And the bush has friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him, In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended, And at night the wonderous glory of the everlasting stars.

Banjo Paterson (1889)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Borneo - Danum Valley

I love travelling to places with lots of wildlife, so ever since I was a child I wanted to travel to the jungles of Borneo. My wife and I made our first trip to Borneo over ten years ago now. We were younger so we backpacked over much of Sabah then, crazy adventures with some crazy people. Insane boat rides in choppy seas, flooded camps with no toilets, orangutan attacks and machine guns in the face. Long stories, I may tell you about them in future posts.
Nowdays we are older, we take more optical gear and like things a bit better organised and more comfortable.
On our second trip in 2006, we managed to get to the Danum Valley Research Centre and spend a few days birdwatching and walking the many rainforest trails there.

The Danum Valley Reaserch Centre (DVRC), a great place to stay, but sometimes hard to get into. We had to move to the backpacker resthouse for a couple nights because a parliamentary minister and his party were coming to the centre. Fancy asking a VIP like me from Australia to move!

We wasted no time in getting into the rainforest. Across the old bridge, onto the trails and away we go.

One of the birds that like hanging around the old bridge, a male Whiskered Treeswift. A good spot to hunt for flying insects.

The rainforest floor has so many fungus species that there's a new one around every corner.

At the time we were in Danum Valley, there were lots of flowering and fruiting plants attracting all kind of animals.

We saw at least half a dozen species of millipedes roaming the forest floor, including these common big pill millipedes.

A strange and beautiful catipiller that was hanging down on a 5 metre thread. Lucky he had a safety line!

One of the lookouts you could climb to get closer to the tree canopy. Unfortunately when we went to Danum at the end of last year, the tower was closed and about to fall due to rot and termites. The rainforest quickly destroys any wooden structures that aren't maintained. Sadly, this seems to be the case over most of signs and structures at the DVRC.

A beautiful male Lesser Green Leafbird feeding amongst the flowering plants at the centre.

No black throat. A female Lesser Green Leafbird.

The flowering and fruiting trees also attracted this male Orange-bellied Flowerpecker.

Nights at DVRC always have a least one Buffy Fish-Owl hanging around, often near the old tennis courts.

And then there were two!

Another owl prize while spotlighting near the start of the nature trail, a Brown Wood-Owl.

A lunchtime rest at the DVRC eating area, nice seats and a great view of the surrounding rainforest. A good place during the heat of the day, fans, tea, coffee and just see what comes in.

One lunchtime a Bornean Gibbon came in to have a feed on some fruit, including an Orangutan later in the afternoon.

A large monitor (Varanus salvator) was a regular visitor below the deck looking for food scraps and any small animals.

Another regular visitor looking for scraps, a Bearded Pig. With a face that only a mother could love, they often got into trouble at the centre by knocking over rubbish bins looking for food.


S.C.E. said...

Some great shots there especially of the pig!

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Richard
I have added your blog to my list of linked sites under the heading of Aussie Nature Bloggers.
Some of them you already know, but there are some really good, active bloggers.
No obligation - just a nice shared link system we have going here.
I like your work - have looked back over your earlier postings too,

Wilma said...


followed you here from your link to TonyC's blog. I'm on a different continent (living in North America, slowly moving to Central America), but am enchanted with your Borneo post and the little bit I saw of WA in an earlier post. Looking forward to exploring it further!


Richard King said...

Thanks Denis and Wilma. I hope you enjoy my blog. I look forward to keeping an eye on yours.