Sunday, December 30, 2018

2018 Favorite Photos

Prior to 2018, our last two trips were to Brazil and then Borneo.  But, we wanted to mix it up a bit in 2018 so we decided to go to...Borneo then Brazil.  How's that for "mixing it up"?

This did mean that we could continue our tradition of only visiting countries with six letter names beginning with the letter "B". So, that was nice.

In April, we had a mostly successful 2nd trip to Borneo.  We had some great wildlife encounters including Gibbons in Danum Valley but we struck out again on seeing a Tarsier despite trying everything we could.  We did get great looks at one of our favorite primates though, the Proboscis Monkey.  How could you not love this face?

In Deramakot, we took a 5 hour leech invested night hike looking for Tarsier and despite the efforts of Mike G. (the hardest working guide in the business) we came up empty.  But, the hike was still a highlight of the trip because we had two great encounters.  First up was this Malayan Porcupine that ambled really close to us before getting a whiff, fluffing up its quills, and scampering off in the other direction.

Malay Porcupine

Next up was a tree climbing Banded Civet that hung around just long enough for me to get a decent picture.

Banded Civet

At the Kinabatangan River, we were luck enough to see Bornean Pygmy Elephants again this year.  It's amazing how these large animals can disappear so quickly in the jungle.  But, a mother and baby did come out into the open and pose for us which was a thrilling encounter.

Bornean Pygmy Elephants

I keep telling myself that I am NOT a birder because I get bored quickly with Sparrows, Seagulls, and any other sort of LBJ.  But, Borneo is filled with exotic birds that will excite any wildlife junkie.  The Broadbills are a good example of this and we just happened to come across a pair of Red and Black Broadbills on the Kinabatangan River that resulted in another favorite photo of the year.

Black and Red Broadbill Pair

The final favorite from Borneo was a real treat.  Our super guide at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge (Azmil), took us off trail looking for a large male Orangutan that was known to be hanging out.  After a few hours, we finally managed to get a clear look at him and it is simply amazing how human like they actually are.  He was just chilling on a branch.

Just Chillin'

Living in Arizona means that we have great access to amazing reptiles and we love going out for hikes day and night to see what we can find.  In August, it was a reptile that found us that is the next highlight.  What would you do if you opened your door, reached for the lock on the outer screen door and just managed to catch yourself before touching this...?

Lyresnake Doorway Surprise

It is a beautiful Lyre snake that surprised the heck out of my wife and she did really well not to scream bloody murder in my book.

Later in August, we took a trip to Brazil.  The main goal for me was to get a good look at a Giant Anteater.  Our one fleeting low light look on our previous trip was just not satisfactory.  So, this trip we spent 8 nights in the Southern Pantanal looking for Giant Anteater and any of the other fantastic wildlife found in the Pantanal.  What we didn't expect to see was a very cooperative Ferruginous Pygmy Owl that spent each morning sitting in the garden of our Fazenda.

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

The Pantanal is known for great sunsets and we saw our fair share this trip.  But, my favorite one was seen just after a boat trip in which I only brought a long lens and a point and shoot camera.  Rather than let the Sunset only remain in memories, I took a photo with the point and shoot camera and it turned into one of our trip favorites.

Baia Sunset

If you go to the Pantanal, you are guaranteed to see the world's largest rodent; the Capybara.  You don't realize how big they are until you see them in person.  You also don't realize just how cute their young are.  On this trip, we saw a couple mothers with young and one of those encounters turned into a favorite.

Cabybara with Babies

Since I am sharing pictures in chronological order, I am not saving the best for last.  As I mentioned, my trip goal was to have a good encounter with a Giant Anteater and we had many.  So, my trip was made on day 1 in the Pantanal actually.  But, later on at Barranco Alto, we had an amazing encounter with a female Giant Anteater and her pup.  Words can't describe how awesome it was to spend about an hour watching them as mama dug around hunting and eating ants.

Giant Anteater with Baby

Just like Borneo, Brazil has an amazing selection of birds and they are especially easy to see in the Pantanal where the forest is not as thick.  What is not easy is getting good shots of them in flight.  So, I was really happy with this photo I took of three Blue and Yellow Macaws as they flew past us.

Blue and Yellow Macaw Flyby

We ended the trip to Brazil with a weekend in Rio.  The highlight of that weekend was probably getting a bit too "toasty" drinking Caipirinhas overlooking the famous Copacabana Beach.  Luckily, there are no pictures of that experience though.  So instead, my last favorite is of a species that was down to only about 200 individuals in the 70's before a very successful conservation effort was put in place to protect them.  Now, there are over 2000 Golden Lion Tamarins in the Atlantic forest of Brazil and we were lucky enough to see a small troop of them including this one that was as interested in us as were were in it.

Tamarin Calling

1 comment:

Jim Coda said...

Some great photos Alan and not the every day subjects.