I was recently swept off on a spontaneous bird watching adventure with members of the Malagasy bird conservation group ASITY. They were showing some of the best bird watching areas in the region to two tour operators for a local eco-tourism organization in Tana. The group was passing through Andavadoaka on their way to Morombe and asked if I would like to join them for two days of birding.
I met the group in Morombe and we drove to our first destination – Satramalandy (four hours drive east of Morombe). We arrived in the evening and headed out on a night walk to look for nocturnal animals. We had a local guide from the village and all the ASITY members had great knowledge of the local wildlife so it was a great experience for me. We saw iguanas, spiders, geckos and near the end of the walk we saw three Microcebus mettermieri – a very rare mouse-sized species of lemur which was only discovered a year ago. My first wild lemur sighting!
We camped out in tents and awoke very early the next morning to look for birds on a beautiful lake beside the village. Within five minutes I spotted 10 species that I had never seen before including jacanas, herons, terns, coots, and a few duck species. We found the Hottentot Teal, but none of the highly endangered Madagascar Teal.
Later in the morning we drove to
We headed back to Morombe after lunch and again I was lucky to have the experts identify every species along the way. A long section of the route has rice fields on either side of the road where we saw many egrets, storks, and raptors. In total over the two days I saw 21 new species, several snakes and reptiles plus my first lemurs! Incredible!
We spent the night in Morombe before heading back to Andavadoaka the following morning. Once we arrived I was happy to show the group around
Despite a few language difficulties, it was a great way to get to know some
Ashley (field scientist)