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In February (2011) I made a trip to Taman Negara National Park, which is situated in Pahang, a large province on mainland Malaysia, the same location where I came across the Dusky Langur I showed you a picture of in a previous posting entitled “Got Milk?”

Although I had a private local guide who certainly knew his way around the rainforest, it soon became apparent that I was the first serious photographer he'd worked with. As dawn broke on the first day we trekked deeper and deeper into the jungle looking for birds or mammals, despite my attempts to explain to him my need for at least a little light should we come across something of interest to photograph, yet on we pressed for a total of around five or six kilometres and an equal number of hours – carrying a 500mm lens, plus tripod, other equipment and water in sweltering heat with humidity at well above 90% is gonna' slow anyone down! - and for all that we saw no more than a couple of birds at best too far up in the canopy and with such little ambient light that I didn't even bother to raise my camera.

I sat down with him at lunchtime, once we'd arrived back at camp, and tired my best to explain my needs again and, though I did my best not to make him feel bad, even a blind man could have sensed my disappointment from our morning's adventure.

He returned to pick me up again a couple of hours later telling me that his brother has told him he'd seen a number of different bird species not far from where they live, so off we went on him rickety old moped, him driving with me on the back clutching my 500mm and praying at the very least we'd get to the location in one piece and arrive there before sunset!

Sure enough, not long after we arrived in the spot his brother told him about he was pointing up say, “Look, there, you see?” For the life of me I couldn't see a thing, but his insistence that there was something there was so strong that I waited it out while scanning the foliage until suddenly I saw a movement, and there it was, a Gold-Whiskered Barbet!

This species apparently has an uncanny ability to freeze and, for all it's vivid colour, blend completely into it's background; how he saw it in the first place I'll never know. Anyhow, as it turned out, there were a couple of them, and once they felt relatively comfortable with our presence – in spite of me getting the legs of my tripod caught up in the undergrowth and stumbling about with as much grace as an infuriated Rhino – they continued on doing what they'd come here for, which was to feed on the ripe figs from the surrounding trees.

Bit of a long story, but I couldn't get to sleep and thought somehow this would help; I know the length of some of my stories have the effect of sending other people off to sleep so I thought I'd try one on myself ;^)

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