Orangutans of Sepilok

 

Bornean Orangutan - Wild and Free
Bornean Orangutan – Wild and Free

Click or press to view larger image

 

IMG_3672

Check out our Orangutan and friends footage here

 

Day 2 in Paradise certainly didn’t disappoint. We finally got to see Orangutans in the wild, it’s been something that was very high on our bucket list and we spotted them 4 times today. A huge highlight in our lives to see these amazing creatures just going about their daily business of swinging through the trees and eating jack fruit. We just hope they can hang on to these last remaining pockets of forest because as you all know…. in the end it’s all about money and when the big knobs want more land for palm oil I guess they will get it.

Click or press to view larger Image

Another fantastic day at Sepilok Rainforest and Gardens

We try really hard not to buy anything with Palm oil in it but I tell you what, it’s in everything, and half the time it’s not even listed as palm oil, very very sneaky horrible people.
Anthony had some problems with his camera today, it was over exposing all the photos so we had a few hours sitting in the airconditioned chalet and with the help of Dr  Camera Google managed to fix it, thank God.

 

Well we only have tomorrow morning left here so we will again go to the discovery centre, there’s a Pita walk, it’s a track goes for about 2 hours, we are hoping to see at least one Pita there. Surely it’s not much to ask for, hopefully the Pig tailed Macaques aren’t there as we had to quickly do a u turn today as the big male took a dislike to us and came rushing down a tree and cut us off on the path, we retreated and found another path to get back on, he is well known for being quite aggressive. We met another couple there who also had a run in with them where the macaques surrounded them and some were growling at them, they ran for it, scared the living daylights out of them as you can imagine.
Anyway enjoy the pics and video.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Kinabalu Park – Sabah

Bornean Green Magpie (Eye lashes courtesy of ‘Maybelline’)

Well the last few days have been interesting…..we are battling headaches most days as we can’t find espresso coffee anywhere and their semi percolated watered down glimpse of coffee with UHT milk is literally killing us. All of a sudden Thailand seems like heaven on earth and Borneo is losing flavour real fast.

 

Mount Kinabalu
Mount Kinabalu, Highest Peak in SE Asia (4095m)

 

Mount Kinabalu Park was amazing, we loved it there, after we arrived at our new digs (Hovel Central ) as I called it and when you see the video you will see why, and no the bed was very hard and the shower just warm and we had to wear flip flops to go to the loo after we had showers…… I won’t go on about it because I’m probably exaggerating, being so crabby without my usual caffeine fixes.
Anyway we hightailed it to park as we got there quite early about 1pm, drove around a bit, saw a few birds, visited the restaurant for lunch there , the weather was great and we were really excited about visiting the next day.
Click or press image for larger view 
After a horrible sleep at Hovel Central we got back to the park, blue sky just beautiful, all the birds were chirping and so many sounds we couldn’t recognise, but we decided to have breakfast first before we started on one of the many hikes there, and as we were having our omelettes the wind really picked up and then shock horror we saw very low clouds scooting in at speed and within minutes it was just bucketing down. We just sat there stunned , we sat there for quite some time praying for it to clear and really didn’t like our only option of going back to the hovel which by the way didn’t have power and water when we woke up that morning. But we couldn’t stay there and sadly drove back, at least the power and water was back on and it wasn’t raining there at all as it was down and away from the mountain. We sat there for a while and decided to give the park another go as it hadn’t rained and the sky was overcast but looked a bit lighter. We are so glad we did, it didn’t rain after that and we just drove around on the bitumen with our windows down and stopped when we heard birds and Anthony got some fantastic photos, check out the eyelashes on the green magpie….what a beautiful bird and  so noisy, you certainly know when they are around. You may also notice the bands on all the birds little legs?????? We have no idea what that is about, and how on earth did they manage to capture and band nearly every bird we saw….. very disturbing🙁🙁
Click or press on Image to view larger 
We had lunch again and spent all afternoon driving and looking and spotting, it really turned into a fantastic day.
IMG_3672
A short Video of our Kinabalu experience 
So now we come to TODAY
It was our last day there and we were pretty much going to do the same thing as yesterday except we woke up to rain…….Decided to go into the park anyway and wait for it to clear and we do like the omelettes at the restaurant . So there we sat…..rain rain and more rain and not much wind so guess it wasn’t going to clear real soon, we had to make an executive decision to forgo our last nights stay at the hovel and
just hit the road as it was going to be about a 4 hour drive across Borneo to the Sandakan / Sepilok area. Anthony tried to book a day earlier into the accomodation we had booked there but it was full, so we decided to just get to a hotel close to there for the night.
Anthony couldn’t believe how quickly I packed, usually he’s waiting for me doing all the bathroom stuff but I was pretty keen to leave Hovel Central as a bad memory and move onto better experiences.
Soon as we got away from the mountain and down in altitude it stopped raining which was nice. The road conditions are dangerous to put it nicely, they have these red signs just everywhere with ‘AWAS’ written on them, I guess it must mean Beware or Danger. Also Borneans must be up there with the most dangerous and risk taking drivers in the world, really hairy driving here. We stopped about halfway at a KFC, because we really felt like chips……Oh my god the smells coming out of the drains in that town were horrendous, all the towns so far have been very dirty, rubbish just everywhere, it’s quite depressing really.
A little while later it started raining again and got torrential, I don’t know how our little Honda hire car managed to get here unscathed and no busted tyres as you really couldn’t see the road at all for water and we hit so many potholes and craters it certainly was a drive to remember. Anthony really had to concentrate, and also a lot of very slow trucks to overtake it certainly was a challenge.
We have to actually go back that way in a couple of weeks but trying not to think about that just yet.
So we are now relaxing in our nice hotel…nice clean shower, soft bed….we walked into the town just here  in downtown Labuk, people were just staring at us, I guess they don’t get tourists here. We asked at a cafe with a big logo of a coffee cup on the front if they have espresso but oh no you can’t get it anywhere here.😢😢😢😢
So we went to the local supermarket, bought instant coffees and uht milk and will just have to suffer. Looks like the rain is easing so please cross your fingers so we can get out and about back to nature tomorrow.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

The Crocker Ranges – Kota Kinabalu

Crocker Nature Centre, a sub-station of the Crocker Ranges NP

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.
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.
Atlas Moth
The giant Atlas moth
Bye for now 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.
Click or press image to view larger
IMG_3672
 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.
IMG_3672
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

Y

F5714E4F-963A-440C-9A4A-3BA8F3BD4912

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.

 

Click or press on image to view Larger

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.

IMG_3672

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


Bangkok – Benjakiti Park

Benjakiti Park, our saviour in Bangkok
Our saviour in Bangkok – Benjakiti Park

Press or click here for more info about Benjakiti Park

Well it’s our last day in Bangers, it all turned out not too badly after all. We thought we had some major catastrophe happening with the bone grafting in my implant not taking, but more grafting was done today, actually injected in which I had never heard off, but we have got a whiz bang dentist that also teaches at the University in Bangkok. He has a practice in Koh Samui and one here in Bangkok.

Press or click image for larger view

 

 Benjakiti Park

We have been able to easily walk to the Benjakiti Park and what a surprise it was, as you can see by the photos we saw many birds , dragonflies, butterflies, lizards and that beautiful snake. It was quite busy there this morning being Saturday so we caused a little bit of interest from people probably curious as to what were taking photos of, being the only people with a huge camera. Of course we didn’t point the snake out, he was so well camouflaged and anyway ( Most people are so terrified of snakes they miss the sheer beauty of their movement). We didn’t want to cause a panic or worst case the snake gets hurt, better off to be hidden,  he was just gorgeous.
Press or click on Image for larger view
The Golden Tree Snake or AKA Flying Snake and a couple of Lizards

 


Press or click on Image for larger view 

 

 

A collection of Dragonflies from the Park

 


Press or or click on Image for larger view 

 

 

And we got some Birds
We are so glad the park is there, it kept us occupied in this sprawling concrete jungle, though we have adapted quite well, have found great eateries and good cuppachino’s, but still will be very exited to head out to our favourite national park -Khao Yai tomorrow.
We will get a taxi to the airport and pick up a hire car from there again, we probably won’t get out to the park till late afternoon but have got 5 nights there.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.

 

 

 

 

 

Farewell Kaeng Krachan

Unexpected Visitor at the Lawns of Kaeng Krachan Dam

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.

IMG_3672

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.
IMG_3672
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.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Kaeng Krachan National Park

 

Well the two days at the Kaeng Krachin National Park  was pretty amazing. We did quite a bit of walking and got rather hot and bothered at times as it’s very humid and we haven’t really been doing much exercise either so we’re feeling it a bit today. We didn’t actually see a lot of birds, heard plenty but being such thick rainforest it was very hard to see anything. But the amount of different butterflies and dragonflies made up for it, we have never seen such a variety in our lives and they are just everywhere…even on the way into the park we stopped a few times to get photos. And as you can imagine these photos are only of ones that landed, so many hardly ever seem to land and when they do they look very bland as they sit with their wings up instead of down.

0t2a2288

A sample of Butterfly Images taken at Kaeng Krachan NP
A sample of Dragonfly Images taken at Kaeng Krachan NP
The monkeys were just gorgeous I also took some video of them. We did hear hornbills and gibbons a few times but no luck in seeing them . Anthony had a ball, he topped his record of all time photos in one day ….around 800, crazy but you really do have to take so many photos to get good ones as you will see with the results. We won’t bombard you too much with bug photos but will put a link to our Flickr album if you would like to view  some of the others.
Some Primates of Kaeng Krachan NP
The editing of so many photos sure takes time though and we have to research nearly every bug as we don’t know what they are but  it sure keeps us busy in the evenings.
IMG_3672
A short Video of Kaeng Krachan National Park 
We will have a look around here at the Rivercreek Estate this afternoon as there are so many birds here too, we just need to rest up a bit first, it’s so hot n the sun so we will wait till it cools off a bit Enjoy the pics and video.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Sunshine Coast

Ewen Maddock Dam
Ewen Maddock Dam

IMG_3672

A short video clip of Ewen Maddock Dam

 

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,

All the best ! Steph and Anthony.