Monday, 8 February 1982

30 years ago: 4-8 February 1982, Taman Negara (rafting & Kumbang)

Thursday 4th February 1982:  Taman Negara (river on raft), Malaysia
Up at 06:00 and into the forest by torchlight at 06:10.  Got to river entry point at 07:10 with Colin and waited 20 minutes for Steve but he didn’t show.  Waded up Sungei Tembeling to Dave’s finfoot site and on a further 200m.  Steve then joined us and we continued until it was neck deep - Steve  being a bit shorter was swimming at this stage proving his Leica bins were fully waterproof.  Fortunately we soon came across an abandoned bamboo raft which we salvaged and just floated with the 3 of us on it.  Continued a further 750m, including over one set of rapids with no mishaps then leisurely drifted back downstream.  Amazingly good fun ‘shooting the rapids’ although several times the raft grounded and we had to get off.  Incredibly managed to keep reasonably dry, especially binoculars, but as we failed to see finfoot will have to try again.

Birds seen included:  Black-capped Kingfisher 2, *Banded Kingfisher 1 female, Southern Pied Hornbill 2, Large Wood Shrike 2, Blue-winged Leafbird 10, Yellow-crowned Bulbul 8, *Malaysian Blue Flycatcher 4, Rufous-chested Flycatcher 1 male, Sultan Tit 3, Dark-throated Oriole 1.

Colin, myself and Steve rafting at Taman Negara.  Dave, who took the photo, didn't need to join us as he'd seen the finfoot.  He missed a lot of fun though!

Friday 5th February 1982:  Taman Negara (Bukit Teresek and river on raft)
After a leisurely breakfast birded up to the raft arriving just as five boats of kids went past.  Decided to leave it until later and climbed up Bukit Teresek getting brilliant views of Roulrouls on the way.  Back to the raft at 16:00 and took it up river, where met boats coming back as we went up.  The evening was very quiet though, but still no finfoots although a monitor lizard in the river provided momentary excitement.  Mistimed our return, so after docking at the usual place had to walk back though the forest to HQ by moonlight.  No luminous toadstools were evident but we saw a few luminous moulds on leaves.

Birds seen included:  Roulroul 23, Crested Fireback 2 males, Large Green Pigeon 6, Malay Hanging Parrot 3, Drongo Cuckoo 1, Raffle’s Malkoha 1, Chestnut-breasted Malkoha 1, Scarlet-rumped Trogon 1, Black-capped Kingfisher 2, Stork-billed Kingfisher 2, Blue-throated Bee-eater 4, Black Hornbill 2, Southern Pied Hornbill 1, Rhinoceros Hornbill 2, Helmeted Hornbill 1, Brown Barbet 4, Buff-rumped Woodpecker 1, Grey and Buff Woodpecker 1, Black and Red Broadbill 3, Ashy Tailorbird 1, Rufous-tailed Tailorbird 1, Eastern Crowned Leaf Warbler 4, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher 1 male, Rufous-chested Flycatcher 1 imm. male, *Maroon-breasted Flycatcher 1 male, Chestnut-backed Scimitar Babbler 1, Black-capped Babbler 1, Scarlet Sunbird 1 male, Crested Jay 2.

Monitor Lizard at Taman Negara, one of these in the river was the closest we came to seeing a finfoot

Flying Lizard at Taman Negara, altogether less controversial!

Saturday 6th February 1982:  Taman Negara (Kuala Tahan to Kumbang)
Decided to go to Kumbang Hide, leaving after a visit to the shop for provisions.  Not a lot available, tins being rather heavy to carry and biscuits very limited.  A long walk though ‘samey’ jungle, but finally saw Rufous-backed Kingfisher after an initial dip.  In hide by 16:30 but no mammals of any value, though a few good birds.  Did night watches by shift, mine was from 20:30-23:00, but nothing at all appeared during the night.

Birds seen included:  Black-thighed Falconet 1, Malay Hanging Parrot 12, Raffle’s Malkoha 1, *Rufous-backed Kingfisher 2, Blue-throated Bee-eater 2, Southern Pied Hornbill 1, Helmeted Hornbill 1, Brown Barbet 1, *Malaysian Honeyguide 1, Crimson-winged Woodpecker 1, *Olive-backed Woodpecker 1, Maroon Woodpecker 1, Orange-backed Woodpecker 1 male, Large Cuckoo Shrike 2, Green Iora 2, Eastern Crowned Leaf Warbler 3, Pale-legged Leaf Warbler 1, Striped Wren Babbler 5, Black-capped Babbler 1.

Sunday 7th February 1982:  Taman Negara (Kumbang area), Malaysia
Walked to Kuala Treggan on Sungei Tahan.  Steve and I took out a leaky canoe to look for finfoot but hastily returned as water was coming in faster than I could bail it out.  Later waded up a small river with Dave.  After an hour and a half got quite worried as to where it was leading us.  Decided to cut through on a compass bearing but the jungle was too thick.  Compromised by following along next to the river for another half an hour, but very tough going in places and so re-entered the river (minus one pair of socks lost to horrible spiky ferns).  River much rockier and cut my foot but reached the trail where the river crossed it two and a half hours after starting.  Quite a relief.  Really tired as a result and found it hard to stay awake during my shift (20:00-22:00).  Saw nothing and when Colin had a Samba at c23:00 I was too dead to the world to respond and so dipped.  Nothing else was seen.

Birds seen included:  Black-thighed Falconet 1 (same), Malay Hanging Parrot 2, Green-billed Malkoha 1, Raffle’s Malkoha 4, Black-capped Kingfisher 1, Rufous-backed Kingfisher 1, Blue-banded Kingfisher 1, Rhinoceros Hornbill 4, *Yellow-crowned Barbet 1, Black and Red Broadbill 2, Black-winged Flycatcher-Shrike 2, Fiery Minivet 6, Lesser Green Leafbird 6, Blue-winged Leafbird 4, White-rumped Shama 1, Chestnut-naped Forktail 1 female, *Plain Sunbird 2, Long-billed Spiderhunter 2, Yellow-breasted Flowerpecker 1.

mammals seen at Taman Negra were genrally disappointing, this giant squirrel being the best I managed.

Monday 8th February 1982:  Taman Negara (Kumbang to Kuala Tahan)
Walked back to Kuala Tahan in three hours in the rain so saw very little.  Checked back into hut and had a late breakfast.  Rain continued so rest of day was spent lazing around and writing post cards.  ‘Our’ raft has disappeared while we’ve been gone, not that it was probably a very effective way of looking for finfoots but great fun!

Birds seen included:  Malay Hanging Parrot 2, Dollarbird 1, Black Hornbill 1, Southern Pied Hornbill 1, Rhinoceros Hornbill 2, Chestnut-naped Forktail 1 male, Eastern Crowned Leaf Warbler 2, Moustached Babbler 1, Thick-billed Spiderhunter 1, Crested Jay 1, Hill Myna 2.

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