Sarawak Day 1 – Kubah National Park – Frog Pond

1 June 2012

[ Day 1 Kubah | Day 2 Gading | Day 3 Kubah | Day 4 Kubah ]

Another 4D3N trip to Sarawak! We had originally intended to stay at Gunung Gading National Park for the entire trip, but as it was the public holidays there (Gawai, like new year for the Iban) the chalets were fully booked and we decided to stay at Kubah instead.

It has been a tiring but fruitful trip, as we trekked some of the steepest paths in Kubah while carrying all our gear. First night was the climb up to the Frog Pond of Kubah National Park. Our target was straight-forward — to find as many different frogs as possible!

First, some behind the scenes shots while we made our way to Kubah. Photos from Melvyn’s Sony TX5, Nicky’s Galaxy SII and David’s iPhone. Victor’s S90 was lost on the cab, and nobody knows where Ben hid his photos from his EP3.

#1 Ready for check-in at Changi Airport! Yes, AirAsia again.

#2 Decided to take some group photos with our luggage. With a 20kg limit, wonder what we stuffed into these bags??

#3 Ben with his new EP3, taking the above group photo for us. 70% off!!?

#4 All smooth at the check-in counter, as everyone had their luggage within limits. For some reason, the counter gave away maps of Indonesia?? Nick conveniently took one and stuffed it into someone else’s luggage…

#5 Breakfast at the airport, had lots of time to spare before take-off

#6 More goofy shots in the transit area

#7 Nick getting close to Ben… heart shapes come with compliments

#8 We wore SAF’s combat boots, and were asked to remove them. zzzz…

#9 Dunno when’s the last time Ben cleaned his muddy boots!!?

#10 Arrived in Kuching International Airport! A quick snapshot before we were chased away.

#11 Usual spot for group photo whenever we came to this airport

#12 Hiring taxi to Kubah. 7 of us and we needed space for our luggage and groceries for 4 days, so we had 2 cabs for 140RM.

#13 For 4D addicts, this is the number plate of one of our cabs

#14 The drivers took us to EMART, with lots of stalls, supermarkets and food centers. But entire place has no pork!

#15 Ordering our lunch. Decided to skip Kolo Mee this time round.

#16 For some reason Nick ordered some very complicated drinks and took very long to explain our orders to the guy.

#17 Fried rice wasn’t enough, he had to order 2 more Roti Canai! (i.e. Roti Prata in Singapore)

#18 Part of our grocery loot. More of isotonic drinks than anything else.

#19 Manning our grocery trolley. For reasons unknown to us, the supermarket did not sell bread. We had to scour around for confectioneries.

With everything set, we were en-route to Kubah to start our first night shoot without rest!!

Planthopper (Flatidae?) - DSC_8697#20 At the chalet itself, I shot this little planthopper on the balcony glass door. It was plain white from the top, but the bottom revealed distinct marks of blue and red. Say hi to Captain America!!

Planthopper (Flatidae?) - DSC_8707#21 Another view of the cute planthopper

Trilobite Beetle (Duliticola sp.) - DSC_8728#22 We visited the logs near to the chalet to check on the trilobite beetle larvae, and sure enough, quite a few were spotted.

Trilobite Beetle (Duliticola sp.) - DSC_8729#23 Very shy, kept hiding it’s head

Trilobite Beetle (Duliticola sp.) - DSC_8746#24 Front view, can you see the tiny eyes and antenna?

Thorny Grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_8764#25 Resident hopper of Kubah, often found along the main road

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8766#26 Victor found this stick insect munching on a leaf. It appeared like any other phasmid, but on closer inspection, it had strong hints of red on it’s body with a yellow ring around it’s eye.

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8779#27 Close up on the eye to show the yellow “eye-liner”

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8791#28 Lousy attempt at a head shot

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8800#29 Top view of the head

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8804#30 The little fella fell to the ground. When I picked it back up, it was already playing dead, like a stick.

Huntsman (Sparassidae) with 2 Barklice - DSC_8788#31 While shooting the stick insect, I found a wolf spider with prey on the ground. Looking closer at the pictures, found that it was actually munching on 2 preys!

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_8806#32 David found this green huntsman, also having supper. The spider has interesting pink dots on it’s abdomen.

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_8821#33 Front view of the green huntsman

Huntsman Spider (Sparassidae) - DSC_8823#34 Close up of the huntsman with prey

Stick Insects (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8843#35 There were many stick insects in Kubah. On this plant alone, we found around 8 of them. This picture only shows 4 of them at rest. Shot from almost 2m away with my 200mm, with flashes held underneath and on the right of the plant.

Frog (Anura) - DSC_8845#36 The rest found this tiny juvenile frog. The body was a little translucent.

Frog (Anura) - DSC_8846#37 Very skittish fella, jumped onto my tripod. I was doing all the shots hand-held as there was no time to setup the tripod.

Frog (Anura) - DSC_8848#38 Curious look

Frog (Anura) - DSC_8852#39 What’s below???

Frog (Anura) - DSC_8863#40 Last shot before it finally jumped into the darkness

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8877#41 Saw Melvyn shooting this very unique stick insect. It really looked exactly like a branch when at rest. The fore-legs could clasp together to hide it’s head, and the tail looked like a broken-off branch!

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8886#42 Close up on the fore-legs and eyes. If you can see them at all.

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8888#43 Top view. One fore-leg moved and revealed the shape of it’s head and the inner-side of the fore-leg. Amazing creature!

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_8892#44 Closer shot of the eye

Tiger Beetle (Cicindelinae) - DSC_8880#45 Found this tiger beetle on Victor’s pants… lol. Chased it til it landed on a dead leaf

Tiger Beetle (Cicindelinae) - DSC_8882#46 Very jittery, so didn’t manage to get much shots before it flew off

Flatid Planthopper (Flatidae?) - DSC_8895#47 A very pretty leafhopper

Flatid Planthopper (Flatidae?) - DSC_8896#48 The fake leaf was rather flat

Flatid Planthopper (Flatidae?) - DSC_8899#49 Close up on the head

#50 Victor was pretty excited with his first overseas macro trip, and had no qualms with proning on the ground. David has his doubts, as he had found leeches on his bag after placing it on the same ground before. lol

The climb to the frog pond took us over 3 hours, with bits of shooting here and there. Ben had already wanted to give up as he was lugging his ginormous setup.

Entering the frog pond…!

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8909#51 Record shot of a Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis)

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8911#52 It was quite skittish, so after a bit of shooting, it hopped onto a tree stump.

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8914#53 Looks very sleepy

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8921#54 For some reason, it felt really comfortable on this tree trunk. We lifted it’s head and it stood still for us to take more shots.

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8923#55 The cutie with the same sleepy look

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8926#56 Eventually it got sick of us and did what most tree frogs did — jumping onto trees

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8928#57 Started to do some serious posing. You can see bits of the extensively webbed feet in this pic

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8932b#58 Tree hugger looking around

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8936#59 My favorite pose, it was looking very curiously at my flash diffusers

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8938c#60 And then looking at my camera. If you can squint closely enough, there is a fly standing beneath it’s mouth.

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8943#61 Back to looking up. The strong fella was actually clinging on using only it’s forelegs! The hind legs were just dangling… such an acrobat!

File-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates otilophus) - DSC_8945#62 Spotted a File-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates otilophus) from a distance. Before we knew of it’s ID, we called it the tiger frog for the stripes on it’s hind legs.

File-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates otilophus) - DSC_8949#63 Another File-eared Tree Frog deep inside that Victor pointed out to me. This pose teaches us to always cover the important parts.. kekeke.

Harlequin Flying Frog (Rhacophorus pardalis) - DSC_8952#64 Another Harlequin Flying Frog, this one looked fast asleep.

File-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates otilophus) - DSC_8955#65 Melvyn showed me another File-eared Tree Frog perched high above us

Trilobite Beetle (Duliticola sp.) - DSC_8958#66 Found another trilobite larva at the frog pond entrance, but it decided to play dead.

Trilobite Beetle (Duliticola sp.) - DSC_8960#67 Record shot of the top view

Frog (Anura) - DSC_8964#68 Victor found this very cute spotted juvenile frog

Frog (Anura) - DSC_8965#69 Record shot of the top

Frog (Anura) - DSC_8974#70 Face to face. Looked like it was smiling??

Gecko's Eye (Gekkota) - DSC_8979#71 Eye of a gecko. Was lazy to remove my Raynox… so only took a close up view of this lazy lizard.

Caterpillars - DSC_8983#72 Victor found this bunch of 8 caterpillars on what’s left of a leaf.

Caterpillars - DSC_8985#73 Highlighting the hair by placing a light source behind

Dead Leaf Grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_8989#74 Melvyn was excited to find this dead-leaf hopper, very tiny!

Dead Leaf Grasshopper (Caelifera) - DSC_8994#75 It turned around, so I took another shot from the other side

Stick Insect (Phasmatodea) - DSC_9019#76 David found this beautiful green/orange stick insect. I thought it was similar to the ones we saw at Gunung Santubong, but am glad I took a second look as the emerald-green body was indeed unique and striking.

Assassin Bug (Reduviidae) - DSC_9025#77 Assassin bug with white thingy sticking out from it’s ass. Eggs??

We went back to the frog pond where we left Nick and Ben to have some private time to themselves, and did a quick check for any other interesting froggies.

File-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates otilophus) - DSC_9028#78 Another File-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates otilophus)! This time at a comfortable level and it bears much more distinct patterns on it’s body.

File-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates otilophus) - DSC_9030#79 View from behind reveals the distinct stripes

File-eared Tree Frog (Polypedates otilophus) - DSC_9034#80 Very cute ya?

The walk down was much faster than expected, but we were faced with yet another flight of stairs to reach the chalet itself after descending the hill. Once we reached the chalet, we eagerly checked our balcony for any uninvited guests, to find nothing at all! We could usually find moths by placing a bright light at the balcony, but they had probably been eaten up by the bats as we found a few circling the balcony for more food.

Longhorn Beetle (Cerambycidae) - DSC_9042#81 Consolation was a longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae) on the balcony floor

Longhorn Beetle (Cerambycidae) - DSC_9048#82 Close up

Longhorn Beetle (Cerambycidae) - DSC_9058#83 View of the mandibles

With that, we prepared for a quick snooze. Everything ended at 3-4am, and by the time we took our baths, we had only 1 to 2 hours of sleep before getting ready for our day trip to Gunung Gading National Park!

Stay tuned, will be updating pics from the subsequent days soon!

[ Day 1 Kubah | Day 2 Gading | Day 3 Kubah | Day 4 Kubah ]

The complete album can be viewed here.




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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