leaping_lemurs: (Glee by the_reverand)
[personal profile] leaping_lemurs
This post picks up directly where the previous one left off. Once again, there are many, many pictures, this time mainly of birds.

5) We did a short walk later in the afternoon, and walked along a boardwalk between what will be rice paddies in the rainy season but are now, due to the dryness, rather unsuccessful potato and cassava fields, then crossed a really freaky (though clearly safe) bridge. It was similar to the vine bridges Indiana Jones crosses, then lops off so the bad guys fall in the river, but it was made of metal, various gauges of wire and iron bars. It swayed a lot, though, and I could only cross it very slowly, putting each foot down carefully on the iron rods that ran lengthwise along the span, because no way was I trusting my weight to heavy-duty chicken wire.

The scary bridge didn't look so bad as we approached it.


It was a tad more freaky up close. (And the river underneath was far enough down to be worriesome.)


Here's a crocodile tree.



Putting your hand on one (or the various smaller similar species alongside the trails) is definitely an ouchy feeling. I learned to look carefully not only at where I was placing my feet but also what I held on to for balance as I did.

Then we walked up a short hill to see a baobab tree. There are 7 species of baobab in the world, 6 of them found here. Continental Africa shares 1. and Australia has its own, but the other 5 are only found in Madagascar. If I understood correctly this is actually one tree that’s got 3 trunks, and it’s huge, an example of the tallest species.





When Terry and I stood at the bottom so Vy could get a picture showing the size comparison, we nearly passed out after only a couple of minutes in the heat.

Look! Tiny people!


While walking up there, we saw a plated lizard with his head and tail in view, and his middle hidden under leaves.



Here's a cropped version so you can get a good look at his face.


Then we walked along the lakeshore for a bit and saw a mongoose lemur. I could see him without the camera, but just couldn’t locate him with it. Nono, our eagle-eyed local guide, came to my rescue and got the shot. It’s a bit fuzzy, but it’s there. (Later in the trip I realized that the thing to do was pull the lens back, locate what I had seen with my eye, then extend it and close in.)

Nono's mongoose lemur shot (cropped and cleaned up in Photoshop, so you can see better):


I got a shot I like of a zebu in the lake, as we were waiting for...

6)...our bird- and croc-spotting boat trip on Ravelobe Lake. Once again, it was just us, Vy, Nono and the boatman, so we got to sit where we wanted on our small flat-bottomed, canopied boat, or move around to take pictures or use our binoculars, and our boatman took us in close to shore whenever we wanted to see something more closely.

Terry and our boat:


With luck I’ll edit in the list of what we saw before you read this (done!), but the highlights were the African darter, aka snakebird, whose long neck really does move in snakelike ways,








and the hard-to-spot Madagascar fish eagle.




What a gorgeous bird – and he took off and flew for us, too. I got a shot of him flying away,


but Vy caught him in full flight. Twice.





Other species included the malachite kingfisher,






peregrine falcon,






green-backed heron (I got very good at spotting him),








great egret,


glossy ibis, yellow-beaked kite, cattle egret, white-faced whistling ducks, blue vanga, sickle-beaked vanga (whose call sounds like a baby crying),


Madagascar kestrel, black-crowned night heron (who drove away a green-backed heron looking for a place to land), Madagascar coucal,


Madagascar jackana and black egret We also saw one nice big Nile croc sunning on the beach, with several others lurking in the water nearby, and a couple of big ones swimming.



Same croc, regulating his temperature.


Croc or log?


Croc!


Here are some random shots from around the lake.

















I think that's as many pictures as ought to be crammed into any one post, so the final bit of this day will go in its own entry.
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