Friday, 16 January 2015

Sri Lanka trip: Part 1. Rosyth near Kergalle

Our flight on Emirates to Colombo, via Dubai took off on Saturday 3rd Jan in the evening. All went well and we arrived a little late in Colombo Sunday afternoon. The lateness was due to fog at Dubai meaning we had to circle for 45 minutes and then our connecting flight was held for other planes to land so all passengers could make the connection.
Upon arrival at Colombo we were met by our driver and headed off to Kergalle and the Estate House at Rosyth, some 2 hours drive towards Kandy. See: Estate house for details of this amazing place.
This is a superb retreat, right off the tourist trail, very rural and wonderful for walks and relaxing. I spent most mornings before breakfast wandering about, chatting to locals and photographing an excellent selection of the more common Sri Lankan birds.
Sunrise over the jungle

Looking north towards the Knuckles Range

From the Estate House garden

Another forest view.

The Estate House,
Many of the birds here were seen regularly, especially yellow billed babbler, red vented bulbul, brown shrike, greater coucal and purple rumped sunbird along with the ubiquitous large billed crow. I checked along the wires most mornings at sunrise, where white throated kingfisher and spotted doves were frequently to be seen.
yellow billed babbler

red vented bulbul

white throated kingfisher

greater coucal

brown shrike

common mynah.
By the 3rd morning of 4 nights at Rosyth I was beginning to get a good list together, with plenty of new birds that I hadn't previously seen in Sri Lanka, albeit fairly common ones. I spent some time trying to photograph the Sri Lankan swallow and managed some poor record shots in flight. Other new birds for me were white browed bulbul, green warbler, crested serpent eagle, Sri Lankan hanging parrot, brown headed barbet and common lora. All of these were observed within half a mile of our house, some proving too distant for a worthwhile photo though.
purple rumped sunbird

common lora

Sri Lankan grey hornbill

crested serpent eagle

1 of up to 7 crested serpent eagles overhead

brown headed barbet

Sri Lankan swallow

Rather distant blue tailed bee eater

Jerdon's leafbird
Whilst on site, we visited the local tea factory, having a most interesting tour, whilst also getting a tuk tuk down to Kergalle town for a spot of shopping. On the last day I visited the "bird sanctuary" in the town. There were armed soldiers everywhere due to the Presidential election taking place on the Thursday, along with numerous police but they didn't seem to be too fussed about my wanderings. However, the bird sanctuary was a waste of time. Firstly, I arrived to find the chap that takes your entrance fee had gone off to do some election duty and a mysterious bloke appeared to say that I couldn't go in. A quick offering of several hundred rupees changed his tune and I was soon wandering along an unmarked route through hugely overgrown forest. It was impossible to make any progress so after about 15 minutes I returned to the exit and walked back into town for a tuk tuk. All I heard in this sanctuary were yellow billed babblers and a grey hornbill and I literally saw no birds. Better were noted along the road, where my first kestrel of the trip was seen, along with 100's of cattle egrets, indian pond herons, black hooded orioles and another new bird for me, white rumped munia.
I arrived back at the Estate House in time for an afternoon wander, scoring with Asian palm swift, barn swallow, monkeys, a large billed crow eating a snake that had been run over, whilst also coming across a rat snake in the grounds. Oriental magpie robins could be heard everywhere as could coucals and the serpent eagles. A pale billed flowerpecker called incessantly as I tried to photograph this in the garden, another new for me bird.
Oriental magpie robin

white rumped munia

white bellied drongo

female purple rumped sunbird

female Loten's sunbird

pale billed flowerpecker

black hooded oriole

lesser goldenback

scaley breasted munia.
On the last evening, I spent a couple of hours just looking over the valley and watching a large open area of mixed grasses and shrubs. Plenty to be seen apart from the regulars. A green warbler alighted nearby, but too fast for a photo, and a shikra landed in a distant tree. Another new bird popped up, a white browed bulbul and then one that had me guessing. At first I though sylvia warbler species, but nothing fitted and eventually thought it must be a grey breasted prinia. I only saw this uncommon bird for 30 seconds or so and my 3 photos, having made mental notes of the plumage, were over exposed and taken through some long grass, so not too helpful for id. However, I am fairly sure grey breasted prinia it is.
grey breasted prinia

white browed bulbul
So, after 4 nights of superb, authentic Sri Lankan food, individually prepared for us as we were the only 2 staying in the 6 roomed house, it was time to move on. One final wander before breakfast before our driver arrived for the 3 - 4 hour trip to Galle in the South West of the island. Again, a place we were looking forward to revisiting, staying at the excellent Jetwing Lighthouse hotel.  
Other bits and bobs from Rosyth here:
toque macaques

Another spectacular crested serpent eagle

palm squirrel

large billed crow eating a still live, but run over snake.

Indian crow butterfly.

local cricket match on quite a sloping pitch

cattle egret

another toque macaque

rat snake

another monkey shot

presumed shikra taking off

red pierrot butterfly
Species list for Rosyth:
spotted dove, Sri Lankan green pigeon, Sri Lankan hanging parrot, rose ringed parakeet, Greater coucal, white throated kingfisher, brown headed barbet, Sri Lankan grey hornbill, brown shrike, common lora, (10 sp) Jerdon's leafbird, house crow, large billed crow, red vented bulbul, white browed bulbul, common tailorbird, green warbler, asian paradise flycatcher, yellow billed babbler, common mynah, (20 sp) oriental magpie robin, pale billed flowerpecker, purple rumped sunbird, white rumped munia, shikra, crested serpent eagle, lesser goldenback, blue tailed bee eater, Sri Lankan swallow, scaley breasted munia, (30 sp)Asian palm swift, cattle egret, black hooded oriole, indian pond heron, grey breasted prinia, kestrel, Alexadrine parakeet, white bellied drongo, Loten's sunbird, barn swallow. (40 sp)

3 comments:

Glenn Woodroffe said...

Lovely pictures and scenery, looks like you had a great time.

Glenn Woodroffe said...

Great scenery and pictures, looks like you had a fun time.

Jono Forgham said...

Thanks, Glenn. Just such a wonderful country: scenery, people, food, wildlife. I'm sure we shall return yet again in the future.

This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander