Thursday, April 29, 2010

Group visit to Similajau National Park

Our group met at Taman Awam at 1:30 pm sharp as promised. We didn't waste anytime in getting ourselves to Similajau National Park, we left at 1:45pm. Not having visited the park for quite a while now (last group trip there was Sep 2009), everyone was most excited.

We reached Similajau National Park at 3:30 pm. We were joined later by Denis, Junis, and Anne. After dumping our gear at the boat landing, we proceceeded to the Park office to register.

With the boat all set up, we left for Golden Beach a short while later with Julai driving and Jolani navigating.

According to Julai, the sea has been a bit rough since morning according which would make landing on Golden Beach a tricky task. As a safety measure, we decided to only execute the trip in small groups, five per person per boat per trip. Since it's only 45 minutes to the beach, it wouldnt be too long of a wait.

Wet golden sands at Golden Beach, Similajau NP.

We landed on a site close to Golden Beach at an already established trail maintenance base camp without any problem. The softness of the coarse high silica sand was quite memorable. Your feet sinks in to a depth of 6in even without any mud being present. Pure sands. The large sand grains were easily shaken off.

When the boat left us on the beach to get the next group, we felt like a group of standed travellers being left out on a strange island to our own resources much like Crusoe while in fact we are less than 10km away from the main road!

We set up camp for the night. While the rest of our party went in to explore the trails surrounding Golden Beach that evening, a few of us sat around the fire and shared stories about past trips and other jungle experiences.

Denis setting up his luxurious portable accomodation for the nite, beachfront property.

While at the camp we were visited by civet (likely Palm Civet) and we observed it roaming by the treeline for quite sometime. The trekkers returns around 8:30 pm without much to report except for a few crawling insects. You would've thought for a wild place like Similajau especially for Golden Beach being in a rather secluded area would harbour more nitelife.

After a long day, all decided to call it a nite. Julai and Jolani took off in the nite back to Park HQ.

That nite we had to shift our camp on account of the rising tide.

After a quick and most abbreviated breakfast of biscuits and cold water, we broke up into two groups again: those trekking back to Park HQ and those taking the boat back.

The boaters went for a quick visit to Batu Mandi before proceeding to the park office to wait for the rest of the trekkers.

The trekkers came back finally with lots of stories to tell. By the simple fact that Denis and Junis were the last ones to arrive already pointed out to the fact that there were a lot to see along the way. Both avid birders related their encounter with an owl and a couple of poisonous snakes.

Listening to the sounds of the rainforest.

Birdlist as compiled by Dennis (visit his blog here and his flickr photostream here) for Similajau NP, 15 April 2010 :
1) Plain Sunbird x 1
2) Yellow Vented Flowerpecker x 1
3) Blue Crown Hanging Parrot x 10
4) Olive backed Sunbird x 6
5) Orange-bellied Flowerpecker x 8
6) Greater Coucal x 4
7) Yellow vented Bulbul x 2
8) Green Imperial Pigeon x 6
9) Plaintive cuckoo x 2
10) Hill Myna x 2
11) Pied Fantail x 1
12) Barn Swallow x several
13) Pacific Swallow x several
14) Eastern House Sparrow x several
15) Straited Heron x 2
16) White Bellied Sea Eagle x 2
17) Common Sandpiper x 1
18) Brown Wood Owl x 2
19) Plaintive Cuckoo x 2
20) Black Bellied Malkoha x1
21) Large Tailed Nightjar x 2
22) Stork Billed Kingfisher x 2
23) Black Hornbill x 6
24) Black and Red Broadbill x 2
25) Barn Swallow x several
26) Pacific Swallow x several
27) Green Iora x 1
28) Yellow Vented bulbul x several
29) Red Eyed Bulbul x 1
30) Velvet Fronted Nuthatch x 1
31) White Chested Babbler x 1
32) Chestnut winged Babbler x 3
33) Magpie Robin x 4
34) Ashy Tailorbird x2
35) Pied Fantail x 1
36) Maroon Breasted Philentoma x 1
37) White-breasted Wood Swallow x 2
38) Asian Glossy Starling x several
39) Hill Myna x 1
40) Oriental White Eye x 3
41) Brown Throated Sunbird x 2
42) Purple Naped Sunbird x 1
43) Crimson Sunbird x 1
44) Yellow Eared Spiderhunter x 2
45) Little Spiderhunter x 1
46) Thick billed Spiderhunter x 1
47) Greater Green Leafbird x 2
48) Lesser Green Leafbird x 2
49) Spotted Dove x several
50) Blue Throated Bee Eater x 2
51) Collared Kingfisher x 4

That evening we prepared ourselves for Sg Likau's first CFZ-Firefly Survey. Read about it here.

Musa Musbah, MNS Miri, April 2010.
Photographs by Sara Wong, MNS Miri unless indicated otherwise.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Night Cruise along Likau

It's been awhile since the last cruise plus I was eager to check out the floating dead wild boar encountered by the enforcement team earlier. Apparently the wild boar was attacked by a crocodile and left to rot I assumed? Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the wild boar as the weather did not permit.

The night fruitful as always.

Red and black broadbill sleeping soundly

Little Heron

Green Imperial Pigeons

Baby Estuarine crocodile

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Another attempt off the trail

Torches on and we were on our way scanning the jungle along the main road in search of that shy animal when just not far from the guard house, Apai Elan spotted a nightjar sitting on a bare ground nearby access to the telephone tower area. It did not move at all which enabled me to see and photographed this close! It was only until my itchy hand wanted to touch it that it flew off immediately and that was when we discovered it was actually brooding.

A male Large-tailed Nightjar

Probably hatched already?

Brown Wood Owl sitting on the power line

At least 6 nightjars and an owl spotted throughout the 1.6km road walk. There wasn't any sign of Slow Loris. At this point, we just cut through jungles heading to the beach.That was about 400m distance.

The tide was low just perfect for a walk back but I'm not sure why it felt ages to return. (^_____^) Luckily the cool breeze in the air kept me going!

Next walk will cover similar route, agi idup, agi ngiga instead!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Off The Trail

Jungle Night Walk has always been fruitful but so far we've yet to spot that particular nocturnal wildlife. Probably too shy too be seen along the established trails so we decided to try off the trails this time. Apai Elan did some minor clearing off the Circular Loop earlier. And the findings? Rewarding for birders but Slow Loris again absent...Listening to another encounter by Uncle Jau, our Park In-house Contractor, our next "off the trail" will be the forest along the Main Road. Fingers crossed!

Apai Elan and Subia trudging through the jungle

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Development in the Park

There's another upgrading work taking place in the Park Headquarters now. The brand new One Stop Centre is expected to be completed early January 2011. As for now, hoping this won't stop public appreciation of the wonders of nature! On behalf of the Park management, wishing all a very Happy Chinese New Year!!

Construction in progress

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Loris...o Loris...

I was even more determined after listening to Kak Nor's personal encounter with that creature not far from the Guard House some more! Just that she didn't manage to photograph it but her family sighting it, was enough to convince us that the Park still is the creature's home.

So off we walked this time along Batu Anchau trail for better chances as suggested by Apai Elan,one of the experienced Park staff here. Among spotted;


Little Spiderhunter

Black-backed Kingfisher

A frog

A lizard

A tree frog

The bright, shining round eyes of the Bear Cat

Although Loris was absent again and the 5.5 hours walk causing my legs busted but it was totally worth it because the jungle was filled with so many other mysterious creatures! We spotted eyes of various wildlife as claimed by Apai Elan, they were two rats off the trail, a Bear cat wondering on a way up high tree, several sleeping birds (and as usual i couldn't help disturbing and thanks Dave for identifying the species!), a Lesser mousedeer, a bat, a lizard (in local it's called cicak kubin or cicak terbang) not forgetting the crawly ones as well as vocals of few animals, i remembered Owl being one of them!

As for Loris, looking forward to see you in the next walk! (^_^)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beauty Up North

Photographs by Park Staff, Abdul Rahim and his dedicated team during last month's overnight patrolling work along Similajau river, the northern boundary of the Park.

A flock of egrets nearby basecamp

They actually encountered with two Reticulated Phytons. The first one

And the condition of the other one after swallowing its prey

Warm sunrise...

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

After a while absence from the forest, it was exciting to be able to check out night creatures again. Cruising along Likau river just two nights ago, the Jester's couple, Hapeni, Adi and myself spotted the usual resident, a total of three hatchlings, a yearling and two adults of Crocodylus porosus. Also three Stork Billed Kingfishers and the best part was not only did i get to see its bright shining eyes, but the whole shape itself! of a mousedeer wandering very close to the river's edge.

Hapeni, the happy boatman and Adi, the Park's construction worker