• Wilpattu National Park 22nd -25th December 2012

      Picked up Nanda Senanayake at 4.30am and left to spend a three-night stay at the Anawila Bungalow. Having had breakfast at the bungalow, we arrived at the park entrance around 9.30am. Saranga was ready to accompany us.
      09.45am:  Entered the park. With the exceptionally high amount of rain that had been received, all the water bodies were overflowing.
      09.48am:  1 Barking Deer – 1 km from the entrance.
      10.00am:  1 Hard-shelled Terrapin – Percy Bendi Wewa.
      10.01am:  1 Barking Deer – 1 ½ km from Percy Bendi Wewa.
      10.11am:  3 Spotted Deer – Palu Kola Wewa.
      10.23am:  29 Spotted Deer – Maradanmaduwa.
      10.38am:  3 Sambar crossed the road at Ibba Wala.
      10.51am:  1 Mugger Crocodile, 1 Softshell Terrapin – Walas Wala.
      11.10am:  26 Spotted Deer – Borupan Wila.
      11.55am:  10 Spotted Deer – Alam Villu.
      As predicted, the slight drizzle turned into a moderate shower.
      12.20pm:  Troop of Grey Langur – Between Eranapala Motai and the old Gem Pits.
      12.25pm:  1 Hard-shelled Terrapin – Eranapala Motai.
      12.36pm:  2 Ruddy Mongoose – Just before Kanjuram Villu.
      12.39pm:  1 Elephant – Kanjuram Villu.
      12.58pm:  106 Spotted Deer – Kali Willu.
      01.05pm:  4 Spotted Deer – Small Marai Villu.
      01.08pm:  13 Spotted Deer – Marai Villu.
      01.15pm:  12 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Lesser Sand Plover, 3 Black-tailed Godwits – Marai Villu.
      01.24pm:  2 Golden Jackal.
      02.31pm:  1 Barking Deer – Between Kali Villu & Kanjuram Villu.
      02.40pm:  13 Spotted Deer, 1 Mugger Crocodile – Kumutu Villu.
      02.50pm:  26 Spotted Deer (all stags) – Manikkapola Uttu.
      02.58pm:  10 Spotted Deer – Kurutu Pandi Villu.
      03.07pm:  10 Spotted Deer – Kudapatessa.
      03.12pm:  26 Spotted Deer, 2 Lesser Adjutant – Mahapatessa.
      03.29pm:  4 Spotted Deer – Demata Wila.
      03.42pm:  14 Spotted Deer, 1 Hard-shelled Terrapin – Kumbuk Wila.
      03.59pm:  38 Spotted Deer – Kokkari Villu.
      04.08pm:  4 Spotted Deer – Nelum Wila.
      04.24pm:  33 Spotted Deer – Panikkar Villu.
      04.45pm:  66 Spotted Deer, 1 Elephant, 1 Black-naped Hare – Tala Wila.
      05.47pm:  2 Sambar – Ibba Wala.
      05.53pm:  37 Spotted Deer – Maradanmaduwa.
      The Spotted Deer count for the day was 472.

      23rd December
      06.10am:  2 Elephants – about 1km from the park entrance.
      06.16am:  4 Spotted Deer – Just before Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.19am:  3 Spotted Deer – Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.27am:  7 Spotted Deer – Thammenna Wala Pitiya.
      06.30am:  3 Spotted Deer – I km from Palu Kola Wewa.
      06.41am:  2 White-necked Stork between Palu Kola Wewa & Maradanmaduwa.
      06.49am:  2 Golden Jackal- a male and female – Maradanmaduwa.
      06.52am:  17 Spotted Deer – Maradanmaduwa.
      07.03am:  2 Spotted Deer – Humbas Wewa.
      07.19am:  17 Spotted Deer, 1 Wild Boar, 1 Rat Snake – Borupan Wila.
      08.18am:  2 Golden Jackal, 5 Spotted Deer – Nelum Wila.
      08.45am:  35 Spotted Deer, 2 Mugger Crocodile – Panikkar Villu.
      09.18am:  1 Softshell Terrapin – Gem Pits.
      09.25am:  1 Sambar stag, 1 Hard-shelled Terrapin – Eranapala Motai.
      09.37am:  1 Barking Deer, 1 Rat Snake – Kanjuram Villu.
      11.09am:  Troop of Grey Langur – Nelum Wila.
      11.27am:  12 Spotted Deer, 2 Golden Jackal – Kudapatessa.
      11.47am:  27 Spotted Deer – Mahapatessa.
      11.56am:  1 Barking Deer – Mahapatessa.
      12.05pm:  2 Mugger Crocodile, 2 Ruddy Mongoose – Kumbuk Wila.
      12.27pm:  1 Barking Deer – Kumbuk Wila Uda Para close to Kokkari Villu Thammenna Gaha Junction.
      01.30pm:  Troop of Grey Langur giving out alarm calls – Between Panikkar Villu and Alam Villu.
      05.00pm:  4 Spotted Deer – Kudapatessa.
      05.11pm:  12 Spotted Deer – Mahapatessa.
      05.17pm:  1 Mouse Deer between Mahapatessa & Thimbiri Wila.
      05.21pm:  18 Spotted Deer – Thimbiri Wila.
      05.29pm:  1 Wild Boar – Borupan Wila.
      05.59pm:  5 Spotted Deer – close to Thammenna Wala.
      06.20pm:  Left the park.

      24th December
      07.35am:  Arrived at the park entrance.
      07.52am:  2 Spotted Deer- park entrance.
      07.56am:  1 Barking Deer – 1km to Percy Bendi Wewa.
      08.05am:  The ground Orchid Hebeneria plantagina in bloom just before and after Percy Bendi Wewa.
      08.15am:  3 Spotted Deer – Thammenna Wala.
      09.50am:  7 Spotted Deer – Nelum Wila.
      09.54am:  19 Spotted Deer – Panikkar Villu.
      10.05am:  1 Ruddy Mongoose – Combansanchi Pooval.
      10.13am:  71 Spotted Deer – Tala Wila.
      11.07am:  1 Elephant – Panikkar Villu.
      11.47am:  1 Mouse Deer – Gem Pits.
      12.16pm:  2km before Kali Villu.
      12.30pm:  47 Spotted Deer – Kali Villu.
      12.43pm:  1 Spotted Deer – Kaya Motai.
      12.48pm:  2 Spotted Deer – Kaya Motai.
      12.51pm:  2 Spotted Deer – Avatara Motai.
      01.07pm:  9 Spotted Deer – Mila Villu.
      Had lunch at the Mila Villu.
      01.43pm:  1 Green Sandpiper – Kaya and Avatara Motai. It flew between these two water bodies.
      02.17pm:  12 Wild Boar – Kaya Motai.
      03.05pm:  8 Spotted Deer – Alam Villu.
      03.32pm:  1 Leopard- Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 2 (CPMC 2) at Alam Villu. It was sleeping to the left of the sand patch on the left far side. Watched it for two hours. After a while it got up walked to the right of the sand patch and stalked the deer. Thereafter, upon a Wild Boar arriving at the sand patch it trotted into the jungle in pursuit of possibly the boar.
      With the weather turning bad, we decided to leave the park.
      25th morning after breakfast we left for Colombo.

  • Wilpattu National Park 15th -16th December 2012

      Left home around 2.30am and reached the park entrance by 5.45am. Andrew who wanted to join me arrived around 5.50am. We entered the park by 6am accompanied by guide Saranga.
      06.05am:  2 Elephants on the road about one km before Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.34am:  2 Sambar – At Thammenna Wala Pitiya.
      06.38am:  4 Spotted Deer – Kaum Bokkuwa.
      06.45am:  1 male Sambar about I km from Palu Kola Wewa.
      06.53am:  1 Ruddy Mongoose – Three Causeways at Maradanmaduwa.
      07.01am:  12 Spotted Deer – Maradanmaduwa.
      07.29am:  8 Spotted Deer – Borupan Pitiya.
      07.36am:  7 Spotted Deer and 3 Wild Boar – Borupan Wila.
      07.40am:  7 Spotted Deer – Thimibri Wila.
      07.55am:  2 Barking Deer, 2 Spotted Deer – Kokkari Villu Uda Para.
      08.01am:  10 Spotted Deer – Nelum Wila.
      08.03am:  2 Grey Mongoose – Nelum Wila.
      08.05am:  2 Spotted Deer – Nelum Wila.
      08.21am:  Troop of Grey Langur on the road from Panikkar Villu to  Alam Villu.
      09.12am:  1 Elephant – Tala Wila.
      11.55am:  Golden-backed Woodpecker, Black-naped Monarch, Indian Paradise Flycatcher – small mixed foraging flock between Alam Villu and Kanjuram Villu.
      12.25pm:  2 Brown Fish Owl at Kumutu Villu.
      12.38pm:  8 Spotted Deer – Kurutu Pandi Villu.
      12.44am:  1 Spotted Deer – Kudapatessa.
      12.50pm:  11 Spotted Deer – Mahapatessa.
      01.41pm:  1 Elephant – ThimbIri Wila.
      01.46pm:  12 Wild Boar – Borupan Wila.
      02.15pm:  Had lunch at the Demata Wila Campsite.
      03.48pm:  21 Spotted Deer – Kumbuk Wila Pitiya.
      04.22pm:  5 Spotted Deer  - Nelum Wila.
      04.40pm:  37 Spotted Deer – Kokkari Villu.
      04.50pm:  1 Male Sambar – Borupan Wila.
      05.50pm:  1 Sambar – Thambi Oluwa.
      06.10pm:  Many Indian Nightjar on the road.
      06.40am:  Left the park.
      16th December
      I arrived at the park entrance around 5.40am. Andrew arrived late. We entered the park accompanied by guide Saranga.
      06.25am:  17 Spotted Deer – Maradanmaduwa.
      07.25am:  3 Golden Jackal, 22 Spotted Deer – Panikkar Villu.
      07.34am:  7 Spotted Deer – Alam Villu.
      09.06am:  1 Barking Deer – Between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      11.40am:  Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 2 (CPMC 2) sleeping at the Combansanchi Pooval sand patch. It was lying down behind a bush- thus I could not take any good photos except a record shot. Around 2.00pm it suddenly got up and ran into the forest upon. Perhaps it responded to its mother’s call.
      05.15pm:  Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 2 (CPMC 2) walked through the jungle at the edge of Panikkar Villu and entered the road towards Tala Wila. It walked on this road, followed by three vehicles for a short distance and entered the forest to the right upon the arrival of two vehicles from Tala Wila.
      06.30pm:  Arrived at the park entrance.

  • Wilpattu National Park 24th -27th November 2012

      I arrived with my parents Solomon & Padmini Gunawardena, Bathiya Senadipathi and Imaduwa at the park entrance around 11am and entered the park with guide Saranga for a three-night stay at the Panikkar Villu Bungalow.
      11.44am:  1 Softshell Terrapin in a waterhole about 1km from the Three Causeways - Maradanmaduwa.
      11.47am:  1 Spotted Deer – Three Causeways.
      12.19pm:  12 Wild Boar – Madan Gas Wala – Kumbuk Wila Uda Para.
      01.00pm:  Arrived at the bungalow. We had lunch around 3pm and left for an evening round.
      03.58am:  12 Spotted Deer – Panikkar Villu.
      04.30pm:  11 Spotted Deer – Kumbuk Wila Pitiya.
      04.40pm:  3 Softshell Terrapin – Borupan Wila culvert.
      05.52pm:  2 Elephants, 19 Wild Boar, 12 Spotted Deer – Panikkar Villu.

      25th November
      05.50am:  1 Elephant – Nelum Wila.
      06.15am:  1 Sloth Bear – Between Borupan Junction and Borupan Wila.
      06.20am:  1 Golden Jackal, 7 Spotted Deer – Kumbuk Wila Pitiya.
      07.03am:  24 Spotted Deer – Kumbuk Wila.
      07.11am:  1 Barking Deer  - Kokkari Villu Uda Para.
      07.13am:  29 Spotted Deer – Kokkari Villu.
      08.00am:  1 Leopard- Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 2 at the Combansanchi Pooval sand patch. It was lying in the open and moved away with the arrival of about 6 vehicles. Managed to get good photographs.
      09.21am:  6 Spotted Deer – Alam Villu
      10.13am:  1 Barking Deer – Kokkari Villu Thammenna Gaha Junction.
      10.30am:  1 Leopard- female – about 100 from Kudapatessa towards Mahapatessa. It walked ahead of us and entered the forest to the right. We stopped the vehicle and the leopard came back to the road and started walking towards Mahapatessa again. It permitted me to take a few photos before disappearing again into the forest.
      11.05am:  13 Spotted Deer – Mahapatessa.
      11.09am:  3 Spotted Deer – Thimbiri Wila.
      11.22am:  1 Golden Jackal, 7 Spotted Deer – Borupan Pitiya.
      02.58pm:  17 Spotted Deer – Panikkar Villu.
      05.07pm:  37 Spotted Deer – Panikkar Villu.
      05.20pm:  56 Spotted Deer, 27 Wild Boar – Tala Wila.
      05.52pm:  1 Elephant – Alam Villu.

      26th November
      05.40am:  46 Spotted Deer – Panikkar Villu.
      05.55am:  7 Spotted Deer – Nelum Wila.
      06.05am:  1 Sloth Bear ran across the road at Kokkari Villu Uda Para.
      06.14am:  9 Spotted Deer – Kudapatessa.
      06.23am:  7 Spotted Deer – Mahapatessa.
      06.29am:  15 Spotted Deer – Thimbiri Wila.
      09.54am:  5 Toque Monkey – Between Tala Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      10.20am:  1 Elephant – Nelum Wila.
      10.27am:  1 Barking Deer – Kumbuk Wila Uda Para.
      11.22am:  2 Golden Jackal – Thimbiri Wila.
      11.30am:  14 Spotted Deer – Mahapatessa.
      11.35am:  12.50pm: As we entered Kudapatessa, we watched a leopard walking towards the jungle across the Villu followed by a herd of about 8 Spotted Deer barking alarm calls at it. After about 5 minutes we watched it climb to the top most branches of a Madan tree across the Villu. Thereafter it got off the tree and ran down the sand dunes towards the yellow flowers, drank water at the small waterhole and disappeared behind the single Madan tree. After about 10 minutes an antler walked from the right of the Madan tree and we looked for the leopard. As the deer passed the Madan tree it raised its tail and started to make alarm calls. After about a minute, it dashed towards the rest of the deer. Then we noticed that the leopard had climbed the Madan tree. I photographed the leopard with my 70-200 x 1.4 lens. We left with the leopard resting on this tree.
      01.23pm:  1 Elephant, 2 Mugger Crocodiles and a troop of Grey Langurs – Nelum Wila.
      03.59pm:  24 Spotted Deer – Borupan Wila.
      05.01pm:  3 Orange-headed Ground Thrush – feeding on the road between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.

      27th November 
      05.40am:  1 Elephant walking ahead of us on the road close to Nelum Wila. It trumpeted and ran off the road upon our arrival.
      06.15am:  18 Spotted Deer – Maradanmaduwa.
      07.13am:  8 Spotted Deer, 1 Mugger Crocodile – Percy Bendi Wewa.
      07.19am:  4 Spotted Deer – Between Percy Bendi Wewa and Thammenna Wala.
      08.40am:  We were driving towards Panikkar Villu from Nelum Wila and saw a leopard walking towards us. Unfortunately it ran in off into the jungle before I could take any photos.
      10.30am:  Having had breakfast, we packed and left the Panikkar Villu bungalow.  As we entered the Villu, Saranga spotted a leopard. It was Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 2 (CPMC 2). It was lying on the edge of the forest at the left hand side corner of the Villu. There were 4 vehicles parked but the leopard walked out on to the road, drank for about 7 minutes from the pool on the road, then walked through the jungle stalking the Spotted Deer in the direction of the bungalow. We followed it. After a while it made an unsuccessful attempt to kill a deer.  The terrified deer sprang out of the jungle and ran across the Villu to reach the opposite side. Thereafter around 10.45am the leopard climbed a Madan Tree and was lying down on a horizontal branch with its legs and tail hanging down giving me an unrestricted view to photograph. Around 12.30pm direct sunlight started to fall on the young leopard and it got off the tree. We left with the leopard resting at the foot of the tree.
      01.00pm:  1 Mugger Crocodile, 1 Softshell Terrapin – Walas Wala.

      Vanda spathulata was in bloom all over the park. With all the rain, the park was full of water. The yellow flowers at Kokkari Villu and Kudapatessa were in bloom as usual. Tiny purple flowers were found at Borupan Wila. The Spotted Deer population has increased and so has the Wild Boar population. The evenings and nights were quite cold.

  • Wilpattu National Park 10th -11th November 2012

      Left Colombo on the 9th around 2.30pm with Nanda Senanayake and his daughter Dinushka and reached Anawila Bungalow by about 7pm. There was a Tarantula in the bungalow, which had to be removed. Slept after a shower, drinks and dinner. Got up by 4.30am and arrived at the park entrance by 5.45am.
      06.22am:  4 Spotted Deer about 100m from Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.25am:  2 Spotted Deer at Kaum Bokkowa.
      06.27am:  6 Wild Buffalo with an impressive male at Palukola Wewa.
      06.50am:  3 Spotted Deer at Ibba Wala.
      06.52am:  4 Sambar at Ibba Wala- two before the Wala and another two after.
      08.37am:  2 Golden Jackal at Tala Wila.
      09.12am:  2 Barking Deer between Tala Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      09.58am:  1 Mugger Crocodile at Nelum Wila.
      10.38 am:  21 Black-winged Stilts at Mahapatessa.
      11.15am:  2 Great Stone Plover, 3 Softshell Terrapins and 8 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila. An Indian Pond Heron seated at the edge of the small pool of water to the left as you drive down to Borupan Pitiya plunged its head into the water and caught a fish about 2 ½ - the size of (Thilapia) and swallowed it whole.
      12.noon:  Arrived at the Tala Wila bungalow.
      The park now looks quite beautiful with most water bodies filled to the brim. Percy Bendi Wewa, Maradanmaduwa, Ibba Wala, Humbas Wewa, Walas Wala, Borupan Wila, Thimibiri Wila, Kudapatessa, Mahapatessa, Kumbuk Wila, Nelum Wila, Combansanchi Pooval etc. are all full of water. Kokkari Villu, Panikkar Villu and Tala Wila are also filled considerably.
      The "Galkera" bushes were covered in yellow flowers and the Bolpana was full of pink berries.
      03.22pm:  7 Spotted Deer with a small troop of Grey Langur – Combansanchi Pooval.
      05.15pm:  2 Golden Jackal and 4 Spotted Deer at Panikkar Villu.
      05.20pm:  4 Spotted Deer at Combansanchi Pooval.
      05.32pm:  52 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila Pitiya towards the Pomparippu Road.
      05.44pm:  36 Spotted Deer at Panikkar Villu.

      11th November
      07.37am:  3 subadult Grey Mongoose on the first Madan tree to the right on the road from Kumbuk Wila to Thimbiri Wila.
      09.30am:  The immature Crested Hawk- Eagle seen at Alam Wila was feeding on a Chamaeleon- Alam Villu.
      11.34am:  3 Spotted Deer – Nelum Wila.
      01.30pm:  3 Softshell Terrapin – Borupan Wila.
      02.15pm:  1 Barking Deer – Humbas Wewa.
      02.38pm:  2 Golden Jackal – Borupan Wila.
      03.00pm:  Left the park.

      The reduction of Indian Peafowl sightings after the rains is quite noticeable.

  • Wilpattu National Park 13th -14th October 2012

      I arrived at the park entrance around 8.15 am and entered the park, accompanied by guide Saranga, at 8.25am.
      There had been some rain and the park looked slightly greener than during my previous visit two weeks ago.
      08.35am:  1 Barking Deer 1km before Percy Bendi Wewa.
      08.55am:  76 Spotted Deer & 1 Mugger Crocodile – Maradanmaduwa.
      09.00am:  2 Spotted Deer & 1 Golden Jackal – Thambi Oluwa.
      09.45am:  Stopped for breakfast at Boradiya Wala.  The rains have resulted in a small pool created at the center of the waterhole. 2 Softshell Terrapin were seen in the pool.
      10.35am:  2 Ruff, 12 Curlew Sandpiper, 4 Lesser Sand Plover, 2 Common Greenshank, 4 Common Redshank, 3 Little Stint, 1 Wood Sandpiper & 2 Black-tailed Godwits at Borupan Wila.
      10.55am:  8 Spotted Deer, 1 Wild Boar – Nelum Wila.
      11.00am:  4 Spotted Deer, Troop of Grey Langur – Nelum Wila.
      11.49am:  8 Spotted Deer – Tala Wila.
      12.10am:  1 Barking Deer 100m from Combansanchi Pooval.
      01.00pm:  4 Spotted Deer – Mahapatessa.
      01.06pm:  2 Wild Buffalo & 1 White Ibis - Demata Wila.
      01.10pm:  6 Spotted Deer – Demata Wila.
      01.15pm:  7 Spotted Deer – Mahapatessa.
      01.20pm:  As I turned on to the Eeriyakkulam Pooval road, I observed a small flock of birds and the loud calls of 2 White-rumped Shama. I stopped the vehicle and spotted the two birds singing from two low branches close to the ground. After few minutes of this display, the two birds attacked each other and fell on to the leaf litter. They were clinging on to each other with their feet for more than 6 minutes prior to flying off in separate directions.
      01.40pm:  34 Black-tailed Godwit at Kudapatessa.
      02.00pm:  Had lunch at Kumbuk Wila.
      02.15pm:  24 Spotted Deer - Kumbuk Pitiya.
      02.20pm:  1 Giant Squirrel – Kumbuk Wila Pitiya.
      02.35pm:  1 Spotted Deer – Ibba Wala.
      02.40pm:  1 Barking Deer between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wewa.
      03.10pm:  8 Spotted Deer – Borupan Wila.
      03.20pm:  14 Spotted Deer – Eeriyakkulam Pooval.
      03.45pm:  2 Sambar - Illanda Motai.
      03.55pm:  28 Spotted Deer – Manikkapola Uttu.
      04.05pm:  4 Spotted Deer – Kurutu Pandi Villu.
      05.40pm:  1 Barking Deer – Walas Wala.
      14th October
      05.30am:  I arrived at the park entrance at 5.30am.
      06.00am:  Entered the park with my guide Podi Danushka.
      06.10am:  6 Spotted Deer between the park entrance and Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.24am:  5 Spotted Deer – Thammenna Wala.
      06.41am:  26 Spotted Deer – Maradanmaduwa.
      06.50am:  2 Sambar – Thambi Oluwa.
      06.57am:  2 Barking Deer – Humbas Wewa.
      07.28am:  11 Spotted Deer, 2 Wild Buffalo, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, 6 Eurasian Golden Plover – Mahapatessa.
      07.34am:  1 Wild Buffalo, 6 Spotted Deer – Eeriyakkulam Pooval.
      07.50am:  12 Spotted Deer – Manikkapola Uttu.
      08.03am:  2 Spotted Deer, 2 Brown Fish Owl – Manikkapola Uttu Uda Para waterhole.
      08.26am:  20 Spotted Deer – Kokkari Villu.
      09.41am:  2 Golden Jackal- Panikkar Villu.
      10.05am:  1 Ruddy Mongoose – Combansanchi Pooval.
      10.30am:  1 Female Golden-backed Woodpecker- yellow mantle form – Kokkari Villu Uda Para.
      10.47am:  1 Ruddy Mongoose – 100m from Borupan Wila Junction coming from Kumbuk Wila.
      11am -12.30pm:  Rested at Boradiya Wala.
      01.56pm:  2 Spotted Deer – Kokkari Villu Uda Para.
      02.08pm:  2 Sambar between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      02.31pm:  34 Spotted Deer – Tala Wila.
      03.10pm:  1 Barking Deer – Kokkari Villu Uda Para.
      03.27pm:  6 Spotted Deer – Thimbiri Wila.
      03.36pm:  5 Spotted Deer- Mahapatessa.
      03.45pm:  5 Spotted Deer – Kudapatessa.
      03.56pm:  5 Spotted Deer – Demata Wila.
      04.03pm:  2 Spotted Deer – Between Mahapatessa- Kumbuk Wila.
      04.06pm:  4 Green Imperial Pigeon and 7 Orange-breasted Green Pigeons at Kumbuk Wila.
      04.18pm:  1 Barking Deer – Walas Wala.
      04.31pm:  2 Jackal- Thambi Oluwa.
      04.32pm:  2 Toque Monkey – Maradanmaduwa.
      04.38pm:  1 Ruddy Mongoose – Three Causeways at Maradanmaduwa.
      04.47pm:  1 Star Tortoise – Kaum Bokkuwa.
      05.00pm:  Left the park.

  • Wilpattu National Park 29th -30th September 2012

      Arittha Wikramanayake and his daughter Radhika arrived at home by 2am as requested and we reached the park entrance by 5.30am.  Arritha’s son Dathika and his friends are expected to join us later. We were the first to enter the park with guide Saranga.
      06.05am:  2 Wild Boar- one adult and a piglet crossed the road from the Hunuwilagama Tank about 100m from the entrance.
      06.20am:  27 Spotted Deer, 1 Grey Wagtail at Maradanmaduwa.
      06.30am:  2 subadult Sambar before Thambi Oluwa.
      06.55am:  1 male Sloth Bear at Ibba Wala. It was on the edge of the Wala closer to the road. Our arrival did not disturb the bear. It walked through the forest to the left and crossed the road in front of us.
      07.10am:  17 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      07.45am:  29 Wild Boar at Nelum Wila. The herd with 17 piglets was at the edge of the Wila and ran across the road ahead of us into the forest.
      07.55am:  1 Barking Deer between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      09.32am:  3 Golden Jackal at Alam Villu.
      09.55am:  2 Golden Jackal at Nelum Wila Pitiya. One was carrying some prey in its mouth and was seen burying the same.
      10.05am:  2 Golden Jackal, 2 White-necked Stork & 7 White Ibis at Thimbiri Wila.
      10.20am:  54 Common Coot at Kokkari Villu. They were being attacked by an immature White-bellied Sea Eagle. With the approach of the eagle, all the Coots flew closer together to form a tightly packed group. Each time the eagle swooped down on them, they moved in the opposite direction to where the eagle approached while flapping their wings but staying as one tightly packed group. They repeated this action each time the eagle dived towards the birds. After a while the eagle gave up the hunt and flew off. When the eagle originally approached, even birds that were 30-40 meters away quickly flew in to make this tightly packed group.
      10.30am:  1 Large Salmon Arab flying at Kaum Bokkuwa.
      10.50am:  1 Barking Deer – Percy Bendi Wewa.
      11.25am:  Left the park.
      03.05pm:  We entered the park for the evening game drive.
      03.30pm:  15 Spotted Deer as we entered Kumbuk Wila Uda Para.
      04.30pm:  1 Elephant feeding at Panikkar Villu. The water level of the Villu was even below its knees. I remembered photographing an elephant at the same locality of the Villu in September 2011 and the water level was up to its belly.
      05.05pm:  We parked close to the Wild Boar kill at Panikkar Villu on the side of the bungalow close to where the main road enters the Villu.
      05.15pm:  1 Leopard- Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 1 (CPMC 1), walked out on to the road and lay down on the road. Even though all the vehicles kept their distance, the leopard was not relaxed enough to reach the carcass which was in the middle of the Pitiya. I photographed it well.
      06.05pm:  Had to leave the leopard to reach the entrance.
      07.00pm:  2 Black-naped Hare 30m from the park entrance.
      07.10pm:  Left the park.
      30th September
      05.50am:  Entered the park accompanied by guide Saranga.
      06.05am:  1 adult Wild Boar at the Three Causeways at Maradanmaduwa.
      06.10am:  12 Spotted Deer –Maradanmaduwa.
      06.30am:  8 Wild Boar ran into the jungle at Ibba Wala.
      06.55am:  Arrived near the kill at Panikkar Villu. No signs of the leopard.
      09.15pm:  Counted 57 Cotton Teal at Panikkar Villu from the bungalow premises.
      09.45am:  9 Spotted Deer Panikkar Villu.
      10.45am:  1 Barking Deer at Borupan Junction.
      11.35am:  23 Lesser Adjutant, 57 Spoonbill feeding in a frenzy, 357 immature Painted Storks with 45 adults, 47 White Ibis – Maradanmaduwa Tank.
      12.10pm:  Left the park.
      Even though there had been a heavy shower on Friday night, it had not had an effect on the waterholes, which had no water. The waterhole at Combansanchi Pooval had also dried up completely. Borupan Wila was reduced to two small puddles.
      With the rains however, the Great Eggfly was found quite commonly. A Large Salmon Arab was seen at Kaum Bokkuwa.

  • Wilpattu National Park 15th -16th September 2012

      I Invited Senehas Karunaratne to join me on the above trip. He arrived at home by 2am. We arrived at the park entrance by 5.45am. My guide was Dinesh who arrived at 5.50am and we entered the park by 6.00am.
      06.05am:  15 Wild Boar about 200m from the entrance. They crossed the road ahead of the vehicle from the left from the side of the Hunuwilagama Tank.
      06.10am:  1 Wild Boar – Just after Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.15am:  1 Barking Deer – Palu Kola Wewa.
      06.20am:  2 Golden Jackal – 100m before the Maradanmaduwa junction.
      06.30am:  2 Sambar – Thambi Oluwa.
      06.45am:  As we arrived at Walas Wala, our attention was focused on a Barking Deer that was on a bed of the dried waterhole. Across the waterhole by the man-made cement pool, was a subadult leopard. As I looked, it moved behind a bush just beyond the pool. I was able to get a few photographs for purposes of identification. I named it Walas Wala Male Cub 1 (WWMC 1).
      07.55am:  The Orchid Vanda spathulata has bloomed about 4km to Nelum Wila on the Sudumuwa Wala Road.
      08.10am:  1 Barking Deer – Nelum Wila.
      09.00am:  1552 Whistling Teal, 9 Common Coot, 4 Black-tailed Godwit – Panikkar Villu.
      09.25am:  5 Spotted Deer – Tala Wila.
      09.45am:  1 Lowland Kangaroo Lizard Otocryptis nigristigma – On the Pomparrippu Road.
      10.00am:  1 Golden Jackal – Tala Wila.
      10.05am:  1 Barking Deer – Tala Wila Upper Road.
      10.25am:  6 Golden Jackal, 9 Spotted Deer – Tala Wila.
      10.30am-1.40pm:  At Combansanchi Pooval waterhole.
      01.25pm:  We were parked at the Combansanchi Pooval waterhole. At 12.25pm the alarm calls of a Barking Deer were heard from the forest. The Barking Deer that was drinking at the waterhole ran off upon hearing the alarm call. At 1.25pm a subadult male leopard, walked into the waterhole and drank. Even though at first I thought that this was CPMC 1, upon examining the photos I realized that it was a different leopard. I estimated its age to be around 12-14 months. I named it CPMC 2.
      02.00pm:  1 Elephant – Panikkar Villu.
      02.15pm:  20 Grey Langur & 5 Spotted Deer- Nelum Wila.
      02.30pm:  1 Barking Deer – Kumbuk Wila.
      02.35pm:  Had lunch at Kumbuk Wila.
      03.25pm:  1 Ruddy Mongoose & 13 Spotted Deer – Kumbuk Wila.
      03.30pm:  112 Black-tailed Godwits, 33 Painted Storks, 24 White Ibis, 2 White-necked Storks, 4 Spoonbills, 15 Wood Sandpiper and 9 Wild Buffalo – Thimbiri Wila.
      03.45pm:  7 Spoonbill, 6 Lesser Adjutants, 134 Painted Stork, 55 Black-tailed Godwits, 13 White Ibis and 1 Softshell Terrapin – Borupan Wila.
      04.15pm:  2 Barking Deer, 2 Grey Langur (mother with an infant at the back) drinking- Walas Wala pond.
      04.50pm:  17 Buffalo – Mahapattassa.
      04.55pm:  15 Spoonbill – Demata Wila.
      05.05pm:  2 Buffalo – Eriyakkulam Pooval.
      05.20pm:  We followed the pug marks of a leopard from Mahapatessa towards Thimbiri Wila and saw it disappearing into the jungle close to Thimbiri Wila. We drove past the point where the leopard entered the forest and waited at the point where the road enters the Thimbiri Wila. As expected, the leopard arrived after about 10 minutes, walked up to the water and drank. Having examined the photos, I named it Thimbiri Wila Female 1 (TWF 1).
      06.05pm:  1 Barking Deer – Walas Wala.
      06.20pm:  1 Rusty Spotted Cat- Thammenna Wala.
      06.25pm:  Many Indian Nightjar on the road.
      06.35pm:  1 Barking Deer close to the entrance.
      16th September
      We arrived at the park entrance by 5.40am and were the first to enter the park accompanied by guide Dinesh.
      06.05am:  1 Mugger Crocodile, Stork-billed Kingfisher – Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.10am:  2-subadult leopards seen lying down on the glade on the left about 25 meters from Kaum Bokkuwa. Even though the available light was not excellent, I was able to get a few shots to identify the leopards. I named them after the location as Kaum Bokkuwa Male Cub 1 (KBMC 1) & Kaum Bokkuwa Female Cub 1 (KBFC 1).
      06.20am:  2 Sloth Bear (Mother and Cub) – Three Causeways Maradanmaduwa.
      06.36am:  6 Golden Jackal, 2 Spotted Deer & Grey Langur – Maradanmaduwa.
      06.50am:  2 Barking Deer – Walas Wala.
      07.20am:  A male and a female Lowland Kangaroo Lizard Otocryptis nigristigma – Boradiya Wala.
      07.30am:  4 Spotted Deer, 9 Buffalo – Borupan Wila.
      08.10am:  1 Lesser Adjutant, 5 Grey Langur – Alam Villu.
      08.15am:  12 Wild Boar 1 Spotted Deer, 1 Barking Deer – Panikkar Villu.
      09.05am:  27 Spotted Deer, 31 Grey Langur, 18 Wild Boar – Tala Wila.
      09.30am:  17 Buffalo – Kokkari Villu.
      10.30am:  3 Barking Deer –Combansanchi Pooval waterhole.
      10.30am-5.20pm:  We decided to park and observe the animals that come to water at Combansanchi Pooval waterhole.
      2 White-necked Storks, 4 Barking Deer, 3 Indian Peafowl, Ruddy Mongoose and a Ceylon Junglefowl drank at the waterhole.
      05.40pm:  4 Wild Boar – Nelum Wila.
      06.40pm:  Left the park entrance.

  • Wilpattu National Park 31st August – 2nd September 2012

      Having left home at 9.33am, we arrived at the park entrance by 1.30pm. My guide Saranga was awaiting my arrival. We entered the park by 1.45pm.
      There had been no rain and the park was quite dry. All the popular waterholes such as Walas Wala, Boradiya Wala, Ibba Wala, Sudu Muwa Wala etc. had dried up. The Department has made a concrete water tank on the opposite side of Walas Wala, which is being filled periodically by the staff. Even though it is quite an eyesore it contained water and was a lifeline to many species.
      02.15pm:  A Ruddy Mongoose at Kumbuk Wila. Observed it while having lunch. Toque Monkeys were common here as well.
      03.35pm:  3 Common Coot at Nelum Wila.
      03.50pm:  17 Common Coot and about 150 Lesser Whistling Teal at Pannikar Villu.
      04.05pm:  7 Spotted Deer just before entering Tala Wila Pitiya.
      04.10pm:  2 Golden Jackal at Tala Wila.
      04.35pm:  1 Sambar fawn between Panikkar Villu and Nelum Wila.
      05.00pm:  1 subadult Star Tortoise - Kokkari Villu Weli Kanda. Having entered from the Kokkari Villu side, we entered the forest past the sand dunes. The Tortoise was seen in the opening to the right.
      05.15pm:  6 Asiatic Golden Plover, a few Wood Sandpiper, and 2 Lesser Sand Plover – Kudapattessa.
      05.50pm:  2 subadult leopards at Kudapattessa. They were a male and a female and were on the sand dunes to the right as you enter the Villu. The male came down very cautiously as if it was stalking the peafowl nearby and drank from a small pool and then walked up the sand dune to join the female, who was seated on top of the dune. I named them after the location as Kudapatessa Male Cub 1 (KPMC 1) & Kudapatessa Female Cub 1 (KPFC 1).
      06.10pm:  Having picked up some people who were stranded due to a vehicle breakdown at the Kumbuk Wila resting place, we arrived at the Pitiya. A Sloth Bear was seated on the further shore of the lake and ran into the jungle.
      06.20pm:  1 Barking Deer just before Walas Wala.
      06.50pm:  Left the park.

      1st September
      Got up at 4.30am, had tea and arrived at the park entrance by 5.30am.
      06.05am:  I was the first to enter the park accompanied by guide Saranga.
      06.15am:  14 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      06.25am:  1 Barking Deer at Walas Wala.
      06.57am:  10 Spotted Deer – Kudapattessa.
      07.20am:  2 Barking Deer at Nelum Wila.
      08.00am:  32 Spotted Deer, 2 Golden Jackal, as well as a troop of about 15 Grey Langur drinking at Tala Wila.
      08.15am:  2 Barking Deer- Combansanchi Pooval.
      08.30am:  I was watching the birds that come to drink water at the Combansanchi Pooval waterhole. All at once a Crested Hawk-Eagle swooped down from a nearby tree. The terrified birds flew in all directions but the agile eagle succeeded in catching an Emerald Dove on the wing and alighted on the ground with the prey in its talons. After spending a few minutes on the ground, the raptor flew away with the freshly caught avian prey in its talons.
      08.45am:  3 Spotted Deer, 1 Lesser Adjutant, 3 White Ibis – Alam Villu.
      09.10am:  1 Elephant – Nelum Wila.
      10.05am:  53 Painted Stork, 1 White-necked Stork, 7 Openbill, 1 Lesser Adjutant, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Wood Sandpiper – Thimbiri Wila.
      10.10am:  16 Buffalo, 96 Black-tailed Godwit, 756 Lesser Whistling Teal, 12 White Ibis – Borupan Wila.
      10.55am:  17 Lesser Adjutant, 377 Lesser Whistling Teal, 208 subadult Painted Stork with about 35 adults and about 34 nests with chicks, 17 Spotted-billed Pelican, 4 Golden Jackal, 7 Spotted Deer – Maradanmaduwa Tank.
      11.35am: 5 Spotted Deer, 2 Barking Deer and a troop of 12 Grey Langur – Thammenna Wala.
      12.05pm:  58 Buffalo, 17 Spoonbill, 79 Spotted-billed Pelican, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 30 Painted Stork, 4 Wild Boar – Maha Wewa.
      01.05pm:  1 Ruddy Mongoose – Maha Wewa.
      01.20pm:  1 Ruddy Mongoose – Between Maha Wewa and the main road.
      01.45pm:  5 Buffalo –Andaragollawa Wewa.
      03.00pm:  6 Spotted Deer – Mahapattessa.
      04.10pm:  4 Golden Jackal, 2 Barking Deer, 11 Spotted Deer – Tala Wila.
      04.45pm:  2 Sambar- mother and fawn, between Nelum Wila & Panikkar Villu.
      05.10pm:  1 Barking Deer – Thimbiri Wila.
      05.45pm:  2 Leopards – Kudapattassa.  They stalked two Barking Deer.  They were across the Villu and moved into the forest before I could photograph them.
      07.00pm:  Left the park.

      2nd September
      Got up at 4.30am, packed the bags into the vehicle, had a cup of tea and arrived at the park by 5.30am. Saranga arrived at 5.50am. I was the first to enter the park.
      06.10am:  1 Sambar at the Three Causeways before Maradanmaduwa.
      06.15am:  11 Spotted Deer resting in the open glade at Maradanmaduwa.
      06.30am:  1 Sloth Bear between Thambi Oluwa and Ibba Wala.  With the approach of our vehicle it ran across the road from right to left and went into the forest.
      07.10am:  2 Spotted Deer, 1 White-bellied Sea Eagle watching over the Villu – Mahapatessa.
      07.13am:  1 Mouse Deer – between Maha & Kudapattessa.
      07.30am:  1 Wild Boar, Gull-billed Tern -Kokkari Villu.
      07.55am:  15 plus Grey Langur troop – Nelum Wila.
      08.15am:  2 Leopards sleeping in the forest about 300m before the waterhole at Combansanchi Pooval. Could not photograph or identify.
      09.15am:  We parked the vehicle with a view of the waterhole and were having breakfast when we were alerted by the “kak, kako kak” alarm calls of the Grey Langurs. Within a few minutes a leopard walked to the waterhole and drank for about 10 minutes. It was Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 1 (CPMC 1).
      10.30am:  1 Barking Deer, 12 Wild Boar – Tala Wila.
      11.15am:  1 female Barking Deer – Borupan Pitiya.
      11.35am:  1 female Barking Deer – Thimbiri Wila.
      12.15pm:  1 female Barking Deer drank at Combansanchi Pooval waterhole.
      12.30pm:  A leopard ran across the Combansanchi Pooval waterhole only a few feet from our vehicle and started to drink. It was Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 1 (CPMC 1).  After a while, a male Indian Peafowl came to the waterhole and the subadult leopard just ran towards the bird without stalking it, allowing the bird to get away without too much trouble.
      03.55pm:  1 Barking Deer drank at Combansanchi Pooval waterhole.
      04.35pm:  1 Crested Hawk-Eagle flew towards us over the waterhole with a large dead bird in its talons. I pursued it in the vehicle and was able to get a photograph. It was a subadult Ceylon Grey Hornbill.
      04.45pm:  1 Elephant – Panikkar Villu.
      05.15pm:  5 Asiatic Golden Plover, 2 Lesser Sand Plover, 1 Pintail Snipe and 2 Wood Sandpiper.
      06.40pm:  Arrived at the park entrance.

  • Wilpattu National Park 19th August 2012

      Left home at 2.30am and reached Kotte to pick up my mother at 2.45am. Picked up Diluk and Stephan from Nugegoda and left by 3am. Reached the park around 6.10 am. My guide Saranga had already arrived. I was the second to enter the park.
      06.15am:  Black-naped Hare between the park entrance and Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.30am:  7 Spotted Deer at Thammenna Wala.
      06.40am:  2 Barking Deer about 100 meters prior to Humbas Wewa.
      07.15am:  Having arrived from Thimbiri Wila to Kumbuk Wila Pitiya, we turned towards Borupan Wila and observed the pug marks of two leopards crossing from the Thimbiri Wila side across the road. While searching, we spotted Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 (BWMC 1) under a bush on to the right by the side of the road. While observing the cub, a flock of Indian Peafowl that crossed the road behind our vehicle and entered the forest, flew off with a series of loud alarm calls. Most probably the cub’s mother would have been close by but out of sight. After a few minutes BWMC 1 walked on to the road and chased a Jerdon’s Bushlark. Thereafter upon seeing a Ruddy Mongoose at the Kumbuk Uda Para Junction, it froze and burst into a charge but was not successful as the mongoose seeing the charging leopard bolted into the jungle. Then with few more vehicles approaching, it walked on to the Kumbuk Wila Uda Para and climbed a tree where it remained for about 2 hours.
      09.20am:  12 Spotted Deer, 8 Grey Langur, 1 Barking Deer at Tala Wila.
      10.35am:  8 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      10.45am:  1 Leopard- Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 (BWMC 1) was sleeping on the Thimbiri side of the road about 20 feet inside the jungle at Kumbuk Wila Uda Para Junction.
      11.40am:  Left the park.

  • Wilpattu National Park 11th -12th August 2012

      Left Colombo at 2.30am and reached the park entrance by 5.30am. I entered the park with guide Saranga.
      06.05am:  14 Wild Boar about 100 meters from Percy Bendi Wewa.  They crossed the road ahead of the vehicle but were more relaxed than usual.
      06.10am:  2 Mugger Crocodiles at Percy Bendi Wewa. One about 8 feet in length was on the bund ahead of us and walked into the tank. The water level was quite low.
      06.28am:  Herd of 4 elephants about ¼ km from Ibba Wala. They bolted into the jungle upon our arrival.
      06.35am:  21 Wild Buffalo, 15 Spotted Deer and 2 White-necked Storks at Borupan Wila.
      07.00am:  2 Lesser Adjutants at Thimbiri Wila.
      08.35am:  8 Spotted Deer and 2 Golden Jackal at Tala Wila.
      08.55am:  Indian Nightjar adult with a chick. 1 Barking Deer, 1 immature Crested Hawk-Eagle, 7 White Ibis and 1 Lesser Adjutant – Alam Villu.
      10.38am- 2.00pm:  Parked at Boradiya Wala for a much needed snooze. At 1.30pm I was woken up by the alarm calls of Grey Langurs. However it subsided after a while. 3 Barking Deer came to water. The Mugger Crocodile is still in the waterhole despite the water level being quite low.
      03.50 – 06.00pm:  1 subadult male leopard at Humbas Wewa. It was under a bush and did not come out. I managed to get one shot of its face for purposes of identification. I named it Humbas Wewa Male Cub 1 (HWMC 1).
      12th August
      Arrived at the park entrance around 5.40 am and was the first to enter the park with guide Saranga.
      06.02am:  1 Wild Boar at Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.20am:  1 subadult male Sambar between Thambi Oluwa & Ibba Wala.
      06.40am:  2 Barking Deer on the main road at Walas Wala.
      07.00am:  17 Wild Buffalo, 7 Spotted Deer and 1 Lesser Adjutant at Borupan Wila.
      07.20am:  13 Spotted Deer, 2 Golden Jackal and 26 Little Grebe at Mahapattessa.
      08.45am:  6 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      09.55am:  3 Barking Deer at Boradiya Wala.
      10.25am:  3 Lesser Adjutant at Borupan Wila.
      10.35am:  1 Ruddy Mongoose at Kumbuk Wila Uda Para.
      10.45am:  1 Barking Deer at Kokkari Villu, Thammenna Gaha Junction.
      11.30am:  The Indian Nightjar and the chick have moved about 10 feet from where the female was found incubating towards the forest edge. 3 Barking Deer came and drank – Alam Villu.
      11.55am:  56 Wild Boar & 5 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.
      11.58am:  6 Cotton Teal flying over Tala Wila.
      12.25pm:  1 Giant Squirrel & 2 White-necked Storks at Nelum Wila.
      12.30pm:  1 Lowland Kangaroo Lizard  Otocryptis nigristigma between Nelum Wila and Sudumuwa Wala road.
      02.00pm:  14 Wild Boar at Kumbuk Wila.
      02.38pm:  As we drove in, we saw 2 leopards at Boradiya Wala. They were Borupan Wila Female 1 (BWF 1) & Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 (BWMC 1). They went inside the forest upon our arrival. BWMC 1 was quite active and was mock charging the Grey Langurs that were giving out alarm calls. After a while, it walked on to a small mound just outside the driving seat window and sat down. I was not able take any photos, as it was too close. While I watched, it made high pitched cat/bird like calls intermittently which were answered by the low growls of the mother from inside the forest. The cub is now taller and appears larger than the mother but is very affectionate towards her. After a while the female walked to the waterhole and drank for a few minutes. Even though the cub accompanied her, it did not drink. Thereafter both leopards walked into the forest in the direction of Borupan Pitiya.
      05.30pm:  1 Adult Sambar close to Humbas Wewa.
      05.45pm:  2 Leopards- Borupan Wila Female 1 (BWF 1) & Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 ( BWMC 1) seen at Borupan Pitiya.
      07.00pm:  Left for Colombo.

  • Willpattu National Park 14th -15th July 2012

      Nanda Senanayake joined me on this trip. We left Colombo around 2.15am on Saturday and reached the park entrance by 5.45am. Entered the park with guide Saranga.
      06.20am:  Adult male Sambar at Palu Kola Wewa.
      06.35am:  Herd of 12 Wild Boar, 6 Wild Buffalo, 4 Golden Jackal, 15 Spotted Deer and a troop of Grey Langur – Maradanmaduwa.
      06.38am:  Nesting Spotted-billed Pelican and Painted Stork as well as many immature birds of these species in the tank. – Maradanmaduwa Tank.
      06.45am:  1 adult male Sambar & Golden Jackal at Ibba Wala.
      07.05am:  Ibba Wala Male Cub 1 ( IWMC 1) at the Boralu Wala between Humbas Wewa & Walas Wala. It was lying down at the center of the Wala when we arrived. I drove ahead without disturbing it and turned the vehicle to enable me to photograph it from my side of the window. After about 10 minutes it got up, walked in our direction, crossed the road in front of the vehicle and went on to the opening on the opposite side.
      07.31am:  Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 (BWMC 1) was feeding on what was left of the Sambar carcass at Boradiya Wala. As we were watching the leopard, a well grown male Sambar antler came to water and the subadult leopard stopped feeding and started to stalk through the jungle but stopped about 20 yards from the Sambar.  The antler stopped drinking and raised its head, looked at the young leopard and continued to drink unconcerned. The young leopard went off and climbed a tree.
      09.00am:  A few Spotted Deer and Grey Langurs and Toque Monkeys seen at Kumbuk Wila.
      10.50am:  1 Wild Buffalo, 2 White-necked Storks and a first year Crested Hawk-Eagle - Nelum Wila.
      11.05am:  A tiny Sambar fawn between Panikkar Villu and Nelum Wila. It was the size of a Barking Deer.
      11.45am:  Male Barking Deer at Borupan Wila Junction.
      12.05pm:  21 Spotted Deer drinking at Boradiya Wala.
      12.07pm:  1 Mugger Crocodile – Boradiya Wala.
      02.15pm:  Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 (BWMC 1) walked out and drank water at Boradiya Wala. Even though I could see the leopard walking into the waterhole, I was not able to photograph as I was parked facing the kill. I did not move the vehicle as it could have disturbed the leopard.  After drinking, the leopard ignored the kill and walked past it into the jungle.
      03.25pm:  2 Golden Jackal and 2 Spotted Deer at Demata Wila.
      04.05pm:  A pair of Common Mormon in copula at Alam Villu.
      04.15pm:  A pair of Cotton Teal perched on an exposed branch of a tree by the side of the Villu. 1 Elephant and 1 Common Coot at Panikkar Villu.
      06.25pm:  2 Sloth Bear- mother and a tiny cub at Maradanmaduwa. Could not photograph as they moved into the forest.
      06.40pm:  1 Sloth Bear walking towards Thammenna Wala. Too dark for any photography.
      Red Spot Duke, Lemon Pansy, Great Orange Tip, Blue Mormon & Common Mormon.
      07.00pm:  Left the park.
      15th July
      Got up at 4.30am and arrived at the park entrance at 5.30am. We were the first to enter the park with guide Danushka.
      06.20 – 6.45am:  Came upon a male Sloth Bear about ½ km beyond Thammenna Wala. As it moved into the jungle we drove ahead, turned and as expected the bear came on to the road ahead of us. We followed it until it reached the Thammenna Wala waterhole. The adult male bear walked down to the edge of the water and started to drink. Unlike the leopards that drink for 5-10 minutes most of the time, the Sloth Bear drinks for less than a minute. Having had its fill, it walked into the forest.
      06.50am:  1 Sambar at Thambi Oluwa.
      06.51am:  1 Brown Fish Owl at Thambi Oluwa.
      10.15am:  14 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      10.45am:  1 Wild Buffalo – Kudapatessa.
      12.45pm:  67 Wild Buffalo, White-bellied Sea Eagle, Grey-headed Fishing Eagle and a lot of elephant activity at Mahawewa.
      02.25pm:  19 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      03.25pm:  Sloth Bear between Panikkar Villu and Nelum Wila. It was about 20 yards inside the forest. We stopped the vehicle and after a while it moved towards the road and crossed the road ahead of the vehicle.
      03.40pm:  17 Spotted Deer at Alam Villu.
      03.55 – 5.15pm:  One subadult male leopard at Combansanchi Pooval. I estimated its age to be about 12- 14 months. It was resting on an earth bund among the reeds to the right passing the first culvert and was hardly visible. Upon us stopping the vehicle, it walked towards the vehicle. We reversed and parked at the bend beyond the culvert. The leopard came on to the road, walked towards the vehicle and settled down on the culvert about 20 yards from us. After about 30 minutes it walked even closer and moved into an opening. It was licking itself thoroughly.  While we watched, it played with its tail and picked up a small grass tussock in its mouth before entering the forest. We drove towards Tala Wila and upon our return met with it again at the open sand patch. I named it Combansanchi Pooval Male Cub 1 (CPMC 1).
      06.10pm:  2 Sambar- mother and grown fawn at Thambi Oluwa.
      06.20 pm:  45 Spotted Deer in two separate herds and 1 Wild Boar at Maradanmaduwa.
      06.30am:  1 Golden Jackal about 200m from the entrance.
      06.40pm:  2 Barn Owls at the water tank overlooking Hunuwilagama Tank at the park entrance.
      07.30pm:  Had a bath and dinner at Anawila and left for Colombo.

  • Wilpattu National Park 29th June – 1st July 2012

      Left Colombo at 2.12pm with Arittha Wikramanayake. I had a booking at the Tala Wila bungalow for two nights.   Palitha Antony, Kiran Kumaranayagam, Niran & Audrey Caldera were joining us at Kumbuk Wila for breakfast around 9.30am. Arrived at the park office at 5.30am.
      I was the first to enter the park at 6.00am with guide Saranga.
      06.02am:  2 Wild Boar at the entrance.
      06.10am:  Black-naped Hare ran across the road before Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.25am:  As we passed the Thambi Oluwa rocks, Saranga said sir “Kotiya” (leopard). As I stopped the vehicle, a leopard ran across the road about 50m ahead of us and climbed a tall tree at great speed. We approached the spot to find a terrified troop of about 15 Grey Langurs making frantic alarm calls at the leopard that was seen on the top most branches of the tree. The hunt was not successful and it had not made a kill. After a few minutes the leopard crossed over to the adjoining Weera tree, came down with great agility, looked at us for a few seconds and walked across the road being pursued by the Langurs from the trees. The tree that it climbed had a straight trunk of about 50-60 feet without any branches. Even though the light was quite poor, I was able to photograph the leopard for identification. This is the first time I saw this animal. I named it after the location as Thambi Oluwa Female 1 (TOF 1).
      07.40am:  1 Barking Deer at Demata Wila.
      10.55am:  Two herds of Wild Boar came to water together. One had 27 adults with plenty of young and the other 39 making it 66 animals. This is the highest number of this species that I have observed so far in one location at Wilpattu.
      Had lunch and left for the evening round around 3.30pm. The tame male Sambar that has been released close to the bungalow approaches and butts anyone that steps out of the bungalow. It would appear that it had been fed by the visitors.                                                                                                                               
      04.30pm:  5 Lesser Adjutant at Manikkapola Uttu.
      04.40pm:  1 Lesser Adjutant at Manikrala Uraniya.
      05.00pm:  2 subadult Common Coot at Thimbiri Wila.
      30th June
      The next day we left for the morning game drive and arrived around 5.30am.
      06.15am:  A pair of Barking Deer at Kokkari Villu Weli Kanda.
      07.40am:  20 Spotted Deer came to water at Alam Villu.
      Left around 3.30pm for the evening game drive.
      04.50pm:  2 Golden Jackal at Kokkari Villu.
      06.45pm:  One leopard between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu. Saw it with the headlights of the vehicle. It was to the left of the road and went into the forest. Could not identify.
      1st July
      As usual left at 5.20am.
      05.45am:  As we drove in to Panikkar Villu saw a Sambar with a few Spotted Deer.
      08.45am:  Golden-backed Woodpecker with a yellow mantle seen in the tall forest between Alam Villu and Panikkar Villu.
      Came back to the Bungalow around 9.30am had breakfast and left the park around 12.30pm.  Reached home around 4.00pm.

  • Wilpattu National Park 16th -17th June 2012

      Left home at 2.30am and arrived at the park entrance by 5.30am. I was the first to enter the park with guide Saranga by 6.05am.
      06.10am:  4 Wild Boar crossed the road between Percy Bendi Wewa and Kaum Bokkuwa.
      06.15am:  2 Golden Jackal – Maradanmaduwa.
      06.30-7.45am:  1 Leopard - Ibba Wala Male Cub 1 (IWMC 1) walked down from the right and got on to the fallen log at the center of the waterhole. Got off the log and was behind a bush out of sight.
      07.45am:  2 Barking Deer about 1 km from Ibba Wala towards Thambi Oluwa.
      07.50am:  1 Purple-faced Leaf Monkey at Thambi Oluwa.
      08.30am:  2 Sloth Bear- a mother and cub at Walas Wala. They ran into the jungle upon the arrival of the vehicle.
      09.00am:  Ceylon Trogon calling at Kumbuk Wila while we were having breakfast.
      09.10am:  12 Spotted Deer – Kumbuk Wila.
      09.30am:  Grey Langur between Kudapatassa & Kokkari Villu.
      10.30am:  1 Painted-lipped Lizard Calotes ceylonensis – ½ km from Kudapatassa Junction.
      1 Bark Gecko Hemidactylus leschanaultii on the same tree.
      11.00am:  3 Lesser Adjutant – Manikkapola Uttu.
      11.43am:  2 Common Kingfisher – Pair – Ilanda Motai.
      11.50am:  1 Giant Squirrel – Menikrala Uraniya.
      12.15pm:  1 Golden Jackal – Mahapattessa.
      12.15pm:  8 Spotted Deer – Mahapattessa.
      12.30am:  2 Spotted Deer – Thimbiri Wila.
      Vanda tessellata in bloom on a Palu tree between Thimbiri Wila & Borupan Wila.
      12.45pm:  1 Elephant – Kumbuk Wila.
      01.00pm:  12 Spotted Deer – Kumbuk Wila.
      01.00pm:  1 Painted-lipped Lizard Calotes ceylonensis – Kumbuk Wila.
      01.00pm:  2 Fan-throated Lizard Sitana ponticeriana– Kumbuk Wila.
      02.25pm:  4 Racket-tailed Drongo –two immatures at Ibba Wala.
      03.25pm:  1 Marsh Crocodile – Thimbiri Wila.
      04.00pm:  13 Purple Coot Alam Villu.
      05.15pm:  1 Leopard, which I named Panikkar Villu Male 1 (PWM 1). It walked ahead of the vehicles on the Panikkar Villu - Nelum Wila road and entered the forest about ½ km from the Nelum Wila sand patch. I was able to photograph it resting.
      05.30pm:  1 Leopard, which I named Nelum Wila Male 1 (NWM 1). It walked ahead of us marking the territory about 1km towards Nelum Wila on the Panikkar Villu road from where the Panikkar Villu Male 1 was seen. It was within the Panikkar Villu male’s territory.
      17th June
      06.15am:  5 Golden Jackals including 2 juveniles - Maradanmaduwa.
      06.20am:  2 Leopards, Ibba Wala Male Cub 1 (IWMC 1)  & Ibba Wala Female Cub 1 (IWFC 1) –both seen resting close to each other towards the left of Ibba Wala. They were alerted by the “kreeeees kreees” alarm call of a Toque Monkey on the right hand side of the Wala beyond the bund and hurriedly trotted into the forest.
      08.20am:  I was driving from Tala Wila and stopped the vehicle upon hearing the alarm calls of the Grey Langurs. After about 10 minutes, three leopards- a mother and two cubs crossed the road ahead of us. I was not able to photograph.
      08.30am:  2 Sambar between Panikkar Villu and Nelum Wila.
      10.45am:  1 Marsh Crocodile – Percy Bendi Wewa.
      05.00pm:  12 Water Buffalo – Thimbiri Wila.
      05.15pm:  1 Golden Jackal – Mahapattessa.
      Blue Mormon is quite common as well as the Great Orange Tip. A few Banded Peacock as well.
      The Orchid Vanilla walkerae was still in bloom.

  • Wilpattu National Park 2nd -4th June 2012

      At Anawila Bungalow with my father Solomon Gunawardena, Gunasiri Jayawardena, my brother Kishan and his wife Anna, Rajeev Jayawardena, Dushi & Janitha.
      2nd June
      03.00pm:  I entered the park with Gunasiri Jayawardena and guide Saranga.
      03.25pm:  Saw one leopard at Ibba Wala. It was the Ibba Wala Male Cub 1(IWMC 1). It was on the left hand side of the Wala. It was sleeping behind the bushes. We did not have a clear view.
      2 Sambar at Sudumuwa Wala.
      3rd June
      05.45am:  I was the first to enter the park.
      06.15am:  Saw 2 leopards; Ibba Wala Male Cub 1 (IWMC 1) & Ibba Wala Female Cub 1 (IWFC 1). I estimated their ages to be around 12-14 months. I was able to photograph the male cub. It was quite relaxed even with a number of vehicles about 20 feet from it. The female cub moved from where they were and hid behind some bushes.
      08.45am:  Saw Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 (BWMC 1) between Kumbuk Wila and Borupan Junction.
      3rd June- afternoon
      02.30pm:  Entered the park with my father Solomon Gunawardena, Gunasiri Jayawardena and guide Saranga. Leopard activity was poor.
      05.45pm:  Saw Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 (BWMC 1) on the road between Kumbuk Wila and Borupan Wila junction.
      4th June
      05.45am:  Entered the park.
      06.05am:  A massive adult male Sambar at Percy Bendi Wewa.
      06.15am:  3 Golden Jackals and a small herd of Wild Boar at Maradanmaduwa.
      06.20am:  1 Sloth Bear at Thambi Oluwa. It was about to come on to the road but was disturbed by our vehicle and ran into the forest.
      06.30am:  Both Ibba Wala Male Cub 1 (IWMC 1) & Ibba Wala Female Cub 1 (IWFC 1) were seen at Ibba Wala at the same location where they were seen the previous morning. I managed to photograph both leopards. Upon the arrival of the second vehicle, the more timid female cub went out of sight.
      08.45am:  1 Barking Deer seen drinking at Walas Wala.

  • Wilpattu National Park 11th -13th May 2012

      At Panikkar Villu bungalow with Nanda Senanayake and Lalith Ramanayake.
      05.15pm:  As we turned from Borupan Wila Junction towards Kumbuk Wila at a distance there were two leopards on the road. I parked on a side expecting them to walk towards us and so they did. It was BWMC 1 with its mother Borupan Wila Female 1 (BWF 1). This was my first sighting of BWF 1. They walked together until they were about 15 feet from the vehicle and moved into the forest in the direction of Borupan Wila. I photographed both of them walking towards me.
      12th May
      Set off at 5.20am.
      05.45am:  One male leopard at Nelum Wila. Could not photograph or identify.
      06.25am:  Ibba Wala- an adult female leopard crossed the road. Could not photograph.
      05.15pm:  Followed the pug marks of a leopard for about 1.5km from Thimbiri Wila to Mahapatessa and from Mahapattessa to Kumbuk Wila. Spotted it about 200m from the Kumbuk Wila resting place. It was a big male but I could not photograph it.
      13th May
      06.45am:  Saw Borupan Wila Male Cub (BWMC 1) at the Borupan Pitiya. He had been there the whole day perhaps where his mother had left him.
      Panikkar Wila was visited by a herd of 37 Wild Boar, Sambar mother and calf, Barking Deer and Spotted Deer.

  • Wilpattu National Park 29th April 2012

      A day trip with Dr. Srinath Seneviratne, Vasanta Seneviratne & Kevin.
      1 leopard crossed the road around 5.30pm followed by a troop of Grey Langurs making alarm calls between Borupan Wila and Borupan Wila Junction. I was not able to identify or photograph the leopard.

  • Wilpattu National Park 21st April 2012

      A day trip with Rajeev Jayawardena
      1 Elephant at Kumbuk Wila.  It rained in the afternoon and we did not have any leopard sightings.

  • Wilpattu National Park 18th -19th February 2012

      With Arittha Wikramanayake, Brindley De Zilva & family.

      18th February
      04.15pm:  1 Leopard seen. It was Borupan Wila Male Cub 1 (BWMC 1), seen between Kumbuk Wila and Borupan Wila Junction.
      05.20pm:  1 adult male leopard Kokkari Weli Kanda Male 1 (KWM 1) seen and Kokkari Weli Kanda.