Sunday, January 17, 2010

Postcard from Sabah

The trip started fantastically with great weather during the day at Mount Kinabalu and then rain in the afternoon which encouraged some superb amphibian action during the night. This Kinabalu horned toad (Megophrys baluensis) was a much-wanted addition to my frog list.

We did well for Rafflesias in the first week with two different plants. Multiple flowering is rare, this plant is a product of artificial innoculation of the host vine, which may explain the number of simultaneous flowers. More than one plant may be involved.

The last four days of the trip have been dogged by persistent rain, which has put a dampener on things somewhat. The only taxa that seem to be enjoying it are the amphibians. We found a colony of over 75 jade tree frogs (Rhacophorus dulitensis) at Poring. Superb little things.

The chance to watch tree frogs breeding in big numbers is fantastic. Plenty of pairs in amplexus and here a jade tree frog female completes a foam nest hanging over an ephemeral, forest-edge pool. The eggs hatch inside the foam and the tadpoles drop into the water below.

A huge low centred over Sabah, but delivering rain throughout the region is really starting to get annoying. Perhaps a result of the cooler than average weather further north in China? We missed plenty at Poring Hot Springs, seeing very few birds, butterflies or dragonflies. We are now at Sukau and the water level is rising. Persistent rain makes travelling by boat unpleasant and the use of optics difficult. We have seen the Bornean pygmy elephants though so must not grumble too much!


  1. Hi Phil, the trip sounds fantastic, despite the rain - seeing Pygmy Elephants must have been a real treat. I loved Borneo when I visited about 10 years ago - amazing place. Enjoy the rest of your time there... By the way, Steller's Eider (female) and Red-flanked Bluetail (also female) in Skåne at the moment! T

  2. thanks for the bird update T, will go for both if they stay into mid-Feb