The World’s Most Interesting Car Park – Ankarafantsika NP, Madagascar

How many people come to an eco-tourism blog and expect to have a car park recommended as a birding hotspot?  Now what if I told you that you could see not only several endemic species of birds but several species of lemur?  Yes please, drive on in to the Ankarafantsika NP’s car park!

Let’s start with the birds.  These photos were taken over two days, some in the morning, some around lunch time and some in the evening, just whenever we weren’t in the actual park.

White-headed Vanga

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Sickle-billed Vanga

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Broad-billed Rollers

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Crested Drongo

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Sickle-billed Vanga

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Malagasy Paradise Flycatcher

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Magpie-robin

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Malagasy Coucal

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Madagascar Turtle-dove

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Grey-headed Lovebirds

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A Madagascar Hoopoe checks out his appearance, maybe he has a hot date?

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Satisfied he is looking his best, he’s off and running.

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Broad-billed Rollers

 

 

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Meanwhile, has the Hoopoe been stood up?

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A Crested Drongo looks on

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A Magpie-robin on a post

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The Grey-headed Lovebirds are there throughout the day.

 

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Helmeted Guineafowl

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Across the street, an amorous and shameless pair of Vasa Parrots.

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Another Crested Drongo

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Finally the Hoopoe’s date shows up – fashionably late!

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The Sickle-billed Vanga can’t help but be a sticky beak!

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And the Hoopoe is alone again, but at least he looks great!

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In tomorrow’s post, we meet the lemurs!

Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

The Hoopoe (Upupa epops) is a colourful bird found across Afro-Eurasia, notable for its distinctive “crown” of feathers. It is the only extant species in the family Upupidae.

IMG_3944 IMG_3956 IMG_3903There are 9 sub-species and I have seen 3 of them, all in Africa.

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They were very easily seen in Satara Restcamp in Kruger National Park, Ankarafantsika in Madagascar and several places in Tanzania.  The Wikipedia map shows just how widespread they really are!

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LEARN MORE ABOUT HOOPOES

Wikipedia

Birdlife

ARKive

VIDEO

Great close up action and you can hear the sound he makes!

 

Birding In Satara Restcamp

Following on from my review of the restcamp, I thought the birds deserved their own post as there were so many!  Just get up at first light and wander around, you will probably see these birds as they were found all over the camp.  I started in the circle where our hut was, then followed my ears as more birds made their presence known.

Red-billed Hornbill

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Cape Glossy Starling

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The African Hoopoe was one of my favourites, I loved watching him manipulate his crest!

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I got lucky with a Hail Mary shot of a bird flying overhead, it was a Brown-headed Parrot!

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A gorgeous Crested Barbet

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Going by the photo in the Sasol book, I think this one is a Greater Blue-eared Starling.

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Grey Go-Away Bird

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Here you can see our car and our cabin and how close it is to the bush.

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Francolin

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Mystery bird!

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Cape Buffalo just outside the camp

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Dark-capped Bulbul

IMG_3985I know I missed some, if anyone can help me out, please comment!

My Top Thirty Bird Sightings Of 2014

Most other years this would be a top ten, but with 3 major birding trips this year I am struggling to make it a top thirty!  If you want to see last year’s birds click here.   There is no way I could single out one top bird with so many to choose from so they are being presented in chronological order.  I haven’t finished blogging the Queensland road trip or the African Adventure so I have to cheat a bit with the photos.  They are my photos but just pasted in.

1.  Carnaby’s Cockatoo – seen at several places in Western Australia, Feb 2014.

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2.  Western Rosella – seen at Dryandra and Stirling Range in Western Australia, Feb 2014