At 6am it was time to rise and shine for our morning boat safari. The two best times of day to see wildlife are the early morning, before the heat of the day, and the evening. We did not really get any sleep the night before because of the anxiety of being in the middle of the swampy jungle in a little shelter with no doors and only roof over our heads and a mosquito net to protect us. What if a wild cat, bear, snakes, elephants, scorpions, centipedes, mischievous monkeys, or worse, a crocodile decided to visit us!? Fortunately, none of the above happened, but there were so many creatures that are nocturnal and it was incredibly louder during the night than the day – as if the animals were having a party! In particular there were giant green bugs that flew like torpedoes and repeatedly would fly into the roof and the walls making loud crashing sounds! Without much sleep we still did not mind waking up so early, since we were off on a new adventure!
Our group was divided into two boats. We were the Tarsiers and the people in the other boat were the Slow Lorises. Too bad we did not see either of our name sakes, which are difficult animals to spot.
There are lots of egrets along the river.
We were luckily to see yet another orang utan on our morning safari!
You can see the hornbill in George’s photo much better than in real life. I could not even see it’s big bill from the boat. They were very shy of the us and would quickly fly away. Luckily we bought a cheap pair of binoculars and brought them along with us, but even so it can be hard to focus on wildlife that does not like to sit still too long.
We also saw a variety of eagles including the crested serpent eagle, white bellied sea eagle, and the lesser fish eagle.
The prize of the morning was catching a rare glimpse of a wild gibbon mother with her baby. They were munching on some leaves atop a very tall group of trees and with only our eyes, you could barely notice that she was carrying a baby. If fact, George had no idea there was a baby until looking at the photos!
These monitor lizards, cousins of the Komodo Dragons, get huge, and at first glance can easily be mistaken for crocodiles! They also like to bask in the sun in the same locations as the crocodiles. We were hoping to see crocs, but only witnessed a baby during the night safari, which was too quick for us to get a photo. The guides told us that there were over 10,000 crocodiles living around the Kinabatangan River and they normally are basking in the sun along the banks. Do to recent floods the river was very high, covering the banks, so no crocs to be found.
The common name for these birds is Snake Bird, since the long neck looks like a snake.
The male Proboscis Monkeys have big long noses and are pretty comical looking. Whenever our noisy boat would pull up to the shore near a group of Proboscis Monkeys they would start jumping to other trees to get away from us.
We saw a good variety of wildlife on our morning cruise. When we got back to camp we had some down time to nap or hang out before the afternoon activity. For us, it was too hot and humid to do anything but stay still and rest in out little shelters and listen to the abundance of wildlife all around us.
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