Madagascar highlights: 1-16 November 2011
Callan and Deirdre are back from two months tour leading in Madagascar. Here are some of top birds and experiences voted by participants of the second tour, from 1-16 November 2011. For the full list, please click here.
The itinerary included the eastern rainforest sites of Andasibe-Mantadia and Ranomafana National Parks, the western dry deciduous forest and Lac Ravelobe of Ankarafantsika National Park, the south western transitional forest of Zombitse National Park, the spiny desert at Ifaty, the coral rag scrub near Tulear and the sacred island of Nosy Ve, breeding site of Red-tailed Tropicbirds.
1. Madagascar Flufftail (as we sat on the steep forest floor at Mantadia, it encircled us repeatedly and almost walked over someone’s foot!)
2. Common Sunbird-Asity (at Ranomafana, eye-level views of a male feeding)
3. Scaly Ground Roller (at Mantadia, a pair posed for us in the open on a sandbank along the river)
4. Pitta-like Ground Roller (seen several times on the trail!)
5. Collared nightjar roosting (well worth the climb at Andasibe!)
6. Velvet Asity (a male posed obligingly for our cameras)
7. Rufous-headed Ground Roller
8. Madagascar Buttonquail (we must have watched and photographed them for over 20 minutes as they fed in circles along a trail at Ranomafana)
9. Cuckoo-Roller (what an acrobatic flight and haunting call!)
1. We walked up the steep ridge, breathed heavily and there appeared Madagascar Flufftail: almost walking over someone’s foot!
2. Faint rustling sounds in the undergrowth: Madagascar Buttonquail! Oblivious from our presence, it fed at leisure on the forest floor, turning its body and changing directions, making the typical feeding circles. We watched it for at least 20 minutes at about 3 meter from us.
3. Leaftailed Gecko. Ask Dale and Helen about the sharp stick!
4. Swimming in the cristal clear waters at Nosy Ve with all the birds in hand – just before another (hot) birding group trailed by…
5. Ringtailed lemurs – so well-habituated we could watch their natural antics at length.
6. Everyone was just so kind and patient – thank you!
7. Milne-Edwards Sifakas display at Ranomafana while we were watching the Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asity.
8. The chameleon Furcifer balteatus, with its huge two rostral appendages and zebra-like colouration, caused much excitement at Ranomafana when awaiting our pool-side lunch. Probably the most impressive chameleon of the trip!