We were all up nice and early for the Kinabatangan Early Morning River Cruise and just about ‘saw’ the river as it was decked out in quite a bit of mist so we were not exactly sure as to how much Max would be able to see, even with his sharp eyes.
The first animal spotted by Max and this was impressive not least because it was very well camouflaged, was a Python on a branch over-hanging the water – it looked big to me but then what do I know about Pythons?
Staying well away from our snake were the mischievous Macaques, already out and about like a bunch of punks up for a fight – some were even sporting the old punk-style Mohican haircut. I am not really sure who cuts the monkeys’ hair in the jungle but they definitely looked sharp – they will be wearing tartan trousers next. Snakes are not the only ones to be seen hugging tree branches over the water – Monitor Lizards also like to kip over the water too and Max spotted one further up the river, legs hanging either side of the branch he/she was on. After a short journey the last reptile to be seen was too big to be hanging out on a tree and was instead lounging on the riverbank – a quite large and toothy Crocodile. Now this animal even asleep (if asleep he was) looked dangerous and not to be trusted so we kept our distance. All along the trip there were many birds also on show too and we saw more Hornbills and an Eagley looking thing before heading towards ‘home’ and breakfast. It had been a most productive morning.
After filling up at our very own watering hole we had an hour or two to rest before setting off on a short hike to Ox Bow Lake. Although the trek was good this was the only thing we took part in which did not really yield much in the way of wildlife. Again, beforehand we were warned about the possibility of leeches so we all covered up accordingly and looked quite ‘dapper’ in the process.
Every now and then during the walk we would come across elephant tracks from the Pygmy Elephants we had seen the night before. Now do not be fooled these are still very big animals – they are simply small compared to other elephant species, so we kept an eye out just in case. Ox Bow Lake was a very nice setting and some ‘early birds’ were already there feeding the fish and some real birds could be seen on the otherside of the lake. Every now and then some really colourful butterflies could be seen erratically fluttering here and there. Photographing butterflies is not as easy as it sounds and I can understand why some people would want to slow them down by (literally) pinning them down but I happen to like them so I take my chances and go for a picky whenever I can.
I must admit this has been one of the revelations of our trip to me, that now I have more time on my hands and am not simply trying to rush about all the time I am actually beginning to appreciate some of the smaller fauna and flora we are coming across as well as the ‘big stuff’. When the walk was completed another nice meal awaited us back at the lodge and we then got ready for another Evening Cruise along the river – the itinerary comes thick and fast at you in the jungle.
At the beginning of the Evening Cruise my camera ran out of charge so I had to use my eyes and rely on my memory (so I cannot remember a bloody thing! [lol]) but once again we were very lucky and saw all of the animals we had seen the day before – the Pygmy Elephants, a younger elephant amongst them, were at the same dining area they were yesterday. Macaques were out and about causing ‘sum bovver’ whilst the Proboscis’ were far more sedate and chilled. More Hornbills again and we saw different species too – so I think out of the eight or so different types the have we must have spotted most of them and they are quite cool too. They pair up, so when you caught a glimpse of one you knew another would not be far away even if seeing it was an entirely different matter! Max also spotted one of my favourite birds – the Kingfisher and quite a large specimen too, I am not so sure I was quite as keen on this ‘super-size’ version but it was still a good spot.
The river trips had really been a great success we seemed to come across every animal imaginable but possibly this is because, due to the growth of palm oil trees, the wildlife is now being squeezed into a strip of land either side of the river – which is a bit more of a sobering thought!
The evening Night Walk was once again eventful with another Tarsier and more sleeping birds being spotted – or were they actually stuffed birds put up by the guides? – they did not move at all!
A new item on the list of animals seen was the Silver Langur another primate but the night was pitch black and the guide could have told me anything and I would have believed it because I could not – with my old eyes – really define what it was he was pointing at.
Once again back at the lodge we relaxed with a cold beer before getting off to bed but this was not the end of the wildlife entertainment as our room appeared to have been taken over by a family of the large green flying beetles! Now these were really noisy so we had to try and either shoo them out or kill them off – shooing was impossible as these creatures could not be herded – so killing it was. However they also appeared to be somewhat invincible as well, we hit them with socks (!), shoes, backpacks and finally beds but they just kept coming back for more – this was warfare. Eventually after repeated attacks we killed them all off but it was a vicious fight and one I would not gladly relive again so we went to bed is all I will say ……. lol.