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Zooboy28 Goes to Borneo

Discussion in 'Malaysia' started by zooboy28, 29 Feb 2016.

  1. zooboy28

    zooboy28 Moderator Staff Member

    1 Aug 2010
    Melbourne, Aust (ex. NZ)
    Day Twelve:

    We awoke to the sad realisation that this was our last day in Borneo. And therefore our last Bornean breakfast buffet! And also my last day to spot as much wildlife as possible. I started early with a walk around the lodge, and spotted a few birds, including a Bornean spiderhunter. I was hoping to see one of the native pheasant species, as someone had seen a fireback the day before, but there were none to be seen.


    After breakfast, we headed out for our last jungle trek, which took us under the big fig tree for our last orangutan sighting, and then across the river, into a part of the Danum Valley we had not previously visited. It was clear however, that the area had been visited by elephants recently, with plenty of dung around and some footprints. There were no elephants around now though, and the forest was still and quiet. And the first species we saw was especially still and quiet – and disguised as a bunch of dead brown leaves.


    It was a large frogmouth (all frogmouths having almost incredibly banal common names), and was perched silently above the track. It took a good few minutes for all of us to figure out where it was, given how seamlessly it blended in to the foliage above. This was quite an exciting sighting, given the species is uncommon and hard to spot, so we were all glad to have seen it. Further on was a more vibrant species – an Asian paradise flycatcher, apparently the only flycatcher named after a Sharon O’Neill song. This was an impressive bird, with a long white tail, which was conspicuous even in the dense leaves above.


    We continued through the jungle, stopping when we reached a large fig that had grown up around another tree that had long since died and decomposed. The scale of the trunk system was impressive, and worth the trek out to see it, although there was little else around. In fact, on the way back we added only one more bird species – a single Bornean black magpie, navigating the trunk of an emergent tree. We also spotted a small dragon and another skink, although I’ve identified neither. The dragon was particularly engaging, as it tried to stuff a massive grub into its mouth while avoiding our camera lenses.


    Back at the lodge, we prepared for our departure. The temperature had increased substantially throughout the morning, and a change of clothes was necessary. Although I didn’t realise how necessary until I removed my shirt and found the back of it covered in blood. The blood was coming from a small hole that was bleeding profusely – definitely the result of a leech. I was quite happy about this, and even happier when it transpired that said leech was still with me, patiently crossing the floor to get under the bed. Presumably it was hoping to relax under there for a while, before terrorising the next guest. I assume the leech had dropped down the back of my shirt during the trek, given the position of my wound, and the fact that the leech had released its hold before it was discovered. A band-aid over the wound did little to stem the flow, so I was glad to be wearing a dark shirt that hid most of the growing bloodstain…


    Once we’d packed up, we headed to lunch on the verandah, again watching the local birdlife, which was bright, active and abundant in the lush garden. A quick walk around the lodge revealed the final new species for the trip – a yellow-rumped flowerpecker. Then we were off to Lahad Datu, driven along winding roads through the Valley, spotting only a sambar and some macaques. We ended up reaching the airport significantly earlier than required, and were able to board an earlier flight. This actually worked out quite well, given that Lahad Datu Airport is tiny and was absolutely packed with people. The flight to Kota Kinabalu was uneventful, but provided brilliant views of the landscape below, vast forested areas, twisting rivers, and small settlements with farms and (unfortunately) the ubiquitous oil palm plantations. As we had arrived earlier at KK, we had a longer than expected layover before we finally left Borneo, and flew out to our next destination, the capital of Malaysia – Kuala Lumpur.

    Overall, Borneo was a absolutely amazing destination, and one I'm very keen to return to!


    Borneo Wildlife Species Lists:

    68 Bornean Spiderhunter Arachnothera everetti
    69 Asian Paradise Flycatcher Terpsiphone affinis
    70 Large Frogmouth Batrachostomus auritus
    71 Bornean Black Magpie Platysmurus atterimus
    72 Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker Prionochilus xanthopygius
    jayjds2, pachyderm pro and Chlidonias like this.
  2. Chlidonias

    Chlidonias Moderator Staff Member

    13 Jun 2007
    not travelling
    I like the dragon photo.

    I think this might be the winner of all twelve-day threads written over two years :p
  3. DavidBrown

    DavidBrown Well-Known Member

    12 Aug 2008
    California, USA
    Thanks for a very entertaining and informative narrative journey through the breakfast buffets and wildlife habitats of Borneo. That was smart saving your leeching for the grand finale as it was an interesting conclusion.