Welcome to Birdquest
Friday 11th October - Tuesday 5th November 2013
Our 2013 Ultimate Madagascar tour served up a wonderful feast of birds and mammals. All of the Ground Rollers, Mesites, Asities, Vangas and Couas were seen, generally extremely well, and we had several encounters with the amazing Madagascar Cuckoo-Roller. Particularly notable were outstanding views of a male Yellow-bellied Sunbird-Asity, point blank views of Scaly, Short-legged and Long-tailed Ground Rollers, walk away views of Red-shouldered Vanga at two metres range and an incredible encounter with a pair of Giant Couas that walked right up to us and along the benches we were just about to use for our picnic lunch! Madagascar Flufftail gave excellent views, as did White-throated Rails, while Madagascar Rail and several Madagascar Wood Rails showed almost as well. White-browed Owl, Madagascar Owl and both Torotoroka and Rainforest Scops Owls were seen very well at daytime roosts while Collared Nightjar was watched on its nest and Madagascar Nightjars were spotlighted hawking over the swimming pool of one of our hotels. The rarely seen Madagascar Sparrowhawk was watched mating in a tree right above our heads, while the scarce Henst's Goshawk posed beautifully for the scope. Madagascar Fish Eagles were viewed at one of their few remaining sites and Malagasy Sacred Ibises and Bernier's Teal were quickly found on the Betsiboka Estuary. More widespread but still highly valued species included fantastic views of breeding Red-tailed Tropicbirds on Nosy Ve where a dozen much-wanted Crab Plovers were roosting. Those who undertook the extension to the remote Masoala Peninsular were well rewarded with excellent views of a pair of incomparable Helmet Vangas attending a nest and Madagascar's first Antarctic tern was found. Although birds were our primary focus we also saw a fine selection of Lemurs including four species of Sifaka, two Bamboo Lemurs, three Sportive Lemurs and four Mouse Lemurs. Most popular though were the amazing Indris at Perinet and very confiding Ring-tailed Lemurs at Berenty. Throughout the tour the weather was generally very good and there were relatively few logistical problems by Madagascar standards.