After our short stop on Ile Glorieuses we sailed back to Madagascar and went to Maramba Bay. Some other sailor friends were there and loved the bay. So we looked for a nice anchorage between all the rocks inside the bay to be close to the animals living there.

01_Sunset_in_Maramba_Bay
01_Sunset_in_Maramba_Bay
02_Greater_vasa_parrots_(Coracopsis_vasa)_looking_at_us_in_the_morning
02_Greater_vasa_parrots_(Coracopsis_vasa)_looking_at_us_in_the_morning
03_Big_rock_in_Maramba_Bay
03_Big_rock_in_Maramba_Bay
04_Greater_vasa_parrots_from_the_side
04_Greater_vasa_parrots_from_the_side
05_Meeting_place_for_the_parrots
05_Meeting_place_for_the_parrots
06_Madagaskarseeadler_sitting_on_a_tree-Haliaeetus_vociferoides
06_Madagaskarseeadler_sitting_on_a_tree-Haliaeetus_vociferoides
07_Egret_looking_for_food_in_the_mud
07_Egret_looking_for_food_in_the_mud

The first thing you notice are the big, black parrots flying around the bay especially in the morning hours and at sunset making lots of noise. Those are greater vasa parrots (Coracopsis vasa) which you can find in Madagascar and on the Comoros. They are colored black-grey with a massive beak and grow up to 50 cm long. They feed on fruits, berries and nuts although some ornithologists believe they also need meat in their diet. This is just being investigated in a research in Madagascar. And if it turns out to be true those great vasa parrots could be the genetic link between parrots and birds of prey and - like no other species of parrots – hunt in the wild. In the meantime another new scientific paper confirmed that those parrots really use tools. In the new study (A novel form of spontaneous tool use displayed by several captive Greater vasa parrots (Coracopsis vasa), Biology Letters) they observed that the parrots use small pebbles or parts of dates to break or grind off small parts of shells which they eat afterward. It mainly happened in the months of March and April, just when the breeding season starts. This probably means they need the calcium for building u the egg shells. Interestingly the male vasa parrots were more interested in the calcium than the female ones. But they also observed that the male parrots regurgitated the calcium before copulating and fed it then to the female ones. A fantastc observation since there are not a lot of animals using tools.
In the Bay we could also see some more Madagascan fish eagles (Haliaeetus vociferoides) really close. One was resting on a tree about 7 m above the water and we could see him sitting there from our sea kayaks. Besides there are lots of egrets in the area which obviously sleep on the rock formations..

08_Sifaka-lemurs_sitting_in_the_trees
08_Sifaka-lemurs_sitting_in_the_trees
09_Sifaka-Lemur_looking_like_a_plush_toy
09_Sifaka-Lemur_looking_like_a_plush_toy
10_Pakia_tea_at_Maramba_Bay_anchorage
10_Pakia_tea_at_Maramba_Bay_anchorage
11_Lemur_eating_some_leafs
11_Lemur_eating_some_leafs
12_A_double_Baobab_tree
12_A_double_Baobab_tree
13_Another_beautiful_Baobab
13_Another_beautiful_Baobab
14_Who_are_you_looking_at
14_Who_are_you_looking_at
15_Orchids_on_a_tree
15_Orchids_on_a_tree

Striking were definitely the beautiful baobab trees which you can see everywhere. They really look like upside down trees, as if holding their roots into the air.
On the beach as well as behind the mangroves we could observe sifaka lemurs (probably coquerel-sifaka - Propithecus coquereli) every evening. Sometimes they just jumped from tree to tree and looked at us once in a while. They really look like small cuddly animals, especially when they sit unmoving on the trees and look at you with their big eyes and the long tail. But if they have to move on the ground they look very funny. When you disturb them they jump with their hind legs upright very quickly across the ground towards the nearest tree. This is the first time we have seen this in real and they really do this in the wild!
Furthermore we found some kind of Agamidae, sort of iguanian lizard on the beach as well as a bee-eaters high up in the baobabs. Maramba Bay is a place to stay for a while and who knows what else one can find there.

16_Unidentified_agame_or_iguanian_lizard_sitting_on_the_rocks
16_Unidentified_agame_or_iguanian_lizard_sitting_on_the_rocks
17_Agame_close_up
17_Agame_close_up
18_Bee_eater
18_Bee_eater
19_A_typical_sunset_in_Madagascar
19_A_typical_sunset_in_Madagascar

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