Category: Borneo

Leeches and Orangutans in the Wild

May 27. We rise early for another private breakfast in our pavilion by the river, served by Jariah. We learn that Jariah is 25 years old and has been at the lodge for 2 1/2 years, her first job after college.
We set out through the very muddy forest. Azmil finds some interesting birds, including an owl, and some monkeys. The walk is rather frustrating, as besides the heat and mud, it’s sometimes difficult to understand Azmil, I find it extremely hard to get the sightings into my binocs and my glasses fog up frequently from the steamy weather. So, from time to time, instead of not seeing birds, I photograph what catches my eye, and does not move.

 And the leeches don’t help, either. Here’s a photo of one of the critters, and another of the back of Michael’s shirt with blood stains.  (Several leeches succeeded in drawing blood from me, too, but not as dramatic as Michael’s shirt.)


At one point, I slip in the mud and fall about 75 feet. Actually, it was more like two or three feet, and I was okay, though it could have been nasty.
After three hours in the forest, we head back to the lodge to see if we can find orangutans in the wild. It’s looking like we’re going to need to settle for seeing them at the rehab center, but, eureka, Azmil finds them and we trek into the forest to see them. As they’re high in the trees, it’s very hard to get a decent photo, but seeing them in the wild was a great treat.

As usual Jariah has cold drinks waiting for us, which we have by the river. Then it’s up to the room for wonderful and necessary outside showers. Back to the lodge for lunch, then down time until 6:30.

Azmil had planned a walk in the forest to find a bird called a frog mouth. Carol and Valerie go and find the bird, but I have had enough forest, so I opt to walk along the road to hunt frogs again. (Michael stays back to nurse his leech wounds.) Tonight’s frog pictures are better than last night’s (including one with a hungry snake eying it’s prey). If only I had another night, I probably could get some truly amazing frog shots.

Back to our rooms for another very good dinner, served outside by the river.  But the best part of the day occurs while we are asleep–Jariah cleans our muddy boots, and they await us the next morning.

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