Montague Island Day Three (Morning)

Montague Island, New South Wales, Australia, 8 to 11 November 2019

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In the morning I went down to the south end of the island again.  In the last post, the time exposure of the old jetty included a white rock in the distance with great cormorants sitting on it.  This is that rock, through a long telephoto.

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They are all facing in the same direction, probably scanning for signs of fish.

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I was at the old jetty and this is maybe a post they tied up to.

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A bit further south, a fur seal climbs up out of the water.

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He is eyeing a place by one of the females but the master of the harem notices him.

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… So he backs out and soon slips away into the sea, discretion being the better part of valour.

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There is a silver gull on the rocks.

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Also a pair of sooty oystercatchers.

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I had mainly come to this end of the island to make some more focus bracketing studies.  This involves taking many exposures at different points of focus and combining them later to get a greater depth of focus that would be possible in a single exposure.  First a landscape exposure from macro to infinity.  You may prefer to click on some of these to see the greater detail of a larger version.

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Now a few macro images at the same location.

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This image is macro in the foreground and the background is the cliffs at the other side of the small bay.

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Montague Island Day Two

Montague Island, New South Wales, Australia, 8 to 11 November 2019

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The lighthouse in the early morning with the sun behind it.

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Crested terns.

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Crested terns courting.

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Silver gull.

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Silver gull chicks.

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View from the lighthouse, looking over the cottages (where we stayed).

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View from the lighthouse looking south, showing the stones sacred to the Aborigines and also the small lighthouse cemetery.

There are two children and a keeper buried there.  The children got sick but there was no access to the lighthouse, apart from trying to hail a passing ship.  The children died before medical assistance could be occurred.  More on the keeper later.

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Looking west to an islet of great cormorants.

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Looking north.  There are two parts to the island, joined by a narrow neck.  The northern part is out of bounds due to breeding birds.  An artist from our group is sitting at a table at the bottom and there is a colony of terns to his left.

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Looking down more closely on the colony of terns.

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A view of the lighthouse from the back gate of the cottage we stayed in.

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The same tree from the stormy images of the previous post, this time n the calm of daylight.

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The cottage we stayed in, behind the tree.

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The old wharf, a long exposure of 15 seconds.

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Tiny flowers on the ground near the south end of the island.

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Banksia cone, banksia serrata or old man banksia.

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Banksia serrata cone.

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Sea eagle.  I only had my macro lens with me; I could have got closer wit my long telephoto.

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View of  lighthouse and cottages from the south.

There was a time when supplies were unloaded at the old wharf and taken up to the lighthouse using a horse and cart.  Part of the route was up the rock below the cottages.  The horse didn’t like this and used to run away and hide when the time came.

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One day it all went wrong.  The horse slipped on the rock incline and the cart came careering down the slope on top of the keeper.  His spleen was ruptured and he died some days later, ending up in the lighthouse cemetery..

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The path back went through a silver gull rookery.  This is at the edge of it.

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A silver gull incubating an egg on a rudimentary nest on the ground.

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Later, we went down to the new wharf to see the little penguins coming in at night.  These are silver gull chicks in the fading light.

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Terns against the sunset.

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The little penguins are coming ashore.

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They climb up surprisingly high to nest.

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Then red lights were turned on around the platform where we were standing, to provide light without disturbing the penguins.

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There was a stiff wind above us and silver gulls were hanging motionless in the air.

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Montague Island Day One

Montague Island, New South Wales, Australia, 8 to 11 November 2019

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We spent a weekend at Montague Island, off the coast of New South Wales near Narooma, organised by NatureArt Lab, based in Canberra.  We also went with them to Sabah and this time it was mainly with artists rather than photographers.  I also went there in 1987 when I toured around Australia taking photographs of lighthouses for the book From Dusk Till Dawn.

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We needed to drive down from Canberra and be at the wharf for the boat at 11:15 am, so to eliminate the risk of misadventures we drove down from Canberra the night before.  Late in the afternoon we discovered Handkerchief Beach, south of Narooma.  This is a picture of Montague Island from there (actually properly spelt Montagu but that is a losing battle).  We would be staying near the lighthouse in the lighthouse cottages.

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The lagoon at Handkerchief Beach.

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It appears it gets windy at times.

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A nearby pelican next morning as we are waiting to embark.

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From the boat, underway but still inside Narooma’s Bar, a cormorant is drying its wings.

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Humpback whale going down.

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We were lucky to be escorted by a mother and her calf for most of the journey to Montague.

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There are many seals on the rocks by the sea.

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And we encountered quite a few lounging around in the water.

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At some distance, sitting on his favourite rock, is this white-bellied sea eagle, in this case with a full crop.  He does not live on the island but flies out every day from the mainland.

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The seals are either Australian or New Zealand Fur Seals.  The New Zealand Fur Seals are smaller and darker and climb further up on the rocks but they are very similar and I’m not going to try to tell them apart.

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Launching into the sea.

The New Zealand Fur Seals have been recently renamed Long-Nosed Fur Seals (in Australia) because people may have thought they were not native to Australia though they live in both places.  They were called New Zealand Fur Seals because they were first described in New Zealand and are still called New Zealand Fur Seals in New Zealand.  This renaming seems to me like pointlessly kowtowing to ignorance so I will continue to refer to them as New Zealand Fur Seals.

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Great Cormorant and Crested Terns, still from the boat.

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A colony of Crested Terns, from the road to the Lighthouse.

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In the late afternoon, we were hit by a huge storm with high winds.

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A little later, walking back from Cottage 1 to Cottage 2 at the back of the cottages, I was blown along by a wind so strong that it was pointless to try to walk against it.

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Some of the terns relocated from the more exposed side of the island to the relative calm in the lee of the cottages and the island.

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Then an hour and a half later, it was clear and calm.  This is a sacred aboriginal initiation site at the end of the island, not accessible to the public.  The rocks represent the whale, the shark and the tortoise.

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(Trivia note:  There are now more than 15,000 images in this blog, not counting the links to nearly 11,000 live music images, and also more than 350,000 words, equivalent to several books).

Sabah Monochromes

3-14 May 2019, Sabah, Malaysia

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Links go to posts with the colour versions of the images (where there may also be more information and context). If an image does not have a link, the preceding one applies.

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Street markets, Kota Kinabalu.

from KK Markets (Kota Kinabalu).

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Fish markets, Kota Kinabalu.

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Fishing boat, Kota Kinabalu.

from KK Fishing Boats (Kota Kinabalu).

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Egret, Kota Kinabalu Wetland Ramsar Site.

from Egrets – I’ve had a few….

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Orchid, Mt Kinabalu Botanical Garden.

from Mount Kinabalu.

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Common Tree Nymphs, Butterf;y Farm, Poring Hot Springs.

from Poring Hot Springs and Sabah Tea Plantation.

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Sunset, Sabah Tea Plantation.

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Scarlet-backed flowerpecker.

from Sepilok Day 1 – Giant Flying Squirrels.

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Unidentified Butterfly.

from Sepilok Day 2 – Sun Bears and Orang Utans.

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Sun Bear, Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

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Native bees and hive, on the trunk of a tree.

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Orangutan, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sepilok.

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Wild orangutan, Sepilok.

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Orangutans in nest high in trees, Sepilok.

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Plantain squirrel, Sepilok.

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Western Tarsier, Sepilok.

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Pig-tailed macaques, Kinabatangan River.

from Kinabatangan River Day 1 – Pig Tailed Macaques.

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Egret, Kinabatangan River

from Kinabatangan River Day 2 – Proboscis Monkeys.

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Male Proboscis Monkey.

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Male Proboscis Monkey.

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Wild orangutan and baby, Caves of Goomontong.

from Tabin Day 1.

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Pig-tailed macaques, Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

from Tabin Day 1.

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Monitor lizard.

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Agamid lizard (draco genus).

from Tabin Day 2 – Clouded Leopard.

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Crested serpent eagle.

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White-crowned hornbill.

from Tabin Day 3 – Last day in Sabah.

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Honey comb of the Giant Honey Bee (apis dosata).

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Walking towards the mud volcano.

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Buffy fish owl.

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Sunset.

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Tabin Day 3 – Last day in Sabah

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, 13 May 2019.

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Gibbon.

I got up early this morning and the gibbons went across overhead again but the light wasn’t nearly as good as the previous day.

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Gibbon.

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White-crowned hornbill.

After breakfast we went for a drive and then for a walk to the mud volcano.  This and the next few images were on the way there.

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Honey comb of the Giant Honey Bee (apis dosata).

These bees make their honey combs on places like the underneath of branches to make it hard for the sun bears to access them.  That texture you see is the comb covered in bees.

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Female long-tailed parakeet.

As we passed another tree there was the head of a parrot appearing from a nesting hole on the trunk.

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Some of our party walking along towards the mud volcano.

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Mud volcano.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Bornean Rhino and Teetash.

This is the third-last Bornean Rhino in Sabah, which had died a couple of years before and was stuffed.  This is an adult rhino and Teetash kindly volunteered to stand beside it so you can see how small it is.  The Bornean Rhino is a subspecies of the Sumatran Rhino.  There are less than 100 Sumatran Rhinos and likely no more than 15 Bornean Rhinos.  The numbers are so small due to habitat loss.  We were due to see the last male Bornean rhino in Sabah but he took ill a few days before we arrived and died shortly after we left.  There is one female left in Sabah but she is not in good health.

There are three species of rhinoceros, the African, the Asian and the Sumatran.  The Sumatran is more closely related to the extinct Woolly Rhinoceros of Europe (as shown in cave paintings) than the African or Asian rhinos.  A distant and extinct rhino, Elasmotherium sibiricum, with a two-metre horn, is the likely source of the unicorn legend.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Elephant by elephant.

This is a painting by an Asian elephant.  Borneo pygmy elephants are a subspecies that has been separated for 3,000 years.  They may have been in Borneo for that long but it is likely they are actually surviving Javan elephants (otherwise extinct), given to the Sultan of Sulu (NE Sabah/ SE Philippines) around 1395.  Compared to Asian elephants, they are smaller with relatively larger ears, longer tails and straighter tusks.  They are threatened by habitat loss.  There are 1,000 to 4,000 in Borneo, including some in Tabin but we did not see any.  However, we did hear them in Sepilok.  They have a group there but do not want human interaction as they are intending to return them to the wild.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Rhinoceros hornbill.

Not to be confused with Bornean rhinoceros which does not have a bill and are not known for their flying.

We are now in the late afternoon to evening, taking photographs again from the back of a truck.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A piece of grass in focus and the disappearing tip of the tail of a leopard cat, somewhat out of focus.

The previous night, I had a leopard cat in focus and lined up.  Unfortunately I hesitated to adjust exposure and it was gone.  Gaaah!  So I was determined to find another one if I could.  There it was this night, on the other side of the truck, but by the time I found it through my long telephoto lens, it was on its way and this was all I got.

Leopard cats are similar in size to domestic cats but more slender with longer legs.  They are widespread in India, China, Japan and South East Asia and not under threat.  The ones in Sabah are of the Sunda subspecies.  The ones we saw were leaving the forest at night for the palm oil plantations, probably to hunt for rats.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Leopard cat.

However, Clive Moon, who was sitting beside me, did get a photograph of the leopard cat and he has very kindly allowed me to show it on this blog.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
Buffy fish owl.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife
Buffy fish owl.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

A disappearing sunset.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Water lilies.

On the last morning, I also went looking for gibbons but they were later than the previous two days and I did not wait around long enough so I missed them and took these photographs of lilies instead.

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Buffy Fish Owl, Gibbon, Hornbill, Infrared, Landscape, Leopard cat, Nature, Parrot, Photography, Rhinoceros, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

All of these photographs are completely normal images with normal colour, as certified by the Andaman Islander Institute of Normalcy (AIIN).  Well, OK, maybe not all.  That’s except for the four infrared images.  You may be able to work out which they are.

 

25,000 Images

Just a note of trivia.  There are now 25,000 images that you can access through this Blog.  There are 14,555 in the blog itself and another 10,458 live music images from 1,001 performances that you can access through links on the All Performances page.   The Honey comb of the Giant Honey Bee was image number 25,000.  If I printed each of these images at A4 and laid them end to end, they would stretch nearly 7.5 kilometres.

This is also the last post from Sabah, except for some images from the plane and some monochromes.

Tabin Day 2 – Clouded Leopard

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, 12 May 2019.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Gibbon.

We were up very early in the morning and were able to observe a troupe of gibbons making their way past us, high in the trees, from tree to tree.  These are Müeller’s gibbons, or North Borneo gibbons.  Gibbons diverged from great apes around 17 million years ago and they live exclusively on fruit so do not need to descend from trees.  They move by brachiation, swinging from branch to branch, for distances of up to 15 meters per swing, and can move at remarkable speeds, up to 55 km/hr.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pygmy squirrel.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested serpent eagle.

After breakfast we went for a ride in a truck and then a walk in the rainforest.

 

Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Agamid lizard (draco genus).

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Draco Cornutis (green flying lizard).

It is not apparent here, but this fellow has flaps under its body that allows it to glide from tree to tree.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Monitor lizard.

In the late afternoon we went for another ride in the truck, photographing with a long lens from the open tray.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Drongo.

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Drongo.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested serpent eagle.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Rhinoceros hornbills.

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Crested serpent eagle.

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It was after dark when we came upon another group who had seen a clouded leopard.  It had caught a civet and had settled down up a tree, behind the foliage. It wasn’t visible but we knew it was there so we waited. After about half an hour we caught a glimpse of a tail, which you may be able to see in the image above.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

After nearly an hour, the clouded leopard moved and we were able to see it through the foliage.

This is the Borneo subspecies of the Sunda clouded leopard.  The Sunda clouded leopard is endemic to Sumatra and Borneo, and separated from the mainland clouded leopard about three million years ago.  Note also that the clouded leopard is not a subspecies of leopard.  They are the sole members of the subfamily neofelis, whereas the subfamily panthera includes leopard, tiger, snow leopard, lion and jaguar. The Sunda clouded leopard is medium-sized, weighing 12 to 26kg.  Its flexible ankle joints allow it to climb down trees head first and it has the longest tooth size to head size of any cat, perhaps to help it hold on to prey in trees.  It is classified as vulnerable due to habitat loss as it is dependent on living in rainforest.

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Birds, Clouded Leopard, Crested Serpent Eagle, Drongo, Gibbon, Hornbill, Landscape, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Photography, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

I didn’t see the clouded leopard’s head but Damien Esquerré did and has kindly allowed me to show you this photograph.

Our guides said it was the first one they had seen for five years.

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Tabin Day 1

Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, 11 May 2019.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Orangutan mother and baby.

On this day we travelled to Tabin Wildlife Reserve.  On the way we stopped at the Caves of Goomontong, at a huge cave populated with bats and swiftlets.  Lighting was fiendishly difficult there and I have no images to show you but on the walk back from the cave we encountered a wild orangutan mother and baby.  It looks as though they might be in a zoo but they’re just sitting on the steps of an abandoned building.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife .

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Millipede.

Now we are in Tabin in the later morning and I think this millipede was on a rail outside our room.  The difference between centipedes and millipedes is not the number of legs, it’s that centipedes have one pair of legs per segment whereas millipedes have two.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pig-tailed macaques.

It is now the late afternoon.  We might have been sitting around to escape the midday heat or it might have been raining.  I can’t remember which. You expect to encounter rain each afternoon and perhaps in the evening in Sabah but we were lucky in this trip and that only happened in Tabin.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Pig-tailed Macaque.

We were photographing these images from the back of a small open truck.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Monitor lizard and with something, maybe an insect, in his mouth.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a large island in a sea of palm oil plantations.  There is a lot of wildlife though most is secondary forest and it shows how much though not all of the wildlife will survive the largest trees being taken out, though the replacement of the forest for uses such as palm oil plantations is another matter.  There is also a much smaller island of primary forest, but that is not open to humans.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Crested serpent eagle.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

White-crowned hornbill.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Buffy fish owl.

We are now on a nighttime walk.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Stick insect (probably Haaniella echinate), endemic to Borneo.

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Birds, Crested Serpent Eage, Hornbill, Landscape, Millipede, Monitor Lizard, Nature, Orang Utan, Photography, Pig Tailed Macaques, Sabah, Tabin, Travel, Wilderness, Wildlife

Unidentified moth.

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