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A great start to the day. While clearing up after breakfast (a mixture of noodles, chicken nuggets and potato wedges followed by a particularly good cup of Bornean tea), Dan spotted some movement in the trees close to the dining room.  We gathered round, peering hopefully across the clearing into the forest.  The branches moved again.  The leaves rustled.  We caught a glimpse of a monkey…and where there’s one monkey, there’s usually more!

 

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A Pig-Tailed Macaque bounds through the trees.

 

After waiting patiently, we were rewarded with the view of several Pig-Tailed Macaques (recognisable by their short, half-erect tails), jumping from branch to branch and occasionally peering back out at us through the densely packed leaves. Unlike most monkeys, Macaques spend a lot of their time in the lower canopy and on the forest floor searching for fruit and insects (among other things) to eat. Which is fortunate for us, because it makes them far easier to see!

 

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Today, like every other, was full of retrieving traps and sampling.  One method the team uses, to collect fast moving invertebrates on the forest floor, is digging pitfall traps.  As with all the sampling techniques being used here, this is a method Dan has previously used to sample invertebrates in the New Forest, back in the UK.

 

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Dan digging a hole for a pitfall trap.

 

It’s hard work digging holes in such humid conditions, and the soil in the forest is often full of plant roots.  Once the holes have been dug and the plastic cups inserted, the pit fall traps are left for three days before the team return to collect them. 

 

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A pitfall trap, prepared and in place on the forest floor.

 

Emptying Pitfall Traps

 

Unfortunately, the frequent rainfall has been causing havoc with the team’s samples.  It rains daily here, usually in the afternoon or evening, and when it rains, it pours!

 

The rain in Borneo

 

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The rain here can soak you to the skin in minutes.

 

Tomorrow we’re heading to a sampling site on top of a ridge.  In theory, it’s only a small ridge, but it’s apparently very steep and very slippery.  I will go prepared with my trusty walking stick!