Friday 5 April 2024

Sri Lanka with Bird's Wildlife & Nature - Day 6: 21st March 2024

Another full day around sultry Sinharaja that actually begun with a very rare reptile that Saman rescued from where the Jeep was parked.  It turned out to be Godagedaras’ Day Gecko and was moved to a safer spot. 

Godagedaras’ Day Gecko - Cnemaspis godagedarai 

We bumped back up to the farmstead screen and a male and two female SL Spurfowl was immediately on view and without the attentions of the Jungle Fowl, they stayed longer and put on a show but despite our patience the Sri Lanka Wood Pigeons (endemic #27) did not come in but at the last gasp two flew low over our heads across the tea plantation.  There was plenty to see as we waited but the sun was fully out and the temperature was climbing rapidly. Orange-billed Babblers clambered through and White-browed and Black-capped Bulbuls joined them. Emerald Doves, Green Imperial Pigeons and SL Hill Mynas could be heard down slope and some SL Hanging Parrots once again came down low enough to watch comfortably.

SL Spurfowl

Palm Squirrel

Yellow-browed Bulbul

Orange Billed Babbler

White-bellied Drongo

SL Hanging Parrot

White-browed Bulbul

From here we continued once again to the main gates and met our local guide for another, shorter session on the trail and in fact we only walked as far as the first ‘bandstand’.  Our last local target was soon found and 12 Grey-headed Laughing Thrushes (endemic #28) along with the Orange Billed Babblers crashed through the jungle and crossed the path.  It was quite near the Frogmouth spot and I could imagine them blearily opening an eye at their noisy neighbours.

Grey-headed Laughing Thrush  (endemic #28)

Dark-fronted Babblers moved through in a little chatty group and an Emerald Dove strutted up and down the path and ignored us as we watched Brown-breasted Flycatchers and Black-naped Monarchs.

Dark-fronted Babbler

Brown-breasted Flycatcher

Black-naped Monarch

She was rather a large lady...

Her tiny boyfriend had seen better days - still three legs to go!

A more arboreal flock gave the crew another chance at Red-faced Malkoha – they really are impressive birds and with them we found SL Scimitar Babblers and SL Drongos and the magnificent white male Indian Paradise Flycatcher with that stupendously ridiculous tail.  Some birds get etched in your mind and this was certainly one of those.

SL Scimitar Babbler

A large Assassin Bug

 Indian Paradise Flycatcher

Both male and female Lesser Yellownape Woodpecker were seen high in the trees but at least they lingered long enough to have a proper look at!

Lesser Yellownape

Lesser Yellownape

Male SL Jungle Fowl crowed (if you can call it that) but were incredibly difficult to find in the tangles and Green Warbler was heard calling and seen quite well as we ambled back.  It was time for a break and a little house offered us strong black coffee with lumps of jaggery palm sugar on the side and still warm Finger Millet patties which were surprisingly tasty too.  I chased a Birdwing and got eye to eye with a Green Forest Lizard.

Finger Millet 

SL Birdwing

Green Forest Lizard

We had left Steve snapping the bird tables at the lodgings up the road and met him there to have lunch while watching the Bulbuls, Barbets and SL Blue Magpies dropping in and out while SL Jungle Fowl scratched around under the buildings.  Our guide showed us the SL Drongos on the nest in his garden as we came back down the hill.  A fragile nest but with fluffy young in side.

Yellow-fronted Barbet

Yellow-fronted Barbet

Yellow-browed Bulbul

Red-vented Bulbul

SL Blue Magpie

SL Blue Magpie

SL Blue Magpie

SL Jungle Fowl

Purple Rumped Sunbird piercing the base of the flower like a Slaty Flowerpiercer

Purple Rumped Sunbird

SL Drongo

Back to the hotel for chill out time but like all good down time there were birds to be seen with three tiny Brown Capped Pygmy Woodpeckers in the big bare tree opposite the rooms along with White-throated Kingfishers, White-bellied Drongos and Black-hooded Orioles.  The Crested Serpent Eagles were circling – one with a snake and the Changeable Hawk-Eagle was equally vocal and found perched up in the adjacent jungle.  The heavens opened thunderously and I may have got my swimming shorts on and gone outside and stood for ten minutes within the deluge.  It was divine.  There may be photographic evidence.

The rain had stirred things up from the dinner balcony and a greyish headed ‘lucionensis’ race Brown Shrike was drying out below us where the three Munia species were once again seen feeding. A Syke’s Warbler appeared at eyelevel meaning it was way above ground level and it was educational to watch it feeding amongst the leaves with Indian White-eyes and a pair of Common Iora for company.  Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters were drying out on a distant snag with a single Golden Fronted Leafbird and SL Green Pigeons were found on other bare branches.

Crested Serpent Eagle

White-breasted Waterhen

White-rumped Munia

Common Iora

‘lucionensis’ race Brown Shrike

this race breeds in the Phillipines

Syke’s Warbler

Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters & SL Green Pigeon

A final pre-dinner sortie for one last SL Wood Pigeon attempt unfortunately drew a blank but standing above the cloud as it bubbled and rose in the valley below was an ethereal experience.  The Hawk-Eagle calls echoed up through the mist and we could hear Tickell’s Blue Flycatchers and Black-hooded Orioles along with a Chestnut Backed Owlet.  

As we descended in the dusk, the Jeep lights were full of the flickering wings of zillions of erupting Termites.

The wings do not stay attached for long and were drifting down in the calm air and back at the hotel they were swarming around every light but the local House Toads and Geckoos seemed more than happy with the sudden free and easily accessible bounty.


House Toad

House Gecko

immature African Land Snail - not after Termites

No comments:

Post a Comment