Raptor Mania at Iluka

Dog fight part 2
Brahminy and Sea-Eagle in a dog fight

 

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Wow what can I say?? The photos and videos speak for themselves. This is a definite must do place to visit again. After missing out on the Sea Eagle photos we decided to cheat a little…… Anthony went to the Bait shop and found a whopping big mullet that cost $6, I couldn’t believe one bait fish would cost that much. We defrosted it and went back to the rocky ledge at Iluka Bluff and placed it where we could get good video and photos. The Brahminy Kite was on to it within minutes and had a great feed, of course birds of prey always eat the eyes first, must be some delicacy for them. He tried to lift it a couple of times but it was too heavy. He flew off  with plenty left over and we were hoping the Sea Eagles would come and pay a visit. We thought maybe they wouldn’t come  this time, we were scanning the perimeters for about half an hour.

Anthony’s battery was going flat and as he was changing it one of the Eagles appeared flying so low across the beach I almost missed him. He zeroed in on the fish and bang …..he grabbed it and was off. He must have spotted that fish from miles away, Amazing hey??
Of course Anthony couldn’t get his camera around in time and focus so sadly missed out but I managed to get it on video.🤩🤩
Today was our last chance to try again so another defrosted $6 fish and back down to the rocky ledge. This time the Brahminy was there with his mate so after one finished having a snack the other one came down. After a while the Sea Eagle appeared and tried to swoop the fish but the Brahminies wouldn’t let him , it was great to watch the mid air tussle going on. We were surprised that the Eagle gave up and took off but came back about an hour later and took us by surprise again, it’s unbelievable how fast a big bird like that is. I only just got it on video and Anthony missed out yet again.😪😪
But Wow what a fantastic show.

 

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Iluka Buff – featuring Sea-Eagle action


 

 

Brahminy Kite
Lunch time
Brahminy Kite trying to get airborne
All attempts failed to get Airborne
White-bellied Sea-Eagle
White-bellied Sea-Eagle

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Iluka Bluff
Iluka Bluff and shelf

 


Blue-faced Honeyeater
Blue-faced Honeyeater
We walked through the rainforest at the Iluka reserve that is World heritage listed. Lots of birdlife there too and a really nice walk. We were lucky to spot the Rufous Fantails building a nest.The walk goes from the Bluff through to the harbour and township of Iluka around 1.5 hours one way.
So we have had an amazing time here, could probably stay longer but yet again the weather will be deteriorating from tomorrow afternoon so we want to get further up the road. Eventually we will have to work again so have to keep moving along. This was our last day on the coast, we will be inland at the Murwilumba Showgrounds for a few nights and then see how the weather shapes up. Please enjoy the pics and videos.
Cheers, Steph and Anthony.

 

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Other birds of Iluka Reserve

 

Sooty Oystercatcher
Tit bits for an Oystercatcher

 


 

 

‘Look’ a Land Mullet

Sepilok to Kinabatangan River

Green Crested Lizard at Sepilok Banana Cafe

 

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A short Video of the amazing Banana Cafe, Sepilok

Well our morning didn’t really go as planned, checkout was at 11 am which didn’t really give us enough time to do the pita walk and then have enough time for showers etc so we just walked the walkways and some paths again at the discovery centre. Actually it was very quiet there, we were even quite early but didn’t see much except for a few skinks and this beautiful Orangutan just having a little rest in a tree, we really didn’t want to disturb him so we were very quiet, took some quick photos and left him in peace.

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A young Orangutan at Rest – Sepilok Rainforest

 

After checking out we stopped for a quick iced tea with lemon at the banana cafe, there was hardly anyone there and Anthony got some great photos of those elusive little flowerpeckers, they are so small and fast and always hiding. They have a bird feeder there and lots of flowering bushes so it’s a hotspot  for those types of birds.

 

 

It was a 2 hour drive to our new digs in Sukau which is right on the river. Anthony booked 4 nights here, but was always a bit unsure about this place and couldn’t find out anything about the river boat trips etc. Well all I can say is it’s just one big rip off tourist place, pay pay pay for rubbish really.This place is like a lodge I guess with timber walkways leading to cabins, which is what we were in first but honestly is was worse than the Hovel Central at Mount Kinabalu. A scrap of toweling for a towel, certainly no bath mat, no kettle or cups or glasses, another one of those wet showers, also the louvre windows wouldn’t close which made the aircon pretty hopeless. We didn’t know what to do, we were so disappointed yet again. Anthony found if we stayed one night we could cancel without having to pay for the other three nights, so hooray for that, we weren’t staying that long, also they had a spare deluxe room so we took that. It was more expensive but comfy bed proper shower, kettle etc so things did take a turn for the better.
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Kinabatangan River Video
Then we decided to take the afternoon boat trip for 2 hours which is what we came here for but Anthony was under the impression that the boat went all the time and would be cheap…….No No No not in this rip off place. We did the trip along with so many other boats just crazy…really not our cup of tea at all. We saw a few birds but we were just going flat stick up and down the river about 3 times, yes just up down up down at high speed and didn’t see a thing for the first hour. Because they had spotters on the shore looking for elephants and had spotted them up there, but by the time we got there they had gone so we went all the way down there and then back again. Some of us saw birds but they weren’t interested in us seeing anything but the elephants, here’s our Safari trip in  Kui Buri all over again.
Asian Elephant on banks of kinabatangan River
Asian Elephant on the banks of Kinabatangan River
Yes we did see the elephants but you can hear all the people in the background of my video, it’s not how we want to see wildlife. We will certainly stay away from any future boat trips.
They have a restaurant on the river here, for drinks there’s either water or coke and we had a very basic buffet dinner. I’ve been having Pina Colada’s the last few nights so have become rather spoilt.
So the problem now is that all the accommodation around Sepilok is booked out and we have nowhere that we want to go to…..We’re not staying here it’s a @$#& hole. We might be able to go back to Labuk where we stayed at that hotel then it’s only about 20 minutes drive to the Rainforest Discovery Centre.
I will keep you posted.
It was extremely hot today must have easy been around 38 degrees, they have a problem with power here so the power just went off and thank god it came back on again, I don’t think we could sleep without aircon. The power keeps surging, all the lights dim and the aircon is on 17 degrees but is only just keeping us cool.
Borneo is a real hit and miss affair, I guess if we ever come back we can sidestep all the pitfalls. We will be in better spirits when we get back to the jungle.
Bye, Steph and Anthony.

Hornbills and Friends – Khao Yai

Male Great Hornbill
The Majestic Great Hornbill in full flight

 

Well if you’ve been wondering what we have been up to the last few days, we have been very busy stalking hornbills in Khao Yai. If you have ever been there you would know that they are not that easy to see let alone get good photos off even though they are such an enormous bird they can still be very hard to spot as they are normally near the tops of the trees where the best fruit is and the trees are very very tall.

Anthony managed to capture them just beautifully with some fantastic in flight shots from the lookout, I wasn’t so lucky with the video but did manage to get a few snippets here and there but would have liked more of their honking sounds, they truly are something to see and the sound of their enormous wing beats is straight out of Jurassic Park.
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 View Hornbill Video here
We have also been walking and driving around the park like crazy, getting very badly leeched a few times, we are still wondering why we haven’t invested in some leech socks…..we really are slow learners. We didn’t see any bird storms this trip, in fact it was very quiet even driving around slowly we really didn’t stop much at all but did still managed to get some great photos and video so would definitely pay Khao Yai another visit in the future.
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View ‘other critters’ Video here
Some birds of Khao Yai
I have to apologise for mistaking the scorpion in the video for some type of fresh water crab???? Honestly when I saw those big nippers I just thought of a crab and wasn’t really looking at his ginormous scorpion tail…..good thing I didn’t try to help him on his way to fresh water🙄🙄🙄🙄
Some mammals of Khao Yai
We couldn’t believe we also saw the gibbons, you hear them a lot but so hard to spot and usually they sound real close but are quite far away. Anthony also got some nice photos considering the distance they were away. So we had a great time here though very tiring at times. The next few days we will be transitioning to Borneo so you might not hear much but we are desperate to see orangutans in the wild so please keep your fingers crossed.
All the best Steph and Anthony.

Khao Yai National Park

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Wow, what a day, we got up early and got out to the Khao Yai National Park  nice and early around 7am. It was such a great feeling revisiting this park as we had spent 4 days here last year.

 

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We already had a heads up as to the best places to see birds and where some of the fruiting trees are, though we are a month early this year and those particular trees aren’t fruiting just yet. But it didn’t matter as the best way to see birds is to just drive around slowly with your windows down and if you hear anything different or lots of bird chatter you just pull over a bit and put your hazard lights on and people here are very obliging and they go around you. Everyone does it here and it’s a great way to see birds as it’s more open on the roads than trying to spot them in the dense rainforest.

 


 


 


 


You get these bird storms here where all of a sudden a whole bunch of birds will just arrive and there would be maybe 6 or 8 different species of birds all hanging out together. It’s crazy and hard for Anthony to know where to point the camera because I’m so excited too and telling him what I am seeing through my binoculars so it gets a bit confusing. Of course males are the best colours so we try to focus on them( sorry girls). But this didn’t happen today but we probably weren’t in the right spot.

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The Sights and sounds of Khao Yai

It’s a fantastic park with so much variety, there’s waterfalls, rivers,  lakes, open grasslands too. Their wildlife list is incredible. Anyway the photos and video speak for themselves, we are really tired now and want to get up there just a little bit earlier as the sun was already pesky at 7 am, Enjoy.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

 

A visitor just outside our Digs tonight