Thursday, April 6, 2017

Borneo Day 6 - Deramakot

Deramakot is well know for its night drives.  But, because we had both birders and mammalers in our group we needed to get up early to find birds too.  So, the theory would be to rest in the middle of the day when it was hot.  That's what Mike did.  But, we have never been nappers and couldn't start here.  So, we just got by on little sleep.  As an example, this day started at 4:30AM and didn't end until around Midnight.  But, in between was a whole lotta fun!

At 6AM, we all piled into the back of an open truck and headed down the road.  As we drove through the forest I was amazed at the size of the trees.  In theory, the selective logging at Deramakot would have thinned out the forest a lot but it was still very impressive.  Things got even better when we heard this eerie call start.  It was slow at first and then sped up until it ended in a mighty crescendo.  It was the call of the Gibbon, an animal that we really wanted to see.  These Gibbons were a little too far away to see this morning unfortunately, so we just enjoyed the call as we continued the drive.  After a while, we all got out and walked the road.  This presented some good photo opportunities:

Asian Paradise Flycatcher (another bird of the trip candidate):
Asian Paradise Flycatcher

Fiery Minivet Pair:
Fiery Minivet Pair

A pair of Great Slaty Woodpeckers:
Great Slaty Woodpecker

The tiny Roufus Piculet:
Rufous Piculet

Bronzed Drongo:
Bronzed Drongo

Long-billed Spiderhunter:
Long-billed Spiderhunter

Yellow-vented Bulbul:
Yellow-vented Bulbul

Our morning hike/drive lasted a long time.  We didn't get back for breakfast until 11:30AM.  Between then and 4PM we just relaxed a bit and hung around the grounds.  My ankle was bad again and if it didn't get better soon I was going to take some drastic measures.  Maybe leech therapy.  If only I could find some leeches...

At 4PM we walked from the main camp and took the Management Trail. Luckily it was pretty flat and, in addition, I soon found my source for leeches.  However, everyone got one on them but me...too bad. Of course, they were all flicked off before they could do any damage.  The highlight on the walk was briefly seeing a Black-crowned Pitta.  But, it was way too tough to get a picture of it.  As a matter of fact, I really don't have any pictures from the trail.  But, I do have a couple from the road leading to the trail:

Spectacled Bulbul:
Spectacled Bulbul

Whiskered Treeswift:
Whiskered Treeswift

After a great dinner of chicken, rice and veggies we headed out for our first night drive.  Mike was really confident and said his goal was 10 different mammal species on the drive.  "Yeah, right" we all said.

The drive started with a Buffy Fish Owl on the same branch as the night before.  But, this time it stuck around long enough for a picture:
Buffy Fish Owl

And then the mammals came...First it was a Sambar deer:
Sambar Deer

Then this Thomas's Flying Squirrel:
Thomas's Flying Squirrel

Red Giant Flying Squirrel:
Red Giant Flying Squirrel

We also had a Slow Loris at some distance so no decent pictures.  But, the civets cooperated more.

Banded Civet:
Banded Civet

Malay Civet (Not a good photo but the markings are really cool so I wanted to include it):
Malay Civet

Next came a Colugo, AKA a flying Lemur, which was awesome:
Bornean Colugo

That's a pretty long tongue:
Bornean Colugo with Tongue

But, the highlight was definitely a Marbled cat Mike found up on a branch.  After looking at it for a few minutes Mike said that the cat may come down if we turn off the lights and wait.  So, we did.  About 5 minutes later he turned the light back on in time to see the cat start to get up.  This gave us a great look.  What a tail!

Marbled Cat

It then went over to the trunk and we assumed it would climb down the backside and venture out of sight.  But, instead it climbed down right in front of us giving us amazing views of its beautiful coat and thick tail.

Marbled Cat Climbing Down

Marbled Cat

Still Climbing down...

One Last Glimpse

What a freaking awesome encounter!

Before the drive ended, we saw a Striped Civet high up in a tree and at least one Greater Mouse Deer.  So, that's 10 different mammal species.  Mike hit the nail on the head.  It's like he planned it or something.  We also saw a 2nd Buffy Fish Owl and a really cool turtle sitting in the middle of the road.

Malayan Flat-shelled Turtle:
Malayan Flatshelled Turtle

What a great first night drive.

I want to mention that Mike has a great system worked out with his driver.  He has a few signals with his spotlight to tell the driver to stop, backup, etc.  This worked flawlessly and quietly which really helped get us in position quickly to see many of the animals we spotted.  We have been on night drives in other countries where they would yell, bang on the roof, etc to communicate but this system worked much better.

We got back after midnight but we were still amped from the night drive so it was hard to fall asleep.  But, with the alarm going off early again, we forced ourselves as best we could.

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