A wretched day, with horrible weather and a major disappointment in the World Cup final. Still, at least it gives me some time to get back to the photos. This lot is from our first location at Ranomafana. I’ll put them all and more in better quality and resolution on my OneDrive and put a link up when they’re done.
Friday was the big day: our first attempt at Helmet Vanga, one of Madagascar’s most coveted birds. A 5:30am start, followed by a 2 hour 4×4 trip, which nearly two of the three vehicles completed. Then a walk down into the forest, stopping only to clamber down a bank for a stunning Short-legged Ground-Roller, and on to the nest. The only problem was that the nest was empty and did not fill in the couple of hours that we stayed. As we headed back to the cars we got a shout that Patrice, our indefatigable local guide, that he had found another nest with a bird on only 3km away. Brilliant, although that 3km was of clambering through the forest on a shocking track that crossed the same river about 20 times. Finally, muddy and worn out we arrived to find another empty nest. Aaaaaaargh! With light failing we only had half an hour to wait, but fortunately it only took a quarter before it arrived at the nest: just stunning. All we had to do then was get home, on a track that was already difficult in the dark with only a few torches. Eventually we got back to the cars, utterly covered in mud and knackered, at 8:15 pm and eventually got back for dinner at 10:30pm. An unforgettable, and hopefully unrepeatable, day.
Here’s a couple more lemurs from a night walk on Saturday.
A day of dodging showers, with the rain eventually winning in the afternoon. That didn’t stop us from seeing some amazing stuff though, particularly the superb Collared Nightjar and a chance to sing along with the Indris. Possibly the most amazing thing was the Leaf-tailed Gecko.
A big day for me yesterday, when we went to Nosy Ve, a sandy island off Tulear, in the hope of seeing some of my most wanted birds: Red-tailed Tropicbird, which breeds there and Crab Plover, which is there sometimes. Bot are cracking birds and new families for me and both were there, along with a real bonus of a Sooty Gull, a real Madagascar rarity.
Later, in our first visit to the spiny forest at Ifaty we had superb encounter with another of my most wanted birds: Long-tailed Ground-Roller. Not a bad place, Madagascar.
… there is a cooler animal than the Ring-tailed Lemur: Verreaux’s Sifaka, which clings to the tree’s like it’s scared of heights, bounces through them like a Gibbon and then finally dances away on the ground, all while looking utterly cute.