Saturday, March 14, 2009
Sarawak: A Morning at Semenggoh
Before getting back to last week’s trip to Kubah, I want to share a few highlights of a very pleasant morning spent with Anthony Wong at Semenggoh Nature Reserve outside of Kuching. Semenggoh is famous for its rehabilitated (and regularly fed) orangutans, but Anthony and I left them to the busloads of tourists that descended on the lace like gnats to watch the 9 AM feeding. Instead, we concentrated on the birds we could see along the road – and very nice birds they were too (though we got most excited by the dullest of the lot, a tiny, brownish little thing called, with reason, the Plain Flowerpecker).
This is not the world’s greatest shot -- but the bird is a Borneo endemic, the Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, so it was nice to have a close look. Flowerpeckers feed on fruits, and this bird is taking on a rather large one.
Scarlet Minivets are common, but spectacular, members of the cuckoo-shrike family (Campehagidae). This is a male; the female replaces the black and red with grey and yellow, but is still a very pretty bird.
Birds, remarkably enough, aren’t everything. Plants are worth watching, too. Here, as an example is something a northerner doesn’t expect to see in a tropical rainforest: an oak tree, replete with acorns. Strangely enough, there are 100 species of oaks and oak cousins on Borneo, but they are mostly in the highlands. Not this one, though.... and look at those bright red acorns!