New Trip Report: Malaysia and Borneo

A new report from South East Asia

Malaysia & Borneo, 2015: Ben Balmford, 1 month & 70 species including Painted Treeshrew, Tarsier, Spotted Giant Flying Squirrel, Flat-headed Cat and Malaysian Tapir.



  • Farnborough John

    I noted the comment about the Tapir possibly not liking the spotlight with interest. It continues to amaze me that more mammal watchers don’t make use of cheap night-vision scopes. They allow you to monitor your environment continuously without disturbing animals, and then to prepare cameras so you can click the shutter the instant you illuminate a target with visible light. Batteries for the model I use last 6 hours or more even with the incorporated near infra-red torch in constant use to improve the view (though it does render shadowed areas very dark indeed!)

    Mammal watching involves a lot more nocturnal work than birding. Passive NV capability is a tremendous help on stakeouts (not so much on night-drives, admittedly.)


    • Israel

      I’ve looked at the cost of night-vision equipment and it is far from cheap – at least with my income! (And I’m in New Zealand so everything like that is imported and given a five billion percent mark-up).

      I thought a scope would be handy for hides though (but not whilst walking around). It seems difficult to decide what would actually be useful, though, and what would just be a waste of money. Which model night-scope do you use?

      • Farnborough John

        I use a 3X42 Yukon monocular. I’m sympathetic to the mark-up issue as “Rip-off Britain” is something of a constant complaint here, but my nightscope was only about £200 – which when you consider £900 for camera, £5000 for telephoto lens and £1000 for (day) binoculars, is not a big ask as part of a capability suite.

        I’ve taken to using it by pre-focusing the camera on a spot I know an animal will use, watching through the nightscope (which allows me to look for animals approaching from anywhere) and then using a radio-trigger to take a flash photo. Works a treat on flying bats if you can predict the flight path at all.

        I also have a 1X version of the same night scope which I use mounted to look through my camera viewfinder,with a powerful near-IR LED gunlamp boresighted to allow me to focus manually out to fifty yards or so in darkness (i.e as far as my flash will reach). Its not perfect but it does allow the complete surprise that the flash is the only visible light involved. Its clumsy and slow but works in a stakeout setting, such as around a Badger sett or dormouse nest-hole.

        Hope this helps.

  • Israel

    yes, thanks for that. The model is a fair bit more expensive in NZ but I’ll look into finding one cheaper.

    I might be able to find one in Asia next time I’m there.

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