service in a time when I needed it.  The AA Borneo staff came through for me.


We were back to the camp around 4PM and I realized that I didn't have a key to our room. Karen and the others were out on a drive so I hoped that she might have left it around the common area so I looked in shoes and elsewhere but couldn't find it.  Luckily, one of the three rooms in our "chalet" was unoccupied.  Unluckily, there were no sheets...just a bed.  But, I was exhausted and didn't care and proceeded to nap on the bed anyway.


At about 6PM I woke up and decided to walk down to the restaurant for some coffee to help me wake up and get hyped for the night drive.  As soon as I got there I saw a note that said "Gidi has the key".  Dang it!  Karen had left the room key for me after all but I didn't know it since I didn't go to the restaurant until now.  Oh well, I got a nice nap in anyway so it all worked out.


At 6:30PM, the gang pulled into the parking lot and joined me in the restaurant so I could hear about their drive.  It turns out that they got rained on quite a bit and didn't see much except for another back lit Orangutan, some Pig-tailed Macaques, and a Paradise Flycatcher. So, I didn't miss much.


The plan was to start our night drive at 8:30PM tonight since I needed another day before doing a Tarsier hike.  We ended up being out until 1:15AM and did see a lot even though I don't have many pictures to show for it.


We saw a Culugo, 2 Leopard Cats, Island Palm Civet, Striped Civet, various frogs, 2 Thomas' Flying Squirrels and a Horsefield's Flying Squirrel that actually flew.


At one point, something zipped across the road and Mike yelled out "Pen-tailed Shrew!".   Tim and I ended up seeing it clearly since we were higher up in the back row, but the girls didn't.  I am still counting it though ?.


The only photos I have from the drive is of a very cooperative Thomas's Flying Squirrel.  My best photo of one to date:


Thomas's Flying Squirrel


And with that, these two days were over.  Not only was I happy to put Day 5 behind me when I was there but I am happy to put it behind me in the trip report too since I still feel so stupid for tripping and causing all this unnecessary fuss.  I promise, more pictures and less writing going forward.



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The like is for your attitude, and for preventing the camera to be busted! Accidents do happen yet yours was not an easy one. And yes, what many people would describe as a "third world" (whatever that antique phrase means), fact is many countries might not have excellent highways and intercontinental missiles but they do have working social and health systems. Funny trivia: in 25 years our only health-related problem happened in Malaysia :)

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@Atdahl Loving your trip report but please keep up with the writing as well as the excellent pictures, I enjoy your humorous style!

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Sorry to hear about your injury but great to hear how everybody involved handled that situation, very reassuring. And you´re right, ear hair is pretty bad!

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Very cool report! Surprised they still stitched it after so long.

Definitely not a king cobra. I guess it's same as in Africa where half of the snakes seen by guides are labelled 'black mamba'. Hoping to see some cat pictures!

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On 6/11/2018 at 9:31 PM, Atdahl said:


Now, in the US a visit like this would have to be done at an urgent care facility. It would likely involve waiting for hours, reams of paperwork, prescriptions slips that would take additional hours to fill and hundreds of dollars.  Here is how it went in Borneo:


- 11AM: Sign in by presenting passport, nothing to fill out or sign

- 11:10AM: Called into Drs office.  Dr speaks perfect English

- 11:25AM: Leave Drs office after getting the wound cleaned, stitched (8 of them) and bandaged

- 11:30AM: Leave clinic with pain killer and antibiotics since the dispensary was onsite


Total Cost = 150 MYR which is less than $50.


Talk about efficiency!  I was dumbfounded.  It really illustrated how bad our healthcare system is in the US.



Absolutely true. When I took a spill in Peru and was knocked unconscious, we had a doctor who drove us to a private clinic, which was promptly opened up especially for us by an X-Ray technician who met us there. The doctor also made house calls to our hotel — you’d never get that in the U.S.  Total cost: $80 USD for the doctor, $35 for the X-Ray, and $15 for painkillers and ointment. Granted, costs are relative, but it says a lot that after I had come back to my senses, I was more worried about the out-of-pocket cost we would have to incur (which I thought might be in the low thousands) than about my injury (thankfully, nothing serious).  I don’t think I would have received a level of care at home that was as attentive or efficient. 


Sorry you went went through that, but I’m glad you (and your camera/lens) made it through. That stork-billed kingfisher is especially spectacular. 



Edited by Alexander33
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We experienced similar helpful people who went out of their way to help us with a medical issue (broken hand/finger that required x-rays) in Belize. We were about 4 hrs away from the closest clinic, and the "accident" happened (of course) around 7-8 pm. It had taken us a couple of hours on the road and another couple of hours on a boat to get to that lodge, and the boat option did not exist that late at night. Luckily the lodge owner had a monster truck that could negotiate the muddy "road" to the clinic and civilization. He got us there, waited for us and brought us back to the lodge in the very early morning hours. Reluctantly accepted gas money and nothing else on top of it (we left a nice tip in the staff's jar). The clinic was not open at that time we got there, but he knew who to call and get someone to open it and call the x-ray technician. Everything cost under $50. I'm still amazed...


Glad to hear everything was finally fine with the knee, sorry about the camera. Did you have a backup?

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Excellent report and wonderful to meet somebody as accident prone as myself, although I have never managed to spill quite that much blood. :( 


The sightings are wonderful. 

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Thanks all.  It's good to hear that I am not the only one who has had an accident on a trip.  That's the first one for me and hopefully the last.  But, thanks to the folks at AA Borneo and the Telupid clinic, it really didn't hinder me at all on the trip.


@xyz99 Yes, I always take a 2nd camera body.  For this trip that was the D300 which is no slouch.  It's worth the extra weight just to have the piece of mind of a backup body (Camera, that is... :))

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Deramakot - Day 6


Since we were content with our Gibbon sightings from the day before, we elected to sleep in today  so no morning drive was planned.  We didn't get up until 8AM...the horror!  Actually, it was very much needed for all of us and I think we all had a bit of pep in our step today because if it.


Since breakfast wouldn't be until 10:30AM today, Karen and I went for a little walk around the camp grounds. While my knee didn't hurt that much (I didn't need to take any painkiller). I lost a lot of flexibility between the stitches and bandage.  So, I couldn't fully straighten it or bend it close to 90 degrees.  That made walking the big hill real fun...let me tell you.


In any case, we had a good walk around the grounds.  This Whiskered Treeswift even posed for a photo:

Whiskered Treeswift


As we were walking the main road, we saw an otter scamper across the road and out of sight.  We hustled up to where it dove into the tall grass but saw no signs of it.  It must have headed for the nearby stream so we did as well but we never saw it again.


Back at the restaurant, we looked at the reference books there and couldn't decide whether it was a Smooth Otter (a common but still very cool sighting) or a Hairy-nosed Otter (which would be an incredibly unique and rare sighting).  Without a picture, there was no way to know for sure.  But, later in the trip Mike said he talked with some forestry guys who have seen Smooth Otters in that same area a lot.  So, we are going with Smooth Otter as our mystery sighting.


We had originally planned to do an afternoon drive but the rains came in the afternoon so we changed plans to have an earlier dinner (6PM) and do the Tarsier hike at 7PM if the rain stopped.


Luckily, the rain did stop and the Tarsier hike was a go!  At 7PM, I was once again excited but after slipping on my big rubber boots I VERY gingerly walked down the restaurant stairs holding on to the handrail the whole time.  I had learned my lesson.


The Tarsier hike ended up being an epic hike.  One that the 4 of us will not soon forget but it was probably no big deal to Mike and Addie (Addie is also a guide who had accompanied us the past few days).  I think I will share the events of this hike as they played out in my mind:


7:15 PM: With high spirits and even higher leech socks on, the 6 of us ventured off into the dark forest on a quest to find the elusive big-eyed little monster


7:16 PM: Damn it's hot!  And, muddy too!


7:30 PM: The first leech was found rapidly crawling up Karen's leg before I flicked it off


7:45 PM:  Whose idea was it to hike through a hot steamy leech invested Borneo jungle at night!  Oh yeah...mine.


8:00 PM: The leeches sense blood.  I have flicked numerous off Karen and she has done the same for me. Thank goodness the trail has leveled off now


8:05 PM: How many circles of Hell did Dante describe and which one are we currently in?


8:11 PM:  LIFE!  We have found life that doesn't want our blood. It's a Tree hole Frog that doesn't want to be photographed though


8:30 PM: Like zombies we shuffle along aimlessly with low groans


8:40 PM: Mike points out a real life zombie.  An insect that was taken over by a cordyceps fungus that will control it then kill it.  It's real, look it up.


8:56 PM: We have come face to face with a "prickly" creature.  It's a Malay Porcupine:


Malay Porcupine Encountered On Foot


8:57 PM:  The porcupine is now about 15 feet away and closing.  It has "puffed" up its quills and looked at us a bit funny.  I am slowly moving to the left...behind Mike.


Malay Porcupine


9:30 PM: The porcupine high has long ago worn off.  Where are the freakin Tarsiers!


9:48 PM: Mike is gesturing to come quickly!  It must be a Tarsier!  But wait, I don't see a fist sized primate...I see a big face.


9:48 PM and 2 seconds:  It's a Banded Civet!  Must take pictures!


Banded Civet


Banded Civet Encountered On Foot


9:48 PM and 4 seconds: Shit!  It's too close for the lens!


9:48 PM and 5 seconds:  The Civet is gone.  Only 3 of us got decent looks.


10:00 PM: We have just about finished the trail.  It's all downhill now back to the truck, yippee!!!


10:05 PM: Mike asks who want to do the trail again to avoid coming back another night and climbing up the hill again. My mind says "Oh, Hell No!" but my mouth says "I'm in".  I hate my mouth.


10:15 PM: Woman Down!  Karen slipped and fell but popped right back up again


10:30 PM: I don't think Tarsiers even exist...


10:45 PM: Ow!  Ow!  Mother F@#$#!  Something stung me on the arm. 


11:11 PM: I am damn well taking a picture of something!


Another Millipede


11:30 PM: Woman Down!  This time it's Andrea that falls but she is also right back up again.


11:35 PM: I chuckle to myself when I realize that only the women have fallen and they are the ones that have the walking sticks.  Then I remember the stitches in my knee.  Doh...


12:00 AM: So hot...so tired...so thirsty...


12:05 AM: The Tarsier is now officially my nemesis animal.


12:30 AM: Is that the truck?  Fuck yeah, that's the truck!


So, after over 5 hours of hiking, our little adventure was done.  We slogged through countless puddles, slipped down countless slopes, and flicked off countless leeches (some after they had bitten Andrea).  But, there was no Tarsier to be found.  The Malay Porcupine and Banded Civet were incredible encounters especially on foot but I still came away a little disappointed.


Of course, I exaggerated my state of my a little bit.  We did see some other cool stuff like the Harlequin Flying Frog, a Striped Civet high in a tree, quick moving Mouse Deer plus tons of cool insects.


Mike worked exceptionally hard again looking for a damn Tarsier so even though we struck out it wasn't for lack of trying.  Hopefully, Tim and Andrea were still talking to us after this...


Back on the truck, Mike asked if we wanted to do a night drive now.  Really?  It was almost 1AM and we were hot, sweaty and tired so naturally we said...um yes!


Once the truck took off, Karen starting squirming around.  Turns out she had leeches coming out of her boots.  So, she had Mike stop the truck and she climbed out to take off her boots only to find around 8 on her boots and socks.  Luckily, the leech socks had done their job.  She managed to flick the leeches away and we were off again. I wonder if I should check my boots. Nah...


The drive started with another Buffy Fish Owl and then we spotted this large Bearded Pig:

Bearded Pig


Then an Island Palm Civet:

Island Palm Civet


On the way back to camp, I felt something on my neck.  I reached up and pulled something off my neck and tossed it away.  I had Karen look at my neck and there was blood.  A leech got me.  My first one ever and it was on the neck...nice.


We got back to our chalet at 3AM.  As we took our shoes/boots and leech socks off more leeches came out and started to crawl on the floor and even up the wall.  We stepped on them, ground our heels into them and whacked them with our shoes.  As soon as we thought we finally killed one and moved on, the first one started moving again.  It was like an endless game of Whack-A-Leech.  A game we could not win but one that did make a giggle a little bit since we were so tired.  Once we finally thought we got them all, we retired to our rooms.  However, a few minutes later we could hear Tim back out in the common room whacking leeches.  Ah, the game continued...

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Mr @monalisa took a great video of the Porcupine encounter...



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Fantastic shots of the civet! :)

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Leeches ... I remember leeches ... 

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Amazing wildlife encounters! I really want to go....with leeches socks, of course :-)

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Deramakot - Day 7, 8, and 9


I am combining three days this time because none of these days were great picture days...again.  This was becoming an alarming trend unfortunately.


Since we weren't asleep until well after 3AM after the epic hike last night, we had no problem sleeping in until 8:30AM today.  When I got up and stumbled into the bathroom I noticed a couple purple marks overlapping on my neck from where the leech bit me.  It looked like a leech hickey!  Geez, it didn't even buy me dinner first.


If the truth be told, we really only woke up to go to breakfast and toss the unkillable leeches outside since they were still writhing around in the common area.  Then we went back to our room and napped until lunch.  So, that pretty much used up over half the day.


The plan for the afternoon drive was to leave at 4PM and drive all the way to the river and back.  After all the walking and leeches from the  night before we were all happy to just stay in the truck today.


So, at 4PM we took off for our drive.  Just as we were leaving camp we heard a weird "twang" noise from under the truck. But, nothing seemed wrong so we continued.  It wasn't long before Mike spotted an Orangutan in a tree. It was just sitting near the top of this palm and was, unfortunately, facing away from us. So, we decided to wait..and wait.  Just as we thought about moving on, the Orangutan swung around and in a split second had climbed down the tree.  I managed to get off a few rapid fire shots and only one ended up in semi decent focus.  We were all amazed at how quickly it moved:


Orangutan Fast Climbing


A short while later the rare Storm Stork flew by and a Bearded Pig crossed the road.  Then, Tim grabbed at his ankle and pulled off a leech.  Aha!  Tim had now joined the club and was no longer a leech bite virgin.  This particular one must have been waiting in ambush in the truck overnight and all day.  I guess patience does have it's reward.


Then, all of a sudden, the back of the seat Tim and I were sitting on made a sharp breaking noise and shifted about 1/2 an inch.  That can't be good...


Upon inspection, some of the brand new welds done to the metal frame of the seat had failed on the left side of the back seat.  It was now unstable to lean against the back.  So, Tim and I climbed up to the 2nd row and Andrea graciously moved to the first row with Mike.  It was tight, but workable.


However, it wasn't much later when we heard another "twang" from under the truck.  This time Mike had Lang stop and they did an inspection.  It turns out that "twang" was the sound of lug nuts from the back left tire breaking and shooting off.  We were down to only 2 apparently which wasn't good.  After some discussion, Mike and Lang agreed to try to get all the way to the river since we had less than 10K to go and that was the closest location with cell reception.


With about 3K to go..."Twang"!  The second to last lug nut shot off.  Well, that was it.  We couldn't risk losing the tire on those roads so Lang found a place to pull over and we got out.  Mike jogged ahead to the river where he could get cell reception to call for a vehicle to come get us.


From there, the 5 of us did a slow walk to the river and looked for critters along the way.  The walk started in the daylight but the sun went down quickly and it got dark before we arrived at the river buildings.  But, along the way we did see a few frogs and had a great look at a Slow Loris in a nearby tree:


Slow Loris...slow climbing


It was close to 8:30PM when we arrived at the river and we had no choice but to wait for our new ride.  A while later, our rescuer showed up.  It was Gidi and she came with food!  She made some noodles for us which were very tasty.


After dinner, we headed out for a night drive in the new vehicle.  It was actually a really good night drive. We saw another Colugo, many Sambar Deer, and even more Flying Squirrels which we didn't even stop for anymore.


At one point, we rounded a bend and there on the side of the road was a Malay Civet:

Malay Civet


It didn't stick around long though.  About an hour later, something small crossed the road in front of us..."Long-tailed Porcupine" Mike yelled.  The Porcupine was a little slower than the Pen-tailed Shrew from a few nights back so I was actually able to get one picture before it disappeared.  Unfortunately, it was only of the back half.  But, you can see the distinctive tail:

Long-tailed Porcupine


About a 1/2 hour later, we spotted another Malay Civet and I managed to get a picture of this one too:

Another Malay Civet


While these aren't great pictures, I am quite happy with the performance of my speedlight flash and flash extender.  Without them, the pictures would have been much worse.  So, it's nice to have some decent night shots of animals.


We got back to the camp around 2AM and hit the sack.


With no AM drive again on day 8, we didn't get up until 8:30AM.  Sleeping "in" was becoming a habit.  We lounged around the camp until the afternoon 4PM drive.  I attempted to get some bird pictures in between "lounging" and managed a couple.


Crested Serpent Eagle:

Crested Serpent Eagle


Rufous Piculet:

Rufous Piculet



It was around this time that Karen mentioned her foot had swollen up due to the humidity but it really wasn't slowing her down at all.  She showed her new "club foot" to me and it was, in fact, quite hideous.  Some things you can't "unsee"...


During the beginning of the drive I got a picture of one of the warning signs just out of camp that showed all the wildlife that one could see in Deramakot:


Yup, saw them all...


After looking at the sign I was like "Screw the Tarsier, where can we find the King of Pop!"


Naturally, looking for MJ was on my mind the rest of the drive and it was a pretty good drive.  First we encountered this mother and baby Pig-tailed Macaque:

Pig-tailed Macaque Mamma and Baby


But we Beat It out of there pretty quickly so as not to disturb them.


A short while later, Mike spotted an Orangutan so we stopped.  It was a Pretty Young Thing that I nicknamed Ben:



I ended up taking a lot of pictures of this Orangutan and felt kind of Bad but Mike said Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough. So, I kept shooting.


Next we passed a Whiskered Treeswift on a branch that amazingly didn't fly away and let us get right next to it.  That's one good looking Treeswift.  It's like looking at the Man in the Mirror:

Whiskered Treeswift


We also spotted the amazing Asian Paradise Flycatcher.  We watched it glide quickly from tree to tree with its long tail waving behind.  But, like some sort of Smooth Criminal, it never stopped long enough to get a picture.


Next we came upon another female Orangutan in a tree. Not far away was a much smaller one that must have been her offspring.  We stopped and watched these two until the sun went down and the sky turned purple. The whole experience was Off the Wall:

Orangutan at Sunset


Once we reached the river it was dark and everyone took a bit of a break.  They have some outdoor toilets there where I found a few cool looking Four-lined Tree Frogs:

Four-lined (Farting) Tree Frog


Of course, Tim and I used other toilets since we didn't want to bother the frogs.  But, Karen decided to use the one "occupied" by the frog.  Right after she went in we heard this sound repeatedly.


Without missing a beat, Tim says "Karen...really...".  That got all of use laughing pretty good.  After all, laughing at fart noises is just Human Nature.


We left the river at about 7:30 and our first big sighting of the evening was another Malay Civet.  It's hard to know whether its main color is Black or White.  What do you think?

A 3rd Malay Civet


For once, Mike stopped at a Flying Squirrel sighting.  That's because this Flying Squirrel was pretty close to the road and looked like it was about to take off for another tree.  Sure enough, after just a few minutes it took off for a nearby tree and Mike followed it in the spotlight so we got an awesome look at it.  What was amazing is that this squirrel glided away from the tree and then circled back only to land on a tree really close to the first one.  It was almost a full 180 degree turn.  I didn't realize that they could control their gliding so much.


On this night drive we also saw Bearded Pigs, 2 Island Palm Civets, a Striped Civet, and various frogs.  So, it wasn't bad but there was nothing really new and exciting either other than the Flying Squirrel and we actually ended the drive around 10:30PM because we hadn't had dinner yet and everyone was pretty hungry.


During the night, I dreamt that I was being chased by this slow moving creature.  It walked with a thump and then a drag on the floor.  Thump...then drag....thump then drag.  However, I realized I wasn't dreaming and it was just Karen and her "club foot" coming back from the bathroom...


The next day we were up early for a 5:30AM drive hoping to see Gibbons again.  But, we didn't.  In fact, all we saw were a couple Buffy Fish Owls at dawn and a Macaque.  We did get blocked on the road by the forestry service as they loaded logs onto a truck.  It actually was interesting to watch the guy running the loader . It must have taken a lot of skill to gently lay those huge logs down on the truck and ensure everything was balanced properly.


The drive ended around 10AM and we didn't do anything but lounge around until the 7PM night drive.  See, now you know why I combined 3 days...few pictures.


Almost immediately after starting, Mike spotted a Colugo on a tree trunk that was close to the road.  We stopped to watch it because it looked like it might fly.  It would look at a nearby tree and then look back...then look at a nearby tree...and look back:

Colugo About to Fly...


I tell you, it was a real Thriller waiting to see if it would fly..or not fly.  But, finally it did take off and just like the Flying Squirrel in Sepilok I managed to get an out of focus shot of it in mid air:

Colugo Flying


It was really cool to see the Colugo fly.  We saw a lot of them this trip (and will see some more) but this is the only one we saw fly.


Farther along in the drive we encountered a young Sambar Deer on the road:

Baby Sambar Deer


Then, not long after, we saw a Buffy Fish Owl bringing food back to a juvenile.  It appeared to be a File-eared Frog.  Unfortunately, the frog seemed just a bit too big for the young owl to handle.


Feeding Time


The Transfer






The poor owl sat there for a long time with these frog legs just hanging out.  We actually left before seeing the final outcome but we assume the owl did Eat It (what a Weird Al parody song doesn't count?)


Tim captured some great video of this encounter:



10 minutes later a Mouse Deer ran down the road in front of the truck.  I  have pictures but they are all from behind so you can't see the markings on the neck which is the only way to distinguish between the Greater and Lesser Mouse Deer as far as I know.  So, we are just calling it a Mouse Deer.


We also had 2 skittish Leopard Cats, another Mouse Deer, and what we thought was a snake.  But, it turned out to be a root.  It had most of us fooled for a bit though.


The last picture of the night is of yet another Buffy Fish Owl with a frog.  It was not a good night for File-eared Frogs:

Another Meal Later That Night


That was our last night drive in Deramakot unfortunately.  While we did see some cool new mammals on drives, like the Binturong, Long-tailed Porcupine, Pen-tailed Shrew, and Horsfield's Flying Squirrel, none were that amazing sighting that can be had in Deramakot.  Even the cat sightings were just limited to a few Leopard Cats that moved so fast there was no time for pictures.


The best activity we did was probably the Tarsier hike.  Not only is it a great memory but the Malay Porcupine and Banded Civet encounters were amazing.  Those are the main things I will remember about Deramakot wildlife this trip.


But, over all I am going to leave Deramakot disappointed.  We certainly weren't disappointed by the quality of the guiding or the food.  We were disappointed for not finding a Tarsier and disappointed for not seeing something amazing on the drives.  Sorry, Deramakot but that's The Way You Make Me Feel.


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@Atdahl did Mike give you the impression that clouded leopards are still being seen on a fairly regular basis or are they becoming more difficult to see since the last couple of years? I would certainly count binturong, otter civet, colugos, long-tailed and Malay porcupine as pretty special. But it's a hard wrench to leave without getting that damned leopard!  I still haven't seen a binturong or that lovely kingfisher! 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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I've been enjoying this trip all along, but pretty much from the King of Pop search on, I was on the floor laughing. The sound track of the frog totally put me over the edge (this required tissues I was laughing so hard). And then the owl with the frog legs dangling.  This is a brilliantly written, entertaining TR.

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@Atdahl great TR I am enjoying reliving the trip.


For those who loved the Sepilok part of the TR so much that they wish there was more content from that part of the journey, I have good news!


We got a great look at the Slow Loris, I love these little guys and how they maneuver around the branches.



Edited by CheetahFan
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Slow??? He's not slow at all, I thought he would be moving at the sloth's pace...but he's so cute :)

Thanks for the video!


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