In 2016 Jerry Broadus and Clarice Clark joined a birdbanding project in Borneo with long-time friend and (for several years) Morse Audubon Preserve bander, Suzanne Tomassi, who is running a 10-year study and banding project in the Danum Valley in northern Borneo, an unforgettable and remote area with perhaps the oldest rainforest in the world. They were there through SEARRP (South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership http://www.searrp.org/) and Suzanne’s group, the Borneo Rainforest Project.
Jerry and Clarice’s program vividly portrays the highs (the birds) and the lows (leeches and bad trails with disappearing bridges and slimy mud) and the interesting facilities and accommodations. It’s not the Ritz (though the only other place you can stay in the vicinity is — the very expensive Borneo Rainforest Lodge). We also discuss the available bird books with their competing sets of Latin names for the birds.
We present bird stories such as of Hornbills (the Chinese have now turned to Hornbills’ bills since Rhino horns have become so hard to obtain) and Swifts with edible nests, now “farmed” and sold in grocery stores. Banders are forging new territory, as there is nothing like the Pyle guides to help them catalog what they’re banding. They take blank bird drawings and fill them in as they go along, basically making the banding guide as they go.
Other great birds we interacted with included Kingfishers, Trogons, Broadbills, Bulbuls, Monarchs, Pittas, Sumbirds, and many many more! It’s not just birds in Borneo; insects, reptiles, and mammals were everywhere. The logo of SEARRP is one of those unforgettable tiny Tarsiers. Pygmy Elephants and Orangutans are the critters most people think of when they think of Borneo, both of which are present in the Valley and deserve the protection it affords.
Botanists go crazy there, too. We present plant portraits both from the mountains, where plenty of Clarice’s favorites are found– native tropical epiphytic Rhododendrons called Vireyas, dangling from trees above the trail– as well as from the Danum Valley rainforest, where many trees have smooth bark (koompassias, for example), to protect the trees and nesters from climbing vines. Eye catching Durian fruit are loved by Orangutans and people, but are outlawed in hotel rooms due to a lingering odor.
Clarice always likes to end her presentations with a diabolical quiz, and this time will be no exception.
A birder for over 20 years, Jerry is an active volunteer, helping with shorebird and other birding related studies, and volunteering at Nisqually and Malheur National Wildlife Refuges.