Saturday, 24 February 2018

Borneo - Part 9 (Arrival at Sepilok)

Introduction
October 3, 2017 - Day 1 on Mount Kinabalu
October 4, 2017 - Day 2 on Mount Kinabalu
October 5, 2017 - Poring Hot Springs
October 6, 2017 - Day 3 on Mount Kinabalu
October 7, 2017 - Day 1 at the Crocker Range
October 8, 2017 - Day 2 at the Crocker Range, Kota Kinabalu
October 9, 2017 - Klias Peatswamp Forest Reserve
October 10, 2017 - Arrival at Sepilok
October 11, 2017 - Sepilok
October 12, 2017 - Sepilok, travel up the Kinabatangan River
October 13, 2017 - Kinabatangan River
October 14, 2017 - Gomantong Caves, travel to the Danum Valley
October 15, 2017 - Day 1 at the Danum Valley
October 15, 2017 - Night Hiking in the Danum Valley

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October 10, 2017

With a mid-morning flight scheduled, I decided to sleep in until 7 AM for the first time all trip. The rest was well-needed and by 10:00 AM I was on a short flight across Sabah to the city of Sandakan, on the northeast coast of Sabah. After a short taxi ride I arrived at the beautiful Sepilok Nature Resort. My group was arriving at different times during the day and the tour would commence that evening. I checked into my accommodations, a beautiful cabin set back against the edge of the mature rainforest.

My accommodations at the Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia

That afternoon I met my fellow travelers, enjoyed lunch with some of them, organized my gear, and walked around the grounds. Despite the heat of the day quite a few birds were active, I am sure partly because the resort is located around the periphery of a small lake that attracts many species. Several of the species were new for me - Red-eyed Bulbul, Blue-throated Bee-eater, Green Iora - while others I had seen earlier in the trip including Little Spiderhunter, Common Iora and Sunda Woodpecker.

Red-eyed Bulbul - Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia 

Little Spiderhunter - Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia

As I was walking around the grounds I noticed a tiny squirrel running along a branch in the tree above me. While I wasn't able to obtain a good photo, I was pretty happy to observe the Bornean Pygmy Squirrel. At a length of 8 cm and a weight under 20 grams, the Bornean Pygmy Squirrel is one of the smallest squirrels in the world. 

Bornean Pygmy Squirrel - Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia

Later that evening as I was walking to the restaurant before dinner, I was interrupted by loud calls which sounded hornbill like. I quickly noticed a pair of Rhinoceros Hornbills calling back and forth in the tall trees behind my cabin. Excitedly I hurried back to my cabin and grabbed my camera and spotting scope, as well as several of my fellow travelers. We marveled at the impressive birds and quickly noticed the reason for their agitation. A pair of Wallace's Hawk-Eagles were flying around, occasionally passing quite close to the hornbills.

Rhinoceros Hornbill - Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia

Wallace's Hawk-Eagle - Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia

The drama unfolded in real time, complete with squawks and bill snaps from the hornbills, and shrieks from the eagles. It was a pretty intense introduction to Borneo birds for those of us in attendance!

Rhinoceros Hornbill - Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia

Eventually after much effort from the hornbills, the hawk-eagles took to the wing and disappeared over the nearby forest, while the hornbills returned to their favored trees and continued calling back and forth to each other.

Rhinoceros Hornbill - Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia

Rhinoceros Hornbill - Sepilok Nature Resort, Sabah, Malaysia

That evening we enjoyed a decadent meal in the open-air restaurant, while the sounds of crickets and frogs filled the air and House Geckos scampered along the roof beams above us. It was great to get to know my fellow travelers and to go over the itinerary for the trip.

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Introduction
October 3, 2017 - Day 1 on Mount Kinabalu
October 4, 2017 - Day 2 on Mount Kinabalu
October 5, 2017 - Poring Hot Springs
October 6, 2017 - Day 3 on Mount Kinabalu
October 7, 2017 - Day 1 at the Crocker Range
October 8, 2017 - Day 2 at the Crocker Range, Kota Kinabalu
October 9, 2017 - Klias Peatswamp Forest Reserve
October 10, 2017 - Arrival at Sepilok
October 11, 2017 - Sepilok
October 12, 2017 - Sepilok, travel up the Kinabatangan River
October 13, 2017 - Kinabatangan River
October 14, 2017 - Gomantong Caves, travel to the Danum Valley
October 15, 2017 - Day 1 at the Danum Valley
October 15, 2017 - Night Hiking in the Danum Valley

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