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It's All About Lemurs and Birds

MADAGASCAR | Friday, 11 October 2013 | Views [419]

Coquerel's sifaka, Ankarafantsika National Park

Coquerel's sifaka, Ankarafantsika National Park

Madagascar has so many endemic species I half expected flocks of birds, aviary-style, with lemurs pogo-ing from tree to tree and a chameleon on every branch.  The sad truth is you must work for every sighting and twice as hard for a good photo.  You also need an early start – we were already on the trail by 5:30.  Six hours of hiking was probably more than Connie’s sore leg should have attempted but the day’s total of thirty-one new birds assuaged the pain a bit.  Eddie knows his way around the park’s trail system and is pretty good at calling birds.  This is a dry forest and it is relatively easy to see through the trees.

A troop of Coquerel’s sifakas entertained us as we lunched at the park restaurant, performing like brown and white acrobats from Cirque du Soleil.  The mango trees are heavy with fruit and the lemurs won’t go hungry.  In addition to the sifakas we saw common brown lemurs and the rare-ish mongoose lemur, endemic to Ankarafantsika.

bir

       Schlegel’s asity

The bird of the day was the male Schlegel’s asity, the signature bird of Ankarafantsika.  We saw a handful flitting nervously high in the tree above us but weren’t able to get a good look at the male’s blue wattles, never mind a photo.  But we were rewarded in the morning when we hit upon a pair sitting quietly at eye level in the sunlight.  Truly spectacular and well worth the effort.

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Easter Island, 2012

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