An amazing week at Sepilok ends

‘Morning mist in the canopy’ Our last day at Sepilok Rainforest.

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Sepilok Video Snippets

 

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.

Wallace’s Hawk Eagle Drying out after heavy overnight rain

 

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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.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Still in Sepilok

Oddly this sculpture can be seen on the way out of Sandakan.

 

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Our Digs Forest  Edge Resort, Sepilok 

 

Crimson Winged Woodpecker
Crimson-winged Woodpecker

 

Bushy-Crested Hornbill
Black and Red Broadbill

 

Bushy-Crested Hornbill
Bushy-Crested Hornbill

 

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 

 

Brown-Throated Sunbird
Brown-Throated Sunbird

 

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more birds from today

 

Young Orangutan
Young Orangutan

 

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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.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Sepilok, Day 7

Red-naped Trogon
Red-naped Trogon

 

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher

 

 

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.

 

Yellow Striped Flutterer. Rhyothemis phyllis
Yellow Striped Flutterer. Rhyothemis phyllis

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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.
Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker
Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker

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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.
Bye for now Steph and Anthony.
Pygmy Squirrel
And we spotted this major cute Pygmy Squirrel

Another day in the Sepilok Rainforest

Adult Female Orangutan
Adult Female Orangutan on the canopy walkway

 

We had another great day in the Sepilok Jungle. There’s not much cloud cover so it’s been ridiculously hot. We have a pretty good routine though and try to walk the suspended walkways first as they get quite hot and you are really exposed in some places.Plus the towers are very high which means lots of steps and by the afternoon we are very tired, the heat and humidity certainly takes it out of you. It’s hard to keep concentrating too, sometimes you can go quite sometime without seeing or hearing anything and then we seem to go into a torpor or start chatting while we are walking and then of course we aren’t looking. For lunch we have been going to the Banana cafe, today the owners son Jason found a little whip snake for us, just beautiful and we would never have spotted him, he just blended in so well with his surroundings. Jason and his dad John are getting to know us now as we are there every day and always tell us what they have seen there or if there’s anything around the lake. We come back to the hotel around 5 ish and have been having tea in the restaurant downstairs which is ok and we always seem to be their only customers which is weird.

Keel-bellied Whip Snake Dryophiops rubescens
Keel-bellied whip snake at the Banana Cafe
Copper Throated Sunbird
Copper Throated Sunbird In the Gardens at Sepilok Rainforest

 

Jewel Damselfly - Rhinocypha humeralis
Jewel Damselfly

 

Pale Blue Flycatcher
Bath time – Pale Blue Flycatcher
We saw Orangutans a few times again, a young mum and junior were on the suspended walkway this morning and had quite a crowd all trying to desperately get selfies with the orangutans in the background. I wonder what they think of us, sometimes I’m embarrassed to be a human, these people didn’t even move when they came so close and the sad bit is they pulled all the garbage out of one of the bins and were drinking the dregs from Pepsi coke cans and licking food wrappers even though the sign at the start of the walrk says no food or drinks allowed, obviously for a good reason. I guess some people would think it quite funny but whenever humans get too close to wildlife and an altercation happens where the human gets hurt it’s always the animal that gets euthanased. I think they should have people posted around the park to keep an eye on peoples behaviour, I mean you couldn’t get that close to any animals in a zoo and all the animals here are wild.
Apart from that we got a few more new birds we hadn’t seen before which is always exciting. And we had a huge flock of hornbills flying quite low through the trees right over our heads which was great.
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Tomorrow we are moving back to the Sepilok Forest edge resort where we stayed in the chalet before. It will be nice to be back there. But it’s only for 2 nights then we will have a rest from the jungle for 2 nights in Sandakan. Enjoy the pics.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

Some Sepilok Birds

Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher
Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher – One of our Sepilok Favourites

 

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.

 

Rufous-collared Kingfisher (male)
Rufous-collared Kingfisher (male)

 

Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo

 

Diard’s Trogon (Female)
Diard’s Trogon (Female)

 

Buff-rumped Woodpecker
Buff-rumped Woodpecker

 

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.

Bye Steph and Anthony.

And there were Dragonflies 

Grenadier - Agrionoptera insignis
Grenadier – Agrionoptera insignis

Back to Sepilok

Chestnut-Breasted Malkoha
A normally very secretive Chestnut-breasted Malkoha, popped out long enough for me to take a pic.

Hello everyone, we are in better spirits today, didn’t bother with breakfast this morning, we walked along the road a bit as it’s right next to the river but didn’t see many birds just lots of cars driving past and the standard loud music coming from a house up the road. So we just bailed out early, the drive back to the Banana cafe was just under 2 hours, it was like going home, we had our standard omelette and toast with iced lemon tea. Then we were back at the discovery centre by 11 am, a bit cooler today as we had a torrential downpour last night and also a bit overcast. We did the usual walking around, saw quite a few critters but of course getting photos is another story, but Anthony did get some great shots of a Malkoha and a Broadbill. We saw lots of.black hornbills but not close enough for photos, also another orangutan so it’s just great slowly walking around trying to spot things.

 

 

We booked into the Pavillion Hotel back in Labuk and will be here for 3 nights, it’s around 15 to 20 mins to drive to the discovery centre which is ok so we are happy, we will be back in the chalet again for a few nights after that. We are really upping our chances of seeing as much as possible. Enjoy the pics.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.

 

Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok

Happy to be in Paradise, Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre

 

Well you are probably thinking after that blog yesterday that we have packed our bags and are hightailing it out of Borneo and heading home but this morning we woke up fresh as daisies, the skies had cleared, the instant coffees are keeping our headaches at bay and we knew today we were going back to nature.

We only had around a 20 minute drive to our new digs, a chalet in the rainforest…,,yes you did hear that right, hasn’t it got a beautiful ring to it. It’s called the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort. We knew we couldn’t check in till 2 pm but we rocked up around 10 am and left our luggage at the reception and they said they would take it to our chalet when it was ready…..we had passed a cafe sign just up the road so we headed there first for some brunch, great omelette and toast.
There was this huge decking with all the tables and chairs and it overlooked a man made lake with a little island in the middle and the most picturesque setting, so many flowering plants and of course birds everywhere. We had left our stuff in the car so Anthony went and got his camera and quickly got some photos of the little green lizard and the Hornbill sitting quietly in a tree. What a beautiful spot, it really lifted our spirits.
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We then drove to the Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre  only 2 kms down the road.
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Well wow what can I say the nature gods are smiling upon us and dropped us right in the middle of paradise. We spent the rest of the day here, it’s very tropical after all that rain I guess, but we didn’t care, just so many birds and other critters here.

 


 


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check out today’s video at the Rainforest Discovery Centre 
We came back to our chalet, all good, the restaurant is fantastic so will try to get some photos around here and the banana cafe with the lake. We have a lake here too but didn’t have time to explore today, we will be pretty keen get back it the discover centre in the morning., we might cancel some other things we had planned so we can come back here, absolutely fantastic.Enjoy the pics and video, we are here for two nights.
Cheers Steph and Anthony.