Madagascar part 3: 1st October 2014 – Ampijoroa/Ankarafantsika   Leave a comment

 

 

 

After the previous days horrid drive we spent a very pleasant and rewarding morning around the Ankarafantsika reserve near Ampijoroa. This is the only location I visited on this tour which was shared with my 1992 trip. Then there was no accommodation available and we had to drive the three hours from Majunga to get here. In those days sites were much less well known and inspite of searching for a couple of days we failed to find Schlegel’s Asity and Van Dam’s Vanga, both of which we saw this time. In the afternoon we drove to the coastal city of Majunga.

 

IMG_0987 Ampijoroa

We spent the morning searching the wide tracks of the Ankarafantsika reserve.

IMG_0917 Mad Hoopoe

The hoopoe on Madagascar sounds more like a Turtle Dove than the familiar oop-poop-poo of a Eurasian Hoopoe and is now considered to be a separate species.

IMG_0899 Sicklebilled Vanga

Is the hoopoe-like bill of the Sickle-billed Vanga a case of convergent evolution?

IMG_0954 Red-capped Coua

The secretive Red-capped Coua kept to the shadows, but gave good views.

IMG_0960 Mad Magpie Robin

The Madagascar Magpie Robin is closely related to similar species in SE Asia, how they colonised across the wide expanses of the Indian Ocean is anyone guess.

IMG_0926 Mad paradise Fly

Paradise flycatchers occur in Asia and Africa so could have colonised from either direction. Females are rufous all over but males occur in two varieties , the commoner rufous phase with a white tail ……

IMG_0968 Mad Paradise Fly

…. and the beautiful white phase.

IMG_0985 Torotoka Scops Owl

This Torotoka Scops Owl, the dry country equivalent of Rainforest Scops Owl, was found at its daytime roost.

IMG_0973 Lemur toID

Also at its daytime roost was this nocturnal Milne-Edwards Sportive Lemur.

 

IMG_0964 Van Dam's Vanga

I didn’t get a photo of my lifer Sclegel’s Asity which kept to the tree tops but managed this shot of Van Dam’s Vanga, shame about the vertical out-of-focus twig.

IMG_0907 Coquerel's Sifaka

The large and attractive Coquerel’s Sifaka was found near our accommodation.

IMG_0977 snake to ID

Madagascar seems to have relatively few poisonous snakes, a good job too as we saw quite a few.

IMG_0702 bugs

Madagascar is full of natural delights. Birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians all come in weird and wonderful forms as do do many insects.

IMG_1003 Mad Fish Eagle

At a nearby lake a pair of the critically endangered Madagascar Fish Eagle was seen ……

IMG_1043 Mad Fish Eagle

Only about 100 pairs are in existence and virtually all birders who have seen it will have done so at this lake. I wonder how many generations of eagles have been at this lake since I saw them there in 1992

IMG_1035 Purple Heron

The margins of the lake were full of herons; Striated, Squacco and the widespread Purple ……

IMG_1024 Humblot's Heron

… but pride of place went to the endemic Humblot’ s Heron.

IMG_0715 rickshawss

We reached Majunga in the late afternoon. The hotel looked good from the outside but was prone to electricity and water shortages. The main mode of transport in Majunga seems to be the rickshaw.

IMG_0720 rickshaw

That’s a good job if you want to stay fit!

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