Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Sri Lanka 18.2.2017

We left the Sinharaja area in the morning and moved onto Embilipitya where we stayed in the rather plush Centuria Hotel, just for the one night unfortunately. The hotel was situated right on the shore of Chandrika Lake which held hundreds of Whiskered Terns along with impressive numbers of Indian and Little Cormorants feeding. In the evening we visited an area of open shrubland immediately outside of Udawalawe National Park. I saw my first ever Indian Elephant just inside the park boundary, plenty more would come the following day. This proved to be an interesting area as it was one of the first lowland dry zones sites we visited. Our only new endemic of the day was Sri Lanka Woodshrike, one of the few endemics restricted to this zone as most of the others are found at higher elevations in rainforest habitats. We stayed late for some nightjar action and very shortly after sunset we encountered Indian and Jerdon's Nightjar in quick succession.

Pale-billed Flowerepecker

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Yellow Bittern

Whiskered Tern

Purple Heron

Intermediate Egret

Intermediate Egret

Green Bee-eater

Sri Lanka Woodshrike

Sri Lanka Woodshrike

Yellow-wattled Lapwing

Yellow-eyed Babbler
Paddyfield Pipit

Paddyfield Pipit

Paddyfield Pipit

Crested Serpent-Eagle

White-bellied Sea Eagle

White-bellied Sea Eagle
Indian Scops Owl

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Sri Lanka 17.2.2017

We had an excellent day around Sinharaja today. We managed to knock a serious chunk out of the targeted list of endemics by clocking up the following new species - Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Ashy-headed Laughingthrush, Green-billed Coucal, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Scimitar-Babbler, White-faced Starling, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Thrush and Sri Lanka Woodpigeon. In total we recorded nineteen of the possible thirty-four Sri Lanka endemics over the day alone.

The two highlights of the day were the sunrise visit to a private house that had several sought out species which came into the back yard to feed on food put out by the family. Top of these species was a pair of Sir Lanka Spurfowl which are extremely elusive normally. These were the only ones that were seen on the entire trip. They came in for just above five minutes and feed at a point blank range as we watched from inside the house. The light was understandably dire given that the sun hadn't yet risen. We also had our only Ashy-headed Laughing-thrushes of the trip here which was a little odd as I don't think they are that rare? Two other good birds here were an adult and a recently fledged Green-billed Coucal. We had tried looking for this species a few times previously and had been unsuccessful. Also here were a few Sri Lanka Blue Magpies. These also proved to be the only sighting of this species during the trip. Similar to the Laughing-thrush I wasn't expecting them to be so scarce either. My photos the species are unfortunately rather poor.

The other memorable bird of the day was Sri Lanka Thrush which we picked up in the afternoon. We had spend a good two hours on one calling bird but just get onto it. While we eating a packed lunch one of our guides managed to find another rather showy bird which really gave itself up. This species is notoriously skulky and we were very lucky to have seen the species so well after all effort. Red-faced Malkoha was also a bit of a stonker I might add, quite a large bird.

Fledged Green-billed Coucal 
Adult Green-billed Coucal with snail.


Sri Lanka Blue Magpie

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie

Golden-fronted Leafbird

Sri Lanka Drongo

Indian Paradise Flycatcher

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

Red-faced Malkoha

Red-faced Malkoha
Spot-winged Thrush

Spot-winged Thrush

Sri Lanka Thrush

Sri Lanka Thrush

Sri Lanka Thrush

Sri Lanka Thrush
Sri Lanka Junglefowl

Sri Lanka Junglefowl 
Sri Lanka Junglefowl

Sri Lanka Junglefowl

Sri Lanka Spurfowl

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Sri Lanka 16.2.2017

Morning in Kitulgala and evening in Sinharaja. New endemics for the trip included Brown-capped Babbler, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Crimson-fronted Barbet and Legg's Flowerpecker.

Sri Lanka Junglefowl chick.

Brown-capped Babbler

Chestnut-backed Owlet

Crimson-fronted Barbet

Spotted Dove

Sri Lanka Green Pigeon

Orange-billed Babbler

White-throated Kingfisher

Female Layard's Parakeet

Male Layard's Parakeet