Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Some centuries ago it occurred to a bright spark to risk his life by shinning up a flimsy, treacherous bamboo ladder to collect nests, made by swifts of their own spittle, from the lofty roof of a great cave. Next (though I imagine my chronology is as flimsy as the ladder here) it occurred to him to eat the saliva nests. So tasty did he find them that a spit-nest-harvesting industry flourished in the cave and news of the delicacy spread all over Asia. Today we find ourselves in a world in which it is taken as perfectly normal that there should be airport shops (in this case in Kota Kinabalu) devoted to the sale of bird-spit-nests.

We are a strange, incomprehensible animal.

More mainstream airport shopping,
with a Bornean twist

This afternoon, post-airport and post-flight, I am again at Sepilok Nature Resort, awaiting the arrival of my second Sunda Clouded Leopard Quest group tomorrow. It is lovely to be here; to nest, however briefly. It is lovely, anywhere in the world, to be greeted by name by smiling staff. It is lovely to be met by the manageress with the words, 'It's nice to see you; you make the place lively.'

I think the word she was looking for is 'noisy'.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the world (the cold side), in a nest I spent three months watching last spring, two precious white chicks hatched from dark tan eggs this morning. Congratulations to the staff and volunteers of the Hawk and Owl Trust and of Norwich Cathedral and most of all to our peregrine pair.

The first feed for two peregrine chicks in Norwich this morning,
image property of the Hawk and Owl Trust

The lovely gardens at Sepilok Nature Resort


  1. No mention of the leeches or cicadas (and Jersalem crickets)? I never did finish my Borneo blogs from exactly two years ago. Those things (along with grass seeds in my socks) are the banes of my existence, but every moment was a thrill there. I'm envious you get a second round at Tabin! Best of luck with the gato.

  2. Hey Rich. Very dry so very few leeches. All extremities crossed for that cat this time around. I've just blogged today's visit to the orangutan and sun bear rehabilitation centres. Night walk in the forest later. Thanks for reading.