In search of endemics

In search of endemics

Serendib scops owl

Serendib scops owl

Last time I went on looking for endemics was not so successful, not because I haven’t seen them but because my photography gears were not so promising to capture them under low light conditions in the area. However, this time I got a new babe, Canon 100-400 IS II, so I together with a friend decided to pay a visit with our trusted guide Thilake. Our target was to try and capture Serendib scops owl ( පඩුවන් බස්සා – Otus thilohoffmanni), Sri Lanka spurfowl ( හබන් කුකුලා –  Galloperdix bicalcarata), Layard’s parakeet ( අළු ගිරවා  – Psittacula calthrapae) and Sri Lanka hill myna ( ශ්‍රී ලංකා  සැළලිහිණියා – Gracula ptilogenys). According to our tracker, we had a good chance in capturing them.

A Emerald Dove hiding from rain

A Emerald Dove hiding from rain

As usual we left Colombo early and reached my relatives home in Kalawana and collected some food we asked to prepare on previous day for lunch. Also we managed to get some buns for breakfast from a “Choon Pan” lorry and finally reached Thilake’s place by 5.30 as we have been instructed.

From there on we had to use his jeep since the road were only manageable by a 4×4 vehicle. It was about 4 Kms on a village road to a village house where a pair of Sri Lanka Spurfowl was use to frequently visit. It is a very shy bird species and they were coming out in early morning and sometimes in the evening hours. Unfortunately it was raining time to time. even though we wait for a long time there were no signs of Spurfowl.

Serendib Scope Owl Female

Serendib Scops Owl Female

 

 

Rain started to settle around 9 and out guide managed to climb up a hill and locate a pair of Serendib Scops Owls. Despite the threat from rain, we decided to give it a try and soon we were climbing a mountains with all our camera gears. After a slippery climb full of leaches for about half an hour, we managed to get to the place where they were sighted. There among the bamboo bushes lies a small bird not more than a palm in size. It was a lifer for me and my friend. Two adult birds were easily distinguishable because of the color and the size. Male was slightly larger than female and more darker brown compared to smaller and yellowish female. We had to take lot of effort to shoot them between bushes and manage leach attacks at the same time. With all that trouble, we spent there about half an hour more and thought had some good captures of the elusive bird.

Layard's Parakeet hanging on to its nest

Layard’s Parakeet hanging on to its nest

 

The rain seems to have given us a window enough to try out some other birds as well, so we left that place as soon as we descend and were at another place in a village where there were few trees with Layard’s Parakeet nets as well as Sri Lanka Hill Myna nests. Both bird species were very noisy, and they were around the nests. It was seems like there were young ones in nests of Layard’s Parakeets. we were managed to climb on to a high ground and get aligned with the nests from behind a tree without capturing their attention. It was only Layard’s Parakeets were coming to nests though we heard calls of Hill Myna from around, they never came to a place where we could capture a decent shot. We spent sometime with them capturing fairly good shots. Signs of rain appear again with a drizzle and we quickly get on to the jeep before it getting any worse.

Peeking from nest

Peeking from nest

 

 

 

It was end of a successful day around the rain forest and we were quite satisfied about what we managed to capture despite of the weather condition. We thanked Thilake, and left Kudawa quite early. On the way back we spent sometime at my relatives place and get back to Colombo quite early than we anticipated.

Got to go back soon for others….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *