Sunday, June 28, 2009

Return to Borneo

This is a symbolic return to Borneo for me. In 1993, Joseph and I went there on our first overseas bird watching trip and we didn't know what the hell we were doing. Danum Valley was magic at the research station and we would lie in bed for an hour listening to the best dawn chorus I've ever heard: first cheeps, then caws, then the whoops of the gibbons layer on layer. We spent one quality afternoon with a young male orang. Hornbills flew over us, their wings sounding like silk taffeta. Bats chased us out of the research grid at the end of the day. We watched a flying squirrel bomb over the river every evening at sunset. Magic. But the rest of the time in Borneo was a nightmare. We were there in the rainy season and sometimes couldn't leave our room. The rooms were sometimes moldy and cold. Joseph fell a couple of times. We didn't see the birds we wanted to. It was an unfinished adventure we promised to resolve some day. Today is that day.

Birds that have been rediscovered....

It's all about the birds we didn't see, some of which were not even being seen. One of them is Bornean Ground Cuckoo, which hadn't been seen for decades. We're heading to the Kinabatangan River to try for it. Here it is when others saw it. I hope we are as lucky.