A wander around the hotel and beach area gave views of usual suspects. A pond opposite the hotel looked interesting. Out to see, terns and cormorants headed north and south and a white bellied sea eagle went directly over our balcony, too fast for me to grab the camera.
The following morning I was out by 7 and heading to the marshes. Upon arrival it was clear it was a good area, with herons, barbets, kites and cormorants all around. This area is good for stork billed kingfisher and pied kingfisher, both of which would be new birds for me.
Within 5 minutes of setting off in the motor boat we stopped and Hemantha, the hotel naturalist, pointed out a stork billed kingfisher. A shy bird, but nevertherless, excellent views. It flew over the canal and was lost to view. As we headed towards the lagoon a white bellied sea eagle came into view and numerous brahminy kites. Both indian and little cormorants were perched on every available stick whilst on the side of the canal, a purple heron. This was the first of about 10 that we encountered. We entered the lagoon and made our way around the mangroves, disturbing whiskered, common and little terns as well as a purple swamphen. The latter was very camera shy!
|Indian pond heron|
|Canal, heading towards the lagoon|
|my 1st stork billed kingfisher!|
|Retiring purple swamphen|
|white bellied sea eagle|
|Second stork billed kingfisher|
|blue tailed bee eater|
|red wattled lapwing|
|whiskered and common terns|
|another of this stunning bird|
|Business end of a purple heron|
Wendy was happy on the beach, so I headed off to check out the pond opposite. Cormorants, bee eaters, red vented bulbuls were all present, before my attention was drawn to a small bird flitting in the bushes near the vegetable garden that supplies the veg for the hotel. A plain prinia, my final new bird for the trip
I began to plan my letter to The Vatican, requesting reimbursement for the extra plane tickets we looked like having to purchase when a convoy of cars sped past, accompanied by endless police cars. We were first on to the dual carriageway, travelling past police who were stationed at every 100 yards along the road at speeds in excess of 100km/h. Time drifted on as we finally pulled up outside the airport and, with a porter leading the way, we joined the queue to check our bags in. Just time to get to the departure gate only to discover all was 15 - 20 minutes behind schedule.
|catamarans on the beach|
|local house crow|
Species for the "non birding" trip
Indian peafowl, lesser whistling duck, wedge tailed shearwater, asian openbill, yellow bittern, indian pond heron, grey heron, purple heron, cattle egret, great egret, (10 sp) intermediate egret, little egret, little cormorant, indian cormorant, common kestrel, brahminy kite, white bellied sea eagle, shikra, crested serpent eagle, changeable hawk eagle,(20sp) white breasted waterhen, purple swamphen, red wattled lapwing, whimbrel, heuglins gull, gull billed tern, common tern, little tern, whiskered tern, rock pigeon (30sp) spotted dove, orange breasted green pigeon, Sri Lankan green pigeon, rose ringed parakeet, alexandrine parakeet, Layard's parakeet, Asian koel, greater coucal, Asian palm swift, crested treeswift (40 sp) blue tailed bee eater, stork billed kingfisher, white throated kingfisher, pied kingfisher, brown headed barbet, Sri Lankan grey hornbill, lesser goldenback, brown shrike, common lora, Jerdon's leafbird, (50 sp) black hooded oriole, house crow, large billed crow, barn swallow, Sri Lankan swallow, White bellied drongo, Sri Lankan drongo , paddyfield pipit, red vented bulbul, white browed bulbul, ( 60 sp) grey breasted prinia, plain prinia, common tailorbird, green warbler, asian paradise flycatcher, yellow billed babbler, common mynah, oriental magpie robin, asian brown flycatcher, pale billed flowerpecker, (70 sp) purple rumped sunbird, Loten's sunbird, white rumped munia, scaley breasted munia, Sri Lankan hanging parrot
For a non birding holiday, 75 species is a most pleasing total. Ones in bold are new birds for me, so also, a satisfactory total.