Monday, April 16, 2018

Day 16 and 17 - Danum to Sepilok to Home

The rain stopped during the night sometime, but we don't know when because we were sound asleep in our huge soft bed.  When our alarm went off we did not want to get up because we didn't want to leave BRL and our premium villa.  But, all good things must come to an end.

At breakfast we soaked in the atmosphere as much as possible.  The sun was out but there was still some mist in the trees.  Too bad there were no Gibbons calling today though.  We did see a Pygmy Squirrel darting up and down a tree near the restaurant which was our last mammal sighting at BRL.

At 7AM, we reluctantly climbed into the van for the 2.5 hour trip back to Lahad Datu.  But, Danum wasn't done with us yet because on the drive back we encountered both a Crested Fireback and a Jungle Fowl. 

Question: Why did the Jungle Fowl cross the road?
Answer: So, I could get a blurry picture of it through the windshield of the van.

That's one good looking wild chicken:
Jungle Fowl Through the Windshield

Before we knew it, we were at the Lahad Datu airport to drop off Tim and Andrea.  They were great traveling partners and we hope we get to go on an adventure with them again some day.  In fact, their adventure wasn't even done because they were flying to India to spend a few days looking for Tigers.  Yes, we WERE jealous.  Anyway, after exchanging some hugs, we were off to Sepilok for one last night at the Forest Edge Resort.

On the way to the lodge, we had Eric stop at the RDC where we booked a private night walk for later on.  I wasn't giving up on seeing Tarsier without a fight dagnabbit!

We got to the Forest Edge Resort for a late pizza lunch which was delicious.

At 6PM, the taxi picked us up and took us the short distance to the RDC where we met our guide and spotter.   Since it wasn't quite dark yet, we headed up to one of the towers where we watched a Giant Red Flying Squirrel wake up and climb up a nearby tree.  Then it took off and glided right past the tower so we got a great view.  It's so cool to see them fly.

For the next two hours we searched high and low for Tarsier but came up empty... AGAIN!  We did see some frogs and our guide managed to track down an Oriental Bay Owl hiding in some dense foliage.  We both got a glimpse before it flew away.  The highlight of the walk was seeing a Moonrat.  It's really just a big white rat but the name "Moonrat" makes it sound cooler.  It was really moving fast in the leaf litter but I did manage to get one blurry shot of it as proof.

Fast Moving Moonrat

After thanking our guide, we returned to the Forest Edge Resort for dinner. I had to have Dry Noodles one last time since that's my go to Malaysian dish.

After dinner, we did a brief night walk around the grounds where we saw more frogs.

Four-lined Tree Frog:
Four-lined Tree Frog

Then we went back to the insect sheet that the resort lights up at night to see what it attracted.  There we saw lots of small bugs and this one large Praying Mantis hoping to dine on some of them:

Praying Mantis

Our last night at the resort was in a standard room as opposed to a deluxe room and despite not having as nice a shower I think we preferred the standard room.  It had night stands and more places to put stuff which was very nice.  Of course, it had air conditioning too which was great.

Since we didn't have to leave the resort until 1PM, we slept in which felt REALLY good.  Of course, sleeping in on this trip meant until 6:30AM so it was by no means egregious.

We took both a before and after breakfast walk around the grounds to see what final Borneo critters we could see.  But, I ended up taking photos of some flora instead of fauna.


Tree Balls?
Tree Balls?

We did have some critters pose for pictures like this Stork-billed Kingfisher which had just nabbed some breakfast:
Stork-billed Kingfisher with Fish

And, best of all, we were able to find yet another Lesser Treeshrew.  These guys are so cute so it was great to make this the final mammal sighting of the trip:

Another Lesser Treeshrew

After packing and showering back in the room (did I mention how nice it was to shower without a plastic bag on my leg?), we headed to reception to wait for our taxi where we sadly said our goodbyes to Borneo.  Two years ago, I never even had Borneo on my list but here it is two years later and we have made two trips there.  The people, food, and wildlife in Borneo are amazing which is why we took back-to-back trips a year apart.  And, we may have to take another one at some point since that damn Tarsier didn't cooperate again this trip.

I would like to say that the travel days home were uneventful, but they weren't.  We had baggage issues again in KL because ANA had no employees staffed since the next flight out was ours 12 hours in the future.   But, we managed to locate their office in the grey cement bowels of the airport where the staff there went out of their way to tag our checked bags and hold them for us so that we could enter the International terminal where our hotel room was for the long layover.

When I read this report in the future, I want to make it clear to myself to NEVER book flights with long layovers in the future since they caused nothing but problems. I had no idea that if you have a layover longer than 6 hours, most airlines won't check your bag through to your final destination.

Also, since I have my attention, don't book travel with 4 legs. Idiot!  Our Sandakan to KL to Tokyo to SFO to Tucson trip took 48 hours door to door and was exhausting.  To top it off, we actually flew on my birthday which is NOT a present I want in the future.  You would think having a 39 hour birthday would be a good thing.   But, that's not true when you spend it in airplanes and airports.  Conveniently, as a present for enduring all the travel, I got sick after arriving home.  It was just a cold, but it lasted a couple weeks and was not a great souvenir to bring back from a trip.

From a wildlife perspective, our trip was a huge success even without the F@#$% Tarsier.

We saw 35 species of Mammals (10 Lifers in Bold)
Prevost Squirrel
Plantain Squirrel
Low’s Squirrel
Sunda Giant Squirrel
Pygmy Squirrel
Thomas’ Flying Squirrel
Horsfield’s Flying Squirrel
Red Giant Flying Squirrel
Lesser Treeshrew
Silvered Leaf Monkey
Red Leaf Monkey
Long-tailed Macaque
Pig-tailed Macaque
Borneo Orangutan
Borneo Colugo
Philippine Slow Loris
Proboscis Monkey
North Bornean Gibbon
Banded Civet
Island Palm Civet
Striped Palm Civet
Malay Porcupine
Long-tailed Porcupine
Pen-tailed Shrew
Bornean Pygmy Elephant
Smooth Otter
Leopard Cat
Sambar Deer
Greater Mouse Deer
Lesser Short-nosed Fruit Bat
Wrinkle Lipped Bat
Bearded Pig
Unknown Rat at Labuy Bay

35 Species of Herps (26 Lifers in Bold)
Four-lined Tree Frog
Masked Tree Frog
Rock Skipper Frog
Asian Toad
Dark-eared Tree Frog
Puddle Frog
Malesian Frog
Tree-hole Frog
File-eared Frog
Harlequin Flying Frog
White-lipped Tree Frog
Common Rice Field Frog
Common Greenback
Giant Bent-toed Gecko
Spotted House Gecko
Spiny-tailed Gecko
Flat-tailed Gecko
Large Forest Gecko
Kuhl's Gliding Gecko
Rough-necked Monitor
Water Monitor
Short-crested Forest Dragon
Black-bearded Gliding Lizard
Green Tree Lizard
Sabah Slender Skink
Many-lined Sun Skink
Dog-faced Water Snake
Sumatran Pit Viper
White-bellied Rat Snake
Malayan Bridle Snake
Painted Bronzeback
Red-tailed Racer
Bornean Keeled Pit Viper
Blue Bronzeback
Salt Water Crocodile

For birds, I only wrote down the 20 lifers that we saw:
Grey and Buff Woodpecker
Brahminy Kite
Reddish Scops Owl
Emerald Dove
Orange-backed Woodpecker
Black-bellied Malkoha
Gold-whiskered Barbet
Blue-crowned Hanging  Parrot
Yellow Bittern
White-crowned Hornbill
Blue-eared Kingfisher
Scarlet-rumped Trogon
Great Argus
Jungle Fowl
Gray-headed Canary Flycatcher
Green Iora
Brown-capped Woodpecker
Oriental Bay Owl
Changeable Hawk Eagle
Black-hooded Oriole
Scaly-crowned Babbler
Spotted Fantail

No comments: