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Peter's Blog - 1st Feb. 2023 to 18th Feb. 2023

Now that I am here a few weeks I feel that I am settling into the daily routine of life at KAFS. The working week at KAFS begins with the MBP vehicles ferrying staff and materials to where they need to be. When I am part of the seed collection team, I travel in the minibus which picks up staff, including other members of the seed collection team, along the way to Kianjavato. There we meet the rest of the team and after everyone has caught up on the weekend’s news we head off along the track toward the agricultural research station, footbridge over the Fotobohitra River. The climb up the slopes of Sangasanga starts of gently and becomes steeper as you enter the rainforest.

Several times I have heard the surprisingly loud calls of the Varecia from the forest and twice now I have been lucky enough to see them. Parrots and coucals are never far away from us in the forest, and there is usually a Madagascar kingfisher somewhere around the paddy fields by nearer the river. I also got to see the greater bamboo lemurs which life near the river again. This time I had my camera with me.

Yesterday we went the other direction to Vatovavy. There is a much larger remnant of rainforest there, dramatically situated below the sand coloured rocky outcrops of Vatovavy. The first part of the walk towards the forest reveals wide expansive views back towards Sangasanga and KAFS.

Greater Bamboo Lemur, Madagascar


The early morning mist cleared, and after a couple of light showers, the sun shone. This time we only went to the edge of the rainforest where we found Malambovony bearing little black bead-like seed attached to crimson fruiting bodies dangling in long red fronds. There are Malambovony seedlings at KAFS and I was surprised how excited I felt when we found an area where I could see the seed. It’s now as exciting as seeing a new species of bird. The botany is beginning to bite.

My bird list has continued to grow too. Recently added species include, white-fronted rail, night jar (although I’m not sure which of two possible species it is), Madagascar kingfisher, Madagascar turtle dove and broad-billed roller.

The Amazing parade of butterflies and dragonflies continues. After lunch yesterday I discovered a large black and white winged species darting to and from a twig in the veg plot behind the kitchen. It stayed around long enough for me to rush and get my camera.

I also got to visit the Sunday market in Kianjavato last week. It was very colourful with loads of stalls selling lambas, t-shirts, colourful plastic containers and all manner of food. There was even a gentleman selling little ice-pops. He seemed to be doing an excellent trade. We traveled by taxi bus there and back. I had been looking forward to experiencing these as I have read about them in a couple of books now.