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Baan Maka Nature Lodge, Peninsula Thailand – 16-19 Oct 2017

Baan Maka Nature Lodge  – October 2017
Some friends, Games Punjapa and Ian Dugdale, have recently taken over the Baan Maka Nature Lodge at the northern end of Peninsula Thailand. It is close to the entrance of Kaeng Krachan NP and well known for its access to nearby bird hides which also attract a few small mammal species. The property has excellent grounds at the foot of a small limestone hill and borders a small lake and is a convenient base for Kaeng Krachan and the rooms are in the process of being refurbished. The Baan Maka bird list currently has 190 species on it.

On 16 Oct I drove up from Phuket (a 10 hour drive) and Dave Sargeant drove down from Chiang Mai. Kaeng Krachan is closed for the wetter months of Aug-Oct so our plan was to concentrate on mammals and herps in the vicinity of the lodge; beer being the back-up plan should the weather turn inclement, which it did the second of our three nights there. Besides walking the lodge’s grounds we drove and walked nearby roads and explored trails in nearby forest. Mammal and snake lists and pics are shown below; butterflies might be added later.

Mammals seen 
The following species were all seen in the restaurant area except where noted:
1 – Greater Short-nosed Fruit Bat (Cynopterus sphinx).
2 – Lesser False Vampire Bat (Megaderma spasma). One night-roosting under room 8; I also saw 15 in a road culvert near Baan Maka.
3 – Dobson’s Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolophus yunanensis). Very similar to R. pearsonni but Dobson’s is larger. It is possible that Dobson’s here might be R. thailandensis, a recent split (described from Chiang Mai) not shown in the fieldguide by Francis (2008).
4 – Malayan Horseshoe Bat (Rhinolphus malayanus).
5 – Intermediate Roundleaf Bat (Hipposideros larvatus).
6 – Northern Treeshrew (Tupaia belangeri). Occasional visitors to the fruit feeding station.
7 – Grey-bellied Squirrel (Callosciurus caniceps). Common in the gardens.
8 – Indochinese Ground Squirrel (Menetes berdmorei). Rarely seen at the lodge but regularly seen at the bird hides.
9 – Western Striped Squirrel (Tamiops macclellandii).

Ian had also recently recorded Bengal Slow Loris (Nycicebus bengalensis) in the gardens as well as Pacific Rat (Rattus exulans) and House Rat (Rattus rattus). Lesser Mousedeer (Tragulus kanchil) is also seen at the bird hides.

Continue reading “Baan Maka Nature Lodge, Peninsula Thailand – 16-19 Oct 2017”

Whiskered Flying Squirrel at Mount Kinabalu (Sabah, Borneo)

Whiskered Flying Squirrel (Petinomys genibarbis) at Kinabalu Park
Paul Carter, 20 Aug 2016
(Revised 8 Nov 2016 to include reference to a 1965 paper with images)

On 26 May 2016 I was spotlighting alone along Power Station Road in Kinabalu Park (Borneo) and at 8.20 pm I photographed a Whiskered Flying Squirrel (Petinomys genibarbis) very close to the 4 Km post about 500 m before Tympohon Gate. I estimate from Google Earth that it was at an elevation of approximately 1840 m.

Very little is known about the behavior and distribution of Petinomys genibarbis (Erik Meijaard, pers comm) and this appears to be a notable elevation record. A search online did not produce any confirmed images and it seems to be rarely recorded or photographed. Subsequent to my initial posting of this record I was informed by Paula Bohaska (assistant to Richard Thorington, Smithsonian Institution) of a paper by Lim Boo Liat entitled “The Malayan Whiskered Flying Squirrel” and published in 1965 in the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 144 (4): 565-567. The paper includes black-and-white images were of an animal that had been caught in daurian trees at an elevation of around 450 m at Bukit Lagong Forest Reserve, Selangor on mainland Malaysia and and subsequently photographed inside a house.

Whiskered Flying Squirrel
Whiskered Flying Squirrel

Description: The characteristic tuft of very long dark whiskers centered on a wart behind the eye is clearly evident. No other flying squirrel has such a tuft of whiskers behind the eye (Francis, 2008). The reddish upperparts appear to have dark underfur. The forehead is brownish; with dark grey around the eyes (apart from the rear of the eye). The cheek and temple are orange. It is orange-tinged white or cream below. The upperside of the patagium is black as illustrated in Francis (2008), compared to Phillipps and Phillipps (2016) in which it is illustrated as reddish. The patagium has a white margin and is white on the underside. My images do not show the lower back which is reported in the field-guides as being golden-pinkish or pinkish-brown.

Kinabalu Park in northern Sabah (Malaysian Borneo) is centered on Mount Kinabalu at 4095 m. The Power Station Road is the 4.5. km long sealed access road from the park’s headquarters (at 1570 m elevation) through montane forest up to Tympohon Gate at 1860 m.

References:
– Abdullah M. 2012. Red List of Mammals of Peninsular Malaysia. DWNP. 2012 p124. Viewed online 14 Aug 2016 at: https://www.academia.edu/2464182/Red_List_of_Mammals_of_Peninsular_Malaysia._DWNP._2012.
– Francis C.M. 2008. A field guide to the mammals of Thailand and South-east Asia, p154 and p163. Asia Books.
– IUCN Redlist. 2016. Viewed online 14 Aug 2016 at: http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/16735/0
– Phillipps Q. & Phillipps K. 2016. Phillipps’ Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo and Their Ecology: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan, p 282. John Beaufoy Publishing.

Marbled Cat at Mount Kinabalu (Sabah, Borneo) – a high elevation record

High elevation record of Marbled Cat in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Borneo)
Paul Carter, 20 Aug 2016
Revised Feb 2017 with a link to Andrew Boyce’s camera-trap record.
A version of this post was published (April 2017) in CAT News Nr 65 Winter 2017.

On 26 May 2016 I was spotlighting alone along Power Station Road in Kinabalu Park (Sabah, Borneo) and at 7.30 pm I had brief views of a marbled cat (Pardofelis marmorata) near the lower entrance of the Bukit Ular trail. The sighting was at 1780 m elevation (data from Google Earth) and extends the previously known range of elevation in Borneo. The previous highest elevation records of marbled cat in Borneo are camera trap records at approximately 1550 m in Kinabalu Park (A Boyce, pers comm) and 1342 m in the Crocker Range National Park (Hearn, pers comm).  It has, however, been recorded up to an elevation of 3000 m elsewhere in Asia; for example Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area in Laos where it was recorded from 1042 m to 1913 m (CatSG website, 2016). There are few recent records of other felids in this area of Kinabalu Park: a bay cat Catopuma badia was recorded in 1970 at 1650 m (Phillipps and Phillipps, 2016).

Kinabalu Park in northern Sabah is centered on Mount Kinabalu at 4095 m; the Power Station Road is a 4.5 km long sealed access road from the park’s headquarters (at 1570 m elevation) up through montane forest to Tympohon Gate at 1860 m. I had brief binocular views then took one out-of-focus image of the head-on view and one image of the nape and upper shoulders as it turned and left. I did not get views of the tail.

20160526-1034-MarbledCat-ByPaulCarter-500p

20160526-1035-MarbledCat-ByPaulCarter-500p

ID Notes: The cat was sitting amongst some logs and shrubbery on a bank at the road edge. The upper chest and upper front legs were well spotted, with small spots. The area of the upper sides and shoulder shows an overall buffish grey base colouring; a narrow, vertical dark line with pale edge on grey can also be seen. The images were shown to three biologists (Andrew Hearn, John Mathai and Rustam) who work on Bornean felids/carnivores, and all provided independent confirmation that it was a marbled cat (and my thanks to them for their reviews). At their suggestion I have submitted a record for publication in Cat News (http://www.catsg.org/); this post is a summary of that submission.

Feb 2017 update: Andrew Boyce’s camera-trap record at 1,550 m elevation can be viewed here: http://andyjboyce.weebly.com/birding-and-natural-history.html

References
– CatSG. 2016. Marbled cat. http://www.catsg.org/m/index.php?id=122.
– Hearn AJ, Ross J, Bernard H, Bakar SA, Hunter LTB, Macdonald DW (2016) The First Estimates of Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata Population Density from Bornean Primary and Selectively Logged Forest. PLoS ONE 11(3): e0151046. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0151046.
– Phillipps Q. & Phillipps, K. 2016. Phillipps’ Field Guide to the Mammals of Borneo and Their Ecology: Sabah, Sarawak, Brunei, and Kalimantan, p 282. John Beaufoy Publishing.
– Rustam, Hearn A.J., Ross J., Alfred R., Samejima H., Heydon M., Cheyne S.M., Brodie J., Giordano A.J., Bernard H., Boonratana R., Loken B., Mohamed A., Augeri D.M., Eaton J., Hon J., Lim B.L., Marshall A.J., Mathai J., Semiadi G., Macdonald D.W., Breitenmoser-Würsten C., Kramer-Schadt S. & Wilting A. (2016) Predicted distribution of the Marbled Cat Pardofelis marmorata (Mammalia: Carnivora: Felidae) on Borneo. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 33 pp 157–164.

Riverine Rabbit at Dunedin Farm (South Africa) – March 2016

Summary: Dunedin Farm offers excellent potential to see the rare, endemic Riverine Rabbit. After a visit to the nearby Karoo National Park, my father (Clide Carter) and I booked a night

Riverine Rabbit
Riverine Rabbit

at the Riverine Rabbit Retreat on Dunedin Farm (Western Cape, South Africa). We had low expectations of seeing the Riverine Rabbit but after some pointers from Johan Moolman (the farm owner) we had great views of one before sunset; and saw another two with Johan the next morning. We extended our stay for another two nights once we realized the potential for other smaller mammals and

Riverine Rabbit
Riverine Rabbit

reptiles. Our trip total of 19 mammals included Aardwolf, Bat-eared Fox, Round-eared Sengi, Cape Sengi and Hewitt’s Red Rock Hare. This trip report morphed into a site guide as there is nothing else published and I believe it is most likely the best place to look for Riverine Rabbit.

My trip report is here with key extracts shown below.

Dunedin Farm and Riverine Rabbit Retreat

Dunedin Farm is a working farm owned by Johan and Marietha Moolman. They and their two sons are very keen on the local wildlife and were extremely helpful in giving us a detailed rundown on all the species and locations that they knew of. Manus (13) is especially keen and a local authority on the resident birds which include some Karoo specialties. Continue reading “Riverine Rabbit at Dunedin Farm (South Africa) – March 2016”

Northwest Sri Lanka Trip Report (mammals) – 2015 Dec

Trip Report – Northwest Sri Lanka – 2015 Dec 5

This brief report details the mammal and reptile species seen on the northwest part of a Sri Lanka trip done with Chi Phan, and travelling by rental car with a driver.

NW Sri Lanka Itinerary:

29 Nov – arrived Colombo; stayed with friends.

30 Nov – visited Victoria Park’s Indian Flying-fox colony.

1 Dec AM – visited Pilikuttuwa Raja Maha Viharaya Caves and Temple.

1 Dec PM – drove to Big Game Camp Wilpattu for 3 nights stay.

2 Dec AM –  Wilpattu NP full day trip.

2 Dec – night walk at Big Game Camp Wilpattu.

3 Dec AM – visited Anuradhapura (ancient city and temples).

3 Dec PM – night walk at Big Game Camp Wilpattu.

4 Dec PM – drove to Kalpitiya; stayed at Dolphin Beach Resort.

5 Dec AM – dolphin-watching speedboat trip from Dolphin Beach Resort.

5 Dec PM – afternoon drive to Gangewadiye area on edge of Wilpattu NP.

6 Dec AM – drove Kalpitiya – Sigiriya (not described in this report).

Colombo (30 Nov)

We stayed with friends in Colombo and visited Victoria Park to photograph the roosting flying foxes.

  • Pteropus giganteus – Indian Flying Fox
  • Funambulus palmarum – Indian Palm Squirrel

Pilikuttuwa Caves and Temple (1 Dec)

From Colombo we drove 30 Km NE of Colombo on the Kandy road to Pilikuttuwa Raja Maha Viharaya Caves and Temple. The GPS cords for the caves (taken from a journal paper) put us in the middle of a flat grassy area (due to different coordinate systems). We then did the loop walk through secondary forest on a small hill; including getting lost after missing a turn on the hill top and trying to work our way out of the thickets before returning to the hill top and seeing where we missed some stairs going down.

Bats in the caves:

  • Megaderma spasma – Lesser False Vampire Bat
  • Taphozous melanopogon – Black-bearded Tomb Bat

Big Game Camp Wilpattu (1-4 Dec)

Tue 1 Dec: From Pilikuttuwa Caves we drove north on the coastal road for 4 hours and via Puttalam and inland to Big Game Camp Wilpattu (BGC) at Pahala Maaragahawewa village on the southeast side of Wilpattu NP. BGC comprised tented rooms set in thickets connected by walkways to the dining area on the edge of a small grassy wetland and woodland. It was a nice setting but the tents were dark and the toilet-shower area at the back of the tent was cramped. The meals, manager and staff were very good. More importantly there were some paths in thickets on their ground with good wildlife and the tented dining area overlooked a small wetland. Overall it is well worth staying here.

Dinner was fixed at 7.30 pm then at 9 pm I joined the night-walk with 2 other guests on the property, led by 2 of the resort’s guides. This was excellent as we had Grey Slender Loris and a few snakes.I walked the paths alone the next two nights.

Mammal List: Big Game Camp Wilpattu only: (1-3 Dec 2015)

  • Lepus nigricollis – Black-napped Hare
  • Vandeleuria oleracea – Asiatic Long-tailed Climbing Mouse – at the tent.
  • Suncus murinus  – Asian House Shrew – at the tent.
  • Loris lydekkerianus – Grey Slender Loris – seen on night walks and near tent.
  • Moschiola meminna – White-spotted Mouse-deer – near the entrance road, midday and at night.

Reptile List: Big Game Camp Wilpattu only: (1-3 Dec 2015)

  • Hemidactylus brookii – Brooke’s house gecko
  • Calotes calotes – Green Forest Lizard
  • Ahaetulla nasuta – Green Vine Snake
  • Ahaetulla pulverulenta – Brown Vine Snake

Birds included a Slaty-legged Crake in the thickets near the tents.

Grey Slender Loris (Loris lydekkerianus)

 

 

Asiatic Long-tailed Climbing Mouse (Vandeleuria oleracea)
Brown Vine Snake
Green Vine Snake

 

Slaty-legged Crake

Wilpattu NP (2 and 4 Dec)

Wed 2 Dec: At 6 am we left from BGC on a full-day jeep drive in Wilpattu NP using a pre-arranged driver who charged Rup 8500 / full day and 4500 / half-day. He was good and recommended but BGC did drives at the same price but including lunch and with their naturalist which was probably a better option; and the guests doing that rental get a guided night-walk on the property (which they kindly let me join). I am not sure whether the BCG jeep trip would be shared with other guests or exclusive. An interesting sighting in the park was watching a Ruddy Mongoose pull a Painted-lipped Lizard from under bark on a tree and then swallow it whole.

Fri 4 Dec: At 5.45 am Chi and I left on a half-day jeep drive still hoping for Sloth Bear and we had a brief partial view of one late morning.

Sat 5 Dec: From Dolphin Beach at 1 pm we drove to the Gangewadiye village (population about 50-100) on the coast and just outside the southwest corner of Wilpattu NP. Some locals said there were no elephant around as it was too wet but at sunset on the way back we stopped at a wetland and saw about 14 elephant walk out along the far side of the wetland before disappearing again.

Ruddy Mongoose with Painted-lipped Lizard

Mammal List: Wilpattu NP only

  • Lepus nigricollis – Black-napped Hare
  • Ratufa macroura – Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel
  • Funambulus palmarum – Indian Palm Squirrel
  • Herpestes smithii – Ruddy Mongoose
  • Herpestes fuscus – Indian Brown Mongoose
  • Herpestes edwardsi – Indian Grey Mongoose
  • Sus scrofa – Wild Boar
  • Semnopithecus priam – Tufted Grey Langur
  • Axis axis – Chital
  • Muntiacus vaginalis – Northern Red Muntjac
  • Rusa unicolor – Sambar Deer
  • Melursus ursinus – Sloth Bear.
  • Elephas maximus – Asian Elephant

Reptile List: Wilpattu NP only

  • Melanochelys trijuga – Indian Black Turtle – a few seen, including on the road.
  • Hemidactylus leschenaultia – Bark Gecko – in rest huts at the toilet block on the game drive.
  • Varanus bengalensis – Bengal Monitor
  • Crocodylus palustris – Mugger Crocodile
  • Calotes ceylonensis – Painted-lipped Lizard – caught and consumed by Ruddy Mongoose.
  • Ptyas mucosa – Indian Rat Snake.

Anuradhapura (3 Dec)

After breakfast we drove across to Anuradhapura for a non-wildlife, morning visit to Anuradhapura, an ancient city with temple complexes. Entry was 3500 rup each.

Semnopithecus priam – Tufted Grey Langur

Calotes versicolor – Oriental Garden Lizard

Kalpitiya (4-6 Dec)

Fri 4 Dec: From Big Game Camp we drove 1.5 hours to Kalpitiya via Puttalam; staying at Dolphin Beach Resort (Makara group) for two nights; located on the beach with ‘luxury’ tent-topped, spacious rooms (canvass tents with brick and concrete walls) where we met our friends from Colombo, Rob and Wanpen.

The next morning Rob, Chi and I went on a dolphin/whale-watching trip. We left at around 7.30 am on the resort’s speed boat (4-6 pax) and went offshore from 5 to 10 km. We had hundreds of spinner dolphins, but no whales.

  • Stenella longirostris – Spinner Dolphin

Driving back to Dolphin Lodge after dusk on 5 Dec we had an Indian Star Tortoise on the road-edge.

Sichuan (China) mammal trip – Oct 2015

Red Panda
Red Panda

On a mammal-watching trip to Sichuan in October 2015 we saw 29 mammal species including Red Panda, Chinese Mountain Cat, Pallas’s Cat and Chinese Zokor. Places visited included Tangjiahe, Ruoergai, Wolong and Balangshan Pass. The group included Dominique Brugiere, Holly Faithfull and Sid Francis (trip leader). The Sichuan trip report (pdf) here.

This Sichuan trip followed our Tibetan Plateau trip with Jon Hall; his report for that trip is on mammalwatching.com.

 

Way Kambas (Sumatra) mammal trip – Aug 2014

Pen-tailed Tree-shrew
Pen-tailed Tree-shrew

I visited Way Kambas NP, South Sumatra, in August 2014 and used Hari, an excellent local guide, for much of my time there. The 31 mammal species seen included great views of Pen-tailed Treeshrew, Black-eared Pygmy Squirrel, Indomalayan Pencil-tailed Tree Mouse, six bats; and a brief view of Marbled Cat. Birds included Large Frogmouth, Reddish Scops Owl, Buffy Fish Owl, Brown Hawk Owl, Crested Fireback and White-winged Duck.

Link to trip report (pdf) including photos: 20140816-WayKambas(Sumatra)-PaulCarter-TRv2

 

Sabah (Borneo) mammal trip – March 2014

On a 23-day trip around Sabah (Borneo), with Jo Dale in March-April 2014, we saw 56 mammals (including 8 primates, 15 squirrels and 10 bats).

Least Pygmy Squirrel
Least Pygmy Squirrel

Jo joined me on Day 5 after I had visited Crocker Range and Poring Hot Springs. Other key sites included Kinabalu NP, Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve. My trip report (pdf with photos) is here.