Journal Workshop

Borneo Bootcamp 2017 – Tawau Hills Park Day 2

17 July 2017

Borneo Bootcamp 2017 Daily Journal

Tawau Hills: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Danum Valley: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

Day 2: Adventure in the Rainforest

Day 2 of Borneo Bootcamp started early, with most of our long-distance visitors experiencing jet-lag. We had a very good morning with lots of exciting finds, but were contained to the cabins at night due to the rain. Nevertheless, still an exceptional day in Borneo!

    Stag beetle (Prosopocoilus flavidus) - DSC_7174
  1. Stag beetle (Prosopocoilus flavidus)

    Woke up early to be greeted by this beautiful stag beetle right at my door step. I moved it back to a nearby tree for a couple of record shots.

  2. dennis-DSC01913
  3. Breakfast!

    We had an early breakfast to ensure maximum macro time in the botanic gardens. Minsheng and Paul were still in lala-land but managed to catch up shortly.

  4. amber-File-2-8-17,-12-38-31
  5. Group Photo?

    Pierre proposed a group photo. In fact, he took many behind-the-scenes videos which we might see put together at the end of this bootcamp journal series.

  6. pierre-DSCN5747
  7. Borneo Bootcamp Day 2 Group Photo

    Tom volunteered to take this group photo, somehow we didn’t think to take the tripod out and preferred to rush to the bugs earlier! Paul just woke up and didn’t seem exceptionally thrilled to have this photo taken. 😛

  8. hanyrol-20139950_325901554532528_5204845994211919863_n
  9. Morning Wefie!

    While everyone still looked fresh, we took a morning wefie before setting out to the botanic gardens. In this photo, we have folks from Brunei, Singapore, USA, Germany, France, the Netherlands and Australia. The Polish and Malaysians were somewhere else in the jungle? 😛

  10. amber-File-2-8-17,-12-42-14
  11. Outside the Botanic Gardens

    Despite all our efforts, the park management didn’t get our message and the gates were still closed. That didn’t stop us from finding a bunch of cool subjects at the entrance!

  12. dori-20170717_083750
  13. Busy Pierre

    While most of us got busy, Amber and Dennis engaged in some interesting conversations, reminiscing our first trip to Tawau back in 2015.

  14. amber-File-2-8-17,-12-40-17
  15. Dori Photographing the Pill Millipede

    Somehow even with all our macro gears, we still took pictures of the subjects with our handphones.

  16. Huntsman spider moult (Rhitymna sp.) - DSC_7182
  17. Huntsman spider moult (Rhitymna sp.)

    I wanted to see a Rhitymna in Tawau, but I guess this was the next best thing.

  18. Huntsman spider moult (Rhitymna sp.) - DSC_7185
  19. Huntsman spider moult (Rhitymna sp.)

    Close up of the moult. Easy subject to practise on!

  20. Fishing spider (Nilus sp.) - DSC_7190
  21. Fishing spider (Nilus sp.)

    Also a regular in the area was this fishing spider.

  22. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae) - DSC_7196
  23. Giant shield bug nymph (Tessaratomidae)

    There were many of these shield bug nymphs, but I have not gotten down to identifying any of the nymphs yet. Meanwhile, I’ve consolidated a checklist of shield bugs and stink bugs, many of which were photographed here!

  24. dori-20170717_093247
  25. Amber’s Froggie

    The little frog jumped onto Amber’s hand while she was trying to shoot it.

  26. amber-File-2-8-17,-12-46-56
  27. First Pair of Lantern Bugs!

    High on the wish list of many participants, so everyone was excited to photograph them.

  28. Lantern bugs (Pyrops whiteheadi) - DSC_7201
  29. Lantern bugs (Pyrops whiteheadi)

    I’ve already photographed this species numerous times, so I contended with just a record shot before moving forward in search of other exotic stuff.

  30. amber-File-2-8-17,-12-47-20
  31. Lantern Bugs

    We usually had 2 or 3 individuals photographing them at the same time, but also careful not to disturb them. So now… you know the host tree. 🙂

  32. Click beetle (Elateridae) - DSC_7208
  33. Click beetle (Elateridae)

    Some of the click beetles were well camouflaged on the tree trunks, while revealing some intricate patterns when viewed up close.

  34. Harvestman (Opiliones) - DSC_7211
  35. Harvestman (Opiliones)

    One of the many harvestmen scampering around.

  36. Comb-footed spider (Theridion sp.) - DSC_7218
  37. Comb-footed spider (Theridion sp.)

    This clown-face spider is common throughout Southeast Asia, usually found with a mesh of silk weaved across the top surface of a leaf.

  38. Ant (Formicidae) - DSC_7224
  39. Ant (Formicidae)

    Much smaller version of a fish-hook ant.

  40. amber-File-2-8-17,-12-49-30
  41. Queuing up!

    Part of our lessons involved group dynamics, so everyone queued up to photograph our shared finds.

  42. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys lunatus) - DSC_7228
  43. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys lunatus)

    One of the adult shield bugs with forward-pointing and sharp “horns”. Check out the full Pentatomoidea Checklist.

  44. Dead leaf grasshopper nymph (Caelifera) - DSC_7252
  45. Dead leaf grasshopper nymph (Caelifera)

    Looks like a fish? The colours on this grasshopper nymph were not obvious until it we used a stronger flash power on it.

  46. amber-File-2-8-17,-12-54-59
  47. Chilling Out at the Mushroom Pavilion

    Our favorite spot to take a break in the middle of the botanic gardens. This was also where we found quite a number of cool subjects, even under the “mushroom’s umbrella”.

  48. Spiny leaf beetle (Dactylispa sp.) - DSC_7274
  49. Spiny leaf beetle (Dactylispa sp.)

    Chris pointed out this spiny leaf beetle to most of us. Very skittish, but well worth the time chasing it down.

  50. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_7298
  51. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.)

    This silvery Cyclosa is a common sighting in the botanic gardens, usually with a magnificent spiral stabilimentum.

  52. Leech (Hirudinea) - DSC_7302
  53. Leech (Hirudinea)

    No Borneo Bootcamp is complete without leeches. This was Don’s first encounter with a leech so we had to document it crawling up his shirt!

  54. Treehoppers (Membracidae) - DSC_7287
  55. Treehoppers (Centrotypus shelfordi)

    Jenny found this amazing family of treehoppers at all stages, from the really tiny nymphs to the adult!

  56. Treehoppers (Membracidae) - DSC_7355
  57. Treehoppers (Centrotypus shelfordi)

    View of the nymphs up close. Centrotypus shelfordi was first described from Sarawak.

  58. Treehoppers (Membracidae) - DSC_7313
  59. Treehoppers (Centrotypus shelfordi)

    Close up of the colourful nymphs, brimming with cuteness.

  60. Scorpion-tailed spider (Arachnura sp.) - DSC_7361
  61. Scorpion-tailed spider (Arachnura sp.)

    This scorpion-tailed spider had an inclined orb-web, and had a prey with it all morning.

  62. dori-20170717_105252
  63. Backlighting

    Typical scene of me in a backlighting attempt, with my diffusers (and sometimes the Raynox) tossed onto the ground.

  64. Tiger beetle (Cylindera sp.) - DSC_7374
  65. Tiger beetle (Cylindera sp.)

    Pierre was following this tiger beetle for quite a while.

  66. Tiger beetle (Cylindera sp.) - DSC_7378
  67. Tiger beetle (Cylindera sp.)

    Close up, revealing stunning metallic colours!

  68. Assassin Bug
  69. Assassin Bug ©2017 Tom Astle

    Tom photographed this captivating red and black assassin bug.

  70. Crab spider (Epidius sp.) - DSC_7385
  71. Crab spider (Epidius sp.)

    Again, this crab spider that is new to science. We’ve photographed it many times in Tawau, and it is pending official description.

  72. Crab spider (Epidius sp.) - DSC_7388
  73. Crab spider (Epidius sp.)

    Probably a female or a juvenile. The male would have super long pedipalps.

  74. Broad-headed bark spider moult (Caerostris sp.) - DSC_7390
  75. Broad-headed bark spider moult (Caerostris sp.)

    Another one of the spiders that I wanted to see again in Tawau, but could only find the moult.

  76. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.) - DSC_7397
  77. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.)

    This spiny orb weaver looks plain, but it has yet to be identified. Still wondering if it could be new!

  78. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.) - DSC_7400
  79. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.)

    For every spider that I’ve not seen before, I would take many more documentation shots.

  80. Juvenile Giant Shield Bug
  81. Juvenile Giant Shield Bug ©2017 Tom Astle

    Tom found this pastel looking shield bug nymph.

  82. Big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae) - DSC_7409
  83. Big-jawed spider (Tetragnathidae)

    I guess most other skipped the small spiders, while I tried to document whatever I saw.

  84. Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea) - DSC_7418
  85. Planthopper nymph (Fulgoroidea)

    Tiny little planthopper nymph, possibly a false lanternfly from the Dictyopharidae family.

  86. Grasshopper in fungus - DSC_7422
  87. Grasshopper in fungus

    This shriveled up grasshopper was already covered in fungus.

  88. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys sp.) - DSC_7429
  89. Giant shield bug (Pygoplatys sp.)

    An unknown Pygoplatys with blunt horns.

  90. Longhorn orb weaver (Macracantha arcuata) - DSC_7431
  91. Longhorn orb weaver (Macracantha arcuata)

    High on the wish list of Pierre was this Macracantha arcuata. Unfortunately this specimen looked injured with asymmetrical horns.

  92. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_7438
  93. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera)

    We also saw quite a number of dead-leaf grasshoppers.

  94. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_7446
  95. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.)

    Another silver Cyclosa! This shot reveals more details on the spider.

  96. minsheng-DSC_2891
  97. Reed Snake (Calamaria cf. grabowskyi)

    Minsheng found this snake along the path to the botanic gardens and called to notify me, but everyone was just too busy with the bugs around them.

  98. amber-File-2-8-17,-12-56-05
  99. Rain!

    The skies opened, forcing these stubborn macro photographers to finally leave the botanic gardens for lunch.

  100. dori-20170717_123449
  101. Lunch

    The food was significantly better than the previous bootcamps, and I was looking forward to each meal!

  102. dennis-DSC01922
  103. Afternoon Lesson – Post Processing Techniques

    Due to the rain, we adjusted the schedule and had our post-processing session in the afternoon, hopefully freeing up more time for actual shoots at night.

    Unfortunately Jenny was running a high fever so Minsheng drove her to visit the doctor (Dennis’ brother!) in town.

  104. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.) - DSC_7454
  105. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.)

    After the rain subsided, we made our way to the botanic gardens again and found this huge jumping spider at the entrance.

  106. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.) - DSC_7450
  107. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.)

    It had just captured a preying mantis several times its size!

  108. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.) - DSC_7457
  109. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.)

    Customary portrait shot of the giant salticid.

  110. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.) - DSC_7462
  111. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.)

    She dragged the mantis out from under the leaf.

  112. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.) - DSC_7464
  113. Jumping spider (Hyllus sp.)

    Last documentation shot of the scene before the others came in to photograph it. The mantis actually managed to escape alive, much to our surprise as it was already motionless for so long.

  114. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.) - DSC_7472
  115. Spiny orb weaver (Gasteracantha sp.)

    Originally mistaken to be Macracantha arcuata due to its long median spines, this species is actually more likely to be Gasteracantha clavigera. It had uneven spines, probably due to prior injuries or problems during its moult. The median spines were even entangled together by what we assume to be its own silk.

  116. Longhorn orb weaver (Macracantha arcuata) - DSC_7506
  117. Longhorn orb weaver (Macracantha arcuata)

    We found another Macracantha arcuata at the entrance. This was a perfect specimen and probably a mature female.

  118. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_7515
  119. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.)

    Documenting the interesting webs in the garden.

  120. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_7518
  121. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.)

    Looking closer. It had rather disorganised stabilimentum on its web.

  122. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.) - DSC_7525
  123. Trashline orb weaver (Cyclosa sp.)

    Magnified view of the spider on its web. Challenging as I had to go very close without touching the web.

  124. nicky-DSC_5524
  125. Dinner Time!

    Hanyrol seemed really happy with her plate.

  126. nicky-DSC_5526
  127. Nice Spread!

    Most were pretty happy with the food!

  128. hanyrol-20031996_326196834503000_4944404432288016001_n
  129. Ready for the Rain

    The rain continued throughout the night, but that didn’t stop Dennis from gearing up.

  130. Frilled Tree Frog (Kurixalus appendiculatus)
  131. Frilled Tree Frog (Kurixalus appendiculatus) ©2017 Tom Astle

    Flat and rather cryptic, it was content to rest on the leaf while the rain got heavier.

  132. Tree-stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_7542
  133. Tree-stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.)

    I went looking around the cabins for spiders, and found this tree-stump orb weaver!

  134. Tree-stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_7546
  135. Tree-stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.)

    Better view of the eyes.

  136. Tree-stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_7556
  137. Tree-stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.)

    Posterior view reveals a dark patch. Some species of Poltys can be highly polymorphic, so identification based on photos can be quite difficult.

  138. Tree-stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.) - DSC_7576
  139. Tree-stump orb weaver (Poltys sp.)

    Anterior section of its abdomen is armed with many tubercles.

  140. Feather-legged spider (Uloboridae) - DSC_7588
  141. Feather-legged spider (Uloboridae)

    Also found this interesting looking uloborid next to the cabin.

  142. Feather-legged spider (Uloboridae) - DSC_7596
  143. Feather-legged spider (Uloboridae)

    Uncommon view of its eyes.

  144. Straight-snouted weevil (Brentidae) - DSC_7613
  145. Straight-snouted weevil (Brentidae)

    Someone found this poor little brentid infested with mites.

  146. Dwarf tarantula (Phlogiellus sp.) - DSC_7621
  147. Dwarf tarantula (Phlogiellus sp.)

    Amber spent some time under the cabins to hunt for subjects, and we found a tarantula on her shoulder, much to our delight!

  148. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_7637
  149. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera)

    We had a lot of fun photographing this dead-leaf grasshopper. My previous encounters had only been with the nymphs.

  150. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_7648
  151. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera)

    It even had little window membranes to simulate the holes in a dried leaf.

  152. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_7689
  153. Dead leaf grasshopper (Caelifera)

    Experimental shot to show the grasshopper’s shadows.

  154. Jumping spider (Thiania sp.) - DSC_7652
  155. Jumping spider (Thiania sp.)

    As the rain didn’t show signs of stopping, we shot anything that we could find. Here’s a little fighting spider, something that locals in the region would fondly remember from their childhood days.

  156. Jumping spider (Thiania sp.) - DSC_7655
  157. Jumping spider (Thiania sp.)

    Portraits! Yes it was raining, so it looked a little wet. 🙂

  158. Longhorn beetle (Acalolepta sp.) - DSC_7670
  159. Longhorn beetle (Acalolepta sp.)

    This longhorn beetle was also hanging around next to the cabins.

  160. Mantis (Mantodea) - DSC_7675
  161. Mantis (Mantodea)

    Someone brought this mantis into the shelter from the rain, so we had a simple portraiture shoot with it. This photo is available as one of my luggage cover designs in my new online shop!

  162. Mantis (Mantodea) - DSC_7712
  163. Mantis (Mantodea)

    Got really bored while waiting for the rain, and took out my cctv lens for some exaggerated perspectives on the mantis.

  164. Bark mantis (Theopompa tosta) - DSC_7719
  165. Bark mantis (Theopompa tosta)

    It was close to midnight by the time the rain stopped, and most of us had already decided to rest early for a more productive day ahead. While I was making my way back to my cabin, this cryptic bark mantis was right at the entrance! Can you spot it?

  166. Bark mantis (Theopompa tosta) - DSC_7723
  167. Bark mantis (Theopompa tosta)

    Closer view of the mantis, but still well camouflaged.

  168. Bark mantis (Theopompa tosta) - DSC_7716
  169. Bark mantis (Theopompa tosta)

    Revealing the details up close.

Day 2 Concluded!

Despite the rain, it was still a pretty productive day! Of course, we were really disappointed that we could not do the night walk but we also had fun hunting around the cabins. Jenny’s fever subsided after her medication and seems like we’re all going to be back in full force for Day 3!

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Borneo Bootcamp 2017 Daily Journal

Tawau Hills: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4

Danum Valley: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3




Hi my name is Nicky Bay. I am a macro photographer, instructor and book author, travelling the world to document the vast micro biodiversity that nature has to offer. Follow my updates and discover with me the incredible beauty and science behind our planet's micro creatures!

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