Sep 29, 2011

Close-up with a Laced Woodpecker ( Picus Vittatus ) 27-33 cm

Birders would invariably wish to watch birds up-close, as close as they possibly could without stressing the birds. However there are occasions when the birds fly and perch so incredibly close that it 'stuns' the birder! All one could do is to remain completely 'stoned stiff' lest the slightest movement frightens off the bird/s.

In this instance I was in luck. This Woody was quite happy jumping around the same vicinity and gave me the opportunity to take some really close shots - although not precisely the full bird I would have wished for. But I am not complaining. 

Green Crested Lizard ( Bronchocela cristatella ) Size (snout to vent) : 13 cm Size (total length) : 57 cm

This Green Crested Lizard had just caught a large cricket for it's lunch. It already had the cricket in it's mouth when I it jumped from the nearby shrub on to a tree. The cricket is enough to keep the lizard 'happy' till dinner time, I guess. :-)

Sep 20, 2011

Maliau Basin - home of one of the world's smallest frog!

Variable Sticky frog (Kalophrynus heterochirus) and only found in Borneo (Sabah, Sarawak & Kalimantan).
Whilst the acidic waters in the rivers of Maliau Basin support relatively few fish species, more than 30 species of amphibians have been found , including  a frog that makes it's home in pitcher plants! This specie is just a mere 1/2 in. The following photos demonstrates how tiny this frog is!

Sep 17, 2011

Trekking thru' the 'Lost World of Sabah' aka Maliau Basin - Part VII - The End


The scenery would change like photo slides as we trekked from one camp to the next. So did the gradient which compounds the difficulty the team already faced with the torrential rain. It rained 3 days out of 6. :-( The trails became slippery and any misstep will mean a slide or a fall. Some slopes are 80 + degrees up or down and have to be ascended/descended with metal ladders.  The slopes are very steep but not high enough to climb with harnesses or ropes.
Steep descend of cliffs and trekking on sides of slippery slopes posed great danger. Any mistake meant falling down the bottomless valley! Notwithstanding all the potential dangers it was one fantastic experience and perhaps a miracle that everyone completed this expedition safely albeit with the usual leech bites, cuts and minor bruises. :-)

Here are the scenes from Agathis Camp our first stop through to Nepenthes Camp - renamed from Carmel Trophy Camp. From here we trekked to Ginseng Camp before returning to Agathis Camp. And finally departing for Kota Kinabalu by road. Total trekking distance was 43 km over mountains and valleys. 

                 GPS Map of the trek thru' Maliau Basin. By Chan Kin Hou

                               Welcome signage at Agathis Camp

                                Car Park a short distance from Agathis Camp

                                Agathis River alongside side the camp

              The Agathis River cascades pass the entrance to the camp

                        Canvas bed dormitory style at Agathis Camp

                         Trail marker between Agathis to Nepenthes Camp 

                               Forest Trail 

Tree reaching for the sky.

Ginseng Camp    

                   Double Decker bed with a thin mattress at Ginseng Camp

          A mountain stream flowing down a steep hill approaching Ginseng Camp

                            One of numerous narrow bridges we had to cross

             Climbing up one of a few ladders which are at almost 90 degree angle.
                                                        Photos courtesy of : Wong Horng Yih

                                        Another 2 steep ladder to climb

                                 The majestic Giluk Falls

                     Firewood, the only source of energy to cook our meals.

         Tree top Observation Deck provide 360 degree view - Carmel Trophy Camp 

                             Taking a short break at a rest point. Photo courtesy of : Jimmy Chew

                  Trail marker from Nepenthes to Ginseng Camp

Trail marker located 700m from Ginseng Camp showing direction and distance to Maliau Falls

       Last trail marker indicating end of 6 days of trekking - Ginseng to Agathis Camp.

                 Suspension Bridge enroute from Agathis Camp to Maliau Studies Centre

                             Hostel and surrounding area- Maliau Basin Studies Centre

The A Team posing for the camera in KK before departing by 4WD vehicles for Maliau Basin. 
Photos courtesy of Jimmy Chew.

Group photo at Ginseng Camp

Our 7 Day/6 Night expedition came to a successful end with an overnight stay at the very comfortable hostel of the Maliau Basin Studies Centre. We also had one of our best dinner spread in days here. After a most restful night we proceeded by road the next morning for Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, passing Keningau town and took-in some of  most spectacular country scenes, from the highland meandering downwards. That same evening we boarded a flight home to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

It was one fantastic adventure of a lifetime for all 16 members of team, all members of the Photogroup of the Malaysian Nature Society (MNS). A few of us are already making plans to return to Maliau Basin at the earliest opportune time. For all outdoor and nature loving buffs Maliau Basin is indeed THE place to mark down in your calendar. One tip, you need to be physically fit to 'tackle' Maliau Basin.

Thank you for 'following' me on this epic adventure which I hope you have enjoyed the pictorial journey as much as I have sharing them with you. Till the next time cheers to all! 

Sep 16, 2011

Trekking thru' the 'Lost World of Sabah' aka Maliau Basin - Part VI

                                THE FLOWERS & PLANTS OF MALIAU BASIN

Just like the orchids the flowers of Maliau Basin are simply awesome! Varieties aside each type exudes it's own appeal which an observer would not get bored looking at for any extended period of time. As with the orchids, fungi different types of flowers are found in the diverse terrain within the basin. Sure worth exploring!
Here is what I meant.

                                                MISC SIGHTINGS

                               Star-shaped plant growing on a tree

                                Moss with fine tentacles

                                 A blue berry

                                A 'fruit' from one of the trees

                                  Carpet moss


                               The Tabernaemontana sp. (fruit of the mountain) found 
                             in the forest but now captivated as an ornamental plant. 

                               A large Rhinoceros Beetle