Friday, August 30, 2013

Sarawak: Sama Jaya Encounters

Chestnut-winged Babbler (Stachyris erythroptera)
The Sama Jaya Nature Reserve in Kuching has been featured here before (and undoubtedly will be again; it is definitely a nice place for a walk.  These photos were taken on February 15, 2012).  It's not a bad place for a bit of birding; this is a calling Chestnut-winged Babbler (Stachyris erythroptera).  You can see the bare blue skin at the side of its neck that only becomes visible as it vocalises.

Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)
Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)
Long-tailed Macaque (Macaca fascicularis)
There is a local troop of Long-tailed Macaques (Macaca fascicularis) that are usually easy to find.  Unlike some macaques elsewhere, they do not seem to approach visitors, but seem rather nervous about it - have they been harassed in the past?

Common Tree Skink (Apterygodon vittatum)
Mabuya sp
Skinks are common along the pathways.  They can be difficult to identify to species in the field.  The upper photo shows one of the more obvious ones, a Common or Striped Tree Skink (Apterygodon vittatum).  It is endemic to Borneo, and the only member of its genus.  The other animal is a member of the genus Mabuya, but I can go no further in giving it a precise name.

Malay Lacewing (Cethosia hypsea hypsea)
Here is an underwing view of the Borneo race of Malay Lacewing (Cethosia hypsea hypsea).

Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites)
The Grey Pansy (Junonia atlites) is a very common butterfly in open country, particularly near water.

Cruiser (Vindula dejone)
By contrast, the Cruiser (Vindula dejone) is a common inhabitant of forests.  Sama Jaya, with its small forest patch and open areas, has a cross-section of common species from both habitats (though the forest area is far too small for sustainable populations of most forest specialties).

Dyakia regalis
I am woefully ignorant about Borneo's extensive land snail fauna, so for identification I am dependent on the kindness of others.  Thanks to Gary Rosenberg, I can tell you that this pulmonate. or lunged, snail is Dyakia regalis. Notice that, unlike most snail shells, this one spirals to the left rather than to the right, a condition referred to as sinistrorse.  The first scientific specimens were found, before 1850, near the house of James Brooke, first of the White Rajahs, and you can't get more Sarawakian than that.

Neurothemis terminata
I believe that this particularly dingy dragonfly is a female Neurothemis terminata, but I am not positive; most of the females I have seen are lighter and brighter than this one.

Zyxomma obtusum
On a number of trips I have seen a ghostly "mystery dragonfly" coursing up and down the small stream behind the reserve, but a it never did not have a chance to place it.  This photo may not be the best, but it allowed me to name it at last: a male Zyxomma obtusum, a normally-crepuscular dragonfly whose white body stands out brightly in the failing light.  Females are brown, with green eyes.  Its black wingtips recall another blue-eyed dragonfly, Cratilla metallica, a forest beauty with very different behaviour (at first I thought that this was Cratilla, but it acted so unlike that frequently-perching species that I was quite relieved to find out it was something else.

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