leaping_lemurs: (Glee by the_reverand)
[personal profile] leaping_lemurs
I’m writing this in the late morning at Ampijoroa, sitting outside under a little roofed shelter to keep the sun off. We’ll be heading back to the city after lunch, but so much has happened already that I figured I might as well take this chance to get current.

Over breakfast we saw a Madagascar magpie robin, and then we went outside to wait for the 4x4 that was going to take us to the Red Gorge. While we waited, a troop of Coquerel’s sifaka – including a baby – were feeding and playing in the mango trees right between the park center and the parking lot. Needless to say, a great deal more picture-taking ensued.

Picture looking up into the trees and seeing this. It's heaven.

These two look like they're kissing.

Playing peekaboo. (I can't help anthropomorphizing.)

You can really see the beautiful coloration in this shot.

Mmmm, mangoes.

Baby sifaka!

Apparently he's learned one of life's most important lessons: to stop and smell the flowers.

Then we climbed into the back of the 4x4 – sitting on raised (and canopied) bench seats in the back of the truck - and did in an hour and a half what would otherwise by a 5-hour round trip hike through mostly open land in the heat of the sun. We saw African bee eaters on the way,

and many, many termite mounds. There are 4 kinds of termites here (which I know thanks to Nono): those that build dirt mounds,

There are 3 in this shot:

those that build nests in trees (one of which we saw at our second viewing point for the gorge),

those that eat dead wood and those that eat live wood.

The gorge itself looks like rock but is in fact eroded sand, and it’s an impressive break in the vast landscape.

There’s also a cell tower perched near the edge, a strange touch in such a desolate landscape. Dad, remember how I told you there was no point in my renting an international cell phone, because I was unlikely to have reception in the forests I was visiting? Silly me, that’s all I can say, because there are cells in use everywhere here – including in the forests.

After we got back, we visited the Durrell turtle-breeding center, where they’re working to captive-breed three endangered species: the Madagascar water turtle, the angulated tortoise and the flat-tailed tortoise. The young are introduced to the appropriate habitats to help repopulate their species, and they also track released and wild turtles to gather information.

An angulated tortoise:

The Durrell Society has a small museum there, too, with info on some of their other Madagascar projects,

and some skulls and things. Here I attempt an arty shot. *g*

A funny thing happened on the way to the gorge, when we were still on the paved road right near the park center. We pulled over just a short walk away from the lake, and Vy and Nono started talking in Malagasy. Being near the lake reminded me of something Nono had told me earlier, so I told Terry that last night a croc ate a zebu (right where I took the picture of the one in the water, so it was probably him or the other guy with him *sniff*). As soon as I told Terry, Vy got this amazed look and wanted to know how I knew, because Nono had just been telling him about it, and we teased that I’d learned Malagasy, but then I 'fessed up that Nono had told me about it while I was watching the sifaka. We walked down to the lake to take a look, since half a zebu had been floating there earlier, but luckily for those of you with weak stomachs – because you know I would have taken a picture – it was gone.

Another story, this one on me. Last night I had my back-up flashlight hanging off my belt when we did our night walk, and I’d snapped a red night lens over it. When we got back, the lens was missing and I felt bad, both because I didn’t have it anymore and because I’d littered the forest. Later, in our room, I told Terry that in addition to the hole in the screen (the one in the earlier picture that she’d stuffed with Kleenex to keep the bugs out), we had a round hole in the concrete floor. She looked where I was pointing and started to laugh. What I was seeing was my flashlight lens, which from my angle looked like a hole and from hers like exactly what it was. I felt dumb, but at least I had my cheap piece of plastic back. *g*

In a couple of minutes we’ll have an early lunch, and then it’s back to Majunga and the market.

PS – While I was typing the dead zebu story, we saw a pair of African gray lovebirds in a tree right by where we were sitting. One flew off before I could get the camera out, but I got a quite-distant shot of the other.

Later that afternoon...

How could I have forgotten to tell you about my purchase yesterday? I bought a tablecloth and 6 napkins hand embroidered with ringtail lemurs in various poses. Yes, I’m officially around the bend.

To be continued in the next post.

Date: 2007-11-08 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] http://users.livejournal.com/bliss_/
These posts are just so fascinating to me. Are you finding it surreal to look back and realize that you actually did/saw all these wonderful things on the trip?

Date: 2007-11-08 11:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] jenlev.livejournal.com
Oh my gods.....I'm practically speechless and typeless. And you know me, that's a rare event. Lemur smelling flower! I'm just flailing with glee. Wheee!

Wonderful wonderful photos! *hugs*

Date: 2007-11-10 02:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] the-reverand.livejournal.com
The bee eaters! What fantastic markings. And I love the red bits of fur on the lemurs. And lemur baby! :D

That gorge is gorge-ous! Hehe. ^ ^(groan!)

Date: 2007-11-11 12:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] victorian-tweed.livejournal.com
AWESOME pic of the bee eaters, Nutmeg!

I'm glad you found your flashlight thingie! (And I'm glad I'm not the only one who has moments like those...)

Date: 2007-11-12 10:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] caerwynx.livejournal.com
What do lemurs smell like?


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