Another 5.30am start and a boat ride to look for animals. This morning we didn’t see as much. We did see a pair of Black and Red Broadbills. They were far away and I could barely see them through my zoom lens but the photo actually turned out pretty well. I cropped it A LOT and it’s in the extras.
After breakfast it was time to pack up and get taken back to Sepilok. I went back to the same place I stayed before and in the afternoon I got the bus into Sandakan. On the edge of town is the site of a POW camp where the Japanese held Australian and British prisoners during WW2. There’s a park on the site now with a few bits of rusting machinery left from that time. A pavilion contains a very good display on the history of what happened here and on the death marches from Sandakan to Ranau. There was very nearly a rescue mission launched by the Australian military in early 1945 as they’d heard about how bad conditions were at the camp. But when they landed 40 miles away, the intelligence they received was that no prisoners were left in Sandakan so the rescue never happened and the allied forces stepped up their bombing of the area. In fact there were about 1900 prisoners in the camp in January 1945 and only 6 survived the war.
Before I went to the jungle, I agreed with a woman staying at the guest house (and volunteering at the Sun Bear centre) to join her on a night walk at the Sepilok Rainforest Centre. She was organising it and insisting the group was no bigger than four people. There were three of us plus a guide and animal spotter. It was excellent and we saw loads! The walk started at 6pm when it was still light and as it got dark we saw a flying squirrel leaving its nest. I didn’t get a photo; it was too fast. The mousedeer were almost impossible to see and definitely impossible to photograph. I could just see the eyes reflecting the light of the guide’s torch. We saw insects, including a praying mantis (see extra), lots of birds and a viper.
This is a sleeping Rufous Backed Kingfisher. It’s tiny and it took me a few minutes of staring at it to work out that it had its bill tucked under a wing. It didn’t wake up even with the guide’s torch shining on it. And I was very excited to see an owl. I’ve only ever seen owls in captivity before so it was great to see a wild one. It was further away so the guide’s torch didn’t light it so well and my photos aren’t good.