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kittykat23uk

Thanks @Galago a point of note about the images, those ones starting with a prefix of "P" are photos taken with my olympus kit. If they have a number in brackets, after the main file ref, this means I processed the raw file. If they have "copy" or "adj" added to the file name they have been processed, either cropped, shadow/highlight control, levels adjustment, denoise or sharpening or some combination thereof. Those without any suffix are straight out of camera jpegs. I try to keep the file name intact and add the caption to that so that I know exactly which shot I've uploaded.

 

The ones that look to be in "ide scree" (sorry, "wide screen") format are usually stills taken from video and those with the IMG prefix, mostly landscape and macro, are taken with my new Huawei mate 20 pro phone. 

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Tawau Hills    Our first stop was at Tawau Hills. Tomer had included initially two nights here to search for an even more elusive feline than Clouded Leopard, the Bay cat, two other targets,

Tawau Hills 30/09/2019   We headed to the staff quarters for breakfast at 0640. Our breakfast consisted of a bowl of noodles with a fried egg on top, it was actually very tasty, although a b

Deramakot 5/10/2019   Today was a bit different to most of our days in Deramakot because it would take time to sort out the second driver and vehicle. So this morning we were left to our own

shazdwn
5 hours ago, kittykat23uk said:

 Those without any suffix are straight out of camera jpegs. 

 

Wow that's interesting - you must have been much closer to many of your sightings than we were then.  I was using a 600mm and even then most of my images are cropped. 

 

That rhinocerous hornbill sighting was superb, love the atmospheric gibbons in the mist shot too.  We spotted some gibbons, but they were too far away to photograph.  

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Zim Girl

Love the young orang peering out from the tree.

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kittykat23uk
7 hours ago, shazdwn said:

 

Wow that's interesting - you must have been much closer to many of your sightings than we were then.  I was using a 600mm and even then most of my images are cropped. 

 

That rhinocerous hornbill sighting was superb, love the atmospheric gibbons in the mist shot too.  We spotted some gibbons, but they were too far away to photograph.  

 

Some are in-camera crops, like the Orangutan using the 2x Digital Teleconverter. Here is the uncropped shot:

 

49069915032_d64e7632f2_b.jpgPA090558 (2) Bornean orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

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kittykat23uk

Deramakot 9/10/2019

 

Another purple dawn awaited us as we headed out with one thing in mind, to find the orangutans that we had left sleeping the previous night. I did call a halt at one point for a Crested Jay- a whacky-looking bird that was well worth stopping for at around 0620. But with orangutans on our mind no one else was interested so after I snapped off a record shot we were on our way again.

 

48920178207_7f00fc061f_z.jpg

IMG_20191009_054109 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069934362_2467993506_z.jpg

PA090577 (2) crested jay (Platylophus galericulatus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr 

 

We found the arrows Mike had left us but we really found it difficult to place the exact tree now that it was daylight. Either way, we unfortunately didn’t manage to connect with the orangutans again  and sadly that turned out to be our only sighting of the trip. In fact, not many orangutans were sighted by other groups either, I think only one or two whilst out on drives. I was more disappointed that I expected to be with this lack of decent orangutan sightings, after the success of my previous trips. It gave me a renewed appreciation for my frst two tours.  

 

48919441693_dfc8ac2554_z.jpg

IMG_20191009_070037 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48920179182_4f3ef376bc_z.jpg

IMG_20191009_070049 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48920181247_d5421acfe9_z.jpg

IMG_20191009_072338 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069727056_13bd2b0e24_b.jpgPA090601 cream-coloured giant squirrel or pale giant squirrel (Ratufa affinis) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48919978056_bb154b38dc_b.jpgIMG_20191009_090341 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Jens and Tomer saw a Four-striped Ground Squirrel, apparently this is a very rare sighting. Unfortunately the rest of us didn’t see it.  We didn’t see a lot else on our morning drive from what I can remember, and I didn’t take many photos.  

 

In the afternoon I headed out around 1400, spotting Pacific Swallows, Intermediate Egrets and a Prevost’s Squirrel. I had a more productive walk on my own up a track that leads to a radio tower. When I say “up” I mean “up”, it’s up maybe a 30 degree incline. It’s a fairly wide track, not like the forest trails. I was, of course, looking for and failing to find pittas. But I did at least encounter a bird wave of various babblers including Rufous-crowned Babblers and Chestnut-rumped Babbler. 

 

49069976887_7f8d798f48_b.jpgPA090007 Pacific swallow (Hirundo tahitica) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069976562_ff6aeb5c50_b.jpgPA090014 intermediate egret, median egret, smaller egret, or yellow-billed egret (Ardea intermedia) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069975767_950dcd201b_b.jpgPA090025 (2) Prevost's squirrel or Asian tri-colored squirrel (Callosciurus prevostii) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069975517_415399d852_z.jpg

PA090045 Etlingera elatior (also known as torch ginger) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069246833_bddee7e065_b.jpgPA090046 Junonia iphita - Chocolate Pansy butterfly by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069767451_c23f3c0fb7_b.jpgPA090063 rufous-crowned babbler (Malacopteron magnum) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069767166_5db7808331_b.jpgPA090081 chestnut-rumped babbler (Stachyris maculata) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069974262_5f7c1ae196_b.jpgPA090093 chestnut-rumped babbler (Stachyris maculata) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

There were a few insects as well, butterflies, dragonflies etc. On the way down I met Tomer and we watched a Little Spiderhunter feeding on a ginger. Spectacled Bulbul was also noted on the way back. 

 

49069762631_4cae754468_b.jpgPA090160 Nymphalid butterfly - un-named (Tanaecia orphne) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069762411_25a7a43bdc_z.jpg

PA090176 moody shot of a purple flower by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069760986_faba4f20ec_b.jpgPA090255 plantain squirrel, oriental squirrel or tricoloured squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069760761_dccb20552d_b.jpgPA090265 plantain squirrel, oriental squirrel or tricoloured squirrel (Callosciurus notatus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069239523_02cd7896d3_b.jpgPA090358 Dragonfly by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069239233_62abe7a20e_z.jpg

PA090440 little spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069967332_d6a42d55ca_z.jpg

PA090465 little spiderhunter (Arachnothera longirostra) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069238013_6b5ae562cd_b.jpgPA090511 Pycnonotus erythropthalmos, Spectacled Bulbul by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We also had a very slow night drive. This is the problem when the nights drag out with no sighting of our main target, the pressure to keep on the move mounts up, the mantra is “must cover more ground”, “must keep going!” “don’t stop for that squirrel, we’ve seen loads..” etc and the gaps between sightings drag out… the eyes get leaden, concentration wanes, enjoyment replaced by dogged determination. 

 

A close Thomas’s Flying Squirrel, deemed just about worthy of a brief stop was a welcome interlude just before eleven, and towards the end of the drive at 00:45 we had a very nice sighting of another Leopard Cat. This one was sitting out in the open and didn’t seem to be in a hurry to move off, so after admiring the cat from the back of the vehicle, Mike suggested that we approached it on foot. Unfortunately it got spooked and ran off before we could position ourselves for a closer view. 

 

49069966227_a1082b502e_b.jpgPA090601 Thomas's flying squirrel, Aeromys thomasi by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069992837_403b113ca8_b.jpgPA100655 adj Sunda leopard cat (Prionailurus javanensis) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069992432_e7b6baa210_b.jpgPA100683 adj Sunda leopard cat (Prionailurus javanensis) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

So that was basically the end of another day in Deramakot. 

   

Edited by kittykat23uk
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What a beautiful little cat! And great photos especially considering how tired you were.

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Hats off to your stamina. I have yawned several times just reading about your night drives. 

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kittykat23uk
1 hour ago, Chakra said:

Hats off to your stamina. I have yawned several times just reading about your night drives. 

 

 

I hope that isn't because my writing is dull and long-winded!:o

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kittykat23uk

Deramakot 10/10/2019

 

Out again as per our usual routine. No purple dawn rose today, it started off a bit cloudy. On our morning drive it was again very quiet, the only photographs taken were of Red-bearded Bee-eaters (not as good as those already shown on the previous entry) and some more Red Leaf Monkeys. We spend a bit of time watching them. That was all I took photos of in the morning. It was that quiet

 

48919983601_7e4b9701a7_z.jpg

IMG_20191010_063028 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069836616_3d8aefa894_b.jpgPA100749 maroon langur, maroon leaf monkey, or red leaf monkey (Presbytis rubicunda) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

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PA100899 maroon langur, maroon leaf monkey, or red leaf monkey (Presbytis rubicunda) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

I think it must have been a bad day weather-wise. There was one day when I had headed up towards the Ecology Trail, which is quite a steep trail behind the chalets, when I quickly found myself turning back due to a storm kicking up and the winds began to blow in earnest. When I arrived back at the restaurant Mike was clearly relieved “I thought you’d died!” he exclaimed to me. I think we were pretty much rained out for the majority of the day. I didn’t take any photos between 0815 and 19:30.

 

One our night drive we had a couple of nice sightings of Malayan Civet, one at 1938 and another at 2123. 

 

49070067457_0fbfb93eeb_b.jpgPA100025 (2) Malayan civet (Viverra tangalunga) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069339608_d63fd0d815_b.jpgPA100062 Malayan civet (Viverra tangalunga) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

In between these sightings we saw a mystery mammal, which I think we decided was a Red Giant Flying Squirrel after some deliberation, or if not that, “definitely not a sun bear” was the general consensus. Then another Leopard Cat, this one not sitting nicely out in the open but hidden in some vegetation.

 

49374420961_93bf5ba1aa_b.jpgPA100047 (2) Sunda leopard cat by Jo Dale, on Flickr

  

Tomer’s thermal scoping paid off again with a sighting of a Ranee Mouse

 

“By this point I was starting to become pretty good with telling small mammals apart from sleeping birds in the scope, so I stopped for what looked “new”. The Ranee mouse was sitting in the dense vegetation around K20-ish (?) and we watched it for a few minutes, going toward the river”.

 

49069859556_44de87b5a6_b.jpgPA100071 ranee mouse (Haeromys margarettae) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Then we found a mystery bird, roosting with it’s back to us. It generated a lot of debate but having reviewed the shots I believe this to be a Crimson-winged Woodpecker.

 

49373966523_441ed0cfa0_b.jpgPA110138 Crimson-winged Woodpecker by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Over coffee and snacks down at the river we tried to take some shots of the moon. 

 

49069859291_7faeb21d0c_b.jpgPA100072 moon by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Then we headed back. On the way, we stopped for a Colugo at 2314 and then Tomer thermal scoped a Hose’s Pygmy Flying Squirrel. I’ll let Tomer describe this sighting: 

 

“On the way back, around 23:30ish I scoped a small mammal running on a branch and I called it “this isn’t going to be a giant squirrel or a civet”. So we stopped and spot-lit a small, mouse-sized animal running up-and-down a naked branch of a tree, and jumping onto the main trunk. It was white underneath and dark above, but at first we wondered it was a mouse or a tiny flying squirrel, until we actually saw it glide off, at which point Mike confirmed it was a Hose’s pygmy flying squirrel. Pretty neat!”

 

Tomer was on fire tonight! We also found a sleeping Gibbon at 01:15.

 

Towards the end of the drive around KM 6 or 7 Mike spotlighted a Sunda Skunk aka “Stink Badger”. It was moving quickly and no sooner had I started to try and film this oddball critter than it was about to disappear out of view of the road. Mike suggested we go after it on foot and well, it really wasn’t our finest hour! To be honest it was like some caper out of “Dumb and Dumber!”. Four of us piled out of the vehicle (Wendy and Phil sensibly remaining behind), and Mike stayed behind with the spotlight. Well, as soon as we were out of the vehicle we didn’t have the light, and to make matters worse, in our sleep-deprived state we didn’t take the route that Mike obviously thought we were aware of, which was an easy to navigate parallel track beside the road. Instead we all piled “cross country” tripping over a ditch and scrambling up a stony hillock,. No one had a torch out, I had one in my pocket, which fell out when I lost my footing. All the while, I’d left my camera on record. So stay tuned for my footage to feature in “Blair Witch 3 - Night of the Stink Badger”! Well suffice to say, with all the commotion we were making the Stink Badger did a runner! But at least I was reunited with my torch after a brief search.

 

49070066417_e7720cf4ca_b.jpgPA110159_3 Sunda stink badger (Mydaus javanensis), also called the Javan stink badger, teledu, Malay stink badger, Malay badger, Indonesian stink badger and Sunda skunk by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Our final sighting was yet another Colugo, showing very nicely and well worth stopping for!

 

49069857941_772418d0ea_b.jpgPA110188 Sunda flying lemur, Galeopterus variegatus by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Oops, that wasn't quite our final sighting of the night, we had a lovely sighting on the way back to the lodge, close to 3 am, of a couple of Island Palm Civet cubs. I videoed them, so here's a couple of screen grabs. They were really fun to watch, I think they were gleaning insects off the long grass. 

 

49385624343_3ba5c1cbf0_b.jpgPA110197_1 Island Palm Civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49385624248_b0a8f265b0_b.jpgPA110197_4 Island Palm Civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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kittykat23uk

Deramakot 11/10/2019

 

On our morning drive we tried again the road towards the exit in the hope of elephants. First we encountered a flock of Wrinkled Hornbills, but it was still quite dark and they were not in a good position for photos. In contrast, a Scarlet-rumped Trogon posed quite nicely. A Crested Serpent Eagle was perched up and an Osprey flew over. Our driver pointed us out a monitor lizard, clinging to a tree trunk and we saw another one swimming in the pools along with a Little Egret. We spotted more Prevost’s Squirrels and a Dollarbird but that was about all for the morning.

 

49069934506_4af517b9f6_b.jpgPA110293 Scarlet-rumped Trogon (Harpactes duvaucelii) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069387443_f0403024d2_b.jpgPA110318 Scarlet-rumped Trogon (Harpactes duvaucelii) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069908676_4a639d455c_z.jpg

PA110378 (2)  crested serpent eagle (Spilornis cheela) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069386698_60a2fe319d_z.jpg

PA110392 (2) osprey (Pandion haliaetus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49070141142_2eb67a664b_z.jpg

PA110433  Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49070114947_e545b5daff_b.jpg

Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49070114722_c4353045dc_b.jpgPA110587  Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49070140957_f34377b9bd_b.jpgPA110601  little egret (Egretta garzetta) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48919453988_d1b18cfa44_z.jpg

IMG_20191011_141725 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

In the afternoon we headed out towards the river.  But we only got as far as the shelter before it started to rain. We waited the rain out and I took some shots around the area of the wild flowers and a couple of birds, Orange-bellied Flowerpecker, Rufous Piculet (Juvenile) and Whiskered Treeswift

 

49070140767_bd1ab87943_z.jpg

PA110026 (2) Orange-bellied Flowerpecker (Dicaeum trigonostigma) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069412253_93438a8195_b.jpgPA110072 whiskered treeswift (Hemiprocne comata) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48919987331_70a56691b0_b.jpgIMG_20191011_164157 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069931466_8ec50c56c4_b.jpgPA110091 Late afternoon view of Deramakot forest by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069410108_20b36d511b_z.jpg

PA110087 Ginger flower by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069931396_0f2d86451f_z.jpg

PA110095 Rufous Piculet   Sasia abnormis (Juvenile) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49070137977_8ce4e40705_z.jpg

PA110106 Ginger flower by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

When the rain eased off, we got back on the road. At around 1730 we finally found our Bornean Pygmy Elephants. We first of all got a bit of a bum shot as the one elephant was feeding with its back towards us.

 

49386405097_f486da49c7_b.jpgPA110119_1 Bum Shot! - Bornean Pygmy Elephant by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

I started to film and at that moment he backed out of the bush in which he was feeding and turned to us face on, giving us a lovely view of his beautiful face and impressive  (for a pygmy elephant) tusks! He then disappeared behind a bend in the road. We waited for a bit, hoping they would come this way, but they didn’t. Mike said he would walk a bit closer and see if we could approach on foot. 

 

49070116667_f7da19f0ba_b.jpgelephant 3 Borneo pygmy elephant, Elephas maximus borneensis by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

When he returned he suggested we drive forward as he couldn’t see where the elephant had gone. As we drove around the bend we found a small herd just off the road, but hidden in thick vegetation. To disgruntled trumpeting we passed them and stopped a distance away to watch. We caught glimpses of them feeding in the bushes, but none of them saw fit to give us as clear a view as our first encounter. Eventually they moved deeper into the bushes and so we drove on. 

 

This was sadly the only elephant sighting of the trip, but at least it was a nice sighting in daylight whereas on my last trip we had several sightings at night, mostly in fog and mostly very brief as the elephants are quite skittish. In fact Mike doesn’t like encountering elephants at night as they can be a bit troublesome. 

 

49070137782_b6878aef75_b.jpgPA110126 (2) Borneo pygmy elephant, Elephas maximus borneensis by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

During the rest of the drive we encountered a huddle of Hairy-backed Bulbuls, a Black Giant Squirrel, another distant Colugo and a Barred Eagle Owl. We also enjoyed watching a Slow Loris grooming itself (but not in a good position for photos) and a confused Lesser Mouse Deer on the road (a bit far for anything approaching a good photo). It started to rain again and was getting heavier so we headed back to the lodge, spotting the resident Bearded Pig. By the time we got back to the lodge it was starting to dry out and, as it was "only" midnight we continued on down towards the exit. 

 

49069409193_e58ae0eb2a_b.jpgPA110132  hairy-backed bulbul (Tricholestes criniger) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069930561_2aa9ab51e1_b.jpgPA110141 (2) Black flying squirrel, Aeromys tephromelas by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49070137202_137ee7675c_b.jpgPA110142 (2) Black flying squirrel, Aeromys tephromelas by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069406713_01bae63500_b.jpgPA110161 barred eagle-owl (Bubo sumatranus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49069406508_e5a84f40e7_b.jpgPA120169 (2) Bornean bearded pig (Sus barbatus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

On our way we found a White-bellied Rat Snake. Around 2:30am, towards the end of our drive a prickly Malay Porcupine turned up on the road and quickly walked off. I tried to snap off a few shots, but at 1/30sec at ISO 6400 and with the vehicle engine running, causing too much vibration, my shots were trash. You can check out my last report for a good photo of this species.   

 

49070134807_11acce0969_b.jpgPA120228 (3) White-bellied Rat Snake - Ptyas fusca by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Sooo that was the end of Night 8 out of 10 in Deramakot. Only 2 nights left before we moved on.

Edited by kittykat23uk
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Love the bulbul huddle and the flowerpecker is a treat. I've only seen very plain ones, by name and by colouring, so good to see a bright one.

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kittykat23uk
11 minutes ago, Galago said:

Love the bulbul huddle and the flowerpecker is a treat. I've only seen very plain ones, by name and by colouring, so good to see a bright one.

 

Wait until you see the one I photographed in kinabalu, you are in for a treat! :)

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shazdwn

Oooooh - only two nights left and no clouded leopards yet - the tension in the air is becoming palpable.  Will this alluring but elusive feline be found?????

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kittykat23uk

Deramakot 12/10/2019

 

My friend Stuart was now in the country at Kinabalu National Park, which was to be our last stop. As usual we exchanged our news, such that it was, “Still no leopard!” I reported. 

 

I told Stuart that things were getting really desperate. Jens, Jason and I had asked Mike about the feasibility of spending our last three nights in Deramakot at extra cost instead of heading on to Kinabalu. Tomer was keen but as the group organiser felt he should go on with Wendy and Phil, who by now were pretty keen to move on. We were waiting to hear whether Mike could arrange this, but we wouldn’t know until our last day.

 

48919456098_3fbda0448d_z.jpg

IMG_20191012_054920 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48919458458_a298052723_z.jpg

IMG_20191012_063929 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48920193872_05caf6af96_b.jpgIMG_20191012_063851 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We were out for our morning drive as usual. We spotted Little Green Pigeons feeding. A Yellow Muntjac crossed the road but was too quick for a photo. We stopped for a short walk, where I photographed some nice butterflies and a Chestnut-bellied Malkoha. We found a Bronzeback Snake on the way back into the lodge. 

 

48919991721_589a536bf0_z.jpg

IMG_20191012_064413 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072706836_976f89866c_b.jpgPA120250 (2) Little Green-pigeon (Treron olax) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072917762_9ddc9cd0bc_z.jpg

PA120260 (2) Little Green-pigeon (Treron olax) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072892772_1ff653ced9_b.jpgPA120304  buff-vented bulbul (Iole crypta) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072156938_df06224b60_b.jpgPA120424 bees? by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48919991261_ec224de6ce_z.jpg

IMG_20191012_064329 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

48919459213_ea27f31262_z.jpg

IMG_20191012_064225 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072157178_64dccce9ff_b.jpgPA120355 Clipper butterfly Parthenos sylvia by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072891847_a6b517311a_b.jpgPA120483 Malay Lacewing, Cethosia hypsea by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072891277_aaa90fb010_b.jpg

PA120500 Fungi by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072681976_c2fc941ecd_z.jpg

PA120495 Fungi by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072681371_3a9d2ab59f_b.jpgPA120531 chestnut-breasted malkoha (Phaenicophaeus curvirostris) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072681171_b3e2de6409_b.jpgPA120577 Bronzeback snake - possibly elegant? Dendrelaphis formosus by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072193198_e5ae7f1296_z.jpg

PA120006 yellow-vented bulbul (Pycnonotus goiavier), or eastern yellow-vented bulbul by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072718096_4d4a3bef53_z.jpg

PA120008  Eurasian tree sparrow (Passer montanus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072926957_9ef4f230c4_z.jpg

PA120018 Fungi by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072928887_956a5a31b0_z.jpg

PA120032 Fungi by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072717516_06830c98d7_z.jpg

PA120069 Fungi by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072928662_194223fc59_b.jpgPA120052 Fungi by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

In the afternoon I took Domingo’s Trail and photographed mostly mushrooms. On our night drive we covered the road down towards the entrance, and it rained a lot. We stopped at an abandoned house for a while. Mike pointed out some pitcher plants on the way, but it was very quiet for mammals with only a Lesser Mouse Deer photographed.

 

49072928402_dcc61250c9_b.jpgPA120077 lesser mouse-deer or kanchil (Tragulus kanchil) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072192253_61e15834fe_b.jpgPA120078 Pitcher plant by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072928062_a4b0aa15b2_b.jpgPA120080 Pitcher plant by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072927877_b6ce21f38e_b.jpgPA130088 (2) lesser mouse-deer or kanchil (Tragulus kanchil) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

It didn’t help that we were not on the good river road and, to make matters worse, we got stuck behind a logging truck whose driver had decided to park up and take a nap! We lost a fair amount of time with Mike trying to wake the driver up and get him to move his vehicle so that we could get passed. We were all pretty aggravated by that I can tell you! 

 

48919462168_b0112dd3a5_z.jpg

IMG_20191013_020859 "Bloody MOOVE!!!!" :( by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

Our best sighting was of another Sunda Skunk, but he didn’t stick around for photos.

 

 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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Lovely views of the forest. You seem to be seeing less and less as you look harder for the leopard. Is that how it was?

 

Sanity's a speck in the rear view mirror. That driver is lucky Jens and Jason didn't set on him like a pair of lions clearing their territory of a stranger. 

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kittykat23uk

Yes @pault there were two factors to that. Firstly it was raining longer and heavier towards the end of our stay and secondly, as I mentioned we were ignoring the common stuff like squirrels and civets unless they were really close. The theory is to cover as many miles of the road as possible because here the leopard is seen mostly walking the road. Really I don't necessarily subscribe to this plan as to me it seems you are as likely to see one anywhere on the road at any time so what does it matter if you stop for other things? At least we would be seeing something instead of just driving up and down the road for hours on end. 

Edited by kittykat23uk
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kittykat23uk

Sorry, had a horrendous couple of weeks and really haven't had the bandwidth to continue with this report. :wacko:

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kittykat23uk

Deramakot 13/10/2019

 

We took our usual morning drive, but this time Jason was keen to try a track for Banteng, which gave us the opportunity to see a few more birds. As the boys headed off on their banteng mission, I took a slower pace, stopping for a feeding party of Fluffy-backed Tit-babblers, alongside Asian Brown Flycatcher, Olive-backed woodpecker and Dark-necked Tailorbird. A colourful Black and Yellow Broadbill passed through but was quite high up in the trees, so was not easy to photograph.  No banteng were seen unfortunately.

 

48919463863_967e74dc5b_z.jpg

IMG_20191013_054754 by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072213428_5e2b24119f_b.jpgPA130102 Giant pill millipede by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072213228_54ef16f4f6_b.jpgPA130179  fluffy-backed tit-babbler (Macronus ptilosus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072212903_e0665865ef_b.jpgPA130212 Asian brown flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072737591_393f03479f_b.jpgPA130352 olive-backed woodpecker (Dinopium rafflesii) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072211943_30c4a49d1c_b.jpgPA130410 dark-necked tailorbird (Orthotomus atrogularis) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072213908_65c7ebc4b7_b.jpgPA130482  black-and-yellow broadbill (Eurylaimus ochromalus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

We also discussed further with Mike the prospect of us staying on. We could tell he wasn’t keen and he openly encouraged us to move on, citing that we’d only be able to have him guide us for one night extra and then we’d only have the driver, and would it really work in terms of logistics with the spotlight? Plus the weather was pretty set in and the park was quite busy, there’d be lots of other people out looking etc etc; however, despite his misgivings he still tried his best to organise the extra days for us. But in the end, we were foiled by the fact that we could only pay for the extension in cash, which we didn’t have, and the nearest and only cash point was in Telupid, with no guarantee that if we got there we would even find it working. So in the end, we all reluctantly decided that we would just continue with our original plan of heading on to Kinabalu National Park.   

 

Behind the lodge in the afternoon I photographed a Black-winged Flycatcher-shrike and a Greater Coucal feeding on a large grasshopper. 

 

49072970667_ff489ddeb5_z.jpg

PA130016 black-winged flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus hirundinaceus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072233238_e9671f4d41_b.jpgPA130049 greater coucal or crow pheasant (Centropus sinensis) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072758341_cac4bd8197_b.jpgPA130093 greater coucal or crow pheasant (Centropus sinensis) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

I occasionally posted updates on facebook as we were going along. This is the update I posted prior to our last night drive:

 

We have been out every night for the past nine nights until at least 0200. Snatching an hour or two of sleep and then back out on the road at 0530 until 1030/1100. We have driven the logging roads up and down every night. My eyes become heavy, shadows playing tricks, making me see things that aren't there.

 

Our hawkeyed guide picks out occasional gems from the supporting cast of civets and squirrels, a stink badger, an otter civet, slow lorises, even a rare marbled cat. The sense of deja vu rises with every familiar sighting, this is the trip I made before...

 

An infrared scope gives us the advantage, revealing the heat signatures of countless colugos and sleeping primates- rewarding us with our only orangutan sighting of the trip. But our Clouded leopard has stubbornly eluded our perception. Like a ghost that leads locals astray, the leopard last appeared the day before we arrived and has not been sighted in all the time we've been here.

 

In my sleepwalking state I have imagined the encounter a hundred times but it seems constantly out of reach... and tonight is our last chance saloon.


 

We headed out for our final night drive early, spotting bearded pigs again. Later in the afternoon, a bit more birding revealed Blyth's Paradise Flycatcher, Orange-backed Woodpecker and Bronzed Drongo

 

49072758216_63e96600de_b.jpgPA130176 Blyth's paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone affinis borneensis) AKA oriental paradise flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072232758_d12d3154a8_z.jpg

PA130199 orange-backed woodpecker (Reinwardtipicus validus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072969457_4c41e4fd82_b.jpgPA130317 bronzed drongo (Dicrurus aeneus) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

48920029846_5b1c73465a_z.jpg

IMG_20191013_190107 by Jo Dale, on Flickr


As the days drew on, we had been watching some figs ripen on the river road in the hope that we might find a Binturong feeding on them. First they had started to attract bats, and then civets. Finally, on this our last night Tomer managed to spot a Binturong in the fig tree at about 2200, prior to this our drive had been very slow with nothing seen. 

 

49072232458_a82cbf5391_b.jpgPA130374 (2) binturong, or bearcat (Arctictis binturong) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072757216_16d5990b25_b.jpgPA130374 binturong, or bearcat (Arctictis binturong) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

 

The Binturong had it’s back towards us and wouldn’t have been found otherwise as we’d not have detected any eyeshine. This was a lifer mammal for me and I was excited to see it. We spent a while watching him huddling in the fork of the tree staring at us. It was not the best view but at least it was enough to see the little beast.

 

49072968272_d7cf4dd8bd_b.jpgPA130439 A snail by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

About 20 minutes later we were heading back and Mike exclaimed “oh No WAY!” well our hearts leapt as we thought he’d just spotted our main target, but we were quickly disappointed when we looked and saw a Malay Civet walking away from us on the road. Evidently Mike had thought for a split second that it was a Leopard. But sadly it was not to be. Still, we enjoyed the Civet as it seemed to glean rainwater or maybe insects off the surrounding vegetation. 

 

49072967147_f0d2fa9166_b.jpgPA130520 Malayan civet (Viverra tangalunga) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

49072966932_3a8913bcfa_b.jpgPA130521 Malayan civet (Viverra tangalunga) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Our next sighting was of a Slow Loris which came at 2240. We thought we still had a few hours left to have a last ditch attempt to find this elusive leopard, but we were dealt a cruel blow as we hadn’t twigged that this drive was going to be three hours shorter than our regular drives, owing to the driver needing to take us out of the park the next day, so it was a bit of a shock to learn that we had so little time left and as it happened the rest of the drive was pretty uneventful. So we returned empty-handed back to the lodge for a last supper at around midnight. 

 

49072793121_48a63e9f1d_b.jpgPA130557_3  Philippine slow loris (Nycticebus menagensis) by Jo Dale, on Flickr

 

Well, more than ten nights of pent up emotion poured out of me when we pulled up to that restaurant. I was feeling pretty damn dejected I can tell you, despite getting that great binturong lifer. But it really goes to show that it doesn’t matter how much you might deserve to see something for putting a huge amount of effort in, nothing is guaranteed. To paraphrase Dr Ian Malcolm,  “You see, the Clouded Leopard doesn't obey set patterns or park schedules. It's the essence of Chaos…”

Edited by kittykat23uk
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shazdwn

Oh @kittykat23uk so sorry you didn’t get your leopard. Do you think you will try again? 

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Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! 

 

I was sure this was going to have a happy ending. 

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kittykat23uk
9 hours ago, shazdwn said:

Oh @kittykat23uk so sorry you didn’t get your leopard. Do you think you will try again? 

 

Thanks @shazdwn and @pault, That is a hard question to answer. I can't imagine not trying again, but I'm not sure how healthy it would be to do that. Certainly I have no current plans to go back and I'm not sure how frequently the leopards have been seen since we came back- although more on that at the end!  At this stage for me it is now really law of diminishing returns. I've seen let's say 70% of the Bornean birds I'd like to see, mostly it's the rest of the pittas that I'd really like to get,  and probably 80% of the mammals.  So whilst I've really done well on these three trips combined, that means everything that's left is extremely elusive and difficult. 

 

I learned that for me, enjoyment comes from  variety more than anything, so I'm looking forward to going to two totally new destinations this year. I also like to spend as much time watching the wildlife as possible, especially seeing interactions and behaviour. I found driving all day every day, seeing less and less because you are trying to cover all that ground to increase the chance of seeing one species is not really a fun way to spend a trip - it would have been worth it if the effort had paid off, but it's a crushing feeling when it doesn't. Especially being in a group, feeling like you're on a ride you can't get off for fear of missing out. It's really mentally hard. 

 

Right now, I would not do the same itinerary again,  or, that is to say I wouldn't do it in the same way again. Of course you do have to do those night drives. But I don't feel it was worth doing Tawau, Danum and Deramakot together on the same trip, as it's effectively all very similar habitat.  Had it been a more productive trip for birds, I might have felt differently.  I also feel we were really unlucky with the lack of orangutans on this tour, I hadn't even contemplated that they would be so difficult to see. In a way I am quite glad that the first guide we had focused on walks and showing us the smaller stuff as it was a nice way to start the trip.  I'm also, in a way, glad that we did move on to Kinabalu National Park as we saw some different species there, although more on that later.  I would spend more time on the river next time if possible, as this makes a nice change of pace to all the night drives and has a different assembly of species. 

 

As I mentioned this trip, especially the Deramakot section, felt very Deja Vu, as there were really only three new mammals of note that we saw there, that being the marten, the mongoose and the Binturong (of course there were some smaller ones too but these were the stand out ones to me) and, aside from that fabulous otter civet,  we had much better sightings of most of the really special animals i.e. Sunda Skunk, the Marbled Cat and Malay Porcupines on my last trip, which took some of the shine off those sightings. The other problem with a trip of this nature is that most of the nocturnal sightings are quite fleeting so if you look at the photos from each night and think how long we were out for to get those encounters, there's a huge portion of the trip when you're seeing nothing, and when you do stop for something common, you feel the pressure to move on after such a short time. Then of course there is the rain to contend with.   

 

Anyway, it might sound like I had a terrible time and I don't really want to give that impression because we did have a really good time together and we did see a lot of great wildlife. I just want to make it clear how tough a  species focused trip can be especially when it is not a successful one. There's still Kinabalu Park to come too...

Edited by kittykat23uk
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kittykat23uk

Here's the first of the videos I'm working on from Deramakot, you can click on the icon at the end to subscribe to my channel if you'd like to see more of my content:

 

 

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@kittykat23uk, sorry about the leopard.  But, all you can do is put in the time which you really did.  I hear everything you are saying about a species focused trip and I feel the same way.  It had to have been pretty tough mentally not to mention physically due to the hours you were keeping so your disappointment is certainly understanding.  Maybe you will try again some day with a more general itinerary.

 

We would like to go back someday ourselves not only to try for the leopard again but to find that @#$%^ tarsier that has eluded us on our two previous trips.

 

Anyway, looking forward to reading your accounts of the rest of the trip.

 

Alan

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kittykat23uk

Here's a second video from our time in Deramakot. This one has Gibbons, Colugos and Civets.

 

 

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