Saturday 13 April 2024

Sri Lanka with Bird's Wildlife & Nature - Day 12 : 27th March 2024

We watched the sun come up over Kandy Lake from our hotel way up above with Indian Pitta, Barbets and Asian Koels singing from the jungle edge while the last of the Flying Foxes came back to roost.

Before too long we were in the thick of the morning Kandy rush hour strolling along the bustling prom and eyeballing Egrets, Herons and Cormorants surrounded by the cacophony of people of sounds and smells of the birds and bats. We all agreed that it was a fantastic experience to have the birds breeding so close to us.  The pictures speak for themselves and required some whittling down so I apologise for the image overload.

Black-crowned Night Heron

Little Egret

Little Egret - black bill, yellow eye, pink - lilac lores, head plumes

Intermediate Egret - black bill, red eye, yellow lores

Intermediate Egrets - just look at the glowing red eyes!

Great White Egret - black bill, orange eye, turquoise lores

Great White Egrets

Indian Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron

Indian Pond Heron - in full breeding plumage they are stunning

Little Cormorants - so cute

White-throated Kingfisher

Water Monitor

Indian Flying Fox

Orange-winged (Asian) Groundling

House Crow

We headed back for breakfast with heads buzzing after our urban session and soon had to pack and check out but not before another White-throated Kingfisher put on a show after having a bath in the infinity pool.

White-throated Kingfisher 

Breakfast and then back into town for a walk with a very knowledgeable guide around the Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. It was fascinating and steeped in history too. We were shown where Lord Mountbatten resided and planned during World War II and that 5000 British troops were billeted around the park. I later found out that my maternal Grandfather had been one of those stationed there and it was so good to have a physical connection to him.

The mighty Ficus benjamina covering over 1000 m squared.  This is the common house plant back home

Cook Pines - lopsided because of undermining from Termites

The house Lord Mountbatten used during the War.  The Jackfruit tree in front was 250 years old 

My grandad, Stan Brooks was billeted here

And another link to Bridge on the River Kwai - the conical, clipped tree appears in the 74th minute!

There were birds too with Crested Serpent and Changeable Hawk-Eagles, Sri Lanka Red-backed Woodpeckers, three Barbets and fluty Black-hooded Orioles while Red-wattled Lapwings defended their nests from random dogs.


Indian Flying Foxes

Changeable Hawk-Eagle chasing Palm Squirrels

Sri Lanka Red-backed Woodpeckers

Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis

Cannonball Tree - Couroupita guianensis - amazingly fleshy flowers


Crested Serpent Eagle

Red-wattled Lapwing

It was now incredibly hot again and a long drive ensued before lunch at the Luckgrove Spice Farm in Naula where another fascinating walk (and massage!) took place. Black Capped Babblers and shining Tickell's Blue Flycatchers fed unconcerned around us.

They use coconut husks as slow release fertiliser

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher - they look a bit different in the sunshine

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher - phwoar

Black Capped Babbler

Cardamom flower

On again to our lodge at Elaghela in Sigiriya where Blue-faced Malkoha and Orange Breasted Green Pigeon showed well around the grounds before a walk just down the road at Pidurangala Lake for the golden hour. 

Blue-faced Malkoha

Orange Breasted Green Pigeon 

The vista was magnificent with the late sunlight and rain clouds illuminating both the flat extent of Pirandugala with its sunset watchers on the top and the imposing lump of Sigiriya - Lion Rock with its frankly terrifying stairway to the summit. 

mmm - no thanks

Two Black Bitterns were our prize find here but there were heaps of waterbirds once again and three Kingfisher species along with singing Indian Cuckoos, Baya Weavers with their dangling nests, smart Tricoloured Munias (better here than in Costa Rica) and a busy party of Tawny Bellied Babblers.

Pheasant Tailed Jacana

Pheasant Tailed Jacana

Lesser Whistling Duck

Grey-headed Swamphen

Spotted Dove

Brown Headed Barbet

Lesser Whistling Duck

Lesser Whistling Duck

A Grey-headed Fish Eagle watched us from a tree and squadrons of Asian Groundlings patrolled the edges and Woolly Necked Storks headed off to roost. 

Stork-billed Kingfisher

Grey-headed Fish Eagle

Asian Woolly-necked Stork

Asian Pincertail

Orange-winged (Asian) Groundling

Orange-winged (Asian) Groundling

Purple Heron family

Black Bittern

Black Bittern

Tricoloured Munias

Tricoloured Munias

It was a magical place to round off the day.

Tree-frog #1

Tree-frog #2

Preying Mantis

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