Sunshine Coast Birds

Birding and other wildlife experiences from the Sunshine Coast and elsewhere in Australia - and from overseas - with scribblings about travel, environmental issues, kayaking, hiking and camping.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Wet South-West - Birding Sri Lanka Part 2

Serendip Scops-Owl
After leaving the dry woodlands of south-east Sri Lanka (see following post) we headed south-west for a couple of days relaxing around the ancient city of Galle. Then it was on to where the serious endemic-searching is undertaken - the wet forests of south-west Sri Lanka.
We booked into the Rock View Hotel, our base for searching the Sinharaja World Heritage Area. A local man hired by our driver-guide, Chandima Jayaweera, had tracked down a Serendip Scops-Owl at its daytime roost. Perched about 1m off the ground and extremely well-camouflaged, the bird allowed our close approach.

Ketil in action photographing a Serendip Scops-Owl
The bird was so close that one of our group, Ketil, could not use his wonderful cameras to capture its image, instead resorting to a mobile phone. The Serendip Scops-Owl is a recently discovered species with a total population of just 200-300 birds.

Sri Lanka Myna
After the owl encounter, we walked a forest trail in search of some endemics. We tracked down a calling Green-billed Coucal, one of the more difficult to see, in dense undergrowth. Small feeding flocks included Black-capped Bulbul, Sri Lanka Drogo and Sri Lanka Myna.

Southern Hill Myna
As well as the endemic myna, Southern Hill Mynas were seen here and elsewhere as we moved around Sri Lanka.

Square-tailed Bulbul
Also about were a few Square-tailed (Black) Bulbuls.

Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill
The next day early in the morning, we met up with the fellow who found the owl and dropped in at the Sinharaja reserve administration centre, where a Sri Lanka Grey Hornill was feeding on fruit left out for the birds and monkeys.

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie
He drove us in his jeep up a steep road to the main Sinharaja birding trail. On the way up we saw White-headed Starling, sometimes a hard bird to find. We stopped at another spot where we enjoyed superb close views of Sri Lanka Spurfowl, another of the trickier endemics. Walking the main trail to a research centre, the specialties came thick and fast. Among the star attractions was Sri Lanka Blue-Magpie.

Spot-winged Thrush
We added the elusive Sri Lanka Thrush, Spot-winged Thrush, Ashy-headed Laughingthrush and the impressive Red-faced Malkoha.

Brown-chested Flycatcher
Nice non-endemics in the forest included Brown-chested Flycatcher.

Sri Lanka Frogmouth
Later in the day, the same fellow who found the roosting owl tracked down a roosting Sri Lanka Frogmouth.

Crimson-backed Flameback
After we returned to our hotel, we found a pair of endemic Crimson-backed Flamebacks across the road from our rooms.

Crested Serpent-Eagle
The next day we transferred to Kithulgula and the nice Plantation Hotel, seeing Crested Serpent-Eagle on the way.

Chesnut-headed Bee-eater
Brown-headed Barbet

In the afternoon, we connected with another endemic, White-throated Flowerpecker. Other birds about included Brown-headed Barbet and Chesnut-headed Bee-eater.

Chesnut-backed Owlet
The next morning, we tracked down a calling pair of Chesnut-backed Owlets, the final remaining endemic on our list.

Black-backed Kingfisher
An unexpected bonus in this area of forest was a Black-backed Kingfisher.

Long-billed Sunbird
We had a few nights at the end of our trip relaxing in a hotel at Negombo. Among the birds here was this Long-billed Sunbird.

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