Today has been a day of discovery! Not only have I been exploring our home for the next ten days, the Maliau Basin Studies Centre, but I’ve also been discovering some of the weird and wonderful animals that live on our doorstep.
The Centre itself is brilliantly equipped, there’s a laboratory where Holger and Pat can start to study the lichens they have collected, clean and comfortable bunkbeds for the end of tiring days in the field, and a large dining room serving particularly tasty food. The meals here often consist of rice or noodles, with chicken and seafood being popular too. There’s a ready supply of fresh fruit and cold drinking water – a real treat considering how hot and humid it is.
Day and night, the air is saturated with the sounds of insects and birds. Cicadas chirp constantly and there’s a species that chips in, particularly loudly, at 6pm everyday. It was premature today, being heard at about 5.30pm, and Kerry said this meant it was likely to rain. Only an hour or two later, as predicted, the heavens opened.
One of many different species of Cicada, living in and around the Maliau Basin Studies Centre.
Insects are relatively easy to see here because they’re attracted to the building lights at night, noisily buzzing around the lightbulbs and occasionally crashing to the floor. Larger animals such as birds and mammals are harder to spot, but we’ve seen evidence of their presence already. Hopefully as the days pass we may get a sighting of a Red Leaf Monkey or a Gibbon…or if we’re VERY lucky, an Orangutan!
Evidence of a four-footed mammalian visitor. These Civit paw prints were found just outside our living room door, perhaps attracted by interesting smells coming from the wastebin!
Tomorrow, Tony and I are venturing into the rainforest with Dan and the others. I have my leech proof socks at the ready, insect repellent and a LARGE bottle of water. I can’t wait!
A Preying Mantis, a predatory insect, hanging out in our dining room.