A farewell message from Nick Boyd

On 16th June I left Kalimantan and my work at Outrop to return to the UK, precisely one year after my outward journey. Inevitably at the end of such an experience one is called to reflect upon all that time spent in such an exotic location doing such a unique and fascinating job (in my case bird and other biodiversity surveys). But this is no mean feat after spending hundreds of days in a forest whose abundant peatswamp-specialising fauna and flora guarantee no day will be the same – that is once you get your eye in and know where to look!There are highlights, however. Some of them are moments that lasted only minutes or seconds: an endangered Storm’s stork flying past me on the weather tower, the discovery of a busy-crested hornbill treehole nest, seeing (on two occasions) a Horsfield’s tarsier close-up in broad daylight or a huge flanged male orang-utan producing a deafening long call while staring down at me with anger and defiance. Other highlights were more drawn out, fostered by thousands of hours accumulated in the swamp with only its wildlife for company. I’ve come to realise that, despite my focus on birds and other non-mammalian biodiversity, primates aren’t so bad after all, and can even be quite entertaining if you give them a chance; the opportunities I got to help out with the orang-utan, gibbon and red langur behavioural projects were among my most memorable days. As a birder, every day was a treat and a constructive lesson. My eyes and, more critically in such a dark and dense forest, ears adjusted over time and the learning curve at bird IDs was a great, if gradual, reward for my efforts and frustration.Outrop does fantastic and tireless work in researching and helping to conserve the wildlife of Bornean peatswamp, as well as promoting the conservation of other Indonesian habitats vital to primates and other fauna. I am grateful to have played my small role. Thanks go out to my many feathered friends, plus a few unfeathered Canadians, Americans, Irish, Brits, South Africans, Cypriots, Poles, Australians, Japanese, Catalans-not-Spaniards, Finnish-Dutch, French-Swiss, not to forget Javanese, Banjarese and Dayaks I was lucky enough to meet along the way.