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SRI LANKA

  8th-23rd NOVEMBER  2001

TRIP REPORT

Moira and Graeme Wallace, Edinburgh, Scotland. dacnis@mwallace.freeserve.co.uk

STRUCTURE AND HEADINGS OF THE TRIP REPORT.

Background and Summary of the Trip.

Introduction
Costs in Sri Lanka
Birding Highlights
Major Misses

Logistics, Site Information and Accommodation.           

Reference Sources.

Books
Trip reports
Tapes

Daily Account.

Annotated Bird Species List.

Summary Mammal List.

BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF THE TRIP

Introduction

Sri Lanka (SL) is a well trodden birding destination. Numerous detailed trip reports exist on the Internet or there is one excellent report available from the Oriental Bird Club (OBC). Accordingly, this report is restricted to a record of the species seen on our trip together with brief notes on sites and accommodation.

If you plan to bird Sri Lanka you need look no further than Baur & Co who have been running tours here for 20+ years. Baurs provided us with excellent service at very reasonable cost. Baurs have many drivers but you should request Sunil de Alwis who has a well deserved reputation in meeting the needs of birders, is resourceful and flexible, knows all the sites and regards it as his personal mission to find you all the endemics. The success of our trip owed much to Sunil.

In addition Baurs can arrange the services of Sri Lanka's top ornithologists Upali Ekanayake  and Deepal Warakagoda but it is also possible to contract directly for their services. We made arrangements to bird with Upali for the last 4 days of our trip and his skill saved the day for the Whistling Thrush and further helped us find some key species that we were missing.

We saw 226 species including all the endemics, except the "new owl",  and many other target species e.g SL Frogmouth, Kashmir Flycatcher and Indian Pitta although the absence of the Pied Thrush was something of a disappointment.

Costs in Sri Lanka

Baurs charged Rs25/mile for a comfortable air conditioned minibus and Rs650/day for Sunil's accommodation and subsistence. In our 16 days we travelled 1000 miles for a total cost of  Rs35750. At the prevailing exchange rate during our stay of Rs130/£1 this translates to £275 which represented extraordinary value. A standard room with fan and shower cost on average Rs1000/night, breakfast, Rs200, dinner (usually rice and curry) Rs300 and beers Rs125 each.


Birding Highlights

Sri Lanka Junglefowl

This most attractive junglefowl proved to be unexpectedly common and was easily seen at Sinharaja, Yala, Horton Plains and Sigiriya.

Sri Lanka Frogmouth

On our first night we had one bird respond and come close on the trail to Bodhinagala but failed to see it. However, fantastic views obtained on successive nights around the Education Centre at Sinharaja.

Indian Nightjar

Several of these small, delicate nightjars seen pre-dawn at Bundala together with one spotlighted elephant which gave us rather a start.

Jerdon's Nightjar

Heard at Bundala but it was not until the last moments before dawn that we managed to lure one close at Yala which then afforded great views.

Orange-headed Ground Thrush

A surprise that helped balance other thrushes that we dipped on. Seen in the gardens of the Hotel Sigiriya.

Red-faced Malkoha

Several birds in a mixed flock found in the rain morning and afternoon at Sinharaja near the Research Station. Finding them is one thing seeing them well is something else.

Kashmir Flycatcher

A cracking male seen on successive days in Victoria Park. Also heard at the "Arrenga pool" at Horton Plains.

Major Misses

Pied Ground Thrush

This was a major disappointment but there were definitely none in Victoria Park, which we visited on 3 occasions. Locals also confirmed that the birds had not been seen.

Scaly Thrush

Another big miss but we could not find it at the regular spot by the stream behind the Research Station at Sinharaja. Upali had also failed with a Dutch group some days earlier.

LOGISTICS, SITE INFORMATION AND ACCOMMODATION

Logistics

Unlike many other birding trips in SE Asia there is little need to worry about logistics if, as most people do, you use the services of Baur & Co who have been running trips for birders in Sri Lanka for many years at very reasonable cost. Based upon either your own or one of their "standard"  itineraries  Baurs will provide airport pick-up and-drop off, car, driver, expert ornithologist (if you wish), and will make all the accommodation arrangements, jeep bookings and generally remove all the hassle. They can be contacted at:

A. Baur & Co (Travel) Ltd
Trans Asia Hotel - Commercial Complex 117,
Sir Chittampalam A. Gardiner Mawatha,
Colombo 02, Sri Lanka.

E-mail tourism@baurs.com

Website www.baurs.com


Site Information and Accommodation

Bellanwila/ Attidiya

Open water and marshland just south of Colombo which provided an easy start to the trip on our way south to Bodhinagala. This was the only place we saw Cotton Pygmy Goose.

Bodhinagala/Ingiriya

A patch of rain forest surrounding a Buddhist monastery near Ingiriya. This is probably the best place to see the difficult Green-billed Coucal - we dipped on the first afternoon  but the monks told us that the birds were often seen just below the monastery at 9.00am -and so it proved the following day. Divine intervention!

Stayed at the original Citizens Rest guesthouse with double room, bathroom and fan for Rs900/night, together with good food at very reasonable prices. They were also kind enough to do our shopping for food for Martin's place. Highly recommended (there is now a second Citizens Rest nearby with a/c which is much more expensive)

 Sinharaja

This World Heritage site comprises the largest primary wet forest remaining in Sri Lanka. Many of the forest endemics can be seen here including SL Spurfowl, Junglefowl, Frogmouth and Blue Magpie, Red-faced Malkoha, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Layard's Parakeet.

To get to Sinharaja you need to leave your vehicle at Veddagala and rent a jeep (Rs 7,000 return) to take you on a rough road to the village of Kudawa where you pay for permits and the obligatory ranger. Due to the low numbers of visitors we eventually ended up with 2 rangers Ranjieh and Thandula both of whom we found to be fun, possessed of great determination and laser-like eyes. They were instrumental in our eventual success with the Spurfowl. From Kudawa it is another 3 to 4kms up a really rough road to Martin's place which is by far the most convenient accommodation for Sinharaja. Birding at Sinharaja essentially means walking along the trail to the Research Station and it is along this road that many key species can be found. We saw birds all along the trail but the final 1km was particularly good. Scaly Thrush is usually found by the stream behind the Research Station but was absent when we were there. Spurfowl can also be seen there but the best site is back down the hill at Kudawa.

Accommodation at Martin's was unreasonable at Rs1000/night as was his liberal use of the food that we had brought with us to feed other guests. However his place is the only place that is 5 minutes from the park gates.

Uda Walawe National Park

A mix of habitats in the dry zone comprising open grassland and scrubland, tall forest, pools and river habitat. This is a really birdy place and the open habitat (compared with Yala) allows for great viewing. We only spent an afternoon here but if going again would do the whole day. It's not cheap, park fees were Rs1600/foreign visitor, half day for the jeep Rs1800 and the obligatory guide Rs300 plus tip of the same again. Key birds here were Spot-billed Pelican, Lesser Adjutant, Woolly-necked Stork, Brown Fish Owl, Malabar Pied Hornbill and Forest Wagtail.

At Sunil's suggestion we stayed at the Walawa Park View Hotel in Uda Walawa where a good a/c room cost Rs1300/night, breakfast Rs150 and dinner Rs225.

Tissamaharama

Tissa acts as a base from which to access the surrounding areas and in particular Tissa tanks, Bundala, Yala and Hambantota. Once again at Sunil's suggestion we stayed in the excellent Vikum Lodge which was undoubtedly the cleanest hotel on the trip. Food here was very good (with the exception of the buffalo milk curd which is something of an acquired taste.) and the beer cold. The room cost Rs1000/night with breakfast Rs200 and dinner Rs350.

Tissa Tanks

This urban area in the south-east consists of 5 large reservoirs or tanks surrounded by paddy fields. We spent one afternoon here at the Deberawewa tank which produced Great Cormorant, Eurasian Spoonbill, Painted Stork, Asian Openbill and Yellow and Black Bitterns. The banana plantation held a roosting Collared Scops Owl and the White-naped Woodpecker appeared in the coconut palms as predicted.

Bundala National Park

This park is a mixture of wetland habitat, open scrubland with some forest and saltpan workings. It was full of waders and terns and the sandy roads on the edge of the park hold Indian and Jerdon's Nightjar. Mammals include Indian Elephant with which we had an unplanned encounter while spotlighting nightjars and SL Swamp Crocodile with which we had a planned but still surprisingly close view in it's hole in the river bank.

Yala

This park in the dry zone covers a large area of the south-east coast and a range of habitats including scrubland, grass flats, monsoon forest and rocky outcrops. Access is by park jeep, and most visitors are restricted to only one zone of the park. The jeep must also be covered which can be somewhat frustrating. Park fees were in the order of Rs1500/foreign visitor, cost of the jeep for the full day Rs3600 and the guide Rs500 (including tip). The approach road to the park produced good views of Indian and Jerdon's Nightjars but we were unable to do the park justice as it poured with rain for most of the day. However, we still managed to see 100 species, including Black and Woolly-necked Stork, Lesser Adjutant, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Barred Buttonquail, Common Snipe, Drongo Cuckoo, Black Drongo, Brahminy Starling and White-rumped Shama.

Nuwara Eliya

This bustling hill town acts as a base for several sites..We stayed at one of Sunil's recommended hotels; the Hotel Yenisey which charged Rs1000/night for an excellent room with constant hot water, breakfast Rs110 and dinner Rs250. The hotel staff were very accommodating providing us with tea at 4.30am on three successive mornings as we pursued the Whistling Thrush.

Victoria Park

The main attraction of this hill town is Victoria Park, a large urban park which is a winter stopover for Indian Pitta, Indian Blue Robin, Kashmir Flycatcher and Pied Thrush. We obtained good views of all except the Pied Thrush which was unaccountably missing. We also visited a wooded area on the outskirts of town (Pedro Scouts Camp area on Moonplains Road) which held good mixed flocks including SL White-eye, Dull-Blue Flycatcher, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Dark-fronted Babbler and Velvet-fronted Nuthatch. The marsh beyond the racecourse proved unproductive.

Horton Plains

Remote and high elevation grassland, marshland and montane forest on a plateau (2000m ) on the edge of the Peak Wilderness some 25kms on a tortuous road from Nuwara Eliya. Key bird here is the Whistling Thrush or Arrenga which can be elusive. The regular site for the thrush is a pond on the right hand side of the road just beyond the 23km marker. Look for a sign on the right that asks " Have you seen Leopard today?" Park on the left. This pool is about 2-3km before the formal entrance to the National Park where you should go for tea and hot roti to celebrate finding the most difficult endemic. It took us 3 attempts before we saw the thrush but were luckier with the Sri Lanka Bush Warbler which obliged at the first attempt.

Surrey Tea Estate, Welimada

The owner of this private tea plantation allows birders to visit the wooded grounds around the house which hold SL Wood Pigeon and Brown Wood Owl. Tea and excellent home-made cake tend to be automatically provided for which a small donation is expected, but having seen the birds it is rather pleasant to take tea on the shady lawn.

Kitulgala

A forest reserve on the Kelani river.  This forest contains many of the same endemics found at Sinharaja and on that basis we had not planned to visit this site. However having teamed up with Upali for the last 2-3 days and needing a male Legge's Flowerpecker we decided to visit Kitulgala on our way to Sinharaja. We had 2 birding sessions here which were unfortunately rather unproductive and did not yield the male Legge's. However, Upali rates the site highly.

We stayed at the newly opened Hotel Beeta's Garden which was the best hotel of the trip. Great room, food and location. Room Rs1450, breakfast Rs175 and dinner Rs 200.

Sigiriya

The ancient rock fortress site of Sigiriya, north of Kandy in the dry zone, is surrounded by scrubland, tall forest, small tanks and gardens.  Although not many endemics are found here these habitats hold a great array of birds including all the prinias, 5 or 6 babblers, at least 3 cuckoos, Rufous and Brown-capped Woodpecker and Orange-headed Thrush is a regular winter visitor.

We stayed at the expensive ( by Sri Lankan standards) Hotel Sigiriya which cost US$75/night including breakfast.

Kandy

We had one birding session in the hills above Kandy on our way north to Sigiriya which was extremely productive yielding all the parakeets. We stayed at the McLeod Inn at Kandy which has a great view over Kandy Lake but not much else to recommend it, but with accommodation at Rs900/night and breakfast Rs150 it's hard to complain.

REFERENCE SOURCES.

Books

A Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka G.M.Henry 3rd Edition 1998

A Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka Harrison J/Worfolk T. 1999 (ISBN 0-19-854960-1)


Trip reports

There is an excellent December 1999 trip report which covers all the main sites together with helpful site maps by John and Judy Geeson available from the OBC.

The OBC may be contacted at:

Oriental Bird Club
c/o The Lodge
Sandy
Bedfordshire
SG19 2DL

e-mail mail@orientalbirdclub.org

website http://www.orientalbirdclub.org/

In addition there are many reports available on the Internet; the following sites hold some useful reports:

http://www.crosswinds.net/~birdtrips/TripReports.html (Note: this site contains "archive" material only but is still very useful)

http://www.birdtours.co.uk/

http://www.surfbirds.com/

Tapes

We made up our own tape with help from other birders and bought a copy of The Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka - An Identification Guide by Deepal Warakagoda. This tape is available from Baur but unfortunately does not contain certain key calls such as the Whistling Thrush.

DAILY ACCOUNT.

Wed 7th November

Gulf Air from London (LHR) to Colombo via Bahrain

Thurs 8th November

Arrived Colombo 7.45am, met by Baurs and on our way 8.30am. Birded Bellanwila/Attidiya  before driving to Ingiriya where we checked in to the Citizens Rest. At 3.00pm birded around the guesthouse seeing the first of many Indian Pitta together with Purple-rumped and Long-billed Sunbird, Red-backed Woodpecker and Brown-headed Barbet. At 3.30pm drove the short distance to Bodhinagala. Birded along the trails finding Coppersmith and Yellow-fronted Barbet, Black-headed Yellow Bulbul, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher arriving late afternoon at the monastery where we saw a group of 8-10 SL Hornbills. Took tea with the monks (who feed the hornbills) and were told that Green-billed Coucal was regular around 9.00am at the monastery. Heard SL Frogmouth and Jerdon's Nightjar at dusk.

Fri 9th November

Birded around the guesthouse at 6.30am obtaining close views of Brown-capped Babbler. Returned to Bodhinagala monastery where we found a pair of Green-billed Coucal at 9.00am! Birded around the area until 10.30am, getting our only sighting of Legge's Flowerpecker (f) along with Yellow-browed Bulbul and the SL form of Paradise Flycatcher. Set off for Sinharaja, stopping on route for Jerdon's Leafbird, Flame Minivet and SL Hanging Parrot. At 2.30pm we arrived in the village of Veddagala where we left our own transport and were taken the rest of the way by Park jeep. At Kudawa we stopped and tried for SL Spurfowl with the help of Ranjieh, a local guide. Heard two birds very close but were unable to see them. At the Sinharaja Park HQ at Kudawa we were told that Chestnut-backed Owlet was a regular in the village around 6.00pm. Hung around for a while seeing our first Spot-winged Thrush but only heard the Owlet far off. Uncomfortable ride in the back of the jeep up to Martin's Place, arriving around 7.15pm. Late night (9.00pm) birding produced excellent views of SL Frogmouth which had been calling earlier in the evening around the Education Centre.

Sat 10th November

Met Ranjieh and Sunil at 6.30am at the Park gate. Spent the morning on the road and trails as far as the Research Centre, having good views of SL Blue Magpie, SL Scimitar Babbler, Spot-winged Thrush, Orange-billed Babbler, White-faced Starling, Malabar Trogon, Ashy-headed Laughingthrush and SL Junglefowl. Returned to Martin's at 11.30am when the rain became really heavy, went out again at 3.00pm and eventually had reasonably good 'scope views of a group of Red-faced Malkoha in the rain. SL Frogmouth seen again at night.

Sun 11th November

Left Martin's at 6.00am to walk down to the SL Spurfowl site at Kudawa. Great views of Layard's Parakeet, SL Hanging Parrot and Chestnut-headed Bee-eater on the way. Spent most of the morning trying to see SL Spurfowl. Birds were calling very close but never came into view. We did, however, have very good views of Chestnut-backed Owlet. Spent the rest of the day birding around the village area and walked back up to Martin's later in the afternoon.

Mon 12th November

Packed and out by 6.15am, jeep drive down to village where we spent a couple of hours at the Spurfowl site and eventually had good flight views of a pair of birds. Collected our own vehicle at Veddagala and set off around 10.00am for the 3-hour drive to Uda Walawe. Baurs had arranged for a driver and vehicle to take us into the Park and he was waiting for us at the Uda Walawa Hotel. After lunch we left for the Park and had an excellent afternoon with great views of 3 Lesser Adjutant, Brown Fish Owl, Woolly-necked Stork and Malabar Pied Hornbill amongst others.

Tues 13th November

Spent the morning driving at birding pace to Tissamaharama. Highlights en route included a group of 16 Painted Stork, Open-billed Stork, Small Minivet, Blue-faced Malkoha, Forest Wagtail, White-throated Silverbill and Pied Cuckoo. Checked in to the Vikum Lodge at Tissa. After lunch drove to the Deberawewa Tank where we had reasonable views of Yellow and Black Bittern, brief but good views of Collared Scops Owl in the banana plantation and very good views of the White-naped Woodpecker which appeared in the coconut palms on time at 5.40pm.

Wed 14th November

Early start (4.45am) to drive to Bundala in search of  nightjars. Close views of 3 Indian Nightjars, even closer views of an elephant caught in the spotlight. Heard Jerdon's Nightjar but it did not come in to the tape. Entered the Park at 6.30am and had a successful morning seeing a range of waders, terns and 1 Red-necked Phalarope. Spent the afternoon around Hambantota, Wirawila and Kalametiya but due to the drought conditions only managed to see 1 Spot-billed Pelican amongst relatively small numbers of waders. Ironically, torrential rain brought the day to a close.

Thurs 15th November

An early start for Yala in a pre-dawn search for Jerdon's Nightjar. Good views of both Indian and Jerdon's near the Park entrance. Set off into the Park at 6.40am but unfortunately the rain started around 8.00am and continued for most of the day. However, despite the poor conditions we still managed to see 100+ species in the park including Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Drongo Cuckoo, Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, White-rumped Shama, Black Drongo and Brahminy Starling. As we left the Park we went to the beach at a fishing village where we saw our only Brown-headed Gull.

Fri 16th November

Left Vikum Lodge at 8.00am and drove at birding pace to Nuwara Eliya, via the Surrey Tea Estate where we had great views of the SL Wood Pigeon but dipped on the Wood Owl. Checked into the Yenisey Hotel at 3.30pm and then headed off to Victoria Park. Good views of Indian Pitta, Kashmir Flycatcher, Yellow-eared Bulbul and Blyth's Reed Warbler but no luck with Indian Blue Robin or Pied Thrush (which we were told had not yet arrived).

Sat 17th November

Left for Horton Plains at 4.45am, very misty on the way but reasonably clear when we arrived at the Whistling Thrush site. Waited around until after 7.00am but no sign or sound of the bird. Drove on towards the Park and had great views of SL Bush Warbler on the way. Had tea and roti in the cafe, walked back along the road and down a track which went off to the left. Birds here included Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher, Bright-green Warbler, Eurasian Blackbird, and good views of Dull-Blue Flycatcher. Returned to Nuwara Eliya for lunch and then went to an area on the edge of town which was signposted Pedro Scouts Camp. A mixed flock produced SL White-Eye, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Dark-fronted Babbler, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and excellent views of the endemic Rhino-headed Lizard. Failed to find Black-throated Munia which is seen here. At 4.40pm we returned to Victoria Park and had great views of Indian Blue Robin.

Sun 18th November

Returned to Whistling Thrush site for 6.00am, heard birds calling but couldn't get them in close enough to see and gave up about 7.30. Drove to the cafe for breakfast and had great perched and flight views of a Shaheen.. Continued on the road past the cafe driving at birding pace towards Welimada and the Surrey Tea Estate where we tried for Brown Wood Owl, managing flight views only of a pair of birds. Had a leisurely couple of hours having tea and cake then headed back to Nuwara Eliya.

Mon 19th November

Out again at 4.45am heading for the Whistling Thrush site, this time accompanied by Upali Ekanayake. We met up with Deepal Warakagoda who was leading a Naturetrek group. With such expert assistance we could hardly fail to find the bird and although it did not show initially, despite responding well to tape, we eventually had excellent views of a bird at close quarters (6.50am). Tea and roti at the cafe and then back down hill towards Nuwara Eliya managing to find the missing Black-throated Munia en route. After another brief visit to Victoria Park, we packed and set off for Kitulgala. Checked in to Breeta's Garden Hotel. Rain curtailed activities until after 4.00pm when we walked across the bridge over the Kelani River to the clearing just beyond where we found a small flock of Orange-billed Babblers, Alexandrine Parakeet, Green Leaf Warbler and Lesser Yellownape.

Tues 20th November

Out at 7.00am following an excellent Sri Lankan breakfast. Walked across the bridge and through the village looking in vain for a male Legge's Flowerpecker and then on to the beginning of the forest; seeing little. Returned to the hotel at 11.45am, packed and left at 1.00pm for the 2-hour drive to Kandy. Checked in to the McLeod Hotel and then headed to the hills above Kandy where we saw Rose-ringed, Plum-headed, Layard's and Alexandrine within the hour, had a flyover view of SL Hanging Parrot, Indian Pitta, excellent views of Crimson-fronted Barbet and finished off the day with Black-crowned Night Heron on the roost at Kandy Lake.

Wed 21st November

Left Kandy, drove to Sigiriya, stopping for perched views of Ashy Wood Swallow and visiting Dambulla Rock Temple en route. Checked in to Sigiriya Hotel at 12.00 but heavy rain curtailed activities until 3.30pm. A damp walk around the area of the Sigiriya Rock produced Yellow-eyed and Tawny-bellied Babblers, Black-headed Cuckoo Shrike, Plaintive Cuckoo and Grey-breasted Prinia.

Thurs 22nd November

An excellent start to the day with good views of Orange-headed Thrush in the hotel grounds. Walked around the Rock and the series of moats to the small temple beyond, signposted Pidurangala - Sigiriya and Rajamaha Viharaya with good views of Indian Cuckoo, Large Cuckooshrike and Pompadour Green Pigeon as well as an excellent range of barbets, kingfishers and prinias. Unfortunately it poured with rain for the rest of the day.

Fri 23rd November

Hotel grounds produced Indian Pitta this morning. Followed same route as yesterday to add Grey Drongo, Drongo Cuckoo and Brown-capped and Rufous Woodpeckers to our list. Returned to the hotel at 9.30, packed and set off for Negombo to spend our last couple of days relaxing at Brown's Beach Hotel.

ANNOTATED BIRD SPECIES LIST

(Numbers refer to the relevant page numbers of A Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. The tri-nomial is only used to identify races that are endemic to Sri Lanka)

15        Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

Seen only at Bellanwila and on the Deberawewa tank.

22        Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis)

Numbers were extremely low as a result of the drought and we only saw 2 or 3 birds at Tissa and Yala.

24        Great Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)

Several seen at Tissa tank

24        Little Cormorant (Phalacrocorax niger)

Very common throughout on tanks, rivers, wet paddies

24        Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)

Fairly common in south east around Tissa and Yala.

25        Oriental Darter(Anhinga melanogaster)

Seen at Yala and the tank at Sigiriya

27        Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Fairly common; Bellanwila, Bundala, Tissa and Yala.

28        Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)

Fairly common; seen in small numbers at Bellanwila, Bundala, in the tanks and wetlands around Tissa and Sigiriya.

28        Intermediate Egret (Mesophoyx intermedia)

Very common to abundant throughout on wetlands and paddies.

28        Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)

Regular but in small numbers, usually singles on wetlands and tanks.

29        Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)

Common throughout

30        Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)

Abundant throughout.

30        Indian Pond-Heron (Ardeola grayii)

Abundant throughout.

31        Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)

Not common and singles only seen at Tissa and Bundala.

31        Black-crowned Night Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Seen only at their roost on the lake at Kandy.

32        Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)

Seen only once on the Deberawewa tank at Tissa.

33        Black Bittern (Ixobrychus flavicollis)

Seen on several occasions in the Deberawewa tank, in ditches around Tissa and at Yala.

34        Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)

This fabulous stork seen in good numbers throughout but particularly Uda Walawe (flock of 16), Bundala and Yala.

34        Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans)

Seen first at Bellanwila, fairly common around Tissa and Yala, seen also at Sigiriya.

35        Woolly-necked Stork (Ciconia episcopus)

A number of single birds seen at Uda Walawe, Bundala and Yala.

35        Black-necked Stork (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus)

A great stork but uncommon; seen once with great views of a pair feeding atYala.

36        Lesser Adjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus)

Group of 3 birds at Uda Walawe was a bit of a surprise with a further single atYala.

36        Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)

Regular in small numbers on wetlands and paddies throughout.

37        Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

Small numbers seen at Deberawewa tank, Bundala and Yala.

39        Lesser Whistling Duck (Dendrocygna javanica)

Parties of 20-30 birds at Bellanwila, around Tissa, Yala and the small lake at Sigiriya.

40        Cotton-Pygmy Goose (Nettapus coromandelianus)

Seen only at Bellanwila where we found 2 pairs.

43        Garganey (Anas querquedula)

Seen in small numbers at Bundala and Yala.

47        Oriental Honey-Buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus)

Seen once at Horton Plains and once in the hills behind Kandy.

47        Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus)

A number of single birds seen at Uda Walawe, Horton Plains, Kitulgala and Sigiriya.

48        Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)

Seen on a number of occasions at Bellanwila, around Tissa and Sigiriya.

48        White-bellied Fish-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)

Seen on a number of occasions at Uda Walawe and around Tissa.

49        Grey-headed Fish Eagle (Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus)

Seen only once - a bedraggled specimen in the rain at Yala.

49        Crested Serpent-Eagle (Spilornis cheelah spilogaster)

Seen almost daily across all locations.

52        Shikra (Accipiter badius)

Seen regularly at most lowland locations.

53        Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)

Singles seen daily at Horton Plains.

55        Changeable Hawk Eagle (Spizaetus cirrhatus ceylonensis)

Seen only once each at Sinhraja,Yala and Kitulgala.

58        Shaheen (Falco peregrinus peregrinator)

Seen once and perhaps unusually at Horton Plains about 1km before the Park entrance. We had prolonged 'scope views of an adult male perched in a tree as well as flight views as it quartered the grasslands.

61        Sri Lanka Spurfowl (E) (Galloperdix bicalcarata)

Seeing this bird proved to be somewhat trying and it eventually took us 3 sessions and almost 7 hours before we could settle for poor flight views of the male and good flight views of the female. The best site is at Kudawa where we tried and failed on several occasions to tape the birds across the trail before finally seeing them inside the forest. They are also seen near to the Research Station at Sinharaja.

61        Sri Lanka Junglefowl (E) (Gallus lafayettii)

After the initial panic to see the first bird at Sinharaja we saw many more of these vibrant creatures at Uda Walawe, Horton Plains andYala.

61        Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)

Common throughout the lowlands.

62        Barred Buttonquail (Turnix suscitator leggei)

Seen on three occasions from the jeep atYala.

65        White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)

Common throughout.

66        Common Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

Seen in small numbers at Bellanwila and the Deberawewa tank.

66        Purple Swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio)

Seen in good numbers at Bellanwila, around Tissa and at Yala.

67        Pheasant-tailed Jacana (Hydrophasianus chirurgus)

Seen regularly on all weedy ponds and tanks.

70        Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Common around Tissa and at Yala.

71        Eurasian Thick-Knee (Burhinus oedicnemus)

4 birds seen in scrubland by a huge bund on a backroad somewhere between Uda Walawe and Tissa.

71        Great Thick-knee (Esacus recurvirostris)

Great views of these prehistoric looking birds at Bundala and Yala.

74        Yellow-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus malabaricus)

After taking ages to find the first pair we saw several more at Bundala, Yala and Embilipitiya.

75        Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

Common throughout on wetlands and paddies.

75        Pacific Golden Plover (Pluvialis fulva)

Seen in good numbers at Bundala with others at Tissa and Yala.        

76        Grey Plover (Pluvialis squatarola)

Not common; a few singles only at Bundala and Yala.

77        Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)

20+ at both Bundala and Yala; also seen at Hambantota and Embilipitiya.

78        Kentish Plover (Charadrius alexandrinus seebohmi)

Not uncommon in coastal wetlands; seen at Bundala and Yala.

78        Mongolian Plover (Charadrius mongolus)

Common on coastal wetlands at Bundala, Tissa and Yala. 

79        Greater Sand Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii)

Only one positively identified at Bundala.

81        Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa limosa)

Good numbers at both Bundala and Yala.

82        Eurasian Curlew (Numenius arquata)

Three single birds at Bundala.

82        Spotted Redshank (Tringa erythropus)

Only one positively identified at Hambantota.

83        Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Small groups of 10+ at Bundala and Yala with others at Hambantota and Embilipitiya.

83        Marsh Sandpiper (Tringa stagnatilis)

Abundant, apparently in all types of habitat.

84        Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)

A few seen around ponds in the SE.

85        Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus)

Only one positively identified in a marshy area at Yala.

85        Wood Sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

A few singles and pairs seen around Tissa and at Yala.

86        Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)

Small numbers around Bundala, Tissa and Yala and other suitable sites in the SE.

87        Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

Seen in small numbers at Bundala, Hambantota, Kalametiya and Yala.

87        Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus)

One on the saltpans at Bundala.

88        Pintail Snipe (Gallinago stenura)

2 seen in wet paddies at Deberawewa Tank.

90        Common Snipe (Gallinago gallinago)

Only one positively identified at Yala.

92        Little Stint (Calidris minuta)

Abundant in salt and fresh water habitats.

95        Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

Also abundant in salt and freshwater habitats.

102      Brown-headed Gull (Larus brunnicephalus)

Only one seen at the fishing village near Yala.

103      Whiskered Tern (Childonias hybridus)

Common at wetlands throughout.

103      White-winged Tern (Childonias leucopterus)

A few seen at Bundala.

104      Gull-billed Tern (Gelochelidon nilotica)

Common at Bundala and also seen at Yala.

105      Common Tern (Sterna hirundo)

Seen in larger numbers than expected at Bundala.

105      Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia)

6 birds seen at the saltpans at Bundala.

107      Saunder's Tern/Little Tern (Sterna saundersi/albifrons)

20-30 seen at Bundala but could not differentiate.    

108      Great-crested Tern (Thalasseus bergii)

A few seen at Bundala and on the rocky island off the fishing village at Yala.

109      Lesser-crested Tern (Thalasseus bengalensis)

15-20 seen at Bundala near the saltpans.

111      Rock Pigeon (Columba livia)

Seen every day except at Sinharaja.

111      Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon (E) (Columba torringtoni)

Seen on successive visits at Surrey Tea Estate but also at Horton Plains.

113      Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis ceylonensis)

Abundant; seen almost daily.

113      Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica robisoni)

Up to 6 birds seen at the monastery at Bodhinagala where the monks feed them and also at Sinharaja.

114      Orange-breasted Green-Pigeon (Treron bicincta leggei)

Fairly common in the lowlands at Uda Walawe and Yala.

114      Pompadour Green-Pigeon (Treron pompadora pompadora)

Seen at Uda Walawe and in good numbers around the base of Sigiriya Rock.

115      Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea)

More common than we had expected; seen at Sinharaja, Uda Walawe, Yala, Kitulgala and around Sigiriya.

116      Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot (E) (Loriculus beryllinus)

Great views from the balcony at Martin's place and on the road from there down to Kudawa.

116      Alexandrine Parrot (Psittacula eupatria)

Seen in the hills above Kandy and at Sigiriya.

117      Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)

Fairly common throughout the trip.

117      Plum-headed Parakeet (Psitticula cyanocephela)

These beautiful birds are tough to see but we eventually had great views in the hills above Kandy.

117      Layard's Parakeet (E) (Psitticula calthropae)

'Scope views of several perched birds in great light from the balcony at Martin's place and in the hills above Kandy.

118      Pied Cuckoo (Oxylophus jacobinus)

Only seen twice, first on the road between Embilipitiya and Tissa and at Yala.

119      Indian Cuckoo (Cuculus micropterus)

Great 'scope views at Sigiriya thanks to Upali's whistling skills.

121      Plaintive Cuckoo (Cacomantis merulinus)

Seen poorly in the rain at Yala and finally 'scoped up at Sigiriya.

121      Drongo Cuckoo (Surniculus lugubris)

Great views at Sigiriya, once again thanks to Upali's whistling talents.

122      Blue-faced Malkoha (Rhopodytes viridirostris)

Frustrating flight views at Uda Walawe before being well seen at Bundala and Yala.

122      Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopacea)

A pair on the first day  at Bellanwila but subsequently only singles at Uda Walawe and Yala.

123      Green-billed Coucal (E) (Centropus chlororhynchus)

Heard on the trail at Bodhinagala and at Sinharaja but seen only once. Great 'scope views of two birds at 8.45am from the balcony of the monastery at Bodhinagala as predicted the previous afternoon by the monks.

123      Red-faced Malkoha (E) (Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus)

Seen only at Sinharaja initially in the pouring rain and finally good 'scope views of a flock of 8-10 birds by the Research Station.

124      Greater Coucal (Centropus sinensis)

Seen regularly throughout the trip.

126      Brown Fish-Owl (Bubo zeylonensis zeylonensis)

Great views of a pair at their daytime roost near the river at Uda Walawe.

127      Brown Wood-Owl (Strix leptogrammica ochrogenys)

Flight views only of the pair at Surrey Tea Estate which proved elusive at all their regular roosts despite 2 visits.

127      Chestnut-backed Owlet (E) (Glaucidium castanonotum)

This great little owl, which was on the must-see list, was finally watched at leisure in the forest at Kudawa.

128      Sri Lanka Frogmouth (Batrachostomus moniliger)

Another must-see bird; we had prolonged and close views, on successive nights, of a male at 3 metres at the Education Centre at Sinharaja.

129      Large-tailed Nightjar (Caprimulgus macrurus aeqabilis) OR

Jerdon's Nightjar (Caprimulgus atripennis)

At the last stroke of night before it became dawn one bird came in to tape and afforded great views on the outskirts of Yala NP.

130      Indian Nightjar (Caprimulgus asiaticus eidos)

Great fun on a pre-dawn search for this species along the road past the entrance to Bundala. Eventually found several birds but not before a spotlit elephant at close quarters caused some alarm.

131      Asian Palm-Swift (Cypsiurus balasiensis)

Seen on a number of occasions in the lowlands.

131      Indian Swiftlet (Aerodramus unicolor)

Noted at Sinharaja, Yala and Sigiriya.

132      Little Swift (Apus affinis)

Seen at Sinharaja and Sigiriya.

133      Crested(Grey-rumped)Treeswift (Hemiprocne longipennis)

This elegant species seen on a number of occasions perched on wires and in flight.

133      Malabar Trogon (Harpactes fasciatus fasciatus)

Only seen at Sinharaja where the rain relented for a while to allow great views.

134      Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

Seen regularly - Bellanwila, Uda Walawe, Yala and Sigiriya.

134      Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)

Seen only twice, once on the first day at Bellanwila and on the last day at Sigiriya.

135      Stork-billed Kingfisher (Halcyon capensis)

Not common - seen only at the edge of the Deberawewa tank and around the moat at the base of Sigiriya Rock.

136      White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

Common throughout - seen almost daily.

137      Little Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis ceylonicus)

Common in open country at lower elevations.

137      Blue-tailed Bee-eater (Merops philippinus)

Common throughout except at Sinharaja.

138      Chestnut-headed Bee-eater (Merops leschenaulti)

Proved more common than we had anticipated being seen around Tissa, Yala and Sigiriya.

138      Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)

Seen only a few times at Uda Walawe, around Tissa and at Yala.

139      Eurasian Hoopoe (Upupa epops)

A few birds seen at Bundala and Yala.

140      Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (E) (Tockus gingalensis)

As the monks at Bodhinagala feed the birds it was not too difficult to see 7 or 8 birds on our first afternoon. Subsequently also seen at Sigiriya.

140      Malabar Pied Hornbill (Anthracoceros coronatus)

This handsome hornbill proved relatively common being seen at Uda Walawe, Yala and Kitulgala.

141      Crimson-fronted Barbet (E)(Megalaima rubricapilla)

The last endemic to be seen, we finally caught up with a pair of these great little barbets in the hills above Kandy and at Sigiriya.( Note. Harrison and Worfolk treat this as and endemic race not a full species.

141      Brown-headed Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica)

Common throughout at lower elevations.

141      Yellow-fronted Barbet (E) (Megalaima flavifrons)

Seen at Bodhinagala and Kitulgala; it’s preferred habitat seems to be within the forest.

142      Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala)

This great little barbet seen on a number of occasions sometimes in small groups.

143      Brown-capped Woodpecker (Picoides moluccensis gymnophthalmus)

Seen only once on the last day at Sigiriya.

143     Yellow-crowned Woodpecker (Picoides mahrattensis)

Great views but only once of a male at Yala.

144      Lesser Yellownape (Picus chlorolophus wellsi)

Seen in the forest at Sinharaja and Kitulgala.

144      Rufous Woodpecker (Celeus brachyurus)

Final bird of the trip and a great way to finish as this was a world tick for both of us.

145      Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalensi)

Harrison considers there to be 2 races, the one we saw throughout was Red-backed Woodpecker (D.b.psarodes)

145     Greater Flameback (Chrysocolaptes lucidus stricklandi)

Seen only once at Sinharaja.

146      White-naped Woodpecker (Chrysocolaptes festivus tantus)

Seen at the usual site in the coconut grove at the Deberawewa tank where the pair came in on time at 5.40pm and a single fluked the following day on the road to Hambantota.

146      Indian Pitta (Pitta brachyura)

To our delight there were Indian Pittas all over the place - we must have seen 15-20 birds and heard many more. First seen in the scrubby area around the Citizens Rest at Ingiriya.

147     Oriental Skylark (Alauda gulgula)

Only one positively identified at Uda Walawe.

147     Rufous-winged Lark (Mirafra assamica)

Seen in fair numbers at both Uda Walawe and Yala.

149      Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)

Common; seen in numbers almost daily.

149      Pacific or Hill Swallow (Hirundo tahitica)

Only noted in the highlands around Horton Plains where seen daily.       

150      Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica hyperythra)

Seen atYala and Sigiriya and presumed to be this race.

151      Forest Wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus)

First seen at Uda Walawe and subsequently at Bundala and the Surrey Tea Estate.

153      Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea)

Seen almost daily throughout.

154     Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)

Seen at Bundala and around Tissa.

154     Richard's Pipit (Anthus richardi)

Examples of what were probably this species seen on successive days at Horton Plains.

155      Large Cuckooshrike (Coracina macei layardi)

'Scope views on the final morning at Sigiriya.

156      Black-headed Cuckoo-shrike (Coracina melanoptera)

Seen poorly on a couple of occasions but finally great ‘scope views at Sigiriya.

156      Small Minivet (Pericrocotus cinnamomeus)

This delightful minivet showed very well at Bundala and Yala.

156      Scarlet Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus)

Resident in forest edge throughout.

157      Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus picatus leggei)

Seen on 2 out of 3 days at Horton Plains.

157     Common Woodshrike (Tephrodornis pondicerianus affinis)

Seen at Uda Walawe, Bundala and Sigiriya.

158      Black-headed Yellow Bulbul (E) (Pycnonotus melanicterus)

Seen regularly in open forest and woodland in the lowlands. (Note. Harrison and Worfolk treat this as an endemic race)

158      Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer cafer)

Common; seen daily.

159      Yellow-eared Bulbul (E) (Pycnonotus penicillatus)

This cracking bulbul seen around Nuwara Eliya and at Horton Plains.

159      White-browed Bulbul (Pycnonotus luteolus insulae)

Seen at Bodhinagala, Sinharaja and Yala.

159     Yellow-browed Bulbul (Hypsipetes indicus)

There are 2 races of this bulbul which we did not attempt to separate. Seen at Sinharaja and in the hills above Kandy.

160      Black Bulbul (Hypsipetes leucocephalus humii)

Seen daily at Sinharaja and in the hills above Kandy.

160     Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)

Seen regularly in scrubby areas and forest edge mainly in the lowlands.

161      Jerdon's Leafbird (Chloropsis cochinchinensis)

'Scope views at Kitulgala.

161     Golden-fronted Leafbird (Chloropsis aurifrons)

A beautiful bird seen at Uda Walawe and Kitulgala.

162      Brown Shrike (Lanius cristatus)

2 races occur Brown Shrike (L.c.cristatus) which is common throughout and Philippine Shrike (L. c. lucionensis) which also proved more common than we expected with birds at Horton Plains, Kandy and Sigiriya.

163      Indian Blue Robin (Erithacus brunneus)

A wonderful male seen twice in Victoria Park and also at Surrey Tea Estate.

164      White-rumped Shama (Copsychus malabaricus leggei)

One whistled up at Yala performed beautifully in the rain next to the bombed park bungalow.

164      Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)

Seen daily except at Sinharaja.

166      Black-backed Robin (Saxicoloides fulicata leucoptera)

Relatively common and seen at all locations except Sinharaja.

167      Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush (E) (Myophonus blighi)

We did not have a tape of the call (despite buying the Birds of Sri Lanka tape!) and unsurprisingly this proved critical. Sunil did have a tape but (not his fault) it was of very poor quality. It took us three attempts (and 3 successive 4.00am starts) to see this bird. At the second attempt on the third morning at 6.50am we finally had great views of a male which perched in a bush about 2 metres from us undoubtedly in response to Upali's high quality recording - even then it took a while to tempt it out.

168     Orange-headed Thrush (Zoothera citrina)

A terrific bonus given our failure on Pied and Scaly. Seen at 6.10am in the grounds of the Hotel Sigiriya. Facing outwards from the bar area looking to the swimming pool there is a large tee on the left where Upali thinks the bird roosts before hopping off into the dense scrub over the road. This is apparently the fourth winter the bird has been seen here.

168      Spot-winged Thrush (E) (Zoothera spiloptera)

A cracking thrush seen more easily than expected at Sinharaja where we saw at least 10 birds, also seen at Kitulgala. Seems to prefer to be near water and certainly prefers damp undergrowth. Shy and hops quietly in the dark undergrowth.

169      Eurasian Blackbird (Turdus merula kinnisii)

Seen on successive days at Horton Plains - it seems quite different from its European counterpart. Upali thinks it is a "good species".

170      Brown-capped Babbler (E) (Pellorneum fuscocapillum)

First seen by the Citizen's Rest guesthouse and then at Sinharaja, Kitulgala and Kandy.

170      Indian Scimitar-Babbler (Pomatorhinus horsfieldii melanurus)

This bird proved easy to hear but tough to see, eventually well seen at Sinharaja and in the Boys Scout camp area on Moonplains Road near Nuwara Eliya.

171      Tawny-bellied Babbler (Dumetia hyperythra phillipsi)

Seen only at Sigiriya in the scrubby area by the lake.

171      Dark-fronted Babbler (Rhopocichla atriceps)

Not uncommon, seen at Bodhinagala, Sinharaja, Horton Plains and Kitulgala.

171      Yellow-eyed Babbler (Chrysomma sinense nasale)

Also only seen at Sigiriya in the same scrubby land as the previous species.

172      Orange-billed Babbler (E) (Turdoides rufescens)

Seen in noisy flocks of 20-30 at Sinharaja, also Kitulgala and Sigiriya.

172      Yellow-billed Babbler (Turdoides affinis taprobanus)

Common throughout.

172      Ashy-headed Laughingthrush(E) (Garrulax cinereifrons)

Only seen once where a few birds were associated with the Orange-billed Babbler flock at Sinharaja.

173      Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (E) (Bradypterus palliseri)

Amazingly we were successful first time at Horton Plains enjoying excellent views of 2 birds.. Decided not to press our luck after that.

175      Blyth's Reed Warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum)

Seen on a number of occasions throughout.

176      Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)

Bellanwila and Horton Plains.

177      Grey-breasted Prinia (Prinia hodgsonii leggei)

Only seen in the scrub at Sigiriya - overlooked elsewhere.

177      Jungle Prinia (Prinia silvatica valida)

Seen only at Sigiriya in the scrub by the lake.

177      Ashy Prinia (Prinia socialis brevicauda)

This is a smart looking Prinia and quite common - seen throughout.

178      Plain Prinia (Prinia subflava insularis)

Seen at a number of locations.

178      Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius sutorius)

Fairly common throughout.

179      Bright-green Warbler (Phylloscopus nitidus)

Seen well on successive days at Horton Plains in trees by the abandoned hotel but this was the only place we saw it.

179      Large-billed Leaf-Warbler (Phylloscopus magnirostris)

Seen only at Bodhinagala and Sinharaja.

180      Asian Brown Flycatcher (Muscicapa dauurica)

Common throughout, although no sign of it’s Brown-breasted counterpart.

181      Dull-blue Flycatcher (E) (Eumyias sordida)

Seen in Victoria Park and at Horton Plains on the woody/scrubby track 0.5km before the park entrance.

181      Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrura)

Wonderful views of a cracking male in Victoria Park. Also heard at the Arrenga Pool.

182      Tickell's Blue Flycatcher (Niltava tickelliae jerdoni)

Seen on successive days at Bodhinagala.

183      Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis)

Only seen around Nuwara Eliya at the Pedro Boy Scouts Camp on Moonplains Road and at Horton Plains.

183      Black-naped Monarch (Hypothymis azurea ceylonensis)

Singles only seen at most forest locations in the lowlands.

183      Asian Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)

There are 2 distinct races of this spectacular bird found in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka Paradise Flycatcher (T.p.ceylonensis) where the male has chestnut upperparts and tail streamers and Indian Paradise Flycatcher (T.P.paradisi) where the male has silver white upperparts and tail streamers. We saw both races although Indian appeared more common.

184      White-browed Fantail (Rhipidura aureola)

Only seen 3 times at Tissa, Yala and Sigiriya

185      Great Tit (Parus major)

Seen on all our days at Horton Plains and Nuwara Eliya.

185      Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis)

Seen in a mixed flock on successive days in the Pedro Boy Scouts Camp area on Moonplains Road in Nuwara Eliya.

186      Thick-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum agile zeylonicum)

Thanks to Upali's rigour we were forced to discard an earlier record (!) and finally saw this bird at Sigiriya.

186      White-throated(Legge's) Flowerpecker (E) (Dicaeum vincens)

This proved something of a bogey bird and we only ever saw a female at Bodhinagala. We went to Kitulgala with Upali specifically to try and find a male but left empty handed.

187      Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos ceylonense)

Seen at Sinharaja, Nuwara Eliya and Kitulgala.  

187      Purple-rumped Sunbird (Nectarinia  zeylonica  zeylonica)

Fairly common throughout.

188      Long-billed Sunbird (Nectarinia lotenia lotenia)

Seen on the first day in the gardens of the Citizens Rest and at Sinharaja.

189      Purple Sunbird (Nectarinia asiatica)

We only saw this once - an eclipse male at the Surrey Tea Estate..

189      Oriental White-eye (Zosterops palpebrosa)

Seen at Yala, around Tissa, Kitulgala and Sigirya.

190      Sri Lanka White-eye (E) (Zosterops ceylonensis)

Larger and darker than the previous species we saw this daily around Horton Plains and Nuwara Eliya.

190      White-throated Silverbill (Lonchura malabarica)

A small flock of 5-6 birds seen on the road between Uda Walawe and Tissa.

191      White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)

Seen at Sinharaja, Horton Plains and Kitulgala.

191      Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)

Fairly common throughout.

191      Black-throated (Hill) Munia (E) (Lonchura kelaarti)

We looked everywhere but saw only once, thanks to Upali, in fields below Pattipola Station on the road between Horton Plains and Nuwara Eliya.(Note.Harrison and Worfolk treat this as an endemic race and not a full species)          

192      Black-headed Munia (Lonchura malacca)

Seen regularly throughout.

193      House Sparrow (Passer domesticus)

Common; seen almost daily.

194      Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus)

Seen only once; a colony on the road between Uda Walawe and Tissa.

194      White-headed Starling (E) (Sturnus senex)

Only seen at Sinharaja where we had 'scope views of 2 different birds during our traverses of the trail - both near to the Research Station.

195      Brahminy Starling (Sturnus pagodarum)

This attractive terrestrial starling seen only once in the rain at Yala.

196      Sri Lanka Myna (E) (Gracula ptilogenys)

'Scoped on a couple of occasions high in the trees at Sinharaja.

196      Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis melanosturnus)

Common throughout.

197      Hill Myna (Gracula religiosa)

Great views of a pair in the hills above Kandy.

198      Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus ceylonensis)

Seen regularly in all types of habitat

198      Black Drongo (Dicrurus macrocercus minor)

Only seen once at Bundala..

199      Grey Drongo (Dicrurus leucophaeus longicaudatus)

Seen only once with Upali on our last morning at Sigiriya - apparently a first record for this site.

199      White-bellied Drongo (Dicrurus caerulescens)

Seen regularly in forest edge and scrubland. 2 races are found; White-bellied Drongo (D.c.insularis) and White-vented Drongo (D.c. leucopygialis) which we did not attempt to separate.

200     Greater Racket-tailed Drongo (Dicrurus paradisius)

2 races are found. Racket-tailed Drongo (D.p. ceylonicus) and Crested Drongo (D.p.lophorhinus) We saw both but Crested seemed the more common

200      Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus)

Seen only once on the road between Kandy and Sigiriya.

201      Sri Lanka Magpie (E) (Urocissa ornata)

Seen on just one occasion; a pair at Sinharaja

201      House Crow (Corvus splendens)

Common and seen throughout.

202      Jungle (Large-billed) Crow (Corvus macrorhynchos)

Very common throughout.

SUMMARY MAMMAL LIST

The list is based upon the simple but informative "A selection of the Animals of Sri Lanka" 1985 John and Judy Banks.

Common Sri Lanka Grey Mongoose (Herpestes edwardsii lanka)

Seen on a number of occasions - Uda Walawe and in the grounds of the Hotel Sigiriya.

Sri Lanka Ruddy Mongoose (Herpestes smithi zeylanicus)

Seen only once at Sinharaja.

Sri Lanka Small Civet Cat (Viverricula indica mayori )

Common and seen by the roadside on a number of our early morning drives.

Sri Lanka Giant Squirrel (Ratufa macroura )

- Highland Grizzled Squirrel

Seen at Kudawa village at Sinharaja.

- Common Giant Squirrel

Seen at Uda Walawe and Sigiriya.

Sri Lanka Palm Squirrel (Funambulus Palmarum)

Ubiquitous seen everywhere.

Sri Lanka Grey Langur (Semnopithecus priam thersites)

Seen well at Uda Walawe.

Purple-faced Leak Monkey (Tachypithecus vetulus)

The low country race seen at Uda Walawe with its highland counterpart known as Bear Monkey seen at Horton Plains and on the outskirts of Nuwara Eliya.

Toque Monkey (Macaca sinica)

Small troops of this species seen at Bodhinagala and Kitulaga.

Indian Pangolin (Manis crassicaudata)

Regrettably freshly dead the corpse allowed us close views of the structure of this rare creature.

Common Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus giganteus)

Huge numbers leaving their roost at dusk near Uda Walawe produced a scary horror movie effect in the sky above. This was a really impressive sight

Sri Lanka Black-naped Hare (Lepus nigricollis singhala)

Several seen at Uda Walawe.

Soft Terrapin (Lissemys punctata ceylonensis)

Seen in the banana plantation by the Deberawewa tank.

Sri Lanka Swamp Crocodile (Crocodylus palustris kimbalu)

A close encouner with one in its burrow at Bundala and others at a safer distance at Yala.

Water Monitor (Varanus monitor kabaragoya)

Fairly common in most parks.

Indian Land Monitor (Varanus bengalensis bengalensis)

Fairly common throughout.

Sri Lanka Spotted Deer (Axis axis ceylonensis)

Large herds seen at Uda Walawe and Yala.

Sri Lanka Sambhur (Cervus unicolour unicolour)

One grand male seen in a pond at Uda Walawe.

Sri Lanka Rusty-spotted Cat (Felis rubiginosa phillipsi)

This solitary and usually nocturnal animal was a nice surprise at Uda Walawe.

Indian Wild Boar (Sus scrofa cristatus)

Small numbers seen at Yala.

Indian Buffalo or Water Buffalo (Bubalus bubalis bubalis)

Apprently wild animals were common at Uda Walawe andYala.

Sri Lanka Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus)

Herd of 20 seen in the grasslands at Uda Walawe with others seen in the dense scrub at Yala.

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