Saturday, 18 April 2015

Muddy lives

Our breakfast was disturbed this morning by a small-toothed palm-civet, found, just as we raised the day's first blessed coffee to our lips, by one of my clients in the lodge grounds.

Our morning went on in a similar vein, with one beautiful creature after another emerging from the forest on the river's bank. There were plenty of kingfishers: stork-bills, apricot below and bright mirror blue above, with loud calls and lipstick bills; blue-eared, diving for fish from sunlit twigs at the river's edge; and a rufous-backed dwarf, passing like a shaft of prism-broken light across our bow.

There were hornbills too, oriental pied and Asian black. A water monitor, bathing in the morning sun, and a lesser fish eagle, perched in a tree above us. There were white-chested babblers, hopping on the mud forest floor and over buttress roots, and chestnut-winged babblers, weaving through vines.

This afternoon we return to the riverine forest in our boat, and again tonight, to see which of its inhabitants, bold or shy, bright or brown, will come to the bank, which will share with us for one moment the secrets of their steamy, muddy lives along the Kinabatangan.

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