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Monthly Archive 27 October 2019

Owls of Borneo

When you go out at night looking for mammals there are certain birds that you might encounter as well: owls! Owls are never very easy to see, but if you spend a lot of hours at night usually you get lucky a few times. I managed to capture five species quite nicely. The sixth: a Northern Boobook (Ninox japonica) didn’t pose very well. Luckily the one I liked the most did: a beautiful Barred Eagle Owl (Bubo sumatranus)!

A glimpse of a Flat-headed Cat

Three days I have planned at the Kinabatanganriver. My target here is to see Proboscis Monkeys (Nasalis larvatus) and I also hope to have a better look at an Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus). Apart from that I will be going out with a guide to try to see the Bornean Ground-Cuckoo (Carpococcyx radiceus). However I also have another target in mind: Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps)! This cat gets seen near this river, however usually for that to happen the water level has to be low and that’s not the case right now. The first two night I’m there, I put in my best effort and hope for the best, but in the last night I’m not expecting anything at all anymore.

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!

Sunda Leopard Cat

The Sunda Leopard Cat (Prionailurus javanensis) has recently been split by the IUCN Cat Specialist Group. For me this was one of the least difficult cats I ever searched for. They also get reported on pretty much every tripreport if people searched in the right areas for mammals. I saw my first in Danum Valley, but that went a bit fast. Luckily in Deramakot there were many good sightings.

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.

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.