Jump to content

Recommended Posts

kittykat23uk

Well done KK. - Now to start your next trip planning. :)

 

You were so fortunate to see what you saw, and I think you got lucky with your guide and planned very well. In hindsight - our guide wasn't that experienced, and couldn't understand the appeal of seeing their endemics.

 

A few days ago I watched David Attenborough's 50 years return to Madagascar and thought of this report, and what he saw 50 years ago. Together with this report, it has stimulated interest in Madagascar again. It truly is unique. Maybe I will drop by again.

 

Hi Bugs,

 

Yes I think you were a bit unlucky with your trip. Actually Jenita is not specifically a wildlife guide per se., although he has a keen interest in conservation. He told me that he actually mainly guides adventure tours to the North with a couple of companies including one called Madamax. But he does try and work with certain park guides that he knows are good (if he can get them). Of course when Mora Mora strikes you have to take what you can get sometimes. :rolleyes: My brief to him was that I wanted to see a good selection of lemurs, birds and reptiles, spend as little time travelling between sites and maximising the time viewing wildlife. I did say I wasn't bothered about seeing every little brown job (unlike the birding group who wanted to get as complete a list as possible). I think he delivered on that! :) In fact he mentioned to me that this trip was one of the most wildlife rich ones he has guided. :)

Edited by kittykat23uk
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 132
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

  • kittykat23uk

    94

  • Atravelynn

    9

  • pault

    6

  • twaffle

    3

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

PA224647 Black and White Ruffed Lemur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr   PA224668 Black and White Ruffed Lemur by kittykat23uk, on Flickr   PA224676 Black and White Ruffed Lemur by kittykat23uk, on

Day 1 21st October Mini Mouse Lemurs and Siberian Hamsters The long journey was made more pleasant when I met Robin and his family who were returning to Madagascar with a substantial aid package for

As it was now late morning, we headed back to to car and began our drive back to Andasibe. Unfortunately the state of the road got the best of us and we ripped a tyre on the way back. Our driver quick

Posted Images

kittykat23uk

I have put together a playlist of the videos:

 

:)

Edited by kittykat23uk
Link to post
Share on other sites
Vlad the Impala

I've finally caught up with the final instalments. As others have said, what a great report - I'm looking forward to the next one.

 

I've also suffered at the hands of a few Malagasy cocktails - for me it was the rhum gingembres that knocked me for six! :wacko:

Edited by Vlad the Impala
Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Oh dear! Yeah not sure what they put in those spirits!!

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Well, Ads has finally finished his epic trip report! Well worth a read if you haven't already..

http://www.birdforum.net/showthread.php?t=245335

 

Also found this on the mammal watching blog. It's a much lighter read than my epic TR but covers some interesting sites that I didn't see:

http://mammalwatching.com/Afrotropical/other%20reports/TL%20Madagascar%202012.pdf

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 3 weeks later...
Atravelynn

“of 14 days we'd only have 4 1/2 days actually at the reserves…

 

5-day detour for one full day at the site”

 

That is loony and a 9 hour drive to get a 12:45 flight nears impossible. I’m having déjà vu. I think I read this and commented at some point.

 

An external flash may be more useful in Madagascar than other places. Good point. How did your use compare?

 

“I saw a Siberian Hamster at the bar.” Under most circumstances that would be evidence of too much time at the bar.

 

On to the first of your photos. Such luck with the drinking B&W Lemur. Very cute shots of you and the lemurs.

 

You really had good sightings of the Indri, then the mama and baby Diademed Sifaka. You’ve caught the expressions on their faces so nicely. That collared nightjar is really well camouflaged.

 

Highlighting your bird highlights is a good idea.

 

Did you point your camera up and try to hold it steady? Did you use a monopod? I would think you’d need some settings for dark foliage for a lot of the lemurs.

 

So how does one research the potential sightings to have some idea of what is being seen? Is the Mammals of Madagascar guide, which you mention, a good start? Even the names are a challenge, whether or not you ever see the creature.

 

I’m up through the 26th so far. Amazing sightings!

Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, that was great. Really helpful and descriptive and so many new words I don't know where to start. Still haven't watched all the video and still haven't got my head around the route yet, so there will be questions when I do. I just love all the chameleon pics - what an amazing variety.

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

“of 14 days we'd only have 4 1/2 days actually at the reserves…

 

5-day detour for one full day at the site”

 

That is loony and a 9 hour drive to get a 12:45 flight nears impossible. I’m having déjà vu. I think I read this and commented at some point.

 

Yes you probably commented on the planning thread when I said everything had gone tits up. ;)

 

An external flash may be more useful in Madagascar than other places. Good point. How did your use compare?

 

Well I only bought it before this trip, knowing that there would be night walks and also knowing that there would be times when in deep cover. On the plus side, it definitely helped with the furry eared dwarf lemur- I wouldn't have got that shot otherwise. A lot of the smaller animals were approachable so you wouldn't really need an external flash for those.

 

 

“I saw a Siberian Hamster at the bar.” Under most circumstances that would be evidence of too much time at the bar.

 

:D I could say it was the rum, but I was sober at the time.

 

On to the first of your photos. Such luck with the drinking B&W Lemur. Very cute shots of you and the lemurs.

 

You really had good sightings of the Indri, then the mama and baby Diademed Sifaka. You’ve caught the expressions on their faces so nicely. That collared nightjar is really well camouflaged.

 

Highlighting your bird highlights is a good idea.

 

Did you point your camera up and try to hold it steady? Did you use a monopod? I would think you’d need some settings for dark foliage for a lot of the lemurs.

 

Thanks! :D No monopod used, tried to use the small tripod I brought for my camcorder but it was not up to the job (and anyway, Jenita was using it most of the time to film for me!). So I just relied on the inbuilt IS. Had to do a lot of exposure compensation to try and get the best out of each situation. Filled many gigs worth of cards on the same subjects.

 

So how does one research the potential sightings to have some idea of what is being seen? Is the Mammals of Madagascar guide, which you mention, a good start? Even the names are a challenge, whether or not you ever see the creature.

 

Yes that is the most up to date guidebook for the mammals but is still out of date already. I have tried to point out in my TR where the guide differs from reality at the moment. Similarly I got the Birds of the Indian Ocean Islands but again, the pochard is deemed probably extinct in that book, but it's well known to still be found at one site (Adam's group got it). Local knowledge and reading trip reports, checking flickr for recent photos all helps. Then when you are there, badgering the guides to show you specific species you want to get seems to be the way to go..

 

I’m up through the 26th so far. Amazing sightings!

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Thanks Paul,

 

my route was basically, from Tana go east to Andasibe, then back west via Tana and follow the RN 7 south, visiting the key reserves en route. Arrive at Tulear/Toliara on the coast turn North to Ifaty, then back to Tulear and south across the bay to Anakao, drive further south to the lake and then back from Anakao to Tulear, flight back to Tana.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What an impressive range of species! Any pictures of the spider tortoise for this tortoise fan? Have you seen Agonoka's?

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Sadly not, but thanks for the comments!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

The fosa and truck perspective is actually very interesting. To see two of them when you had given up on any really picks up the spirits. As I see more and more lemurs, chameleons, rainbow bush locust, and whatnot, I am wondering if your guide informed you that your trip was the most prolific ever guided for wildlife.

 

Thanks for the info above. Had you practiced with your flash before the trip?

Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Hi Lynn,

 

As Jenita tends to guide more for activity based trips than wildlife, this was definitely one of the richest in wildlife that he had guided, according to him. But also the comparisons I have done with other trip reports for the same sites indicate we did particularly well with the mammal sightings, perhaps less so with the birds and a few other bits and bobs that I really hoped to see, giraffe-necked weevil and Satanic leaf tailed gecko being two species that I thought would be easy.

 

I didn't really get a chance to do more than a few test shots with the flash in my garden!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

I have to echo Paul's basic comment of so many new words. Feels like entering a strange land, even if via a trip report.

 

Looking at your itinerary, it seems you went many places and saw many things. Often the many places reduces the sightings from many things to just some things because of the transportation time in between. It really seems as though the highlight species of each location came out and performed for you. When I summarize what you did (not knowing anything about the places) it seems like this is it:

 

3 nights, 2 full days Andasibe

Ialatsara just one night

2.5 days in Ranomfana

Short visit to Anjaand

Almost a whole day Isalo

Just a night visit to Toliara

Afternoon and eve in spiny forst near Ifaty

Day and a half in Anakao

Maybe day in Tsiman….. camping.

 

I see where you also communicated with one of your travelmates about Jenita being more activity than wildlife oriented. And then there was the mora mora to get in the way of maximizing your time in key locations and at the best times.

 

Do you feel like you had enough time in the various locations?

 

Was the woman you met who said the itinerary was crazy referring to that original one you mentioned at the start of your report or to the itinerary you actually did?

Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Hi Lynn,

 

It was the original plan with the birders that was mental. Not this plan.

 

Thing is with a lot of places in mainland Africa you are better staying longer in a few places to maximise the time in the field, but what you are getting there, by and large is more time with the same animals. But in Madagascar many of the target the species are very localised, so you have to visit many different habitats to get to see them all. So for example, andasibe is one of the only easily accessible sites for indri and diademed Sifaka. Ranomafana is the only accessible site for golden bamboo and greater bamboo lemur, plus well-known for ground rollers and to see ringtails you need to either got to Islao or Anja or fly to Berenty. Ifaty has its own little ecosystem of key birds, like the sub desert Mesite and long-tailed ground roller.

 

I wouldnt change much of my trip, i would just have been a bit more pushy about seeing certain birds and animals, and would try and take more advantage of the journey itself to stop at some pools etc on the way to places (that is more about me being a reserved Brit, than the fault of any of the guides, except for the one at Ifaty) now that i know how things work out there. If I were to do it over I would want more time in andasibe Mantadia and Ranomafana and I would not go back to Anakao, though I am glad I made it to the lake, albeit not in a great state to appreciate it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

It seems like the lemurs are very relaxed. I tend to think of them as being similar to shy jumpy mongoose or bushbabies or tamarins where you have to be real quick for a look or a photo.

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Actually they are generally very confiding.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Confiding lemurs! That paints an amusing picture for me.

 

And if you were to visit only one place which would it be?

 

Also I notice there seems to be a lot of feeding going on. Is that a fair impression, was it something restricted to outside the parks, what was the general view on that, and what did you think? (just between two "sorry to disturb you but I think you just shot me. You wouldn't k now where I might be able to buy a plaster would you?" Brits .... And on a similar theme I would love to know what you heard about Berentey (sp?)

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Hi Paul,

 

Thanks for your comments. I saw feeding of the lemurs in a few places:

 

Domestic/Sanctuary settings: At Lemur Island which is the little sanctuary for lemurs who have had their habitat destroyed and so been "rescued" and at the crocodile farm in Tana.

 

Wild settings: at Lemur forest camp, the red-bellied and brown mouse lemurs are fed banana. Outside the park at Ranomafana also feeding mouse lemurs banana.

 

Did no see any feeding at: Andasibe/Mantadia, in Ranomafana itself (as noted the feeding station at Belle Vue was closed a few years ago- but as also noted, ring-tailed mongoose still look for handouts when the opportunity presents itself- they like biscuits!) or in Anja (was told they do not feed in Anja). Not sure of the situation in Isalo or Zombitse- did not see them being fed there, but there is a camp/picnic site so maybe opportunistic feeding happens there.

 

My guide frowned on feeding, I took a more relaxed view to it. Some lemurs have very specialised diets (such as Indri and bamboo lemurs) so feeding them would not be feasible.

 

As for Berenty, I read it is the place to go to see "dancing" Verreaux's sifakas, but introduction of other lemurs there has meant that the sifakas don't have enough natural food any more are have to be fed. Ringtails also seen well there apparently, however I heard that they have suffered some kind of skin complant and can look quite raggedy. So I did not see the value in having to fly there and back with the prospect of "more fluffy and luxuriant" ringtails at Anja and Verreaux Sifakas in Zombitse. So bottom line is, if you absolutely have to get that photo of a dancing sifaka, go to Berenty, if you are limited on time and budget then miss it out. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Sorry I didn't answer your question. If I had to visit just one place, where would that be? I would say Madagascar is not really the sort of place to limit oneself to one place bacause of the diversity of habitats. Of the places I visted on this trip, probably Anasibe Mantadia, because of the big 3 lemurs, Indri, Diademed Sifaka and B&W Ruffed. But you would miss soo much, like Ring-tails!!! If I were to go back, and had limitd time to go to only one place I think I would try the Masaola Peninsular. That area warrants a good amount of time to explore I think, plus it isn't really accessible other than by flying.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

photo of a dancing sifaka, go to Berenty,

This underscores Paul's comment about all the new words. For someone who has not delved into any research and is at the bottom of the learning curve, I go huh?

 

Thanks for picking a favorite, Kittykat!

Edited by Atravelynn
Link to post
Share on other sites
kittykat23uk

Lol, well if you check out Coke and Som smith's Magical Madagascar trip you will see some dancing sifakas in that one. The best I got was with the ones at the croc farm..

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

A thorough review of several reports, such as Magical Madagascar, and lots of note taking is in order before I ever consider setting foot in Nosy Be. (There, I got that one right.)

 

Would you say that lemurs were some of your more challenging mammals to photograph? Birds are probably still harder.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry I didn't answer your question. If I had to visit just one place, where would that be? I would say Madagascar is not really the sort of place to limit oneself to one place bacause of the diversity of habitats. Of the places I visted on this trip, probably Anasibe Mantadia, because of the big 3 lemurs, Indri, Diademed Sifaka and B&W Ruffed. But you would miss soo much, like Ring-tails!!! If I were to go back, and had limitd time to go to only one place I think I would try the Masaola Peninsular. That area warrants a good amount of time to explore I think, plus it isn't really accessible other than by flying.

Heh, heh.... I was actually thinking of the Masaola area + one other place.... But I asked like I did because I thought you would then say "well you have x,y, and z already, so you need to go to b to see w" and I was really interested to know if anywhere just stood out for you. I am currently thinking I wouldn't try to see everything or even more than one particular thing (maybe the Aye-Aye but that is quite difficult I think) but just go somewhere nice and see what was there.

 

..... not that I am going of course - not even thinking about it ; )

 

Thanks for your thoughts and the info. I will have more questions!

Link to post
Share on other sites
Atravelynn

What does Bibi think about seeing the Aye-Aye?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Safaritalk uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By using Safaritalk you agree to our use of cookies. If you wish to refuse the setting of cookies you can change settings on your browser to clear and block cookies. However, by doing so, Safaritalk may not work properly and you may not be able to access all areas. If you are happy to accept cookies and haven't adjusted browser settings to refuse cookies, Safaritalk will issue cookies when you log on to our site. Please also take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy: Terms of Use l Privacy Policy