Tuesday, 2 November 2010

It's Been A Long Time A Comin' - Beverly Knight

In an effort to get at least something to the faithful readership (thank you all for hanging on in there) this post, one of 4 days outstanding, is issued first. Even if midnight oil has to be burned, I will do my best to catch up as far as today if I can before retiring tonight.

Monday 1st November 2010

There was only one thing on my mind as daylight peaked through the curtains, a game of catch up. As things stood I was now 4 species shy of the collective list as there had been a further sighting of Madagascar Needletail again in my absence. The Green Pigeon was a possibility, but thought unlikely, but I was there for the 05-00 walk and the guide has 'promised' a positive outcome on the Owl front. I didn't have to wait long as these local guides have that magic touch in the forest to see and hear things the rest of us wouldn't see in a hundred years. There sat literally above our heads was a fine White-browed, but by the time the walk was over Scops still remained a fantasy. Fortunately. Desi our full time Malagasy guide took me back to the forest after breakfast and located one with ease, in addition he also found Green Jery which thus far none of us had seen. During the walk back to the lodge we encountered Monsieur Henry de Heaulme the son and heir to the family estate and a pleasant character to boot. Now those who know my prowess in the field realise my sight is not the best in the world, but this afternoon made a hit with all by spotting Madagascar Sandgrouse, another endemic high on the wish list. In addition we found and photographed M. Nightjar, Sportive Lemur, Locust, M. Bulbul on the nest and a Scorpion. This evening I decided to miss the night walk and catch up on notes and photographs in the hope of publishing a post tomorrow.

Trip Ticks - 127
Endemics - 116
World Lifers - 89

The unique Berenty Nature Reserve, Madagascar.

Monsieur Henry de Heaulme son and heir to the Berenty Reserve

The Berenty logo

Right clicking on this image will expand and maybe give a clearer picture of the habitate hereabouts.

Green Jery, although I remain one step behind some of the others having missed Madagascar Green Pigeon, our guide Desi did make a special search to get the Scops for me and in so doing turned up this little beauty which only he and I have seen thus far.

Grey-Brown Mouse Lemur,

these minute nocturnals are a bonus indeed!

White-browed Owl,

'catch-up' No 1 duely delivered - thanks Desi!

Crested Coua

Sakalava Weaver

Madagascar Kestrel

Yellow-billed Kite nest.

Great Vasa Parrot, we have now seen all the Psittacines madagascar can offer, all Endemics.

Madagascar Giant Fruit Bat colony.

It was some distance from the roost, but this was as close as was permissible and not to flush the bats.

The name escapes me, but high on the Lemur's grocery list.

A closer view of the blossom.

Local people carrying out their laundry duties. Bad news is the water level has fallen drastically and when it's gone, it's gone - what then you have to ask?

Even the smallest children have to undertake duties such as water carrying.

Madagascar Turtle Dove, common but by no means confiding.

Another Gecko, all of which have been identified by our guides but I have enough trouble keeping up with the birds!

Stone commemorating 60 years of the reserves existence.

Madagascar Scops Owl,

Worth 2 photographs in any language, this was 'catch up number 2 for me today.

Prickly Pear, an import to the country that is occasionally eaten by the locals and also secondary feed for livestock.

30,000 hectares of Sisal, used for rope making, weaving etc, provide desperately needed employment for the locals here. No 'outside' labour has been brought in while the owner has provided all employees with basic housing, medical care and education.

Madagascar Sandgrouse, spotted at great distance.

Usually I'm the first to complain when others put birds to flight, but on this occasion the local goat herder did us all a favour. In the process of taking the livestock to better pasture he flushed the Grouse right over our heads. As we clambered back into the bus they continued to circle until

this lone, but obliging, female put down only 100 yards away.

Scorpion Sp, we had to roll away a few boulders to see any Herps.

The Spiny Forest from the only elevated ground.

Madagascar Bulbul on the nest.

Un-ID'ed Butterfly one of the best we have seen, pity no 'open wing' shot.

Madagascar Nightjar

Most obliging, but more to come on this subject - watch this space!

White-footed Sportive Lemur

Head close up, one of the 'goodies' as far as I'm concerned!

Locust Sp

Distant Helmeted Guinea-fowl

Helmeted Guinea-fowl as close as they would allow.

Radiated Tortoise

Nile Crocodile, while they do occur in the country this one was just slightly 'in captivity'.

Spider-Web Tortoise

Warty or Spiny-baked Chameleon

1 comment:

  1. Would you add your bat photos as a citizen-science observation to the AfriBats project on iNaturalist?:

    AfriBats will use your observations to better understand bat distributions and help protect bats in Africa.

    Please locate your picture on the map as precisely as possible to maximise the scientific value of your records.

    Many thanks!

    PS: these are Madagascan flying foxes, Pteropsu rufus.