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CUCKOO!

My time in Borneo, like many of my trips, is focused on seeing certain cats. Of course I don’t ignore birds on such trip, but I also try to see as many as possible. It’s already been an excellent trip with the special endemic Bristlehead, but I was also succesful in seeing all hornbills, definitely one of my favourite birdfamily on the planet. Now I am at the Kinabatang river and the goal is to get a Bornean Ground Cuckoo. This is an extremely elusive bird of the rainforest that you don’t get to hear that often and to see much less. So a real challenge!

LennartVerheuvel

Headlights in the mist

‘Shall we drink some coffee?’ ‘No, let’s wait a bit longer’. There are those little things that cause you to be in a certain place at a certain time. A short stop because it rains and you want to put on some raingear, waiting for a second to check out some eyeshine just in case it’s something more exciting than a flying squirrel and indeed waiting a bit longer for some coffee. All those things can make the difference between just missing out on a species and having a spectacular sighting.

LennartVerheuvel

Already a succesful trip: Marbled cat!

When I’m going on a trip I always try to estimate somewhat realistically what is possible. Of course there is also some room for a bit of wishful thinking. The big target for me in Borneo was to get as much new cat species as possible, but I knew that that could be very difficult. There is only one cat easy on Borneo and that’s Sunda leopardcat (Prionailurus javanensis). After that it gets hard! There are five species of cat that live on Borneo. The already mentioned Sunda leopardcat (Prionailurus javanensis), Marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata) Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps) the big one Sunda clouded leopard (Neofelis diardi) and the most rare Bay Cat (pardofelis badia). In regard to that last one I knew it would be pretty much impossible to see, but also every single one of the other cats would be very diffcult to see. So i had decided for myself that my trip would be a success if I had seen a Sunda leopardcat (Prionailurus javanensis) plus one of the other cats.

LennartVerheuvel

Andean Cock of the Rock: a crazy beautiful bird!

After about three months of travelling the end was near. After three weeks in the Amazon I would be going for about a week into the Peruvian Andes and after that I would take a flight home. In the first place a visit to the Andes meant a visit to thé touristy hotspot in South-America: Macchu Picchu!

LennartVerheuvel
Red-and-green macaw / Groenvleugelara

Enjoying birds at a clay lick

Photographers who went abroad often return with pictures of the most beautifully coloured birds. That might give the impression that in those countries it must be a lot easier to take pictures and all the birds are patiently waiting for you. However often it takes quite a bit of effort to get that shot of a parrot or parakeet! Of course in one place it can be easier than in another. In Tambopata I walked around for three weeks, but in those weeks I actually barely got the opportunity to really get a good shot of a parrot or parakeet. Of course sometimes you get a nice flight shot, but try to approach a perching macaw! Fortunately there are still ways to get close. A very nice option then is a clay lick.

LennartVerheuvel

Lobo del Rio!

During my time in South-America there was another mammal that was high on my wish list: Giant Otter! It’s the largest otter in the world and since hadn’t seen any other in my life ever, it seemed nice to start with this one. In Tambopata I finally got the chance. Because I was asked at the last minute to help guide around some German tourists (hadn’t thought I would speak so much German in South-America), I also got the chance to search for them at a good spot. An oxbow lake called Triastianbatis where they get regularly seen. Of course the tourists wanted to see them, but I could tag along!

LennartVerheuvel

Looking at monkeys in Tambopata

After Bolivia I went to Peru. First two weeks to a language school in Cuzco to learn Spanish and after that three weeks to the Tambopata park in order to see as many animals as possible. I went to volunteer for the organisation Fauna Forever. My goal was to see at least one species of cat, but sadly I did not succed. Fortunately there were many other beautiful mammals, for example the different species of primate in Tambopata!

LennartVerheuvel

Barba Azul: Blue-throated Macaws and so much more!

My South-America trip still contained a gap of two weeks. The plan was to travel four weeks in Chile first and about two weeks after that would be my first day on a language school in Cusco. So it would make a lot of sense to travel through Bolivia, new country, new experiences and new animals! Only I didn’t really have a clue of what I was going to do. Three weeks before I would go away to Chile I suddenly stumbled upon a page from Asociación Armonía, the Bolivian version of BirdLife. The page about Barba Azul looked very interesting and I noticed there was a possibility to stay there working as a volunteer. I was supposed to get in touch with Tjalle Boorsma, which is a very Dutch name! So I just sent an email in Dutch and also received a reply in Dutch. Fortunately it was possible for me to stay there as a volunteer. So after Chile it was on to Bolivia!

LennartVerheuvel

Incatern: the most beautiful tern in the world!

Next to the Torrent Duck the Inca Tern was another  unique South-American birds species that I really wanted to see. Gray with a red bill and with two white plumes on either side of the head that makes it look like he has a moustache. In the end I was only successful in one place, the harbour of the town Arica all the way in the north of Chile at the coast. That was sufficient though! I don’t have a big story, but what a beautiful and special bird!

LennartVerheuvel

Every cloud has a silver lining

When I went away for my trip to South-America there were some birds I really wanted to see. One of those was the Torrent Duck. Really the coolest duck in the world. The male as well as the female is really beautiful and on top of that they both make a living by swimming up fast streaming currents. Amazing how they can keep doing that the whole day long. Finding Torrent Ducks turned out to be a bit harder than I thought.

LennartVerheuvel