Brunei: Lower Belait, 25 June

IMG_4290It was still raining when we set out to go further upriver this morning, so I kept my camera under wraps. Inevitably, that was a decision I was to regret! A number of good birds were on show, including Ruddy Kingfisher, Wrinkled Hornbill and Straw-headed Bulbul. At one point we disturbed a pair of Hose’s Langurs from an emergent riverside  tree, and watched them leap into the surrounding trees as they beat  a hasty retreat.

Most amazing for me was the sight of a huge crocodile basking on a sand-bank. My boatman estimated it was at least 5 metres in length, and I wouldn’t argue with that! It wasn’t just the length which was impressive, but the width and height of the thing. When I first saw it I actually dismissed it as a crocodile-shaped log, as I thought it was too large to possibly be a croc… and then it moved!IMG_4299

Our first port of call was an area of burnt freshwater swamp forest which has developed an unusual heath vegetation.

IMG_4300

Beyond this was intact freshwater swamp forest, which was a bit sparse birdwise.

IMG_2078Black-and-white Bulbul and Grey-chested Jungle-flycatcher were two of the more notable birds.

IMG_4303The forest either side of the river is pristine swamp forest. We stopped several times to play Bornean Ground-cuckoo calls but got no response.

IMG_2114 IMG_2140There were a few Oriental Darters about, and they were very wary and unapproachable.

IMG_2147A female Wrinkled Hornbill flying across the river.

IMG_2123A colourful riverside tree.

IMG_4312Our next trail took us through thcik Salacca palm clumps. The spines are long and sharp enough to go through the sole of a boot, as I found out more than once!

IMG_4314In the forest, haunt of Horsfield’s Babblers.

IMG_2151A Crested Goshawk flew in and landed overhead briefly.

IMG_2188Black-and-white Bulbuls were heard frequently, but mostly remained concealed in the canopy. I finally managed a clear view of a male, though it’s not a great shot.

IMG_4321 IMG_4320A beautiful fungal ‘garden’ on top of a rotting log.

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