Monday 8 April 2024

Sri Lanka with Bird's Wildlife & Nature - Day 7: 22nd March 2024

Sunrise in Sinharaja came with the now usual accompaniment of Yellow-fronted Barbets, Magpie Robins and Bulbuls and a rusty red female Paradise Flycatcher before we bid our farewell to the Blue Magpie Hotel and wiggled our way down towards the Yala national park.

We stopped to stretch our legs a couple of times in amongst the tea plantations of the foothills where Southern Hill Myna, Tailorbirds, Little Swifts and Barn Swallows were seen while we took in the cooler air and once down in the lowlands once again we pulled over either side of the dam at Udawalawe where the waters thundered and Alpine and Little Swifts zoomed over us.

Barn Swallow

The marshes held Heronry things galore along with Blue-tailed and Asian Green Bee-eaters and our first Water Buffalo while five wild Asian Elephants waited behind their ditch and fence to fed by tourists. None the less the one we stopped to say hello to was magnificent. More 'in habitat' ones to follow I hope.

Water Buffalo

Asian Elephant

Asian Elephant

Asian Elephant

We arrived at the Kithala Resort at Tissamaharama in un-seasonally torrential rain and had lunch overlooking the rice paddies  which were full of Indian Pond and Purple Herons while Common Kingfishers zipped around the pool out front. White-throated Kingfishers shared the wires with an Indian Roller and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters and in the skies Spot-billed Pelicans, Great, Little and Indian Cormorants and Oriental Darters drifted over before we parted for an afternoon Owling around town.

soggy House Crow

Spot-billed Pelicans

Purple Heron

House Crow

This is quite literally what happened and we were invited into various people gardens to see a very wet Brown Fish Owl, three Indian Scops and a Brown Hawk Owl! All were in walking distance of each other.   Two of the Scops were in the same tree and the Hawk Owl…

Brown Fish Owl

Brown Hawk Owl

Indian Scops Owl

Indian Scops Owl - so quick to change shape

Indian Palm Squirrel...

Common Waxtail

Some time watching the main marsh at Debara Wewa brought back overwhelming memories of the Pantanal when we did not know where to look. The 'usual' suite of Herons were augmented by Painted Storks, Darters, Watercock, Grey Headed Swamphens, Lesser Whistling Ducks, Yellow Bittern and my bird of the day - Pheasant Tailed Jacana. Clamorous Reed-Warblers gurked and a Western Yellow Wagtail flew over calling as we scanned the lagoon and Brahminy Kites drifted back and forth.

Great White, Intermediate and Indian Pond Heron

Painted Storks

Pheasant Tailed Jacana

Grey Headed Swamphens

Grey Heron - the local birds seem bigger than ours and are much paler

Yellow Bittern

Oriental Darter

Redshank, Stilts and Common Sandpipers were seen while Pied Kingfishers joined the White-throats and Bee-eaters on patrol and Whiskered, Gull-billed and Little Terns hunted further back but not near the huge open maw of a Mugger Crocodile.

 Pied and White-throated Kingfishers and Swallow-tailed Bee-eaters 

Asian Green Bee-eater

Mugger Crocodile

Lemon Emigrant

Plain Tiger

Plain Tiger

A Jungle Owlet in another garden finished up the day and we waited for a duo of White-naped Woodpeckers to came in for a preen after a bath on a big dead tree. As dusk fell Asian Koels began singing and Peafowl started up and a male with a full train walked across the fields with his ladies not too far away while up above the pinkening sky was full of Black-headed Ibis heading off to roost one way and thousands of leisurely Flying Foxes drifting out across the landscape.

Jungle Owlet 

White-naped Woodpecker

White-naped Woodpecker

White-naped Woodpecker

Thoughts of Yala NP sent me to sleep.

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