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)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Mulu National Park, Borneo

I'm almost ready to head out to another hot place, good old Woodie Woodie minesite east of Marble Bar for a 14 day fauna survey, after what seems like only coming back from hot humid Sarawak Borneo yesterday. It has really been a week since coming back after a great birding visit to Miri and it's surrounding areas. My wife had to work in Miri, but I did get to visit the great birding locations of Lambir Hills, Niah Caves and of coarse the famous Mulu National Park.

The Royal Mulu Resort is a wonderful place to stay with nice rooms and good food, but you do have to catch (and pay) for the little mini bus that takes you on the 3 km journey to the start of the national park.

Good walkways at the resort for birdwatching.

If you don't catch the mini bus (or walk), you can go by long boat to the park.

The national park has miles of  good walkways, but the rain which I had most days while I was there, can make them very slippery indeed.

The wet weather brought out lots of young and adult Giant Snails, which have a shell over 2 inches across.

The millipedes were also on the move.

The muddy walk to Paka Waterfall along the base of the limestone cliffs, was one of the best areas for birding.

Oops, that 'N' can be tricky. Maybe a Russian sign maker?

The huge tree butresses are home to a number of animals, such as this Three-keeled Ground Skink (Mabuya rudis).

A beautiful Blue-bellied Litter Skink (Spenomorphus cyanolaemus). A new one for me!

A friendly Rough-backed Ground Skink (Mabuya rugifera) along a walkway.

An amazing pair of Lantern Bugs.

A hard to see Giant Stick-Insect.

It's hard to make out, but it's the head with eyes.

One of the highlights for me at Mulu was a fruiting fig tree along the river trail, which was full of feeding birds, such as Asian Fairy-Bluebirds and Green Broadbills. Two birds my wife Liz has not seen yet - not happy!

Here is a list of the birds seen at Mulu National Park and the Resort Tuesday 12 - Friday 15 October 2010.

Black-capped Babbler

Black-throated Babbler

Chestnut-winged Babbler

Fluffy-backed Tit-Babbler

Scaly-crowned Babbler

Short-tailed Babbler

Gold-whiskered Barbet

Red-bearded Bee-eater

Asian Fairy-Bluebird

Black-and-Yellow Broadbill

Green Broadbill

Grey-cheeked Bulbul

Red-eyed Bulbul

Spectacled Bulbul

Slender-billed Crow

Banded Bay Cuckoo

Lesser Fish-Eagle

Cattle Egret

Spotted Fantail

Orange-bellied Flowerpecker

Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker

Asian Brown Flycatcher

Asian Paradise-Flycatcher

Green Iora

Black-naped Monarch

Dusky Munia

Blue-crowned Hanging-Parrot

Rufous Piculet

Oriental Magpie-Robin

Common Sandpiper

Eurasian Tree-Sparrow

Little Spiderhuner

Thick-billed Spiderhunter

Asian Glossy-Starling

Plain-throated Sunbird

Purple-naped Sunbird

Purple-throated Sunbird

Pacific Swallow

Glossy Swiftlet

Rufous-tailed Tailorbird

Cinnamon-rumped Trogon

Orange-backed Woodpecker

Rufous Woodpecker

Chestnut-crested Yuhina

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mt Webber Fauna Survey

Just having come back from a hot fauna survey with 40+C temperatures on Mount Webber in the Pilbara, it's time to pack for going to another hot place, Miri in Sarawak Borneo. When working on traps in the rocky valleys of Mt Webber the temperatures were pushing 50 degrees.

One of the two ramps up Mt Webber with the steepest part only allowing 4WDs to go up in low 1st gear.

Looking for caves as part of the bat surveys.

Trapping sites along the ridge tops.

A nice area to survey, one of the creek systems on the plain.

One of the endemic geckos to the area, Lucasium wombeyi.

Blair, Dave and Jen, as we approach a gorge in 40C temperatures, looking for endangered Olive Pythons.

Our prize, waiting in the water for a drinking bird for breakfast.

Dave is pleased!

This python seems the have an fungal infection on the head.

A beautiful Egernia formosa caught on the rocky ridge.

A young Perentie only about 600mm long, but as an adult goanna he can grow to almost 2.5 metres.

Nice back markings.

Our camp for the survey.

The food was great (top restaurant quality), thanks to the camp manager, the ever-amazing Bob and Chicken Licken (who supplied our eggs). Chicken Licken was found a few months ago by Bob in remote area in the middle of nowhere and is now the camp mascot. It was a sad morning in camp for all of us when we thought a Perentie had got her, but she was found later enjoying the air-con on top of a wardrobe in one of the rooms.