The Philippines were a challenge and so was Indonesia. I knew that well before I landed there so I did what every sensible person does when facing a difficult situation, procrastination. Well, technically, I took a break to do some diving in Lembeh strait, possibly one of the best places on earth for underwater macro photography. Lembeh strait is a stretch of water between North Sulawesi and the island of Lembeh. It’s mostly muck and dark sand but also has some incredible coral reefs! It’s mostly known for its incredible critters such as the Pygmy Seahorse, the Lembeh Dragon Pipefish and Flamboyant cuttlefish.
It was an amazing experience, I’d highly recommend it if you like diving, especially if you’re into photographing small critters. If you’re only interested in large animals, this might not be the place for you.
Onto the bats then. Activity around the dive resort was very limited as it was mostly coconut trees. After my stay at the dive resort, I spent a couple of days in Tangkoko, a well known natural park not too far.
I saw some great birds there as well as mammals such as Spectral Tarsiers, Sulawesi Crested Macaque, Sulawesi Bear Cuscus and Sulawesi Dwarf Squirrels. My guide knew of a number of hollow trees we inspected for bats and found Rousettus bidens, R.celebensis, Megaderma spasma and Rhinolophus tatar (a recent split from its New Guinean counterpart, R.euryotis). At night, I recorded a few additional species, including Pipistrellus minahassae, Mosia nigrescens and an unidentified Rhinolophus.
He also took me to the highlands the next day, around Tomohon where we visited a cave. In the cave I recorded one Rhinolophus and one Hipposideros, both still unidentified; lots of Rousettus sp, probably amplexicaudatus; and one Miniopterus fuliginosus.
I also visited the infamous ‘Extreme market’ in Tomohon, and extreme it is. It is a truly sickening sight to see this market full of dogs, bats, pythons, and other wild animals that are being hunted down to extinction at an alarming rate.