November 2008

November has been wet. Last night we had 35 mm of rain in an hour, and over the month a total of 437 mm, and still one day to go. Since we started recording rainfall in 2005, the wettest month ever was in November 2006 with 446 mm, and November 2008 may yet be more. A pity we can’t export to Australia…

A snake was found this morning on the road, apparently washed out of a tree and drowned in the deluge (picture below). It has been identified as a White-Spotted Slug Snake, Pareas margaritophorus, another new addition to the snake population at Rimbun Dahan. Lauren Black, whose room is in the guest house, had a tiny Paradise Tree Snake, Chrysopelea paradisi, on her balcony the other day, poking its head up through the floor slats (see images at right).

The population of macaques is thriving, but causing some damage to new plantings, although like the birds they feasted on buah salam, Eugenia pseudosubtilis (see image below left) . The newly planted Dipterocarpus crinitus, keruing mempalas, have had to be caged as the monkeys constantly pull off the new pink shoots thinking it is something to eat. Other Dipterocarps, like the Shorea gratissima, left, are establishing well. A new addition to the Dipterocarp collection is Shorea henryana, pictured at right.

It has been hard to find any colour in the garden with the constant rain, but the flowering ginger Hedychium coronarium (below right) is fruiting, and the Ixora schortechinii (below middle) is flowering; one must search the whole 14 acres for these small flashes of colour.

The birds, though, make up for this. The birding has been excellent this last month, made even better with the perch provided by a dead tree in front of the house. ‘Lifers’ in the last week were a Ruddy Kingfisher, Halcyon coromanda, and a Red-bearded Bee-eater, Nyctyornis amictus (right) and there was much excitement among the staff when four Oriental Pied-Hornbills, Anthracoceros albirostris, (left) perched on said dead tree for a few minutes.