Sri Lanka

Summary: We squeezed in a birding trip to Sri Lanka just before Rishi started off with his new job and were completely blown away by the Sri Lankan hospitality and the very friendly people. As our trip coincided with the Sri Lankan New Year, we were invited on several occasions by villagers to their homes and treated to delicious local sweets and also got an opportunity to witness a couple of traditional wedding functions.

Birding was equally rewarding and we managed to see all the 34 Sri Lankan endemics in a span of 8 days.
Nandana Hewagamage: We had no time to plan this trip ourselves and left everything to Nandana to take care of. Nandana planned the itinerary, booked the best possible accommodations and proved to be an extremely knowledgeable bird guide. He also doubled up as a driver and executed the whole trip in a very systematic manner.
Nandana came equipped with a Swarovski Scope and a Leica binocular and also carried along a wide selection of bird and other wildlife books. His van was spacious, comfortable and even had Wi-Fi facility.
Phone/WhatsApp: +94 77 966 9367
G-mail: nandanantgl

Travel Dates: 16 April 2018 – 25 April 2018
November to March is the peak birding season in Sri Lanka when several of the winter migrants like the Kashmir Flycatcher, Pied Thrush and the Indian Pitta can be seen. However, our focus was only on the endemics and we had no trouble finding them in April. Weather was also fine and rain did not trouble us much.
Birding Sites:
Kithulgala: A famous white water rafting destination, this town is situated along the Kelani River and has a good rainforest cover around it. Our birding efforts were mostly focused around the following three areas:
i) Village (6°59’17.4″N 80°24’55.3″E) across the suspension bridge (6°59’28.5″N 80°25’08.2″E)

ii) Makandawa Rainforest (6°59’04.4″N 80°24’09.7″E): A short boat ride (6°59’42.0″N 80°24’22.5″E) and a 10 minute walk via the village leads to the Makandawa forest.

iii) Tea estate a little ahead from the Royal River Resort (7°00’49.5″N 80°26’05.7″E)
Nuwara Eliya: Nuwara Eliya is a popular hill station and the gateway to the Horton Plains National Park. The scenic drive from Nuwara Eliya to Horton Plains is interspersed with meadows and tea gardens that gradually transform into Montane evergreen forests and grasslands as we get closer to Horton Plains.

Udawalawe: This is a dry forest area that serves as a buffer to the Udawalawe reservoir. Nandana choose to stay here for a night to ensure that we see the Sri Lanka Woodshrike.
Sinharaja Forest: An excellent patch of rainforest with the possibility to see almost all the forest endemics.
Plantation Hotel, Kithulgala: Spacious and clean rooms, albeit a bit worn out. Good food
Leisure Village, Nuwara Eliya: Cramped, damp and worn out rooms. Average food, but good staff
Safari Village Hotel, Udawalawe: Spacious and clean rooms, excellent food and helpful staff
Birds Paradise Hotel, Sinharaja: Spacious and clean rooms, excellent food and helpful staff
16 April 2018 (Delhi – Colombo)
Direct flight Delhi (1230 Hrs) – Colombo (1605 Hrs), smooth and quick immigration, overnight at Hotel Empyrean.
17 April 2018 (Colombo – Kithulgala)
Nandana picked us up from the hotel at 0730 Hrs and we proceeded to Kithulgala reaching by 1100 Hrs.
Birding around the Police Station (6°59’42.0″N 80°24’38.2″E): Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Orange-billed Babbler and the Spot-winged Thrush.

Village across the suspension bridge: Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Green-billed Coucal, Red-backed Flameback, Black-capped Bulbul, Brown-capped Babbler, Orange-billed Babbler, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Green Imperial Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Lesser Yellownape, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, White-bellied Drongo, Black-naped Monarch, White-browed Bulbul, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Yellow-billed Babbler, Lesser Hill Myna, Jerdon’s Leafbird, Loten’s Sunbird and White-rumped Munia.

18 April 2018 ( Kithulgala)
Makandawa Forest: Sri Lanka Drongo, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Swallow, Black-capped Bulbul, Brown-capped Babbler, Sri Lanka Hill Myna, nesting Yellow-fronted Barbet and Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Malabar Trogon, Dark-fronted Babbler, Sri Lanka Frogmouth and a well camouflaged Serendib Scops Owl pair.

Others: Angled Pierrot, Black-Tipped Flashwing, Shining Gossamerwing, Sri Lanka Kangaroo Lizard, Sri Lankan Giant Millipede

19 April 2018 (Kithulgala – Nuwara Eliya)
Tea estate a little ahead from the Royal River Resort: Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Layard’s Parakeet, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Brown-capped Pygmy Woodpecker, Red-backed Flameback, Black-capped Bulbul, Sri Lanka Hill Myna

Nuwara Eliya: Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, Oriental White-eye, Sri Lanka White-eye, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher and Jerdon’s Leafbird

Others: White Fourring

20 April 2018 (Nuwara Eliya)
Pattipola Railway station area: Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon
Horton Plains: Sri Lanka Bush Warbler (just before the park entrance), Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush (approximately 2 km before the park entrance), Indian Blackbird and Dull-blue Flycatcher

Others: Montane Purple-faced Langur, Black-lipped Lizard

21 April 2018 (Nuwara Eliya – Surrey – Udawalawe)
Pattipola Railway station area: Hill Swallow, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler, White-rumped Munia, Black-throated Munia

Surrey Bird Sanctuary (6°53’57.2″N 80°54’02.5″E): Sri Lanka Junglefowl and Crimson-backed Goldenback

Udawalawe: Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Brown-headed Barbet, Sri Lanka Woodshrike, Common Iora, Marshall’s Iora, Orange Minivet and Tawny-bellied Babbler

Others: Toque Macaque

22 April 2018 (Udawalawa – Sinharaja)
Sinharaja Forest Reserve: Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Layard’s Parakeet, Brown-headed Barbet, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Lesser Yellownape, Red-backed Flameback, Sri Lanka Swallow, Sri Lanka Thrush, Jerdon’s Leafbird

Others: Marbled White Moth, Flame-striped Jungle Squirrel, Sri Lanka Kangaroo Lizard

23 April 2018 (Sinharaja)
Sinharaja Village: Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Changeable Hawk Eagle, Slaty-legged Crake, Emerald Dove, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Ashy-headed Laughingthrush, Spot-winged Thrush

Sinharaja Forest Reserve: Red-faced Malkoha, Malabar Trogon, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Sri Lanka Drongo, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Orange-billed Babbler, White-faced Starling, Jerdon’s Leafbird

Others: Common Bluebottle, Sri Lanka Tree Nymph, Tamil Yeoman, Black-Tipped Flashwing, Threadtail, Flame-striped Jungle Squirrel, Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Southern lowland wet-zone Purple-faced Langur, Common Krait, Sri Lanka Green Pit Viper

24 April 2018 (Sinharaja)
Sinharaja Village: Changeable Hawk Eagle, Sri Lanka Green Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Crested Treeswift, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Red-backed Flameback, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Orange-billed Babbler, White-faced Starling, Jerdon’s Leafbird

Others: Common Birdwing, Threadtail, Dusky Palm Squirrel, Common Green Forest Lizard

25 April 2018 (Sinharaja – Colombo)
Sinharaja Village: Yellow-fronted Barbet, Crimson-fronted Barbet, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Black-capped Bulbul, Orange-billed Babbler

Others: Common Birdwing, Toque Macaque
Please do feel free to contact us if you need detailed information about the birding areas in Sri Lanka.
Travel Safe…

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