Andrey Mikhaylov (kmaal) wrote,
Andrey Mikhaylov

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Malaysia-2: Taman Negara, the forest

Taman Negara from outside is all waves of green and aerial perspective.

Этот пост на русском: Малайзия-2: Taman Negara, собственно лес

Taman Negara from inside for a city dweller in a hurry is a chaos of leaves and patches of backlight if you look up the trees, noise of innumerable leaving things and impossibility to see almost any of them, muddy rivers and clear streams...

Overgrown slopes and sticky footpaths after rain, plant litter and leaches (lots of them, not on the photo) and fungi (not much):

If you stop and look carefully, you can see something like a small lizard with thin limbs:

To spend some nights in the forest you cannot miss. We passed two nights in the Tabing hide, a concrete structure with a roof, where you can sit peering into the dark, hoping that some animals will come to the salt lick on the other side of the stream. Or you can climb to a bunk and sleep.

On the first night we came late, after dark and probably scared off all the crepuscular fauna. From the path, we saw a squirrel, probably one of the Callosciurus squirrels, on a fruiting tree, a couple of bats and something dark size of a small hedgehog, probably a Short-tailed Gymnure (Hylomys suillus ).

In the hide a lonely German tourist sat with lighted candles and looked into the black of the night. It was the Christmas night. We offered our canned fish and beans, and cookies, and he offered us cake. It rained at night, then steam came up from the soil, and the beam of a torch could not break through the water droplets in the air.

The second night was also quiet, and tired after the day's crooked footpaths I slept early. Besides the background of the night jungle noises, our company was made of ants (they go to sleep later at night), several geсkoes, a bigger lizard on the outer side of the concrete, a spider, some moths and a small brown frog with suction cups on the fingers who lived in the cistern.

Unlike the European forest, here most birds are silent at dawn and only start maikng noises when the sun comes out. At Tabing the most expressive voice in the morning said "Uh-uh-uh... Mua-ha-ha" . It was Helmeted Hornbill, one of the big hornbills. But we could not see the bird.
And some non-bird voice, like a vocal sigh, was heard repeatedly. Probably a lonely single gibbon was calling.

When it was still rather dark under the trees, I met a Red Muntjac, or Barking deer (Muntiacus muntjak), on a trail.

If you get higher and closer to the canopy, it is easier to see the animals active during the day

There is a canopy walkway for that built in about forty minute walk from the headquarters. We saw several Black-striped squirrels (Callosciurus nigrovittatus) and one squirrel from a different species, maybe a Pallas' squirrel Callosciurus erythraeus - but it seems it had no typical red belly. There was also a Crimson-winged Woodpecker (Picus puniceus) and some other insectivorous birds, to far for me to identify.

The sleep at the campsite proved also a good thing to see wildlife. In a short visit, and four days is surely a short visit for a place like Taman Negara, we saw the most large animals precisely in the area close to the headquarters.
A monitor lizard met us right between the bungalows

At night wild pigs come under the fruiting trees near headwquarters. This is the same species as the European wild boar (Sus scrofa).

They let take pictures and when the are bored, they just walk away:

Again a Red Muntjac on a trail:

A night boat safari on Tahan river was not really that productive - besides several bats flying by and some moths, we only saw a band of Crab-eating Macaque (Macaca fascicularis), perched for a sleep on the branches extending over the river. And we saw them only because they were not careful enough to keep quiet. In the beams of our torches, exchanging noises of dislike, the macaques moved inside the forest.

There is who says they saw a tapir from the boat. I didn't see.

Yes, the main star of Taman Negara is the Malayan Tapir (Tapirus indicus ) with its moving protruding muzzle. I saw two of them the next morning, first one, and later the other. As i saw observing them feeding, their muzzle helps them both to graze on grass and browse around bushes with the same success.

For now, Taman Negara is the place where I have the most clear feeling that I want to return to this place again.
Tags: malaysia, mammals, nature, pictures, travel

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