Saturday, December 30, 2017

Favorites of 2017

Well, another year has come to a close so it's time to look back at the last 12 months of pictures and choose some favorites.  Overall, it was a slimmer year picture wise for us since we only took one trip which was to Borneo.  So, most of my favorites are from that trip.  But, we did make a point to get out and see more Arizona wildlife which helped us add Ringtail and Kit Fox to our mammal life list so you will see some local pictures as well.

As I mentioned, we spent two weeks in Borneo and it was a wet and wild trip. The wildlife there is absolutely spectacular.  It's too bad it rained so darn much.  But, we didn't let that "dampen" our spirits and when it didn't rain we were able to find some amazing wildlife like this first favorite.

It's a White-head's Pygmy Squirrel and it's about the cutest darn squirrel you ever saw.  It likes to dart up and down trees eating the moss off of the bark. It moves lightning fast and if you blink, you will miss it:
Whitehead's Pygmy Squirrel

The next photo was also taken in Borneo.  Our guide spotted this Marbled Cat on a tree branch. We  waited hoping that it would climb down the tree.  It did, and we got a great look at this beautiful cat.  Just look at that tail:
Marbled Cat

If you like birds, Borneo is a great destination and this picture sums up how we felt a lot of the trip.  Wet!  This is a Lesser Leafbird that wasn't going to let a little rain slow down its foraging:
Lesser Green Leafbird

These two Crimson-winged Woodpeckers  were less then 10 feet from us but we had trouble finding them despite all their squawking.  They blended in so well with the bushes that we almost walked right past them:
Crimson-winged Woodpeckers

Borneo has the tallest rain forest in the world and walking through these giant trees is amazing especially when the sounds of Gibbons echo through the fog in the morning.  This was the stage for this next photo taken in Danum and it doesn't do the experience nearly enough justice:
The Forest at Dawn

One of the truly memorable aspects of the Bornean rain forest is all the butterflies fluttering about.  But, the Tree Nymph was an exception.  It didn't flutter.  Instead it seemed to float about 20 feet off the ground barely moving its wings as it glided about.  I was fortunate to find one that came down to earth:
Tree Nymph Butterfly

The next favorite is by far the most unusual primate we have ever seen.  The Proboscis Monkey has a huge nose, large belly, and the males have a bright red penis.  What's not to like about that?  To top it off, they appeared to be very social and peaceful animals and we had a blast watching them:
Surveying His Kingdom

No trip to the rain forest would be complete without some creatures of the night.  We did a night drive or walk pretty much every night, rain or shine.  While my main target of the trip, the Tarsier, managed to elude us we did see some great nocturnal wildlife like this File-eared Frog:
File-eared Frog

The last favorite from Borneo was really an unexpected find.  We had just left a wet and muddy trail when our guide spotted a Philippine Slow Loris on a branch.  The Slow Loris is a primate and has a gland that produces a toxin which makes it the only venomous primate in the world.  What a treat to actually see one in person:
Philippine Slow Loris

With the Borneo trip behind us, we made a point to see more of Arizona but for this favorite we didn't even have to leave our own backyard.  Not a bad view:
Santa Catalina Mountains

I always like to include a picture from our property trail cams in the yearly favorites and I did have some good ones to choose from.  But instead, I have included a picture taken by a trail cam that we monitor for the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Protection.  You can see some of the great work they do here.

We are helping to monitor multiple cameras as part of a study to gauge the effectiveness of current wildlife highway crossings (overpass and underpass) and to find locations for new ones to help wildlife migrate safely.  This photo shows the predator/prey interaction that few of us get to see in person:

One of the snakes that I always wanted to see was a Sidewinder.  After some research, I found a location about an hour away where they have been seen in the past.  So, off we went and after a few hours of road cruising we hit pay dirt. It was just lying in the middle of the road:

So, as you can see, 2017 was a great year home and abroad.  Borneo was an exotic destination and one that we hope to visit again soon. So, look out Tarsier, we may be coming back for you in 2018!