Well the weather did fine up for us but we have been struggling to find any birds. On the second day we drove about 45 minutes to Kubah National Park first which has actually been extensively logged so no really big trees and hardly a peep to be heard. Because it had been raining we stayed on the road going up to the summit but it still was very green with moss but it gave us a really good view of the forest as we walked up and we did hear a few birds and saw a couple of drongos . On the way back down we walked on one of the tracks instead and it was still tree roots and slippery rocks, it seems to be the same terrain wherever we go. There was no cafe here but we had seen a couple on the way in, one was on top of a rubbish tip…..yes really and the other one didn’t look to bad. We had to share an iced lemon tea as there was nothing else except for Pepsi and we had a choice of 4 meals so we picked some noodle dish with some type of crumbled meat in it but couldn’t actually tell you what it was. But the flies there were just crazy, I don’t know why, maybe from all the rubbish but we just gobbled our noodles and high tailed it out of there.
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Yesterday we went to Bako National Park which involved another 45 minute drive in the opposite direction. We were lucky to get one of the last car parks at the jetty area, very busy place and we had to get a boat from there up the river to the NP. We were expecting it to be busy as it sounds amazing and there is the best chance to see proboscis monkeys there. Well you could hardly move at ticket box, people just en masse. I had to go to the loo and sadly had to leave Anthony to organise boat tickets in that mayhem…..actually he normally turns to jelly in big crowds so I was expecting to come back and he maybe wanted to bail out, but he thought it’s either deal with this or we are back on the highway. I couldn’t believe it but he had it all organised……(typical Borneo) he had to register us at one booth, get tickets at another then go back to the original booth to organise a driver for the boat, I kid you not there were around 20 boats waiting for all the tourists to get their paper work in order. We were suppose to stand in one spot and wait till they matched us up with other people as they wanted full boatloads. But after 2 minutes Anthony went and harassed them a little and we were off, straight down the jetty with some others that they had quickly scrambled together. You can only imagine the chaos there, people were so confused and most had that stunned mullet look on their faces so it was great to get out.
Bako National Park
The trip there was good, very fast little boats with twin 40 hsp outboards on the back . Too bumpy for videos though. When we arrived at the park we had to take our paper work to their office and then we were free.
We saw some silver leaf monkeys straight away and then the Bornean bearded pig so we got quite excited thinking we had finally found a National Park with wildlife, yahoo. So off we went on one of the trails picked for the birdlife…….we walked and walked , heard nothing, in fact it was deathly quiet. Next thing we are climbing up the side of a mountain back on those dreaded slippery tree roots and rocks again. After about 20 minutes of climbing, we were both drenched with sweat and still no sounds from the jungle and still a long way up that bloody mountain, so we bailed out to find an easier trail. There was only one cafe there so we had lunch early before the masses and chilled out a bit. This heat is really getting to us. We walked up another path and some people had seen a proboscis monkey on it high up in the trees. This path followed the cliffs along the beach. It was also climbing but we had something to look for now so we were very keen. It took a while but we heard them first, crashing around in the trees but couldn’t get a look because of the foliage in front and then after manoeuvring off the path and into the jungle a bit we could see the male and then after a while we spotted the female. They are quite a large primate and they are very hard to spot in the trees, it’s only because we heard them that we knew where to look. It’s hard to believe they’ve been squashed into this last place on the coast. They only live near the mangroves so they won’t be able to survive, they are critically endangered already and were still hunted for their meat not so long ago, very very sad.
It was fantastic to see them so it really made our day. The trip back was good too, the boats all pick you up from the beach at 3 pm, it was a tiring day.
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Today we went for a quick walk in the forest here, we did see some silver leaf monkeys but still no birds, had lunch instead at the Damai Resort on the beach, a very nice spot and a nice lunch. We relaxed around the pool till it cooled off enough to go for a quick drive to Buntal beach about 15 minutes drive as we heard they had a big walkway along the mangroves there. It was really nice and picturesque, the sun was setting, there were kingfishers and other birds around, a really nice spot. But best not to look around too much and see all the rubbish scattered among the mangroves, it’s just everywhere here. I don’t think they know what a beautiful country they have, it’s been hard to get away from the rubbish.
I did a little research because I was concerned about the lack of wildlife in the parks, I mean we are in the Bornean jungles, we were expecting a lot more mammals and birds, but it’s so quiet. They also have a cat problem, starving cats in the parks, you can only imagine what they are eating. I am convinced most of the prize animals are gone, there are still traditional hunters in the parks, and don’t forget most of the forests are wiped out by palm oil or heavily logged so the only place for wildlife is in the parks but they are not protected there. They also have a huge poaching problem, I won’t gabble on about it because I know the world is pretty much stuffed as far as nature is concerned but will include an interesting article I read from an Australian professor of ecology.
Hello everyone, we woke up early and not a cloud in the sky,though a bit misty. We took off to the jungle for our last morning there. We were expecting a lot, thinking to quickly get up high on the walkways in the canopy as surely all the birds would be sitting there drenched after raining most of the night and trying to dry off in the morning sun. But it was very quiet, we did see the Wallace’s hawk eagle drying himself and also a giant squirrel but we were a bit disappointed really. The mist and the sun through the trees was beautiful though and you could hear the jungle just dripping. We did a circuit like we normally do but didn’t see much at all so went back to the resort.
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We hung around there till midday as there was no hurry to get to the big smoke (Sandakan). Anthony got some great photos of some birds coming in to feed on the ripening bunch of bananas just next to the restaurant, we always sit at a table where we can keep an eye on whose visiting the bananas and Anthony can quickly jump up and click off some amazing photos. We also saw a micro bat flying in and tucking himself under some dead banana fronds, it’s quite amazing to see how many animals are relying on this one banana tree. They let them ripen here for the birds etc but as you know, in a commercial sense nothing would ever get to eat them as they are covered with a heavy duty bag, sprayed with chemicals and chopped off before being any where near ripe. Such is life.
Sometimes I think about our old place in the tropics in Kuranda NQ, and think we could have done more for the birds, like plant some bananas and more fruiting trees. We did have some lychee trees next to our driveway and we used to love going out at night when they were ripe and they were full of big beautiful fruit bats, the sound was deafening but it felt so good to give them something. So many people hate bats but without them you wouldn’t have any rainforest and then we certainly wouldn’t be able to breathe. And I haven’t heard anyone say that they hated breathing…..makes you think doesn’t it?…
Anyway enough rambling, we are in our very swish hotel in Sandakan now, the Sabah Hotel Sandakan . We have come up in the world, had a nice lunch and I just had to have a sleep, we are exhausted after our last week of jungle ventures. There’s a fantastic pool here so will try to have a dip tomorrow, we are here for two nights.
Well as you can see we had another amazing day in the Sepilok Jungle. We got up extra early this morning to get there by 6.30 am and there were a lot more bird sounds going on that’s for sure. It was really nice and cool too until around 9 am then it started steaming again. We had a bit of a woodpecker day, seeing the white fronted ones very early from the canopy walk, we hadn’t seen any up there before so maybe it’s their early morning thing. They were very vocal too and flying from tree to tree, getting photos didn’t look too promising even though we were on top of one of the towers. The trees are even higher and we could only just see them on the opposite side of the tree. Patience payed off though and eventually they decided to come on our side and Anthony got some great photos. When we were almost back to the start of the canopy walk I spotted another two woodpeckers, the crimson winged ones this time and so close, only maybe 6 feet away, one had just come back from having a bath he looked so scruffy, some more great photos.
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Some woodpeckers at Sepilok Rainforest
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more birds from today
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A couple of other critters
We went back to the resort for breakfast, then back to the jungle, then lunch at the Banana cafe, then back to the jungle again. So we had a great day, and saw so many other birds, also saw the orangutans a few times, you just can’t miss them, they certainly break some branches as they swing around the place, you wouldn’t want to be standing underneath one. I finally finished my little video of the resort and our chalet, so please enjoy.
We had a storm while having tea, at last some rain to cool things down, it’s still raining but hoping it’s passed by the morning as we want to go back to the Jungle very early.
All went well for our big move back to the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort. We put off the epic 20 minute drive for as long as could. We had breakfast at the hotel and did all our laundry at the very flash Mr Dobi laundromat just over the road. It’s quite amazing as this town (Labuk) is so grotty and smelly and the shops and restaurants look very shabby, huge cockroaches scuttle around the pavements at night and I would hate to think what lurks down in those smelly drains 😬😬😬, then they have this state of the art laundromat with ten brand new enormous front loaders and matching dryers above, all open roller doors and fans, the machines have their own internal detergent and you put money in another machine to get tokens which are fed into the machines. I should have taken a photo as even in Australia We have never seen such a schmick laundromat.
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So eventually we had to drag ourselves from the airconditioned room and hit the road to the resort, we dropped our bags at reception as we were too early for the chalet to be ready. We wandered around the gardens and they also have a lake and lots of dragonflies, a few different ones so Anthony was in heaven for a little while till he realised his scone was getting burnt in the hot midday sun. I of course was standing in the shade pointing things out with my binoculars.
We had lunch then headed down the road to the jungle again, the girls at the ticket office know us now and are always happy and friendly it’s almost like we are Sepilok locals.
We didn’t think we would see too much being the hottest time of the day and its always pretty quiet walking around. But we are getting good……. I’m turning into the eagle eyed spotter and Anthony is turning into the Stealth master, so many times now I just say STOP when I’ve spotted something and then he takes a few far away photos and then very slowly step by step gets closer and closer resulting in some pretty amazing photos as you can see. It really takes some patience though.
The Red Naped Trogon was an absolute prize….I just couldn’t believe it when I spotted this little patch of red among the greenery, we were on one of the canopy walks and he was actually sitting in the open so we had to be super sneaky and super quiet as those big steel walkways are quite creaky and noisy.
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So we had another fantastic day here, our new chalet is better than the other one we had, it’s higher with a nicer view and lighter as the other one was down in the rainforest. We love the food here too, I was really looking forward to my pina colada tonight, they do them really well here and a nice reward after a hard day spotting. So please enjoy the photos, I’m getting a video together of the resort so will post that tomorrow.
Wow what a day….We were really relaxed this morning and tried really hard to be stealthy and very quiet and it really paid off. I think we have realised that rainforest birds are very very secretive and really don’t do much. They just sit….usually behind something, they hardly make a sound and they hardly fly, just a quick spurt to the next branch that is why they are so hard to spot. So many times one of us will spot something and the other just cannot see it no matter how hard you look, they are so well hidden and you really just have to be looking in the right spot at the right time.
So we had a great time, finally got to walk half of the Pitta trail as it’s quite long, you can cut back through the middle past an enormous tree called the Sepilok giant, just fantastic to see a big tree like that. I did take a few video snippets today but will put them all together when I have more. It’s been impossible to get good videos of these birds, just too far away or by the time I get focused on them they are already gone. But I love looking at them through binoculars as well and I try to follow them so Anthony can get good photos, we are a good team.
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Besides the photos we saw the young male orangutan again carrying around a huge jackfruit, so cool to see them so often, also saw a couple of water monitors and of course other birds that we just haven’t been able to get photos off but we will keep trying. Tomorrow’s another day and we are really looking forward to it.
Well we made it to Borneo ok, though we really don’t like the transition days, that extra dry air in the airports and planes really irritates my eyes and you can’t seem to get real food anywhere, even the more restaurant type eateries proclaim to have nice meals on their glossy boards out the front but they are all lying, we get really sick of eating plastic food but sometimes you just don’t have a choice. We had a horror flight for the last leg from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu with screaming babies and annoying hyped up children, maybe it’s all the plastic food they are eating but so many children now seem like they are just uncontainable 🤔🤔
We picked up the hire car at the airport, a new SIM card for Malaysia and some local money of course. Thank God our hotel was only 7 minutes from the airport which was great to be able to relax again. The hotel C’haya is ok, a bit run down but clean, the towels are extremely thin…..but it has a fantastic seafood restaurant next door so we have eaten there the last two nights. We walked around the little township here, I don’t think it has a name but it’s between the city and the airport, but not much here, also a bit run down and the standard rubbish that is littered along the sides of roads and waterways etc. After walking around and seeing some other shabby hotels we realised our hotel is probably the flashiest digs in town, so we better stop whining.
Some very relaxed Water Buffalo on our trip up the Range
Today we had a choice of two amazing places in nature to visit, quite a drive away and in two different directions. The place that had the most birdlife, The Rafflesia Centre was the first choice, we were worried maybe it wasn’t open being a Sunday…..Anthony read on the internet that it had been closed in March so we thought it was worth the risk to go out there and Bingo….it was closed, and looks like it has been closed for quite some time.
So then we drove to our second choice which was around 1 and a half hours drive away, so we stopped in the main town on the way Keningau actually went to the Pizza Hut….yes very strange for us I know but it was hot and all the other run down cafes were out door seating and we knew the Pizza Hut would be air conditioned.
Driving in the mountains here though is beautiful, the roads are fantastic, a lot of places with two lanes, lots of crazy drivers too of course all out for a Sunday race I think, it gets a bit hairy sometimes. But Anthony loves driving like that too.😬😬
The Crocker Range Nature Centre was open, hooray, and we had it to ourselves, no one in sight, unbelievable. We did a 3 km hike through the jungle, yes with a few leeches but made sure we saturated our socks with repellent this time so no probs. Saw a few birds, the broadbill was amazing and sitting right out in the open. We couldn’t dilly dally too long though as we had a 2 hour drive to get back too so if we had of known the other place was closed we would have just gone to this place and spent more time there.
A pretty flower
The 3km Jungle trek was simply breathtaking
You can never rush birdwatching, it really takes time and you have to be scanning the trees all the time. The drive back down the mountain was amazing, so steep in places but like I said… a great road, some stretches were 16 % and even a couple of 19% very steep descents that went on for ever but finally we hit the coast with its bumper to bumper traffic, both ways just crazy, put a bit of a damper on the day having to battle traffic after being in such beautiful nature has got knobs on it.
So tomorrow we are off to the big mountain… Mount Kinabalu, we can see it from here in the distance, it’s around 4,000 mtrs high, massive, we aren’t climbing it as you have to book it way in advance and that would just be way too iffy with the weather. It’s also a huge national park with heaps of trails so hopefully we will get to see amazing birds there.
A few of the birds and butterflies spotted on the Trek
By the way, the big Atlas moth I picked up outside some shops in the mountains, he wasn’t in the best condition, I think he must of been hit by a car so I put him in some bushes and hope he recovered, he just seemed a bit dazed, what a beautiful creature.
Well our morning started really well, we were lying in bed doing our iPad thing and Anthony spotted a Blue winged Pita hopping around in the garden at the Rivercreek Estate. Of course I didn’t believe him at first till I got a look myself, they are such an elusive gorgeous little bird, I quickly got my video recorder going through the window so it’s a bit grainy, Anthony was clicking madly just outside the door but the photos didn’t turn out that good as it was so dark. Such a good feeling to see a bird like that. I suppose we could have done nothing for the rest of the morning but we didn’t have to check out till 12 am and couldn’t check into our next place till 2 pm so decided to zip back out to the dam and see what it was like in the morning light.
A short Video of the elusive Blue-winged Pitta
Well it’s a fantastic place in the morning, saw heaps of herons and kingfishers, saw the amazing Hoopoe, what a crazy looking bird that walks like a chicken, I never thought we would get to see one. In the distance I could hear miaowing and this gorgeous little cat found me and then wouldn’t leave, I felt so sorry for her, she obviously has some kittens as well so must be having a pretty tough life. There is a restaurant there and she is very very friendly so probably does ok, but anyway if there was a magic geenie ….she would be mine, with her babies of course.
A video featuring the Hoopoe and Kaeng Krachan Dam
Birds spotted on our last morning at Kaeng Krachan
On the way back we did a quick circuit of our frontage road and took some photos of the Weaver bird nests so high up in the palm tree. We spotted quite a few other birds, this was a fantastic place to stay.
Baya Weavers and their Nests
It’s time to head to our new digs so please enjoy the last pics and videos.
We had a nice relaxing day today, had a nice breakfast down here on the landing, walked up and down the road looking for birds but it was already hot at 7.30 am and not much shade on the road also it is a public road with other farms and houses and it seems everyone has a dog or 5. Most are ok with us walking past but others go to town so we try not to disturb them too much. There is a lot of birds we see but then again hard for photos as we don’t want to follow the birds into people’s private gardens and farms though really everyone is so friendly here they probably wouldn’t mind. They really stare at us as they drive past as if we had just dropped down from Mars, I don’t think they get any western tourists walking around with cameras and binoculars. We certainly must be a sight.
A couple of Pics waking around Rivercreek
A short Video of Rivercreek Estate
We took the kayak for a paddle in the little river here but we should have gone early not at midday, honestly we are such Wally’s sometimes, it was nice but ridiculously hot and really uncomfortable with the life jackets on camera , hats etc so we only went for an hour, still got some nice photos.
A couple of pics paddling around Rivercreek
We then went for a drive to the big dam, Kaeng Kra Chan which is part of the National Park, just beautiful there, finally got there a bit earlier to get some photos and walk around a bit.Theres this huge suspension bridge going over to an island, we just got there and all these macaques were sauntering along coming our way quite funny to see.
A couple of pics from around Lake Kaeng Kra Chan
Some other tourists had small bags of food and started walking on the bridge and these macaques are so clever …..the people never suspected that they had only one thing on their mind and they reached up and grabbed the food bags so quick I wish I had my video camera going. One lady had the food tucked in her handbag and had turned to have her photo taken by hubby and this macaque just snuck up and grabbed her bag and wrenched out the food and took off along the bridge. Would have been a great video.😁😁
You can’t walk over, it’s all wired up, I think maybe the macaques on the other end got too aggressive and were attacking the tourists. I guess this is a classic case of what happens when you feed wildlife.
These macaques are quite amazing, they swim and dive to catch crabs in the lake, and wouldn’t we love to capture that.
We found a great little restaurant that makes amazing fish cakes absolutely yum.
Well we have just finished our week in Landsborough on the Sunshine Coast, the weather was ok and we got to visit Lake MacDonald, Noosa Botanical Gardens and Ewen Maddock Dam quite a few times which is always one of our favourite places to visit, the walks are really nice and lots of birds though getting photos of them is quite hard as the trees are really big and the ground cove is all ferns so all the birds seem to hide in there. You can hear lots of birds there but hard to see
Lake MacDonald and Noosa Botanical Gardens
It was also a great time to catch up with family and friends and the Landsborough Pines Caravan Park is also one of our favourite parks, they have a small lake there and the only site we can fit on to backs on to the lake so we can keep an eye on the waterbirds coming and going and Anthony can quickly duck outside and get some photos. There’s also a quite elusive Azure Kingfisher there, so many times we can see him from the back window but trying to sneak up on him is quite difficult, but Anthony did manage this time to get a fantastic photo, so we are very happy.
Some critters from Ewen Maddock Dam
Today we had to store the van, and lucky to even get a spot…we did book a few weeks ago but I guess things change in that time or maybe they just plain old forgot we were coming but as it turned out they could just squeeze us into their very last spot😬😬Then this afternoon off to Brisbane ( shock horror) this really is our worst nightmare, it’s about one and a half hours but of course there was an accident and after nothing moving for quite sometime and then of course the standard roadworksi closer to the big smoke, quite distressing really, the trip took about two and a half hours. We had to drop the truck into storage there too near the airport and we could walk to the hotel though there are massive roadworks at large right outside our hotel and we had difficulty getting across the intersection,,,,there was a way across but us country bumpkins don’t function very well in the big smoke.🙄🙄
Landsborough Pines Caravan Park
So we are nice and snug in our hotel room, will have to negotiate the roadworks again tonight when we go out for tea and then again in the morning for breakfast before we head to the airport for our flight to Thailand at lunchtime. So tomorrow night we will be on the island of Koh Samui, hard to believe, it’s been a really big day.
We hope you like the photos,Anthony must have taken a thousand photos of ducks but he did get rewarded with some great shots.Keep tuned for our up coming photos from Thailand,
Hello everyone, well we didn’t have time to revisit Redwood Park so we will be very excited to head back that way maybe at the end of our holiday time just before we go back to Stanthorpe.
The Caravan Park and some resident critters
We have been in Bell now a few days and there’s really not much to the town itself, there’s quite a few shops that are well and truly closed and a bit run down which only leaves one general store with a couple of fuel bowsers, one cafe, the van park of course which is really nice and not much else.
Birds we met on the way to the Bunya’s
The drive from here to the Bunyas is fine, it’s only about 35 kms. but there’s a couple of kms of dirt road and then once you hit the mountains it’s all up, up and up very steep and very windy with lots of hairpin bends.
On the dirt section there were 4 Wedgetail Eagles, they were squabbling with a bunch of crows over a couple of kangaroo carcasses in a paddock. It was great to see them flying around and banking in the morning sun, such a huge magnificent bird, always one of our favourites to see. Anthony managed to get one good photo and we are thinking to head back there a bit earlier in the morning to try and get some action photos . We also saw the cockatiels where the black shouldered kites were the day before, and then also the falcon on the way home, always a lot to see when you really start looking. We are always scanning the trees etc when driving, well I am, of course Anthony has his eyes on the road hopefully…..
The Bunya Mountains National Park
It’s very dry down here but once you get up into the mountains it’s so green and beautiful and cold,around 7 degrees cooler than down here.Theres so many walks up there all pretty much in the rainforest, very dark , very hard to get good photos of anything. But still beautiful walking around, we certainly did some kms. We would have liked more photos, we did hear the Noisy pita a few times and saw a lot of Satin bowerbirds but just too far away. The little wallabies are just gorgeous and we got stuck in the fantastic cafe a few times.
Watch a Video of the Bunya’s Here
So we had a great time here , will spend tomorrow catching up on things before we head to the coast.