There was a hell of a lot of turbulence on the flight from Kota Kinabalu to Singapore. I struggle to remember a flight with that much turbulence although a mid afternoon flight over the ocean very close to the equator is the sort of flight that would encountered turbulence. I don't mind at all though. I don't worry about it, and I find it breaks up the monotony of a smooth flight. (Is that weird?) The captain also announced wind gusting at 20 knots on landing which is fairly high.
It's a very short flight from KK to Singapore, only just over two hours, and with a meal that I had pre-ordered the flight passed very quickly. I hardly read any of my book. Just for some déjà vu linking back to my very first post from this trip, I'm reading another Philip K Dick book. Valis this time which is a bizarre book but really entertaining. It's a first person narrative but written in the third person by a narrator called Horselover Fat who occasional forgets what narrative perspective to use. PKD's 'thing' really is messing with the reader as much as possible.
For some reason I
thought I had just under five hours in transit but it was actually just under six.
Going through immigration, picking up my bag, getting a bus and SkyTrain then dropping off my bag and going back through immigration took about an hour. Meaning I had ages sitting around in Singapore. I mean, enjoying the wonders of Changi airport. Wonderful. Ugh. So I went to the bog standard airport water lily garden. There's supposed to be a butterfly garden somewhere at the airport too but I have no idea where.
I also found a Subway which is good because I like them and never found any in Malaysia. Although the person there insisted that it was cheaper if I have two cookies and a coke on top of a foot long sandwich than just the sandwich. Somehow I managed to force myself to eat two delicious chocolate chip cookies. That meal was probably more calories than a consider portion of days in Malaysia although there were quite a few days when I didn't eat enough food, mostly due to spending too long looking for wildlife. Skipping meals for wildlife watching isn't necessarily recommended, but it is the key
to getting over 400 birds and almost 100 mammals in less than six weeks.
11PM is far too late to take off, especially for a flight that's only four hours long so lands too early. But what can you do, that's what you get for being a cheapskate and booking budget airlines. The other thing you get for being a cheapskate is being stuck in a middle seat because you've obviously got to pay for seat selection which I didn't. I also hate Jetstar. Everything they do irritates me. Their planes are a hideous colour, their website is awful to use, and they're not even all that cheap! I've got three Jetstar flights on this trip all of them were with Jetstar as the only carrier on the route. (Singapore-Darwin, Darwin-Cairns, Cairns-Perth) C'mon we need some competition on these routes, we can't let Jetstar get away with terrible service at not all that cheaply. Generally that previous sentence applies for basically all aviation in Australia. And of course, what four hour middle of the night flight would be complete without... Australian incoming passenger cards. Urgh.
And then I was in Darwin! Naturally, Australian Quarantine insisted on
me unpacking all of my stuff because some of it was a bit muddy with some seeds stuck to it, but oh well. So I got to the accommodation, I had a little bit of sleep, then my aunt and I walked down to pick up the car. Today wasn't a big day in terms of wildlife watching, mostly just doing things around the city and picking up the car. As I said, now that I'm not on my own it won't be quite the level if inense wildlife watching as I had been doing, bit without her and a car it would be completely impossible to do the Northern Territories. There is no way to do it without private transport. So I just have to accept a slower pace.
After getting some things sorted out in the morning, we went to the Botanic Gardens for a little bit although it was too hot and midday is to see anything much apart from the Orange-footed Scrubfowl that are everywhere and then went to some mangrove areas near the city and added a number of mangrove birds, including some nice Top End specialities, although missed Chestnut Rail which is
supposed to be a very difficult species anyway. I thought there would be Agile Wallabies and Black Flying Foxes about but didn't see any. More exciting though was a brief glimpse of a Lesser Water Rat/Water Mouse at dusk before leaving.
I will definitely do some spotlighting around here at some point, particularly the Botanic Gardens which aren't too far from the AirBnB that I'm staying at, but having completely missed last night's sleep that won't be tonight. It's only 6 and I feel like I'll collapse from sleep deprivation any minute. I need to get some decent rest for the proper wildlife watching which starts tomorrow and I need to I make the most of it because I've just got ten days total in NT which is not nothing by is certainly faster paced that my time in Malaysia.
Under normal circumstances I’d probably write more about the Darwin city birding, but I really need some sleep. I’m also not yet fully over my upset stomach from Malaysia. Just look at the species list.
Silver Gull Pied Imperial Pigeon
Australian White Ibis
Spangled Drongo White-gaped Honeyeater Varied Triller
Rainbow Bee-eater Large-billed Gerygone Rufous-banded Honeyeater Shining Flycatcher Red-headed Honeyeater
Mangrove Gerygone Yellow White-eye White-winged Triller Green (Australasian Yellow) Oriole White-throated Gerygone
Mangrove Golden Whistler Green-backed Gerygone Lemon-bellied Flycatcher Mangrove Grey Fantail
Jacky Winter Double-barred Finch
Galah Red-collared Lorikeet
(Mostly fairly common species, and there are I number of supposedly very common species that I’m still missing, but there are also a number of pretty unusual species in that list like mangrove ones and I’m especially happy with the finches!)
Mammals: False Water Rat
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