RDM & AR in Sri Lanka - Christmas 2009
We did a fairly standard tourist circuit around the island taking in more temples that I could shake my stick at, some great wildlife sites and a few cities. I won't bore you with much text, the pictures will ensure that job is done...
If you like Buddhist temples, then Sri Lanka, and particularly Anuradhapura is the place for you. We visited what felt like several hundred during the course of the day. Sri Lanka Grey Langurs and Toque Macaques were ubiquitous around the religious sites.
Sri Lanka Grey Langur, Anuradhapura
Possibly the hotbed of tourist activity away from southern beaches, Sigiriya Rock was extremely impressive and with bonus of holding Shaheen Falcons, Schneider's Leaf-nosed Bats, Toque Macaques, Sri Lanka Grey Langurs and a cracking male White-browed Wagtail.
Shaheen (Peregrine) Falcons, Sigiriya Rock
Grizzled Giant Squirrel, Sigiriya
Schneider's Leaf-nosed Bat, Dambulla Temple
We visited the famous Victoria Park on Christmas Day, as did, it seems, the entire population of the town, making my task of finding the target birds pretty tricky. We connected with Yellow-eared Bulbul, Forest Wagtail, Green Warbler, Asian Brown Fly and various other stuff but missing Kashmir Fly and Pied Thrush still hurts...
Bright-green Warbler, Victoria Park, Nuwara Eliya
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Ramboda Falls
After our brief and largely unsuccessful visit to Nuwara Eliya, we backtracked to our hotel at Ramboda Falls where I enjoyed the best birding of the trip. The grounds of the hotel held, amongst many others, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch, Dull-blue Fly, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike, Brown-breasted Fly, Grey-headed Canary Fly, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Jerdon's Leafbird, Small Minivet and Flame Minivet.
Brown-breasted Flycatcher, Ramboda Falls
Yellow-fronted Barbet, Ramboda Falls
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Ramboda Falls
Thick-billed Leaf Warbler, Ramboda Falls
Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (highland race), Hakgala Botanical Gardens, Nuwara Eliya
Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Belihul Oya
Two Leopards, a Sloth Bear, a plethora of other mammals and birds, what more could I ask for?
Sloth Bear, Yala NP
Red-wattled Lapwings, Yala NP
Leopard, Yala NP
Painted Stork and Black-headed Ibis, Yala NP
Leopard, Yala NP
Asian (Indian) Paradise Flycatcher, Hambantota
House (Black Rat) after being chased up a tree by a Land Monitor, Hambantota
Highlights - 4 or 5 individual Blue Whales, not being sick despite already being sick prior to boarding
Lowlights - having all my stuff covered with vomit half an hour into the trip, a boat full of hoo-haa henry's
Shane Warne, Phil Tufnell and friends, south of Mirissa
Blue Whale, south of Mirissa
White-breasted Kingfisher, Mirissa