Fairchild Tropical Garden Expedition aboard the Cheng Ho 1939-1940
NOVEMBER 1939
 
 
 
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DECEMBER 1939
 
 
 
 
 
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JANUARY 1940
 
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FEBRUARY 1940
 
 
 
 
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FEB 1940
24

Marisa, Sulawesi, Indonesia

Written by Edward Beckwith on Saturday, February 24, 1940

I was up at 4:30, ahead of everyone else. David, Hugo, Anne, Marian and I went ashore while Hugo started off with two natives to hunt for specimens. We took on two natives to show us where the Maleo birds were and after about half an hour in the launch we landed over a sandy beach East of the settlement.

We very quickly saw beyond the growth along the beach, sand flying up at various points. These were the Maleo birds digging their nests in the sand. We saw several walking around. A bird about the size of a small turkey, and of the general appearance of a Guinea hen. Black back, a rather thin neck, tuft on the head and lighter breast. They were very shy and disappeared as we approached. David and I got a few distant shots which did not amount to much.

All around were sand holes where they had been digging. Anne came running towards me and said that she and Marian had been within 40 ft. of some digging nests. We did not obtain any good photos, and finally left to take Hugo, who had appeared out of nowhere, further down the beach to a better site to start his climb.

We then went in the launch to a small island and explored it in the hot sun, finding innumerable shells, etc. We finally returned at 12:30 and all had a swim in the decidedly warm water. This was the first time I had been in.

Rested most of the afternoon. Daan went off in the launch to shoot pigeons and got one. Ted and Fant went off all day in the other launch to sound a shoal near here for chart information.

Hugo returned well after dark with the head of a 20 ft. python. He and two natives found it lying in some water about 300 meters up on the mountain. They attacked and killed it with a bolo and bamboo spears.

I took a flash light of the large head with the mouth open.

David agreed to have one more try at photographing Maleo birds tomorrow so turned in early in preparation for a start before daylight.

Maleo bird nesting area
Maleo bird (Macrocephalon maleo) nesting area near Marisa, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by Edward Beckwith.
Holes in the sand dug by Maleo birds
Nesting holes dug in the sand by Maleo birds (Macrocephalon maleo) in a preserve near Marisa, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by David Fairchild.
Vanda celebica near the Maleo nesting area
Vanda celebica near the Maleo nesting area. Photographed by David Fairchild. “My attention was divided between the Maleo birds and thickets of this beautiful, fragrant orchid.”
Vanda celebica flower
Vanda celebica flower, photographed in 2006
Reticulated python
Reticulated python, photographed in 2008 by Kevin Rodriguez Ortiz
Head of a reticulated python aboard the Cheng Ho
Head of a 20′ reticulated python killed by Hugo Curran near Marisa, Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photographed by David Fairchild.

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