Friday, September 17, 2010

Flat-headed Cat

I just came back from an amazing 10 day volunteering trip in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary and was lucky to sight a Flat-headed Cat (Prionailurus planiceps) on one of my night excursions on the river. This nocturnal feline was observed hunting (in a sit and wait position) very close to the river edge most likely waiting patiently for either fishes or frogs. Its webbed feet and streamlined head allows for speed of movement in the water - a perfect adaptation for life in the river.

Sightings of this species is generally considered to be rare and this is not surprising as its habitat is slowly diminishing especially the important riverine habitats. According to the IUCN, Flat-headed Cats is an endangered species with only about 2500 of them left within its range. This clearly reinforced the need to continue protecting and expanding current wetland and rainforest area to protect this endangered feline.

I managed to take a couple of photos of this beautiful feline for about less than 60 seconds before it retreated back into the forest. Here, i would like to share with all of you one of my shots. Enjoy!

Photo taken with a Nikon D 300 + 70-300mm VR lens shot at 300mm f 5.6 iso 800 with rear flash. Photo taken on the banks of the Menanggol river on the 12th of September 2010 at 10pm. (N 05 29' 48.4" ,  E 118 14' 53.0")

Friday, September 3, 2010

The 'Snake Bird'

The Oriental Darter (Anhinga melanogaster), sometimes called the 'Snake Bird' is a waterbird of tropical South Asia and South East Asia. It is a small family of only four species of cormorant-like birds, one in the Neotropics, one in Africa, one in Australia and one in Asia. The Anhingas chase fish and prawns underwater and spear them with thier beaks before eating them. Unlike the cormorants, the darters have straight dagger shape bill and very long and slender neck which makes them look very snake like. This is particularly very evident when the anhingas 'poke' out thier heads from the water - They have the ability to reduce thier buoyancy really very well so that only the head comes out of the water but because of thier whole body feathers are waterlogged, has difficulty running and flapping over the water to get airborne.. The anhingas have to spend a lot of time on low branches or logs spreading out thier wings to dry because of this.

This Oriental Darter photo is taken in an ox-bow lake along the Lower Kinabatangan River and important feeding and breeding ground for this Near-Threatened species. (IUCN Red List Category 2010)

Photo taken on 23rd of July 2010 using a Nikon D 300 + 70 - 300 mm VR lens at iso 400, f 8 at 300mm.

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