Final Post From Borneo?

Last year I posted about my visit to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley Conservation Forest in Sabah which is in North Borneo (Pygmies of Darkest Borneo and Nocturnal Perambulations in Borneo).  Well, last week I had the good fortune to be  there again on work assignment but as the project is coming to an end, this may possibly be my last visit.

As before, there was lots to see.  On the night walk and night drive, we saw the rare and enchanting Western Tarsier again.  This creature can look very cute and yet at other times with its large eyes can look quite evil.  Some remark that it may have been the inspiration for Gollum from The Lord of the Rings movie.

Also seen on the night drive were a few Sambar deer, Angle-headed Lizard (Gonocephalus borneensis), a Tarantula spider and the Thomas’s Flying Squirrel.  The latter was a highlight for me as I had never seen one before.

One morning, I went for a walk and fighting my fear of heights, went onto a canopy walkway  with suspension bridges and platforms which are about 30 m off the forest floor.  While I was struggling across one of the bridges, suddenly a small flock of Scarlet Minivets flew in and started dancing in the tree foliage around me.  Temporarily forgetting my fears, I struggled to take pictures of the birds while trying to remain steady on the swaying bridge.

During the walk there, there was another surprise.  A colugo came flying out of the forest with its skin stretched out between its limbs, very much looking like Batman with his cape and landed on a tall tree next to the trail.  I have seen colugos before and have indeed posted on them (We Are Family) but this sighting was special.  The colugo was flying almost directly at us and from that vantage point, we could see his “flying skin” perfectly.

It takes me 2 seconds to register the sight of the colugo, one more second for my brain to decide that I should try to take a photograph, 3 seconds to switch on my camera, another 3 seconds to aim the camera and focus and one second to press the shutter.  That makes a total of 10 seconds.  Unfortunately, the colugo’s flight lasted just 5 minutes which explains why I have no photo of it.  Ah, well.  You’ll just have to believe me.

In the meantime, I hope you will enjoy these photos.

Rough Ride into the Forest
Western Tarsier or evil Gollum: "Precious....."
Anglehead Lizard
Thomas's Flying Squirrel (a distant cousin)
Scarlet Minivet in the Tree Canopy
Beautiful Hoya Flowers

21 thoughts on “Final Post From Borneo?”

  1. Wow, beautiful photos! I’ve never seen a squirrel that colour before, as the Minivet…so vibrant. Are Tarsiers gentle creatures? You have such an exciting life LGS. 🙂

  2. What amazing creatures!
    Does this flower emit a heavy sweet smell? It reminds me of some flower we have here as room-plant (Zimmerpflanze), called “Wachsblume” – I could die for that scent!

  3. Great pics! That first one really does look like he should be in Lord of the Rings.

  4. Looks like a simply awesome place… must be incredible to see all these creatures in the wild, rather than in a book or on a computer monitor… you’re a lucky squirrel !

  5. amanatal,
    Thanks for coming by and for your kind comment. Hope to see you around here more often.

    The squirrel is striking, isn’t it? I am quite envious of its red coat. Tarsiers eat insects and are not aggressive.

  6. Mago,
    I did not notice any strong smell when I was taking the photo. The plant is an epiphyte – i.e. it grows on other plants. I liked the very angular features of the flower.

    Since I wrote my earlier reply, I did some additional research and you are absolutely right! This flower is from the same family as Wachblume which means more than likely it has a strong fragrant smell.

    Riot Kitty,
    When its eyes are wide open, it looks very cute but when the eyelids are half closed, it looks eerie and evil.

  7. The pics were remarkable. The squirrel was so red. Was he scared by meeting the great Long Grey Squirrel? lol

  8. I love the tarsiers eyes – when they are open, they are so huge and round! We have red squirrels here, but nothing quite as henna coloured as this one!

  9. I wonder if the biodiversity is changing in Borneo as much as it is in America. We are seeing so many (invasive) new species of everything and the return of feral animals to the population centers (cougars, wolves) just strange is all.

  10. Joyce,
    Haha. I wish! But this guy was huge! Maybe 2 feet from nose to tail. The red is striking, isn’t it?

    I can’t deny that but then again I should see it as it is in my country, my backyard. We all have places of wonder near us which we often neglect to go to just because we always think that it will be there but I think these spots are disappearing or at least changing.

  11. Violetsky,
    Exactly….henna coloured! This was a big squirrel and if you click on the photo for a larger image, you would see that his eyes are large too. As for the tarsier, my camera was not able to capture the image without the use of a flash and I could only use the flash when its eyes were partially closed and not looking at me.

    Good question. But from what I have heard, invasive species has not yet been a problem in Borneo. The biggest threat to biodiversity is the encroachment and opening of the forest habitat for oil palm plantations and in some parts hunting for bush meat or for the exotic pet trade has caused species to become threatened.

  12. Mr. Charleston,
    Apparently, members of the Hoya family is sold in the west as ornamental plants and are often called Wax Flowers. Most are strongly scented and rich in nectar and can be pollinated by insects including bees and ants. Its characterised by flowers with the five pointed star pattern.

    It was indeed fun. But because I was on work assignment, I only got to do very limited activities. There is a lot more that I did not get to see.

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