Danum Valley, Sabah, Borneo – 21/27 July 2013

Posted on: November 16th, 2013 by lesday | No Comments

In July 2013, I made my second visit to Danum Valley, a well known Reserve in the Malaysian Province of Sabah. I had previously visited the place in 2010, and that had been a very successful and enjoyable one, so I was really looking forward to visiting the area again.

As before, our group stayed at the Scientists Research Centre, which is on the opposite side of the reserve to the exclusive tourist hotel. The accomodation is more than satisfactory, and the presence of researchers there, who are always happy to give their expertise, is an added bonus.

Unfortunately, Borneo appears to be suffering from the same butterfly drought as Peninsular Thailand and Malaysia, and numbers seen were less than during my previous visit. However, we did see enough to keep ouselves pleasantly occupied throughout our visit.

Our first butterfly was one that allowed me to correct an omission from my previous trips to Sabah, we came across a reasonably willing model of the nominate form of Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing, Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana. However, even though this species regularly rested, it was always several metres up, so the angle of shot is not a good as I would have hoped.

Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana - Rajah Brooke's Birdwing

Trogonoptera brookiana brookiana – Rajah Brooke’s Birdwing

Flying around the same tree was a new species for me, Atrophaneura nox noctis (Blue Batwing), a female, which is considerbly larger than the male.

Atrophaneura nox noctis - Blue Batwing

Atrophaneura nox noctis – Blue Batwing

There are a large number of forest trails to walk along, and last time they had proved to be a wealth of species. This time, however, they were rather disappointing.

Charaxwes solon echo - Black Rajah

Charaxwes solon echo – Black Rajah

Polyure schreiber malayicus - Blue Nawab

Polyure schreiber malayicus – Blue Nawab

Pandita sinope sinope - The Colonel

Pandita sinope sinope – The Colonel

Arhopala similis - Druce's Oakblue

Arhopala similis – Druce’s Oakblue

With a paucity of butterflies, two of us went searching for Dragonflies, and in this we were not disappointed, finding many species, some of which are still to be described scientifically.

Prodasineura flamella

Prodasineura flamella

Euphaea subcostalis

Euphaea subcostalis

Unlike Maliau Basin, larger animals can be found here, and we were lucky that several wild Orang-Utans were present this time. These are not  rescued individuals released back into the wild, but truly wild ones. Also, pygmy elephants were also in the area, but not in the same numbers as seen previously, they were elsewhere. This is a highly endangered subspecies of the Asian Elephant, which some scientists consider may be a seperate species entirely.

Orang-Utan

Orang-Utan

Pygmy Elephant

Pygmy Elephant

We came across other fauna, and overall, had a great time in a truly beautiful area. I strongly recommend a stay at the Centre, the rooms are comfortable and the food is good, and you do not have to ‘rough it’!

Lantern Bug - Pyrops whiteheadi

Lantern Bug – Pyrops whiteheadi

Huge 'Bird-Eating Spider' - Phoringochilus everetti

Huge ‘Bird-Eating Spider’ – Phoringochilus everetti

 

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