Sri Lanka - 23rd January - 5th February 2011

Published by Erling Krabbe (ekr AT sns.dk)

Participants: Erling Krabbe, Morten Heegard, Niels riis

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INTRODUCTION

Sri Lanka seems to have regained peace and stability after decades ravaged by civil war and the devastating tsunami in 2004. Still much has to be reconciled between the ethnic groups and to be reconstructed, but today Sri Lanka is a safe destination and a country at full pace forward.

Sri Lanka has so much to offer its visitors, regardless their interest is nature, culture or relaxation. For nature lovers, Sri Lanka is the Indian Subcontinent in a nutshell. In Sri Lanka you may find hundreds of wild Asian Elephants roaming the countryside and it is claimed that the leopards of Sri Lanka are more easy to see than anywhere else in the world. Within short distances you will find alpine grasslands, mountain forests, humid rain forests and dry bushland. This variation of landscapes and climatic conditions forms a basis of a very high biodiversity.

The national bird list recorded by the Ceylon Bird Club holds 439 species including 236 resident species and 203 migrants. Sri Lanka is an island of 66.000 km2 with a long prehistory of relatively stable tropical climate, and so a high number of endemic species or subspecies has evolved. The endemism of the island is demonstrated by the presence of impressive 33 endemic bird species and 68 endemic subspecies.

Inspired by some friends and their excellent trip report we decided to visit this pearl of Asia. We are three Danish biologists and ornithologists. Erling and Morten had birded in Northern India several times before, while the Indian Subcontinent as such was new to Niels. Morten was assisted by his biologist wife Anne and their son Toke, whose participation was a gain for the whole trip and assisted our observations with fantastic photos. So, we made a great group of five people, and enjoyed each others company with lots of fun and enthusiasm throughout.

Despite its limited size, Sri Lanka can not be covered in two weeks. We chose to visit the hill country around the central mountains and the southern part of the island. In these areas all the endemic bird species can be found. The highlands and the south coast should be out of the rain season in the first quarter of the year, and in this period we could also benefit on the Asian and especially Himalayan migrants that winter in Sri Lanka.

The tour arrangement was excellently organized by Ganganath Weerasinghe (“Ganga”), manager of Jetwing Eco Holidays in Colombo, Sri Lanka (www.jetwingeco.com), who used his knowledge in birds to tailor a tour plan just after our wishes. The package included 13 days of half-board accommodation at splendid hotels, ecologist or local guides for 6 of the days, all entrance fees, taxes, jeep or boat safaris and all road transportations in a AC minivan with our excellent driver Stanley Perera, including pick up and transfer to airport. The price of 1865 USD pp was good value for money. We bought our flight tickets through the agency Via Travel in Copenhagen with good help from travel agent Michael Wigen, flying with SAS to Frankfurt and with the excellent service of Srilankan Airlines to Colombo and back home via Milan.

The people of Sri Lanka are kind, hospital and hardworking, giving the impression of a country full of hope for a prosperous future. Despite a high population density of more than 300 persons per km2, the people of Sri Lanka are aware about the value and importance of their wildlife and nature reserves. An overwhelming 26.5% of the country is protected areas and half of this area is designated to national parks. Furthermore, bird life in the countryside is rich, making even the transfer time between the highlights valuable.

During the last weeks before our take-off several news stories were brought into the media about heavy rains and floodings in Sri Lanka, mostly in the eastern parts of the country. This worried us, but the parts of Sri Lanka we went for were luckily nearly unaffected. However, we did get our small share, since three half days of heavy rains reduced our experience of Hunas Falls, Nuwara Eliya and Bundala NP, and the fog at Horton Plains did bother too, but otherwise we were lucky and had splendid weather conditions.

The tour design was so wisely arranged that we generally had two or three chances to find and see the most wanted species. We still appreciate this arrangement, since we had several species that were found on virtually the very last chance. In total, we saw 236 species of birds, including 32 of the possible 33 endemic birds. For us, this was very satisfying. We only failed to see the skulky and not until 2004 discovered Serendip Scops Owl, since no dayroosts were known at the time of our visits in Kitulgala or Sinharaja, and none were recorded calling after dark. Moreover, it is not possible to enter Sinharaja NP after dark. In Kitulgala we tried hard, but unsuccesfully. The bird had not been recorded for several weeks by any of the guides at our arrival.

Of non-endemics among others, we dipped on the relatively easy Black Eagle at Kitulgala, the Sirkeer Malkoha in Uda Wallawe, the pair of White-naped Woodpeckers living in the palm groves at Tissa, and the now very rare Black-necked Stork of Yala, for which we had needed to buy a special permit to enter Block 2 of Yala NP and spend a whole day of hopeful search. We aimed to reach 250 bird species on the tour and the rest should have been found among the shorebirds in Bundala NP, if we had avoided the heavy rains.

We were also succesful in our search of mammals. The long lasting views of 5 beautiful leopards in trees and on rocks in Yala NP were staggering and unforgettable. So was our first encounter with the largest ever living creature on earth, the Blue Whale, in the Indian Ocean less than one hour of sailing off the coast from Mirissa harbour. We saw all the largest mammal species of Southern Sri Lanka, except for the Sloth Bear, and crowned by more than fifty Sri Lankan Elephants.

We highly recommend birding in Sri Lanka. The standard of living is surprisingly good and so are the tourist facilities. However, the country still suffers from the post-effects of the civil war. Good hotels are in short and the road system is under reconstruction. So, it is needed to book your travel in proper time, and you need a local driver to survive the heavy traffic. Do not expect to move more that 40-50 km per hour, and make sure to calculate this into your time schedule. Food at restaurants was good and plentiful and so were beverages. We all had our basic vaccinations. Risk of malaria is low and we did not take any proventives. Some of us had to see a doctor and visit the pharmacy during the trip, but this turned out to be quick and efficient. The only inconvenience was the leeches of the Sinharaja Rainforest. Small nasty vermins sitting everywhere in the vegetation waiting for you. Long-handled rubber boots or leech socks are highly recommended, unless you wish to clean your feet every second minute, as the locals do.

CONTACT ADDRESS

Erling Krabbe, Gurreholmvej 6, DK-3490 Kvistgård, DENMARK. Tel (45) 28 22 15 12. Mail ekr@nst.dk
Morten Heegaard, Grønlunds Alle 34B, DK- 2610 Rødovre, DENMARK. Tel (45) 26 21 82 77. Mail morten.heegaard@ofir.dk
Niels Riis, Bjørnemosen 75, DK-5260 Odense S, DENMARK. Tel (45) 22 10 72 76. Mail nsr@mail.dk

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We wish to express our gratitude to Ganga, Stanley and Wickey, our excellent bird guide in Kitulgala, from Jetwing Eco Holidays, who made this trip possible for us and for their jovial accompany. Thanks to Saranga (guide in Yala) and Praen (guide in Sinharaja) for their untiringly efforts to provide us some of the most difficult endemics. In our preparations at home we had invaluable assistance from Uffe Gjøl Sørensen, Jørgen Bech, Jan Reinemo & Anne Grete Ditlevsen who are all thanked for good advice and recommendations for the tour planning.

ITINERARY

January 23rd

We arrived late morning in Colombo international airport, and were picked up by our driver Stanley, and Wickey - our guide for Kitulgala. After changing some money, we went directly to Kitulgala and had lunch at a pleasant riverside restaurant. Our first Sri Lankan endemic was the Yellow-billed Babbler seen en route. In the restaurant garden we added Yellow-browed Bulbul to the list. Afterwards, we drove to Kitulgala Rest House, our hotel for the first two nights. Wickey took us for an afternoon walk around Sisira’s River Lodge nearby. Quite a few nice birds were seen – Orange-billed Babbler, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Swallow, Sri Lanka Small Barbet, Layard's Parakeet and a calling Chestnut-backed Owlet, just to name the endemics.

January 24th

Early morning birding around the hotel produced a lot of birds, including two endemics: the Hanging Parrot and Legge's Flowerpecker. Suddenly Stanley came running and asked us to hurry to the minibus – Wickey had found a Green-billed Coucal at Sisiras Lodge, and in less than 10 minutes we were watching the bird very well - EXCELLENT.

We returned to the lodge and had our breakfast, and afterwards we went to the bridge and crossed the Kelani River – where the scene creation of the famous Hollywood-film The Bridge on the River Kwai from 1957 was done. We were birding the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve for five hours. It is a nice lowland tropical rainforest rich in endemic fauna and flora – most of the endemic lowland birds can bee seen here, and so we did.

We had lunch and took an afternoon rest at the hotel. At 4 pm we crossed the river at the hotel in a dugout canoe and reached the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve again. We birded until 8 pm and had luck with a Sri Lanka Frogmouth, which perched right above us, but nothing was heard of the Serendib Scops Owl.

January 25th

The morning was spent around Sisira Lodge again, and produced excellent views of Chestnut-backed Owlet, Spot-winged Thrush (on the nest) and Indian Pitta. In addition, the Green-billed Coucal was heard again. Our breakfast was delighted by a Chestnut-winged Cuckoo flying by along the river.

After breakfast we drove towards Kandy in search of owls in Udawatta Kale – the botanical garden. We had a brief view of a Brown Fish Owl flying over the small lake and disappearing into the forest. First encounter with the common Toque Macaques.

We had lunch and continued towards the fancy Hunas Falls Hotel for one night, some distance north of Kandy. At dusk we stopped at a small hillside forest, and very luckily we heard a calling Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl and one of us caught a glimpse of it. Arrived at hotel after dark.

January 26th

Heavy rain kept us at the hotel restaurant, from where we managed to see our first Hill Swallows and a few female Kashmir Flycatches – unfortunately the Knuckles Range and its birds must wait for our next visit.

We left at noon and drove towards Nuwara Eliya, where two nights were spent at the cosy Tea Bush Hotel. Toke had eaten some bad seafood and was ill, so he and Anne were installed at the hotel before the three of us continued to a small creek south of the town. Here we – despite the pouring rain - managed to get decent views of a Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush bathing in the creek (believe it or not!), Yellow-eared Bulbul and a Sri Lanka Blackbird.

January 27th

We left the hotel around 5 o'clock in the morning, to visit Horton Plains National Park with its cloud forests and grasslands. It was cloudy but dry, and eventually we worked out all the sought-after birds: Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (excellent close-up views of perched birds), Sri Lanka White-eye (common), Dark-fronted Babbler, Sri Lanka Scimitar-Babbler, Sri Lanka Bush-Warbler and Dull-blue Flycatcher. We had to use playback to get the Bush-Warbler out of the vegetation and we only found one Flycatcher shortly before driving back to Nuwara Eliya.

The afternoon was used for a visit in Victoria Park for Himalayan migrants – rain again! Before our bins were filled with rain we saw a few Forest Wagtails, a fine male Kashmir Flycatcher and a stunning Pied Thrush male, perched in a tree for several minutes just above our heads. Indian Pitta and Indian Blue Robin were missed, as well as Dull-blue Flycatcher.

January 28th

Morning visit to Hakgala Botanical Gardens in grey weather. Here we looked for the highland race of Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and Toque Macaque with luck. Not many birds – a single observation of a Dull-blue Flycatcher and a male Kashmir.

A long drive towards Udawalawe National Park where we had a very fine afternoon safari. In the park we saw close to 50 Elephants, Spotted Deer, Water Buffalo, Mugger crocodiles and around 75 species of birds. Among these were several Crested Hawk-Eagles, an adult male Pallid Harrier, Black-shouldered Kites, Blue-breasted Quail, Pied Cuckoo, Jerdon's Bush-Lark, Yellow-eyed & Tawny-bellied Babblers and last but not least the only decent view of Crimson-backed Woodpecker during the trip.

We left the park at dusk for Centauria Inn, Embilipitiya, and saw a Rock Python crossing the road after dark.

January 29th

Morning birding at the hotel lake with Spot-billed Pelicans as the highlight.

Four hours of driving towards Yala Village, where the next three nights were spent. Stopped on the way for some hours birding at the tanks around Tissa wetlands. We did not find the White-naped Woodpecker in the coconut groves, but had our first encounter with the endemic White-browed Bulbul and enjoyed the many waterbirds and big roost of Flying Foxes and a pair of Collared Scops Owl. Arrived after dark at the Yala Village, which is very luxurious.

January 30th and January 31st

Full day safaris at Yala National Park. According to the Leopard Research sponsored under the Jetwing Research Initiative, Yala Block 1 has one of the highest densities of Leopards in the world and Yala therefore offers one of the best chances in Asia to see this magnificent cat. That might easily be true!!! We saw five animals – most likely a mother with two neargrown cubs – relaxing on the cliffs during the first afternoon plus a singleton roosting in a tree, and on the second day we saw another adult cat, roosting in a tree! Other large animals observed included Elephants, Mugger Crocodile, Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, Jackal, Grey Langur and Mongooses.

We identified around 120 species of birds during the two days spent in the park – including the endemics Sri Lanka Wood-shrike and Blue-faced Malkoha.

February 1st

Only on the last morning we actually SAW the Yala Village – since we arrived after dark, and used all light hours on safari during the preceding days. One hour of birding added a few species of waders to the list. After breakfast we left for The Frangipani Tree Hotel in Galle for one night. En route we spent some hours of birding in Bundala National Park and Kalametiya, as are some extensive areas of wetland with brackish lagoons, mangrove swamps, open grassy areas and pockets of scrub jungle. It is an important site for migrant waders and despite of more rain we managed to add several species to the bird list, and Salt-water Crocodile was seen too.

The Frangipanni Tree Hotel is very luxurious, and we enjoyed some very delicious lobster for dinner after watching sea-turtles searching for the right wave to enter the beach and +50.000 Barn Swallows coming to roost in the app. 20 palm-trees in the hotel garden. An overwhelming sight.

February 2nd

Morning drive to the Mirissa Fishery's Harbour from where we started our journey to the sea. After exactly one hour of sailing we located two Blue Whales, as we followed for app. 1½ hour – a very impressive experience. These huge animals ignored us and the other 6 boats totally, and went up and down about every 6-8 minutes, giving lots of good views down to 50 meters and the tail was shown many times. No other whales were observed on the trip, maybe because we located the Blue Whales so quickly and close to the coast.

We proceeded on a long drive to Martin’s Simple Lodge in Sinharaja. Arrived late, but we managed to find our first Sri Lanka Hill Mynas before the dark fell.

February 3rd

Full day visit to Sinharaja rainforest - (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) for hilly lowland endemics and mixed species bird flocks. According to a study of the mixed bird species parties on average 42 individual birds occur in the flocks, which makes this the world's largest mixed species bird flocks. The mixed species bird flock study of Sinharaja forest has been continuing since 1981 and is considered as the World's longest studied bird flock study. Birding highlights include Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling and Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush. Our excellent guide Praen found these and the endemic Laughingthrush, but also Brown-chested Jungle-Flycatcher and Indian Blue Robin were ticked.

We tried hard for the Serendib Scops-Owl, but there was no luck on the known places for day-roost and we didn't manage to tape it in outside the park at night – the only endemic dip on the trip.

February 4th

After early morning breakfast and departure by foot, our guide – after a lot of hard work - lured in Sri Lanka Spurfowl with tape, and we continued to walk down the hill. In a ricefield near the village we found several species of munias, including the South Indian endemic Black-throated Munia, which became the last tick of the trip.

The rest of the day was spent in the car, driving for Jetwing Sea, Negombo for one night.

February 5th

A day of relaxing on the beach and in the pool. Some of us strolled in the touristed suburb and shopped a few souvenirs.

After dinner transfer to the International Airport.

LOOKING BACK

If we had had the chance, we would have taken half a day extra to further investigate some of the best sites. The time was too short in The Uda Walawe NP that was heavily degraded by the elephants, but surprised us by large numbers of bird. Also Tissa Tanks and Bundala NP deserved more time for us to study these heavens for waterbirds and shorebirds. If anything should have been changed in our itinerary we would have liked to stay an extra day at the lovely Frangipani Tree Hotel near Galle to rest, swim with the sea turtles and hopefully seeing the Fishing Cat at night. Or maybe we should have spent a whole week extra on Sri Lanka?

SOURCES FOR INFORMATION / LITERATURE

Mammals:

‘A Photographic Guide to Mammals of Sri Lanka’ by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd., 2011.
Present species names from en.wikipedia.org on the internet.

Birds:

‘A Field Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka’ by John Harrison (ill. Tim Worfolk), 2nd edition. Oxford University Press, 2011.
‘Birds of South Asia, The Ripley Guide’ by Pamela C. Rasmussen and John C. Anderton. Volume 1. Smithsonian Institute and Lynx Edicions, 2005.
‘A Field Guide to the Birds of Indian Subcontinent’ by Krys Kazmierczak (ill. Ber van Perlo). Christopher Helm, London, 2000.
‘A Photographic Guide to Birds of Sri Lanka’ by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Deepal Warakagoda and T.S.U de Zylva. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd., 2011.
‘A Guide to the Birds of Ceylon” by G.M. Henry, 2nd edition, 1971, Oxford University Press.

Reptiles and amphibians:

‘A Photographic Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Sri Lanka’ by Indraneil Das and Anslem de Silva. New Holland Publishers (UK) Ltd., 2011.
We further recommend to read the excellent Sri Lanka trip report 2010 by Uffe Gjøl Sørensen and Jørgen Bech on http://www.netfugl.dk/trip_reports/asia/SriLanka_2010_UGS.pdf

BIRD OBSERVATIONS

1. Little Grebe Tachybaptus ruficollis: 29/1 1 drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 30/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Kalamatiya wetlands.
2. Spot-billed Pelican Pelecanus philippensis: 29/1 8 Lake Embilipitya, 40 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 5 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 14 Bundala NP.
3. Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo: 29/1 5 Lake Embilipitya, 5/2 6 along sea shore, Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
4. Indian Cormorant Phalacrocorax fuscicollis: 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 25 Lake Embilipitya, 40 Tissa Tanks, 1/2 20 Bundala NP.
5. Little Cormorant Phalacrocorax niger: 23/1 2 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 24/1 12 Kitulgala, 25/1 3 Kandy Lake, 26/1 1 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 28/1 40 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 5 Lake Embilipitya, 10 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 200 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 30 Yala NP, 31/1 20 Yala NP, 1/2 50 Bundala NP, 2/2 1 drive Mirissa to Sinharaja NP.
6. Oriental Darter Anhinga [melanogaster] melanogaster: 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 30 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 25 Yala NP, 31/1 6 Yala NP, 1/2 15 Bundala NP.
7. Grey Heron Ardea cinerea: 28/1 5 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 20 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 25 Bundala NP.
8. Purple Heron Ardea purpurea: 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 11 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Bundala NP, 4 Kalamatiya wetlands.
9. Eastern Great White Egret Ardea [alba] modesta: 28/1 5 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 3 Lake Embilipitya, 2 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 20 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 8 Yala NP, 31/1 2 in breeding plumage Yala NP, 1/2 10 Bundala NP, 10 Kalamatiya wetlands.
10. Intermediate Heron Egretta intermedia: 23/1 14 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 27/1 78 in rice paddies below Horton Plains, 28/1 10 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 14 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 20 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 50 Yala NP, 31/1 20 Yala NP, 1/2 40 Bundala NP.
11. Little Egret Egretta garzetta: 23/1 2 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 25/1 1 drive Kitulgala to Kandy, 25/1 3 Kandy Lake, 26/1 20 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 4 Lake Embilipitya, 100 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 30 Yala NP, 31/1 10 Yala NP, 1/2 1 Yala Village, 10 Bundala NP, 6 Kalamatiya wetlands.
12. Western Reef Egret Egretta gularis: 1/2 1 white bird at rockpool, on south coast between Tangalla and Galle.
13. Cattle Egret Bubulcus [ibis] coromandus: 23/1 16 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 23/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 150 drive from Hakgala Botanical Garden to Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 25 Lake Embilipitya, 40 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 400 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 50 Yala NP, 31/1 50 Yala NP, 1/2 100 Bundala NP, 1/2 100 Kalamatiya wetlands, 4/2 6 Sinharaja car park fields.
14. Indian Pond Heron Ardeola grayii: 23/1 10 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 23/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 1 Kitulgala, 25/1 1 drive Kitulgala to Kandy, 26/1 4 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 27/1 10 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 10 Lake Embilipitya, 50 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 40 Yala NP, 31/1 50 Yala NP, 1/2 20 Bundala NP, 1 Kalamatiya wetlands.
15. Striated Heron Butorides striatus: 2/2 1 roosting on a fishing boat, Mirissa Harbour on the south coast, east of Galle, was our only sighting during the trip.
16. Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax: 30/1 2 Yala NP (MH), 31/1 1 Yala NP (MH). Flying over at dusk at the entrance gate.
17. Yellow Bittern Ixobrychus sinensis: 29/1 6 Tissa Tanks, 1/2 2 Bundala NP.
18. Black Bittern Dupetor flavicollis: 29/1 4 Tissa Tanks.
19. Painted Stork Mycteria leucocephala: 28/1 25 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 15 Yala NP, 31/1 40 Yala NP, 1/2 7 Bundala NP.
20. Asian Openbill Anastomus oscitans: 23/1 2 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 29/1 1 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 12 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 25 Yala NP, 31/1 35 Yala NP, 1/2 20 Bundala NP.
21. Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus. 28/1 2 drive from Hakgala Botanical Garden to Uda Walawe NP, 1 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 2 Yala NP.
22. Lesser Adjudant Leptoptilos javanicus: 31/1 1 Yala NP. An uncommon and endangered bird in Sri Lanka. After two days of searching, we finally succeeded to find a single bird in a remote part of block 1, Yala NP, feeding in a flowering grass field.
23. Black-headed Ibis Threskiornis melanocephalus: 28/1 10 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 2 drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 29/1 20 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 40 Yala NP, 31/1 50 Yala NP, 1/2 10 Bundala NP.
24. Eurasian Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia: 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP at road dam, 29/1 2 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 14 Yala NP, 1/2 1 Yala Village, 1/2 20 Bundala NP, 10 Kalamatiya wetlands.
25. Lesser Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna javanica: 23/1 2 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 29/1 20 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 20 Yala NP, 31/1 40 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Yala Village, 8 + a pair with small ducklings, Bundala NP.
26. Garganey Anas querquedula. 1/2 25 Bundala NP.
27. Osprey Pandion haliaetus. 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP at road dam
28. Oriental Honey-Buzzard Pernis ptilorhyncus: 23/1 1 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 4/2 1 below Sinharaja NP.
29. Black-winged Kite Elanus caeruleus: 28/1 4 Uda Walawe NP.
30. Brahminy Kite Haliastur indus: 23/1 1 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 24/1 1 Kitulgala, 26/1 1 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 2 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 8 Yala NP, 31/1 2 Yala NP, 1/2 3 Bundala NP.
31. White-bellied Sea Eagle Haliaetus leucogaster: 25/1 1 Kandy Lake, 1 drive from Kandy to Hunas Falls, 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 1 estuary near Bundala NP.
32. Grey-headed Fishing-eagle Ichthyophaga ichthyaetus: 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Bundala NP.
33. Crested Serpent Eagle Spilornis cheela spilogaster: 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 1/2 1 Bundala NP. Endemic race.
34. Pallid Harrier Circus macrouru:. 28/1 1 adult male Uda Walawe NP.
35. Shikra Accipiter badius: 25/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 29/1 imm. during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 30/1 1 Yala NP, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 1 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP.
36. Besra Accipiter virgatus: 28/1 1 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya (NR), 1/2 1 imm. Bundala NP.
37. Changeable Hawk Eagle Spizaetus cirrhatus ceylanensis: 28/1 6 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 2 Yala NP. Endemic race.
38. Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus: 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP.
39. ‘Black’ Shaheen Falcon Falco peregrinus peregrinator: 24/1 1 Kitulgala, soaring low in front of a steep cliff, probably a local breeding bird. (EKR).
40. Blue-breasted Quail Coturnix chinensis: 28/1 3 Uda Walawe NP (MH)
41. Sri Lanka Spurfowl Galloperdix bicalcarata: 24/1 2 heard calling in Kitulgala Forest, behind an abandoned rice paddy field inside the forest, 4/2 1 seen and 1 heard below Sinharaja NP. Half way down the jeep road from Martin’s Simple Lodge, we heard calling spurfowl, and looked for it at a tea plantation, where a trail was leading in from a side-track, in a roadcurve. Behind the tea-plantation, in a small rain forest lot, we managed to get fine views of a spurfowl male, attracted by play-back. Beware of leeches! Sri Lanka endemic.
42. Sri Lanka Junglefowl Gallus lafayettii: 23/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 3 Kitulgala Forest, 25/1 1 heard Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 4 Uda Walawe NP. 29/1 1 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 12 Yala NP, 31/1 12 Yala NP, 1/2 1 heard Yala Village, 3/2 8 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 1 heard along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
43. Indian Peafowl Pavo cristatus: 28/1 100+ Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 heard Tissa Tanks, 30/1 75+ Yala NP, 31/1 100+ Yala NP, 1/2 10 Bundala NP, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands.
44. Barred Buttonquail Turnix suscitator leggei: 31/1 1 male Yala NP. Endemic race.
45. White-breasted Waterhen Amaurornis phoenicurus: 23/1 4 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 2 heard Kitulgala, 25/1 1 heard Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 27/1 2 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 29/1 40 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 2 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Bundala NP, 4 Kalamatiya wetlands, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP.
46. Common Moorhen Gallinula choloropus: 29/1 2 Tissa Tanks, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Bundala NP.
47. 'Grey-headed' Purple Swamphen Porphyrio [porphyrio] poliocephalus: 29/1 4 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 50 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 1/2 8 Bundala NP, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands.
48. Common Coot Fulica atra: 29/1 2 Tissa Tanks, 1/2 1 Bundala NP.
49. Pheasant-tailed Jacana Hydrophasianus chirurgus: 29/1 5 in breeding plumage near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 29/1 100+ Tissa Tanks, 30/1 10 Yala NP, 31/1 30 Yala NP, 1/2 20 Bundala NP.
50. Black-winged Stilt Himantopus himantopus: 28/1 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 3 Lake Embilipitya, 10 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 29/1 10 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 25 Yala NP, 31/1 20 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Yala Village, 30 Bundala NP, 20 Kalamatiya wetlands. There is debate on the taxonomy of the Sri Lankan Black-winged Stilt. Some consider it as a separate and endemic species.
51. Indian Stone-curlew Burhinus [oedicnemus] indicus: 1/2 7 Bundala NP, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands.
52. Great Thick-knee Esacus recurvirostris. 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 5 Yala NP, 31/1 2 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Yala Village, 20 Bundala NP, 11 Kalamatiya wetlands.
53. Pratincole sp. Glareola pratincola/maldivarum: 1/2 a brief view of a single bird, Bundala NP. Either a Collared or an Oriental Pratincole. (MH).
54. Yellow-wattled Lapwing Vanellus malabaricus: 30/1 6 Yala NP, 31/1 7 Yala NP, 1/2 10 Bundala NP, 4 Kalamatiya wetlands.
55. Red-wattled Lapwing Vanellus indicus: 23/1 4 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 28/1 3 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 2 Lake Embilipitya, 2 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 25 Yala NP, 31/1 30 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Yala Village, 8 Bundala NP, 10 Kalamatiya wetlands.
56. Pacific Golden Plover Pluvialis fulva: 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Bundala NP, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands.
57. Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola: 1/2 1 Bundala NP.
58. Common Ringed Plover Charadrius hiaticula: 28/1 5 Uda Walawe NP, road dam.
59. Little Ringed Plover Charadrius dubius: 1/2 4 Yala Village, 1 Bundala NP. Race not identified.
60. Kentish Plover Charadrius alexandrinus alexandrinus: 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 1 Yala Village, 1/2 10 Bundala NP, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands. All birds belonged to the alexandrinus race, a winter visitor to Sri Lanka.
61. Mongolian Plover Charadrius mongolus: 30/1 20 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 1/2 10 Yala Village, 30 Bundala NP, 4 Kalamatiya wetlands.
62. Greater Sand Plover Charadrius leschenaultii: 28/1 5 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 10 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Yala Village, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands.
63. 'Western' Black-tailed Godwit Limosa [limosa] limosa: 30/1 3 Yala NP, 1/2 1 Yala Village, 4 Bundala NP.
64. Common Redshank Tringa totanus: 30/1 4 Yala NP, 31/1 6 Yala NP, 1/2 25 Bundala NP, 10 Kalamatiya wetlands.
65. Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis: 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 30/1 4 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Yala Village, 20 Bundala NP, 10 Kalamatiya wetlands.
66. Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia: 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 30/1 3 Yala NP, 1/2 20 Bundala NP, 4 Kalamatiya wetlands.
67. Green Sandpiper Tringa ochropus: 23/1 1 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 1/2 2 Kalamatiya wetlands.
68. Wood Sandpiper Tringa glareola: 30/1 4 Yala NP, 31/1 2 Yala NP, 1/2 10 Kalamatiya wetlands.
69. Common Sandpiper Tringa hypoleucos: 23/1 1 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 27/1 1 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 29/1 3 Lake Embilipitya, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 3 Yala NP, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands, 5/2 4 along sea shore, Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
70. Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres: 1/2 3 Yala Village, 15 Bundala NP, 6 Kalamatiya wetlands.
71. Pintail Snipe Gallinago stenura: 31/1 1 Yala NP (excellent views for identification), 1/2 1 Bundala NP.
72. Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago: 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP.
73. Little Stint Calidris minuta: 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 10 Yala Village, 1/2 30 Bundala NP.
74. Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea: 30/1 10 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Yala Village, 5 Bundala NP,
75. Brown-headed Gull Larus brunnicephalus: 4/2 1 along sea shore, Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
76. Common Black-headed Gull Larus ridibundus: 5/2 1 along sea shore, Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
77. Whiskered Tern Chlidonias hybridus: 28/1 200 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 5 Lake Embilipitya, 29/1 100 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 30 Yala NP, 31/1 50 Yala NP, 1/2 60 Bundala NP, 2/2 6 at sea, off Mirissa Harbour on the south coast, east of Galle.
78. White-winged Black Tern Chlidonias leucopterus: 28/1 100 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 2 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 150 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 25 Yala NP, 31/1 50 Yala NP, 1/2 20 Yala Village, 60 Bundala NP,
Whiskered/White-winged Black Tern sp.: 29/1 300 Lake Embilipitya,
79. Gull-billed Tern Sterna nilotica: 28/1 25 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 3 Lake Embilipitya, 30/1 8 Yala NP, 1/2 12 Bundala NP, 5/2 50 along sea shore, Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
80. Caspian Tern Sterna caspia: 30/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Bundala NP,
81. Common Tern Sterna hirundo: 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya,
82. Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata: 1/2 3 at sea, seen from Tangalla Harbour.
83. Little Tern Sternula albifrons: 30/1 5 Yala NP.
84. Saunder’s Tern Sternula saundersi 30/1 2 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Bundala NP
Little /Saunders Tern Sternula sp., unidentified 2/2 12 at sea, off Mirissa Harbour on the south coast, east of Galle, 5/2 20 along sea shore, Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
85. Great Crested Tern Sterna bergii: 1/2 1 along coast, Frangipani Tree Hotel, east of Galle, 2/2 1 at sea, off Mirissa Harbour on the south coast, east of Galle, 5/2 3 along sea shore, Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
86. Lesser Crested Tern Sterna bengalensis: 2/2 1 at sea, off Mirissa Harbour on the south coast, east of Galle.
87. Feral Rock Pigeon Columba livia: 23/1 3 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 27/1 25 between Nuwara Eliya and Horton plains, 10 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 29/1 30 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 10 Yala NP, 1/2 25 Yala Village.
88. Sri Lanka Woodpigeon Columba torringtonii: 27/1 8 Horton Plains. Sri Lanka endemic, confined to the highlands.
89. Spotted Dove Streptopelia chinensis: 23/1 7 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 24/1 common Kitulgala, 25/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 26/1 2 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 4 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 20 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 120 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 2 Lake Embilipitya, 30 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 100 Yala NP, 31/1 80 Yala NP, 1/2 10 Yala Village, 20 Bundala NP, 3/2 2 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 10 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. A common bird throughout.
90. Emerald Dove Chalophaps indica robinsoni: 23/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 25/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 3/2 4 Sinharaja NP. Endemic race.
91. Orange-breasted Green-pigeon Treron bicincta leggei: 28/1 10 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 25 Yala NP, 31/1 5 Yala NP, 1/2 25 Yala Village. Endemic race.
92. Sri Lanka Green Pigeon Treron pompadora: 23/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 Kitulgala, 25/1 3 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
93. Green Imperial Dove Ducula aenea: 23/1 5 Kitulgala, 24/1 12 Kitulgala, 25/1 4 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 10 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 3 Yala NP, 3/2 3 Sinharaja NP,
94. Sri Lanka Hanging-Parrot Loriculus beryllinus: 23/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 20 early morning at Kitulgala Rest House, in a low fruiting tree on the lawn in front of the room annex, 25/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 26/1 4 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 4/2 4 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
95. Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria: 24/1 2 Kitulgala Rest House.
96. Rose-ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri: 27/1 10 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 50 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 80 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 50 Yala NP, 31/1 50 Yala NP.
97. Layard's Parakeet Psittacula calthropae: 23/1 10 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 5 Kitulgala, 25/1 4 at a small forest patch near Puhaambawe, near Hunas Falls north of Kandy, 4/2 3 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
98. Chestnut-winged Cuckoo Clamator coromandu:. 25/1 1 fine bird seen well at the Kelani riverside, Kitulgala Rest House. A scarce winter visitor to Sri Lanka.
99. Pied Cuckoo Clamator jacobinus: 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP (MH), 30/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 1 Bundala NP.
100. Indian Cuckoo Cuculus micropterus: 31/1 1 Yala NP, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP.
101. Grey-bellied Cuckoo Cacomantis [merulinus] passerinus: 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 5 Yala NP.
102. Asian Koel Eudynamys scolopacea: 23/1 2 Kitulgala, 24/1 1 Kitulgala Rest House, 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 3 Yala NP, 1/2 1 Yala Village.
103. Blue-faced Malkoha Phaenicophaeus viridirostris: 31/1 8 Yala NP, in dry parts with thorny bush. South Asian endemic.
104. Red-faced Malkoha Phaenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus: 3/2 10 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic. A handsome malkoha hidden in the canopy.
105. Green-billed Coucal Centropus chlororhynchos: 24/1 great views of a calling bird, in a large roadside tree near Sisira’s Lodge in the early morning, and another bird heard calling same day in Kitulgala Forest. 25/1 1 heard Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 3/2 1 seen and 2 heard Sinharaja NP, 4/2 1 heard at Martin’s Simple Lodge, Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
106. Southern Coucal Centropus [sinensis] parroti: 23/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 1 heard Kitulgala, 25/1 1 heard Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 29/1 1 Tissa Tanks, 4/2 2 at car park and village below Sinharaja NP.
107. Collared Scops-owl Otus bakkamoena: 29/1 2 at day roost, Tissa Tanks. A dayroosting pair in a garden tree.
108. Spot-bellied Eagle-Owl Bubo nipalensis blighi: 25/1 1 seen (EKR) and heard by all calling at dusk, in a small forest patch at Puhaambawe, near Hunas Falls north of Kandy. Endemic race.
109. Brown Fish Owl Ketupa zeylonensis zeylonensis: 25/1 1 flushed at the lakeside, Udewattekele Sanctuary, Kandy. 30/1 2 roosting in trees, Yala NP. Endemic race.
110. Chestnut-backed Owlet Glaucidium castanonotum: 23/1 1 heard Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 3-4 heard calling, Kitulgala, 25/1 eventually we were lucky to get a prolonged, great close up view of a calling bird in the morning at Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), and another 1-2 birds heard calling from the other side of the Kelani River. Sri Lanka endemic. Often vocal until midmorning and again from midafternoon so not too difficult to localize, although we had some problems finding it!
111. Brown Hawk Owl Ninox scutulata. 1/2 1 heard calling in the garden of the Frangipani Tree Hotel, east of Galle.
112. Sri Lanka Frogmouth Batrachostomus moniliger: 24/1 3 Kitulgala Forest after dark, one calling bird seen perched on a branch, excellently spotted with a flashlight by a guide, and another 2 birds heard calling from the forest. South Asian endemic.
113. Jerdon's Nightjar Caprimulgus atripennis: 30/1 3 heard calling at dawn at the entrance gate to Yala NP, 31/1 1 calling at dawn at entrance gate, Yala NP. South Asian endemic.
114. Indian Nightjar Caprimulgus asiaticus eidos: 30/1 4 heard calling at dawn at the entrance gate to Yala NP, 31/1 1 calling at dawn at entrance gate, Yala NP. Endemic race.
115. Indian Swiftlet Collicalia unicolor: 23/1 10 Kitulgala, 24/1 25 Kitulgala, 25/1 3 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 31/1 5 Yala NP, 1/2 100 roosting, Frangipani Tree Hotel, east of Galle. 4/2 10 at car park and village below Sinharaja NP. South Asian endemic.
116. Brown-backed Needletail Hirundapus giganteus: 23/1 10 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 2 Kitulgala.
117. Asian Palm-Swift Cypsiurus balasiensis. 23/1 2 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 23/1 10 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 6 Kitulgala, 25/1 4 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 4 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 2 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 6 Yala NP, 1/2 10 roosting in the garden of the Frangipani Tree Hotel, east of Galle, 2/2 2 Sinharaja NP, 3/2 4 Sinharaja NP.
118. Little Swift Apus affinis: 29/1 4 Embilipitya, 29/1 10 Tissa Tanks, 1/2 20 Frangipani Tree Hotel, east of Galle.
119. Crested Tree-swift Hemiprogne coronata: 30/1 40 Yala NP, 31/1 30 Yala NP.
120. Malabar Trogon Harpactes fasciatus fasciatus: 24/1 2 Kitulgala Forest, 3/2 3 Sinharaja NP. Endemic race. South Asian endemic.
121. Pied Kingfisher Ceryle rudis: 29/1 1 during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 1/2 2 Bundala NP.
122. Common Kingfisher Alcedo atthis: 26/1 3 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 2 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 6 Yala NP, 31/1 3 Yala NP.
123. Stork-billed Kingfisher Pelargopsis capensis: 23/1 1 heard Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 2 Kelani River, Kitulgala, 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 1/2 1 Kalamatiya wetlands.
124. White-throated Kingfisher Halcyon smyrnensis: 23/1 1 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 23/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 4 Kitulgala, 25/1 1 Udewattekele Sanctuary, Kandy, 26/1 2 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 3 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 29/1 15 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 15 Yala NP, 31/1 10 Yala NP, 1/2 6 Bundala NP, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands, 4/2 1 at car park and village below Sinharaja NP.
125. Little Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis ceylonicus: 28/1 25 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 10 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 40 Yala NP, 31/1 30 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Yala Village, 6 Bundala NP, 4 Kalamatiya wetlands. Endemic race.
126. Blue-tailed Bee-eater Merops phillippinus: 23/1 2 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 28/1 75 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 4 near Bundala, during drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 40 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 75 Yala NP, 31/1 75 Yala NP, 1/2 10 Yala Village, 30 Bundala NP.
127. Chestnut-headed Bee-eater Merops lechenaulti: 24/1 7 Kitulgala, 25/1 6 at lakeside, Udewattekele Sanctuary, Kandy, 31/1 1 Yala NP.
128. Indian Roller Coracias benghalensis: 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 3 drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 1/2 1 near Bundala NP.
129. Eurasian Hoopoe Upupa epops: 28/1 5 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 6 Yala NP, 31/1 10 Yala NP.
130. Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill Tockus gingalensis: 23/1 8 Kitulgala, 24/1 8 Kitulgala, 25/1 3 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 3/2 3 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
131. Malabar Pied Hornbill Anthracoceros coronatus: 28/1 4 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 3 Yala NP, 31/1 40 Yala NP. South Asian Endemic.
132. Brown-headed Barbet Megalaima zeylanica: 23/1 3 calling Kitulgala, 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 25/1 2 heard Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 8 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 3 Lake Embilipitya, 10 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 10 Yala NP, 31/1 3 Yala NP.
133. Yellow-fronted Barbet Megalaima flavifrons: 23/1 3 Kitulgala, 24/1 1 heard calling Kitulgala. 25/1 4 Udewattekele Sanctuary, Kandy. 26/1 4 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 3/2 10 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 5 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
134. Sri Lanka Small Barbet Megalaima rubricapilla: 23/1 1 seen and heard calling at some distance, Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala) . 25/1 good views of one at close hand in a small forest patch near Puhaambawe, near Hunas Falls north of Kandy. Sri Lanka endemic.
135. Coppersmith Barbet Megalaima haemacephala: 28/1 4 heard Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 1 calling Yala NP.
136. Brown-capped Woodpecker Dendrocopus nanus gymnophthalmus: 31/1 1 Yala NP. Endemic race,a possibel future split.
137. Yellow-crowned Woodpecker Dendrocopus mahrattensis: 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP. Possibly a future split – in case as a South Asian endemic.
138. Lesser Yellownape Picus chlorolophus wellsi: 23/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 3/2 2 Sinharaja NP.
139. Black-rumped Flameback Dinopium benghalensis: 23/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 29/1 3 Tissa Tanks, All belonged to the crimson-backed endemic subspecies psarodes.
140. Crimson-backed Woodpecker Chrysocolaptes stricklandi: 25/1 1 in tall old trees, Udewattekele Sanctuary, Kandy (EK). 28/1 1 by a nesting hole, Uda Walawe NP, 3/2 1 heard drumming, Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
141. Indian Pitta Pitta brachyura: 23/1 1 heard at the Kelani riverside, Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 25/1 stunning close up views of a bird feeding on the open forest floor, Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 5 Uda Walawe NP, 31/1 2 Yala NP.
142. Jerdon's Bushlark Mirafra [assamica] affinis: 28/1 55 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 8 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Kalamatiya wetlands. South Asian endemic.
143. Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark Eremopterix grisea: 1/2 8 at visitor centre, Bundala NP.
144. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica: 23/1 2 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 28/1 1 drive from Hakgala Botanical Garden to Uda Walawe NP, 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 10 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 40 Yala NP, 31/1 50 Yala NP, 1/2 30 Yala Village, 10 Bundala NP, more than 50.000 at night roost, Frangipani Tree Hotel garden. Amagnificent scenery took place, when some 50.000 Barn Swallows came flying in at dusk for night roost in the coconut palm trees in the garden of the Frangipani Tree Hotel, east of Galle. The hotel is right on the shore, and the swallows came flying in, in huge swarms from the sea. The only 30 palm trees present in the garden were absolutely covered by roosting swallows for the night. According to the hotel staff, this scenery has taken place each night during all winter seasons since the tsunami hit the island some years ago. The swallow roost is confined to this hotel garden, not in the adjacent palm trees. 2/2 10 at sea, off Mirissa Harbour on the south coast, east of Galle. 4/2 10 drive Sinharaja NP to Negombo, 5/2 4 Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
145. Hill Swallow Hirundo [tahitica] domicola: 26/1 6 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 27/1 2 Horton Plains (NR), 28/1 1 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya (MH). South Asian endemic. Highland swallow and split from Pacific Swallow
146. Sri Lanka Swallow Hirundo hyperythra: 23/1 4 drive Airport to Kitulgala, at the river at the town of Ruwanwella, 23/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 2 Kitulgala. 25/1 5 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 31/1 1 Yala NP (NSR), 4/2 1 drive Sinharaja NP to Negombo. Sri Lanka endemic.
147. Forest Wagtail Dendronanthus indicus: 27/1 2 feeding discretely under bushes at the riverside, Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya.
148. Yellow Wagtail Motacilla flava: 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP (NSR), 1/2 2 Bundala NP.
149. Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea: 24/1 2 Kitulgala Rest House, 26/1 1 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 27/1 2 Horton Plains, 27/1 1 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 2 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya.
150. White Wagtail Motacilla alba: 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP at road dam.
151. Paddyfield Pipit Anthus [novaeseelandiae] rufulus: 28/1 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 1 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 10 Yala NP, 31/1 5 Yala NP, 1/2 4 Kalamatiya wetlands.
152. Blyth's Pipit Anthus godlewskii: 27/1 2 Horton Plains.
153. Large Cuckooshrike Coracina macei layardi: 30/1 1 Yala NP. Endemic race.
154. Black-headed Cuckooshrike Coracina melanoptera: 24/1 1 Kitulgala Forest, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP.
155. Small Minivet Pericrocotus cinnamomeus: 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP.
156. Orange Minivet Pericrocotus [flammeus] flammeus: 23/1 6 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 5 Kitulgala, 25/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 3/2 10 Sinharaja NP, South Asian endemic.
157. Bar-winged Flycatcher-Shrike Hemipus picatus leggei: 23/1 1 Kitulgala, 24/1 4 Kitulgala, 26/1 2 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy. Endemic race, where plumage of male and female is similar with black back – possibly a future split?
158. Sri Lanka Woodshrike Tephrodornis affinis: 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 8 Yala NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
159. Black-headed Yellow Bulbul Pycnonotus melanicterus: 25/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 3/2 5 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
160. Red-vented Bulbul Pycnonotus cafer cafer: 23/1 1 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 23/1 4 Kitulgala, 24/1 30 Kitulgala, 25/1 20 Kitulgala, 26/1 6 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 27/1 3 Horton Plains, 2 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 10 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 75 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 2 Lake Embilipitya, 4 drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks, 40 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 100+ Yala NP, 31/1 75 Yala NP, 4/2 8 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Endemic race.
161. Yellow-eared Bulbul Pycnonotus penicillatus: 26/1 3 at a forest patch, near a roadside stream a few kilometres south of Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 20 Horton Plains, 7 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 5 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya. Sri Lanka endemic, confined to the highlands above 1000 m.
162. White-browed Bulbul Pycnonotus luteolus insulae: 29/1 2 in a coconut grove, Tissa Tanks, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 5 Yala NP, 1/2 3 Yala Village. South Asian endemic, and endemic race..
163. Yellow-browed Bulbul Iole indicus indicus: 23/1 1 Kitulgala, 24/1 10 Kitulgala, 3/2 15 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 4 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. South Asian endemic, and endemic race.
164. Square-tailed Black Bulbul Hypsipetes [leucocephalus] ganeesa: 23/1 9 Kitulgala, 24/1 25 Kitulgala, 25/1 4 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 25/1 2 Udewattekele Sanctuary, Kandy, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP. 4/2 16 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. South Asian endemic.
165. Common Iora Aegithina tiphia: 24/1 3 Kitulgala, 30/1 3 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Yala Village, 3/2 5 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 1 heard along jeep road below Sinharaja NP.
166. Jerdon's Leafbird Chloropsis [cochinchinensis] jerdoni: 24/1 1 Kitulgala, 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 1 Yala NP. South Asian endemic.
167. Golden-fronted Leafbird Chloropsis aurifrons: 24/1 4 Kitulgala.
168. Brown Shrike Lanius cristatus: 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 25/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala). 26/1 1 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy (spp. lucionensis). 28/1 1 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 1 drive from Hakgala Botanical Garden to Uda Walawe NP, 3 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 6 Yala NP, 31/1 5 Yala NP, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 2 at village below Sinharaja NP.
169. Indian Blue Robin Luscinia brunnea: 3/2 1 male Sinharaja NP was the only encounter during the trip. This migratory member of the attractive Luscinia/Tarsiger-group is not possible during traditional winter-trips to the Himalayas and therefore a target-bird for the trip! Very skulky, but this species is usually the most accessible of the three Himalayan species having the Sri Lankan highland as main winter-area (cf. Pied Thrush & Kashmir Flycatcher).
170. Magpie Robin Copsychus saularis: 23/1 2 Kitulgala, 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 25/1 1 heard Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 26/1 4 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 2 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 8 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 5 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 8 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 10 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 2/2 1 drive Mirissa to Sinharaja NP, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 3 at village below Sinharaja NP.
171. White-rumped Shama Copsychus malabaricus leggei: 30/1 3 singing males at forest picnic site at the river, Block 1,Yala NP, 31/1 1 heard Yala NP. Endemic race.
172. Pied Bushchat Saxicola caprata atrata: 26/1 1 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 5 Horton Plains. Endemic race and a possible split as a South Asian endemic.
173. Indian Robin Saxicoloides fulicata leucoptera: 28/1 14 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 35 Yala NP, 31/1 40 Yala NP, 1/2 2 Yala Village, 2 Bundala NP. Endemic race.
174. Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush Myophonus blighi: 26/1 One of the highlights of the trip. We reached a known site for this difficult, local endemic bird of Sri Lanka in the late afternoon, a stream along the main road a few kilometres south of Nuwara Eliya, on the way to Hakgala Botanical Gardens. At a road curve with some fruit stalls, we climbed down a small path to the stream, which - due to heavy rains – had turned into a torrential river. We spent 1 hour here until dark from 5.10 p.m. to 6.10 p.m., while the rain was steadily increasing, and eventually was pouring down. Already after 10-15 minutes upon our arrival, when the daylight was still reasonably good and the rain not too heavy, we discovered a fine male Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, sitting at close range in a shallow part of the stream, shadowed by some overhanging bamboo, and bathing in the water. We could admire the bird for more than one minute before it was chased away by a local person coming down to check some water pipes. The rather small size for a whistling thrush, shortish tail, and the black bill was noticed. In the shadow, it looked almost black.
27/1: During our morning excursion to Horton Plains, we visited the other classical site for this species, Arranga Pool. You have to be here by the break of dawn to get a chance to see it. However, during the last months, the opening hour of the gate to Horton Plains has been postponed from 6 to 7 in the morning, meaning that birding groups will stand a very small chance to find it up here by the pool. This has created a number of complaints to the authorities by the local birding tour operator agencies, so far without result. The Arranga Pool is situated by the roadside, approximately 1 km after the park gate. We looked for the thrush in vain, but since we had had the luck to find it on the preceding evening at Nuwara Eliya, it was not a crucial issue. Sri Lanka endemic. Status endangered. This bird is notorious for its extremely skulky habits and few easily accessible sites. Key-words: Quite fast running streams with dense vegetation at dawn or late dusk.
175. Pied Thrush Zoothera wardii: 27/1. Another highlight of the trip. In the pouring rain we managed to locate a fine male of this mythical bird in Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya. Brillantly located by call and spotted by Niels, after it had flown up from the riverside in a corner of the park, and was sitting almost motionless for several minutes, barely more than 6-7 meters above us in a tree, in the open. Stunning scope views! Scarce on the Himalayan breeding grounds and scarce and skulky as well in its very confined winter-grounds in the Lankan highlands.
176. Spot-winged Ground-thrush Zoothera spiloptera: 25/1 great views of a bird feeding on the forest floor at the lodge, and subsequently sitting on the nest, placed in a small tree at eye level, Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 3/2 4 Sinharaja NP, Sri Lanka endemic.
177. Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush Zoothera imbricata: 3/2 2 seen and 2 heard, Sinharaja NP. Excellent prolonged view of a very well camouflaged bird, sitting in the open on a fallen log in the swamp forest next to the abandoned research station, brillantly spotted by Morten. Skulks on the forest floor around streams, and usually seen close to the abandoned research-station in Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
178. Indian Blackbird Turdus simillimus kinnisii: 26/1 1 at a forest patch, near a roadside stream a few kilometres south of Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 8 Horton Plains around the entrance gate and road in the early morning. This species looks like a male European Blackbird (black, with a yellow bill), and according to the literature the sexes are almost similar. Endemic race, but possible future split as an endemic,i.e. Sri Lankan Blackbird.
179. Brown-capped Babbler Pellorneum fuscocapillum: 24/1 2 at close range Kitulgala Forest, 3/2 2 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic. Most skulky of the endemic Sri Lankan babblers and always at or close to the ground.
180. Sri Lanka Scimitar-babbler Pomatorhinus [schisticeps] melanurus: 27/1 1 Horton Plains, in a mixed bird party, 3/2 5 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
181. Tawny-bellied Babbler Dumetia hyperythra: 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 2 Yala NP, The local white-throated subspecies, ssp. phillipsii.
182. Dark-fronted Babbler Rhopocichla atriceps: 27/1 2 Horton Plains, in a mixed bird party, 30/1 1 Yala NP (MH), 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP, South Asian endemic.
183. Yellow-eyed Babbler Chrysomma sinense nasale: 28/1 4 Uda Walawe NP. Endemic race.
184. Sri Lanka Rufous Babbler Turdoides rufescens: 23/1 25 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 15 Kitulgala, 3/2 40 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic. A key-species in a typical mixed forest flock of Sinharaja.
185. Yellow-billed Babbler Turdoides affinis taphrobanus: 23/1 4 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 23/1 2 Kitulgala, 24/1 8 Kitulgala, 25/1 6 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 40 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 30 Yala NP, 31/1 40 Yala NP, 1/2 20 Yala Village, 4/2 4 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Endemic race, and South Asian endemic.
186. Ashy-headed Laughingthrush Garrulax cinereifrons: 3/2 25 in mixed bird parties, Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
187. Sri Lanka Bush-warbler Elaphrornis palliseri: 27/1 2 Horton Plains. This elusive, handsome endemic was encountered only once on our trip, during the morning visit to Horton plains. We finally managed to locate a breeding pair at the visitor centre, in a small patch of low thicket and ferns next to the trail down towards the ticket office and gate to the walking trails. An extremely skulking bird, however quite responsive to play-back. Only necessary to do this a few times! More colourful than expected for a bush warbler, showing rusty throat and grey breast. A fine bird. Sri Lanka Endemic.
188. Blyth's Reed Warbler Acrocephalus dumetorum: 26/1 5 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, feeding in bamboo thicket in the heavy rain.
189. Clamorous Reed Warbler Acrocephalus [stentoreus] meridionalis: 1/2 6 in reedbeds, seen and heard, Bundala NP. Endemic race.
190. Zitting Cisticola Cisticola juncidis cursitans: 28/1 3 Uda Walawe NP.
191. Jungle Prinia Prinia sylvatica valida: 28/1 4 Uda Walawe NP. Endemic race.
192. Ashy Prinia Prinia socialis brevicauda: 28/1 6 Uda Walawe NP. Endemic race.
193. Plain Prinia Prinia inornata insularis: 28/1 1 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 4 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 4 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP. Endemic race.
194. Common Tailorbird Orthotomus sutorius sutorius: 23/1 1 Kitulgala, 24/1 4 Kitulgala, 25/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 26/1 2 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy (O. s. fernandonis), 27/1 1 Horton Plains (O. s. fernandonis), 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 3 Yala NP. Both races are endemic.
195. Greenish Warbler Phylloscopus trochiloides: 28/1 1 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 30/1 1 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 3/2 2 Sinharaja NP.
196. Bright-green Warbler Phylloscopus [trochiloides] nitidus: 27/1 3 Horton Plains. Common in wooded areas of Sri Lanka – a nitidus winter-ground!
Greenish/Bright-green Warbler sp.: 26/1 4 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy.
197. Large-billed Leaf Warbler Phylloscopus magnirostris: 24/1 1 heard Kitulgala Forest, 3/2 4 seen Sinharaja NP.
198. Asian Brown Flycatcher Muscicapa dauurica: 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 25/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 30/1 1 Yala NP.
199. Brown-breasted Flycatcher Muscicapa muttui: 3/2 5 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 1 at Martin’s Simple Lodge, Sinharaja NP.
200. Dull-Blue Flycatcher Eumyais sordidus: 27/1 1 Horton Plains. After hours of searching, we finally succeeded to locate this highly endemic beauty at a small roadside pool, not far from Arranga Pool. 28/1 2 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka endemic.
201. Kashmir Flycatcher Ficedula subrubra: 26/1 1 female Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 27/1 1 adult male Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 1 adult male Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya. From the tiny breeding area in Kashmir, the entire population spends the winter in Sri Lankan highlands (above 900 m).
202. Tickell's Blue Flycatcher Cyornis tickelliae jerdoni: 24/1 4 Kitulgala, 25/1 1 Kitulgala. Endemic race.
203. Grey-headed Flycatcher Culicicapa ceylonensis: 26/1 2 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 27/1 5 Horton Plains, 28/1 2 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya.
204. Black-naped Monarch Hypothymis azurea ceylonensis:. 24/1 2 heard Kitulgala, 3/2 2 Sinharaja NP. Endemic race.
205. Asian Paradise-Flycatcher Terpsiphone paradisi: 28/1 2 females Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 4 (both rufous and white males) Yala NP, 31/1 1 white male Yala NP, 1/2 1 Bundala NP, 3/2 12 Sinharaja NP (both rufous and white males).
Rufous birds of endemic race ceylonensis) White males of race paradisi, winter-visitors).
206. White-browed Fantail Rhipidura aureola: 23/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 1 Kitulgala, 26/1 6 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 28/1 3 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 2 Yala NP.
207. Cinereous [Great] Tit Parus [major] cinereus: 26/1 3 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 1 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 5 Horton Plains, 28/1 2 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya.
208. Velvet-fronted Nuthatch Sitta frontalis: 27/1 2 Horton Plains, 3/2 5 Sinharaja NP.
209. Legge's Flowerpecker Dicaeum vincens: 24/1 3 Kitulgala Rest house, at fruiting tree in front of the room annex, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
210. Pale-billed Flowerpecker Dicaeum erythrorhynchos cylonense: 23/1 2 Kitulgala, 26/1 1 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 27/1 5 Horton Plains, 29/1 1 Lake Embilipitya, 29/1 1 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 1/2 3 Yala Village, 3/2 3 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 3 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Endemic race.
211. Purple-rumped Sunbird Nectarinia zeylonica zeylonica: 23/1 1 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 23/1 3 Kitulgala, 24/1 10 Kitulgala, 25/1 2 Kandy Lake, 26/1 1 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 2 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 29/1 4 Lake Embilipitya, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 2 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Yala Village, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 5 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Endemic race.
212. Loten's Sunbird Nectarinia lotenia lotenia: 23/1 1 Kitulgala, 24/1 1 Kitulgala, 26/1 5 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 27/1 1 Horton Plains, 28/1 2 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya. Endemic race and South Asian endemic.
213. Purple Sunbird Nectarinia asiatica: 29/1 2 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 4 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 1/2 7 Yala Village, 2 Bundala NP.
214. Oriental White-eye Zosterops palpebrosa: 24/1 6 Kitulgala, 26/1 10 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy.
215. Sri Lanka White-eye Zosterops ceylonensis: 27/1 Common in Horton Plains, where we counted approximately 40 birds, and another 40 on the same day at Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 35 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 3/2 10 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
216. White-throated Silverbill Lonchura malabarica: 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP.
217. White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata: 24/1 7 Kitulgala, 4/2 40 in a rice paddy at car park village below Sinharaja NP.
218. Scaly-breasted Munia Lonchura punctulata: 23/1 12 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 27/1 5 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 2 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 10 Yala NP, 31/1 10 Yala NP, 1/2 12 Yala Village, 4/2 4 in a rice paddy at car park village below Sinharaja NP.
219. Black-throated Munia Lonchura [kelaarti] kelaarti: 4/2 10 in a rice paddy at car park village below Sinharaja NP. Endemic race and South Asian endemic – possible future split to endemic species.
220. Black-headed Munia Lonchura malacca: 27/1 8 Horton Plains, 28/1 20 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 50 Yala NP, 31/1 20 Yala NP, 1/2 4 estuary near Bundala NP. South Asian endemic,
221. House Sparrow Passer domesticus:. 26/1 6 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 15 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 2 Yala NP.
222. Streaked Weaver Ploceus manyar: 30/1 1 male in full breeding plumage, Yala NP.
223. Baya Weaver Ploceus philippinus: 30/1 10 in a breeding colony, males almost in full breeding plumage, busy building nests, Yala NP, 31/1 10 Yala NP.
224. White-faced Starling Sturnia albofrontata: 3/2 7 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic.
225. Brahminy Starling Sturnus pagodarum: 30/1 4 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP.
226. Common Mynah Acridotheres tristis melanosturnus: 23/1 3 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 23/1 30 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 2 Kitulgala, 26/1 4 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 20 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 20 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 25 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 40 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 100 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 100 Yala NP, 31/1 40 Yala NP, 1/2 30 Bundala NP, 2 Kalamatiya wetlands, 4/2 10 at village below Sinharaja NP. Common throughout. Endemic race.
227. Sri Lanka Myna Gracula ptilogenys: 2/2 3 Sinharaja NP (MH), 3/2 3 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic. Scarce, typically seen perched in the top of trees.
228. Lesser Hill Mynah Gracula indica: 23/1 1 heard Kitulgala, 24/1 6 seen and 2 heard Kitulgala, 25/1 10 Udewattekele Sanctuary, Kandy, 26/1 2 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy. South Asian endemic.
229. Black-hooded Oriole Oriolus xanthornus ceylonensis: 23/1 4 Kitulgala, 24/1 4 Kitulgala, 25/1 3-4 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 28/1 1 drive from Hakgala Botanical Garden to Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 2 Yala NP, 2/2 1 heard Sinharaja NP, 3/2 8 Sinharaja NP. Endemic race.
230. White-bellied Drongo Dicrurus caerulescens: 23/1 3 Kitulgala, 24/1 7 Kitulgala, 25/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 26/1 1 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 30/1 2 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP, 3/2 2 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 4 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP. Two subspecies recorded: Spp. leucopygialis and Spp. insularis.
231. Sri Lanka Crested Drongo Dicrurus lophorinus: 24/1 1 Kitulgala forest. 3/2 12 Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic. Often part of mixed feeding-flocks.
232. Ashy Woodswallow Artamus fuscus: 23/1 1 drive Airport to Kitulgala was our only observation during the entire trip.
233. Sri Lanka Blue Magpie Urocissa ornata: 24/1 1 heard Kitulgala Forest, 3/2 5 Sinharaja NP. (2 at Martin’s Lodge at dawn, 3 in the forest). 4/2 2 at dawn in the restaurant, Martin’s Simple Lodge, Sinharaja NP. Sri Lanka endemic. No doubt the icon for avian endemism on Sri Lanka! The isolation has created an almost eccentric colourfulness. Quite noisy when found in the forests but most easily seen in the early morning at Martins Simple Lodge: A nearby family hunts the terrace for moths that have been attracted by the electric light during the dark hours.
234. House Crow Corvus splendens: 23/1 4 drive Airport to Kitulgala, 26/1 30 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya (including Kandy), 29/1 20 Tissa Tanks, 1/2 30 Yala Village, 5/2 20 Jetwing Sea Hotel, Negombo.
235. Indian Jungle Crow Corvus [macrorhynchos] culminatus: 23/1 4 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala), 24/1 4 Kitulgala, 25/1 2 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala). 25/1 15 Kandy Lake, 26/1 6 Hunas Falls Hotel, north of Kandy, 15 drive Hunas Falls to Nuwara Eliya, 27/1 6 Horton Plains, 25 Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 20 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya, 28/1 20 Uda Walawe NP, 29/1 10 Tissa Tanks, 30/1 30 Yala NP, 31/1 40 Yala NP, 1/2 5 Yala Village, 10 Bundala NP.

MAMMAL OBSERVATIONS

1. Horseshoe Bat: 25/1 2 seen at dusk, near a small forest patch near Puhaambawe, near Hunas Falls north of Kandy.
2. Bat sp.: 25/1 4 seen at dusk, near a small forest patch near Puhaambawe, near Hunas Falls north of Kandy.
3. Indian Flying Fox Pteropus giganteus: 25/1 50 in colony during drive from Kandy to Hunas Falls, 29/1 500+ in large colony at Tissa Tanks.
4. Toque Macaque Macaca sinica: Endemic to Sri Lanka and Southern tip of India. Three subspecies seen:
a. Wetzone Toque Macaque ssp. aurifrons.: 25/1 40+ Udewattekele Sanctuary (Kandy), 3/2 3 Sinharaja NP,
b. Dryzone Toque Macaque ssp. sinica: 30/1 15 Yala NP,
c. The high-land subspecies ssp. opisthomelas: 28/1 2 Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya.
5. Hanuman Langur Presbytis [entellus] priam thersites: 29/1 10 Lake Embilipitya, 31/1 50 Yala NP.
6. Purple-faced Leaf Monkey Presbytis vetulus. Sri Lanka endemic. Two subspecies seen:
a. Highland (Bear Monkey) ssp. monticola: 27/1 2 flocks heard Horton Plains, 28/1 1 flock heard at Tea Bush Hotel, Nuwara Eliya, 3 seen Hakgala Botanical Garden, Nuwara Eliya.
b. Southern ssp. Vetulus: 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP, 3/2 15 Sinharaja NP.
7. Black-backed Jackal Canis aureus lankae: 30/1 5 Yala NP. 31/1 5 Yala NP. Endemic race of Golden Jackal.
8. Indian Grey Mongoose Herpestes edwardsii: 25/1 at roadside near Puhaambawe, near Hunas Falls north of Kandy
9. Indian Brown Mongoose Herpestes fuscus: 23/1 3 Sisira’a Lodge, Kitulgala, 25/1 1 Sisira’s Lodge (Kitulgala) 28/1 1 drive from Hakgala Botanical Garden to Uda Walawe NP. South Asian endemic.
10. Ruddy Mongoose Herpestes smithii zeylanicus: 30/1 3 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP. Endemic race.
11. Stripe-necked Mongoose Herpestes vitticollis: 27/1 1 Horton Plains. South Asian endemic.
12. Rustyspotted Cat Prionailurus rubiginosus: 3/2 1 after dark at Martin’s Simple Lodge, Sinharaja NP (see photo).
13. Leopard Panthera pardus kotiya. 30/1 4 Yala NP: One in a tree in the morning, and 3 together on big rocks late afternoon, basking in the sun (a female with two almost fully grown cubs), 31/1 1 female in a tree, Yala NP. A total of 5 leopards during two days was a very rewarding result!
14. Asian (Sri Lankan) Elephant Elephas maximus maximus: 28/1 40 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 14 Yala NP, 31/1 1 Yala NP. Endemic race.
15. Wild Boar Sus scrofa. 29/1 1 Yala Village: 30/1 20 Yala NP, 31/1 80 Yala NP, 1/2 4 Yala Village.
16. Yellow-striped Mouse-deer Moschiola kathygre: 2/2 1 seen by flashlight after dark in the forest at Martin’s Simple Kodge, Sinharaja NP.
17. Spotted Deer Cervus axis: 28/1 5 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 200+ Yala NP, 31/1 200 Yala NP.
18. Sambar Cervus unicolour: 27/1 footprints in Horton Plains, 30/1 6 Yala NP, 31/1 4 Yala NP, 2/2 1 seen by flashlight after dark in the forest at Martin’s Simple Lodge, Sinharaja NP.
19. Water Buffalo Bubalus bubalis: 28/1 12 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 100+ Yala NP, 31/1 50 Yala NP. Feral.
20. Common Palm Squirrel Funambulus palmarum: 24/1 10 Kitulgala, 31/1 20 Yala NP, 4/2 2 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP.
21. Dusky Striped Squirrel Funambulus sublineatus: 27/1 1 Horton Plain, 3/2 4 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 1 along jeep road below Sinharaja NP.
22. Giant Squirrel Ratufa macroura:24/1 2 Kitulgala, 26/1 1 at a forest patch, near a roadside stream a few kilometres south of Nuwara Eliya (race macroura), 31/1 1 Yala NP (race dandolena), 3/2 2 Sinharaja NP (race melanochra), South Asian endemic.
23. Black-naped Hare Lepus nigricollis sinhala: 31/1 5 Yala NP. Endemic race.
24. Blue Whale Balaenoptera musculus: 2/2 2 at sea off Mirissa Harbour. Fabulous experience. Seen down to 50 m. Belongs to the spp. indica – which is smaller and seems to have more pronounced dorsal fin than other Blue Whales. Often included in the so-called Pygmy Blue Whale – special to reach a length of 24 m and still being recognized as a Pygmy!

REPTILES

1. Rock Python Python molurus: 28/1 1 large inividiual (app. 3-3½ m.) crossing the main road after dark, near Embilipitya. Saved by our heroic driver Stanley, who quickly created a traffic block until this huge snake was in safety. Amazing!
2. Stripetailed Bronzebacked Tree-Snake Dendrelaphis caudolineolatus: 29/1 2 drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks.
3. Common Rat Snake Ptyas mucosa: 23/1 1 Kitulgala, 3/2 1 at research station, Sinharaja NP. Later found killed.
4. Snake sp.: 29/2 drive Embilipitya to Tissa Tanks.
5. Green Forest Lizard Calotes calotes: 24/1 1 Kitulgala, 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP.
6. Agama sp.: 29/1 2 south coast, roadside
7. Land Monitor Varanus bengalensis: 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP, 30/1 4 Yala NP, 31/1 12 Yala NP.
8. Water Monitor Varanus salvator: 3/2 1 Sinharaja NP, 4/2 1 in the river at car park village below Sinharaja NP.
9. Mugger Crocodile Crocodylus paluster: 28/1 1 Uda Walawe NP, 31/1 8 Yala NP,
10. Saltwater Crocodile Crocodylus porosus: 1/2 3 estuary near Bundala NP. (?)
11. Spotted Black Turtle Melanochelys trijuga thermalis: 25/1 1 Udewattekele Sanctuary, Kandy, 28/1 4 Uda Walawe NP.
12. Olive Ridley Sea Turtle Lepidochelys olivacea: 1/2 4-5 Frangipani Tree Hotel, east of Galle, at sea, near the shore, waiting for the right moment to enter the coast for laying eggs.