NOTES ON FIELD TRIPS TO WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK

  • Wilpattu National Park 17th to 20th April 2019

      1.06pm entered the park from Eluwankulama with Guide D.M.Wasantha Kumara.
      1.10pm it was over cast and started to rain when I reached Pomparippu. Wasantha confirmed that this is the first heavy rain to be received in two months. It continued until we arrived at Nelum Wila
      1.56pm 57 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.
      1.59pm 7 Spotted Deer at Kombansanchipooval.
      2.01pm a Parker’s Black Turtle at Kombansanchaipooval.
      2.05pm 19 Spotted Deer and one Elephant at Panikkar Villu.
      2.20pm 4 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      2.22pm 2 Spotted Deer and 2 White-necked Stork at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      2.23pm an adult male Wild Boar at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      2.47pm one Barking Deer between Borupan junction and Borupan Wila.
      2.50pm 2 Spotted Deer at Borupan pitiya.
      2.50pm 2 Mugger Crocodile at Borupan pitiya wala.
      2.51pm  a Black-naped Hare at Borupan pitiya.
      2.58pm 4 Spotted Deer at Borupan pitiya.
      3.06pm one Leopard at Borupan pitiya. N 08.42738, E 080.02568
      While on the Borupan upper road we heard Spotted Deer alarm calls and drove down to the “wila”. Upon observing the direction of sight of the Spotted Deer barking out frantic alarm calls we managed spot the leopard. It was a young female. She walked out of cover, sniffed and marked a bush but moved back in to the forest in the direction of the upper road. We drove up and met the leopard again on the road. She walked along the road for a short distance but moved back in to the forest prior to which I managed to get a few images. The spot pattern revealed its identity as Borupan Wila Female 3 (BWFC 3).

       3.56pm 12 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      3.57pm 1 Wild Buffalo and 4 more Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      4.06pm 2 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      4.11pm 5 Spotted Deer and a small sounder of 4 Wild Boar at Kokkare Villu.
      4.20pm 16 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      4.25pm one Barking Deer between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      4.34pm 8 Spotted Deer at Aalam Villu.
      4.36pm 3 Spotted Deer between Aalam Villu and Panikkar Villu.
      4.38pm one more bull Elephants has joined the Elephant that was feeding at Panikkar Villu and the 19 Spotted Deer has increased by another 10 to 29.
      4.44pm 2 female Wild Boar between Panikka Villu and Kombansanchaipooval.
      4.45pm  a sounder of 8 Wild Boar between Panikka Villu and Kombansanchaipooval.
      5.09pm 2 Sambhur  between Tala Wila and Pill Motte.
      5.31pm 5 Spotted Deer at Pomparippu.
      5.43pm 2 Mugger Crocodile and a Stork-billed Kingfisher at Uththamadaru Bridge.

      5.55pm another Mugger Crocodile at the Broken Bridge.
      6.05pm left the park.
      6.07pm a troop of Grey Langur at Eluwankulama.
      Mammals  - Elephant 2, Leopard 1,Wild Buffalo 1, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer  160, Wild Boar 15, Barking Deer  2, Golden jackal, Grey Langer, Toque Monkey, Black-naped Hare 1, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 5, Parker’s Black Turtles 1
      18th April 2019
      5.59am entered the park with guide D.M.Wasantha Kumara
      6.04am a small Mugger Crocodile at the water hole close to the broken Bridge.
      6.05am a sounder of 6 Wild Boar at Moolakandweli pitiya.
      6.07am another sounder of 11 Wild Boar at Moolakandaweli pitiya.
      6.17am I was thrilled to observe the melanistic Spotted Deer rarely seen around Pomparippu pitiya along with 3 other stags at Moolakndaweli close to Uththadaru Bridge. This is my second sighting of such a rare specimen at this locality. It is very likely that this is the same individual I photographed on the 17th of August 2017 close to this location. I was pleased to see that the young male that I photographed has grown to become an adult stag with an impressive pair of antlers. Unfortunately the images I was able capture are of poor quality as the animal was far away.

      6.19am a small herd of 7 Spotted Deer at Moolakandaweli.
      6.25am a Mugger Crocodile, a troop of Purple-faced Leaf Monkey and two Stork-billed Kingfishers at Uththamadaru Bridge.

      6.26am 14 more Spotted Deer at Pomparippu pitiya.
      6.28am 5 Spotted Deer and 3 Lesser Adjutant Storks at Pomprippu pitiya.
      6.31am 2 Spotted Deer at Pallekandal pitiya.
      6.42am one Sambhur between Pilli Motte and old Mannar road junction.
      6.57am 19 Spotted Deer, an adult male Wild Boar and a Lesser Adjutant at Tala Wila.
      7.05am a single Spotted Deer and Kombansanchaipooval sand patch.
      7.23am a Ruddy Mongoose at Nelum Wila.
      7.24am 12 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      7.27am 29 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      7.36am a Black-naped Hare sprinted along the road at Madangaha Wala.
      7.47am one Leopard on the road between Kumbuk Wila sand patch and Borupan junction. N 08.41880, E 080.01824
      The Leopard was walking in our direction and stopped to “mark” a bush by the side of the road. There after the young leopard remained seated on the road for a few minutes prior to walking across the edge of the road. Having taken a few images I reversed to give way for the vehicle parked behind me to get a clear view. Having studied the spot pattern I noted that this is Borupan Wila Female 3 (BWFC 3), the same female Leopard that I photographed the previous day.

      8.08am 8 Spotted Deer and one Wild Buffalo at Borupan Wila.
      9.00am 4 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      9.08am a Ruddy Mongoose between Maradanmaduwa and first Bridge on the Maha Wewa road.
      9.38am 19 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      9.42am 27 more Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      9.43am 2 Spotted Deer and 22 Water Buffalo at Maha Wewa.
      9.51am 10 more Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      9.54am a lone Buffalo by the “Boralu” water hole at Maha Wewa.
      10.04am a Ruddy Mongoose between Maha Wewa and Thammanna Wala.
      10.17am 2 Spotted Deer and a troop of Grey Langur at Percybendi Wewa.
      10.58am Indian Peahen with two chicks at Andaragollawa junction.

      11.02am 1 Spotted Deer at Palu Kola Wala.
      11.15am a Spotted Deer stag on Maha Wewa road at Maradanmaduwa.
      12.54pm a female Barking Deer at Ibba Wala.
      01.05pm a Sambhur drinking from a puddle on the road and two Ruddy Mongoose digging the soft sand between Walas Wala and Borupan junction.
      1.13pm 12 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      1.17pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Kokkare Villu.
      1.21pm one Spotted Deer at Thammannagaha junction on Kokkare upper road.
      1.23pm one Elephant at Nelum Wila.
      1.34pm 4 Spotted Deer on Panikka Wila upper road.
      1.37pm 3 Spotted Deer at Kombansanchaipooval.
      1.41pm one Elephant at Tala Wila.
      1.53pm a Barking Deer between Old Mannar road junction and Pilli Motte.
      1.58pm another Ruddy Mongoose between Pilli Mote and Pallekandal pitiya.
      3.34pm a Ruddy Mongoose between old Mannar road junction and Tala Wila.
      3.42pm the Spotted Deer at Tala Wila has increased up to 49 from 19 in the morning.
      3.46pm one Spotted Deer antler at Kombansanchaipooval.
      3.51pm 43 Spotted Deer at Panikka Wila.
      4.07pm a Ruddy Mongoose on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      4.15pm one Golden Jackal at Thimbiri Wila.
      4.15pm one Leopard at Thimbiri Wila. N 08.42439, E 080.01178
      We spotted the Leopard seated under a tree across the water. After a few minutes the cat walked up to water’s edge and started to drink. Having drunk its fill moved back in to the forest. Later upon studying the spot pattern I was able to identify it as Borupan Wila Female 3 (BWFC 3), the same leopard I observed in the morning.

      5.05pm a Flapshell Turtle at Tala Wila.

      5.06pm it started to rain while we were at Tala Wila.
      5.36pm a family group of 6 Elephants feeding in the rain at Pallekandal pitiya.

      6.05pm left the park.
      Mammals  - Elephant 8, Leopard 1, Wild Buffalo 23, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 259, Wild Boar 18, Barking Deer 2, Golden jackal 1, Grey Langer, Toque Monkey, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Black-naped Hare 1, Ruddy Mongoose 9, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 2, Flapshell Turtle 1
      19th April 2019
      6.05am entered the park from Eluwankulama with guide, D.M.Wasantha Kumara
      6.15am two Busted Quails on the road at Moolakandaweli Pitiya.
      6.18am 4 Spotted Deer at Moolakandaweli pitiya.
      6.19am two White-necked Storks, a Brown Fish Owl, two Mugger Crocodiles and a troop of Purple-faced Leaf Monkey at Uththamadaru Bridge.
      6.20am 7 Spotted Deer at Pomparippu pitiya.
      6.25am a sounder of 11 Wild Boar at Pallekandal pitiya.
      6.28am 2 Wild Boar and a White-necked Stork at Pallekandal pitiya.
      6.30am 4 Adult Wild Boar with 12 immatures at Pallekandal pitiya.

      6.35am having driven past Pill Motte we turned on to the road leading to Tala Wila from old Mannar road junction. The rays of the early morning sun piercing through the canopy created a breathtaking scene.

      7.07am 44 Spotted Deer and 6 Wild Boar at Panikka Wila.
      7.22am 15 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      7.25am a Black-naped Hare at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      7.26am 26 Spotted Deer and one adult male Wild Boar at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      7.29am a Yellow Wattle Lapwing at Nelum Wila pitiya. This species is seldom seen inside the park except at Maha Wewa.

      7.40am one Elephant at Kokkare villu upper road.
      7.44am 2 Barking Deer between Kokkare Villu and Kuruttupandi junction.
      7.49am 5 Spotted Deer at Kuttupandi Villu.
      7.54am 15 Spotted Deer and one Wild Boar at Manik Wila.
      7.59am one Wild Boar at Illanda Motte.
      8.06am a Crested Hawk Eagle photographed at Downhall pitiya.

      8.14am 8 Spotted Deer at Mana Wila.
      8.35am one Sambhur at Herathhamy Wala.
      8.54am one Ruddy Mongoose between Mana Wila and Kuveni Palace.
      9.22am a Ruddy Mongoose between Avatara Motte and Kaya Motte.
      9.29am 5 Spotted Deer at Avathara Motte.
      10.03am 7 Spotted Deer at Kaali Villu.
      10.05am 2 Spotted Deer on Kaali Villu upper road.
      10.08am one Wild Buffalo at Kaali Villu.
      10.11am 2 more Spotted Deer at Kaali Villu.
      10.32am a Ruddy Mongoose at Manik Wila sand patch.
      10.43am one Mugger Crocodile at Kudapatessa.
      10.50am 2 Barking Deer at Kokkare Villu sand patch.
      11.24am 6 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      11.35am 2 Wild Boar and 10 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      11.41am 11 Wild Buffalo at Mahapaessa.
      11.45am a Asiatic Golden Plover a near complete breeding plumage at Thimbiri Wila.

      12.02pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Thimbiri Wila and Borupan Wila.
      12.05pm a Black-tailed Godwit in breeding plumage at Borupan Wila.

      12.07pm a sounder of 11 Wild Boar at Borupan Wila.
      12.11pm 5 Spotted Deer and one Wild Buffalo at Borupan pitiya.
      12.22pm a Ruddy Mongoose on Sudu Muwa Wala road.
      12.50pm 5 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      1.37pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Manik Wila and Illanda Motte.
      1.44pm 6 Spotted Deer at Manikrala Uraniya.
      1.47pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Manikrala Uraniya and Eriyakkulampooval.
      2.32pm 3 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      3.10pm a Ceylon Trogon between Nawaladi Uttu and Aalam Villu.
      3.59pm a Mugger Crocodile at Kokkare Villu.
      4.30pm one male Leopard between Kuruttupandi junction and Kokkare Villu. The Leopard walked along the road towards Kokkare Villu but moved in to the forest as the jeeps ahead of me had approached it too close. Photography was not possible for me thus there was no possibility of identifying the leopard.
      4.50pm one Mugger Crocodile at Nelum Wila.
      5.17pm 64 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila and one Elephant.
      5.33pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Tala Wila and Pill Motte.
      5.45pm a family group of 9 Elephants feeding at Pallekandal pitiya.
      5.51pm a Black-winged Kite at Pomparippu pitiya.
      5.58pm a Ruddy Mongoose ran across the road between Uththamadaru Bridge and the Broken Bridge.
      6.05pm left the park.
      Mammals  - Elephant 11, Leopard 1,Wild Buffalo 13, Sambhur 1, Spotted Deer 233, Wild Boar 51, Barking Deer 4, Grey Langer, Toque Monkey, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Black-naped Hare 1, Ruddy Mongoose 8, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 5
      20th April 2019
      6.11am entered the park with D.M.Wasantha Kumara
      6.22am 2 Wild Boar at Moolakandaweli.
      6.23am a sounder of 11 Wild Boar at Moolakandaweli.
      6.27am 2 Spotted Deer at Pomparippu pitiya.
      6.31am a sounder of 15 Wild Boar and 2 Spotted Deer at Pallekandal  pitiya.
      6.42am a Brown Fish Owl and a White-bellied Sea Eagle at Pilli Motte.
      7.17am 31 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.
      7.22am 5 Spotted Deer at Kombansanchipooval.
      7.25am 50 Spotted Deer and 17 Wild Boar at Panikka Wila.
      7.30am two Barking Deer between Panikka Wila and Nelum Wila.
      7.52am 8 Spotted Deer and one Wild Boar at Kumbuk Wila.
      8.04am a male Pompadour Green Pigeon drinking water at Kokkare Villu.

      8.07am a Ruddy Mongoose on Kokkare Villu upper road.
      8.31am 9 Spotted Deer at Kurutupandi Villu.
      8.37am a herd of 12 Wild Buffalo at Kudapatessa.
      9.03am the rarely seen White Jungle Flame Ixora thwaitesii (Sudu Rath Mal) in bloom between Kudapatessa and Kokkare Villu sand dune.

      9.07am a Mugger Crocodile at Kokkare Villu sand patch. It was about 150 meters away from water. Perhaps the heavy rains caused the animal to walk from Kudapatessa looking for another water body the previous night but failed to reach Kokkare Villu.
      9.52am 8 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      10.03am 2 Mugger Crocodiles at Borupan pitiya wala.
      10.31am another Mugger Crocodile at Wiranda Wala.
      10.35am the wild orchid Vanda testacea in bloom at Borupan pitiya.

      10.42am one Mugger Crocodile at Borupan Wila.
      10.44am 16 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      10.48am a troop of Grey Langur at Borupan Wila.
      10.59am a Chestnut-headed Bee Eater photographed at its nest hole with a freshly caught Dragonfly in its beak between Borupan Wila and Thimbiri Wila.

      11.41am 5 Spotted Deer between Illanda Motte and Down Hall pitiya.
      11.47am 2 Sambhur, a mother and calf between Mana Wila sand patch and Mana Wila.
      11.57am one Leopard at Herathhamy Wala. N 08.49343, E 079.98956
      As we arrived at the water hole the Leopard was spotted at the edge of the water hole. It was a female and she crouched down upon our arrival. I managed to get a few images and having checked the spot pattern identified the leopard as Herathhamy Wala Female 1 (HHWF 1). By the time I drove down to turn the vehicle the leopard was gone.

      12.05am one Parker’s Black Turtle at Herathhamy Wala.
      1.25pm 2 Spotted Deer at Kattarambu Villu.
      1.48pm one Barking Deer between Herathhamy Wala and Mana Wila.
      1.52pm a Spotted Deer stag between Mana Wila and Mana Wila sand patch.
      1.56pm a Barking Deer between Mana Wila sand patch and Down Hall pitiya.
      2.12pm 2 Spotted Deer on Kuruttupandi upper road.
      2.14pm a Barking Deer between Kuruttupandi and Kuruttupandi junction.
      2.25pm 8 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      2.28pm one adult male Wild Boar at Nelum Wila.
      2.36pm 28 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      2.52pm 4 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      3.11pm 18 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      3.19pm 5 Spotted Deer between Thimbiri Wila and Borupan Wila.
      4.38pm one Flapshell Turtle at Nelum Wila.
      4.43pm one Black-naped Hare at Nelum Wila.
      4.54pm 17 Spotted Deer at Panikka Wila has increased by 12 more to 29.
      5.05pm 31 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila has increased by 29 more to 60.
      5.11pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Tala Wila and Pilli Motte.
      5.18pm another Ruddy Mongoose between Tala Wila and Pilli Motte.
      5.35pm an Indian Plaintive Cuckoo (hepatic) at Pomparippu.

      5.40pm Purple –faced Leaf Monkey at Uththamadaru Bridge.
      5.42pm Bustard Quail on the road at Moolakandaweli.
      6.02pm left the park.
      Mammals  - Elephant, Leopard 1, Sloth Bear, Wild Buffalo 12, Sambhur, Spotted Deer 242, Wild Boar 47, Barking Deer 5, Golden jackal, Grey Langer, Toque Monkey, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Mouse Deer, Black-naped Hare 1, Ruddy Mongoose 3, Indian Grey Mongoose, Brown Mongoose, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 5, Flapshell Turtle 1, Parker’s Black Turtles 1
      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the field trip
      Birds – Clamorous Reed Warbler, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Ceylon Trogon, Indian Three-toed Kingfisher, Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Busted Quail, Brown Fish Owl, Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover, Indian Pitta, Brown Shrike, Indian Plaintive Cuckoo, Yellow Wattled Lapwing.
      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Great Orange tip, Red Spot Duke, Common Mormon, Great Egg Fly, Common Jay, Chestnut Streaked Sailor, Blue Wanderer
      Wild Orchids – Vanda tessellate, Vanda spathulata, Vanda testacea, Acampe praemorsa and Vanilla walkerae in bloom.
      Fruiting trees - Thimbiri
      Wild Flowers – Wellangiriya, Sword Bean (Wal Avara), Kala Wel,
      Trees in Bloom – Burutha, Ehela

  • Wilpattu National Park 9th – 10th March 2019

      6.12am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      6.32am 3 Wild Buffalo at Kalagedibokkuwa.
      6.36am one Mugger Crocodile at Palukola Wala.
      6.39am a Black-naped Hare between Palukola Wala and Maradanmaduwa.
      6.43am 3 Spotted Deer at Eda kohomba gaha Pitiya.
      6.45am 2 Spotted Deer and one Wild Boar at Maradanmaduwa.
      6.46am 8 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      6.48am 2 Sambhur at Maradanmaduwa.

      6.56am one White-necked Stork at Ibba Wala.
      6.59am 5 Sambhur at Humbas Wala.
      7.11am one Mugger Crocodile at Borupan pitiya wala.
      7.22am 12 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      7.26am one Elephant between Borupan Wila and Thimbiri Wila.
      7.40am 4 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      7.49am an Orange-headed Ground Thrush at Nelum Wila.
      7.52am one adult male Wild Boar at Nelum Wila.
      8.04am 8 Spotted deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      8.45am a male Sambhur antler at Thambioluwa.
      9.32am 2 Sambhur between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa.
      9.37am 56 Spotted Deer at 2 Wild Buffalo at Maha Wewa.
      9.38am the Osprey that was observed during my last field trip was observed again at Maha Wewa. It was on the same perch.
      9.40am about 37 Wild Buffalo at Maha Wewa.
      10.00am 2 Spotted Deer and a Mugger Crocodile at Thamanna Wala.
      10.43am a Ruddy Mongoose at Kalagedibokkuwa.
      11.27am one Wild Buffalo at Borupan Wila.
      11.32am 2 Spotted Deer at Thimbiri Wila.
      11.38am 12 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      11.54am one Leopard on the road between Eriyakkulampooval and Manikrala Uraniya. Despite my reversing the vehicle and turning off the engine the animal, which looked a grown male, moved in to the forest before I was able to get any images and started “sawing”. The quite jungle reverberated with the leopards call. Perhaps he was in pursuit of a female and moved deeper in to the forest.
      12.43pm I observed fresh pugmarks on the road at the Mana Wila sand patch and followed them.  After driving a short distance we spotted a female Leopard on the road walking towards Mana Wila.  N 08.47749, E079.98798
      I immediately stopped the vehicle but the shy animal darted in to the forest. After about 10 minutes we drove forward and spotted the leopard again seated behind a bush close to where it entered the forest and managed to get a few record images adequate enough to study the spot pattern on its forehead before she vanished in to the forest. She was an adult female and I estimated her age to be around 6 years. This is my first sighting of this female and I named it Mana Wila Sand Patch Female 1 (MWSPF 1)

      1.36pm drove down to Mana Wila expecting the Leopard to come to water but managed to only see a Barking Deer coming to water.
      1.57pm a sounder of 7 Wild Boar at Kaali Villu.
      2.02pm a Sambhur and 5 Wild Boar feeding across Mara Wila.
      2.04pm a Leopard close to the Mara Wila camp site.  N 08.49214, E 079.92104
      Less than 100 meters prior to reaching the Mara Wila camp site area we spotted a leopard sleeping under a bush by the side of the road. I stopped the vehicle and turned off the engine. It was a young female Leopard and was not disturbed by us being parked about 25 feet from where she was lying down. I estimated her age to be around 3 years. We were able to observe and photograph the Leopard for about 40 minutes before she was alerted by two male Indian Peafowl and stalked them through the forest. The Peafowl detected her presence and flew off. She walked across the campsite area and moved in to the forest. This is my first sighing of this female and I named her Mara Wila Female 1 (MRWF 1)

      2.57pm one Spotted Deer at Avatara Motte.
      3.18pm 6 Spotted Deer, an adult male Wild Boar with a sounder of 5 females and one Sambhur drinking at Kaali Villu.
      3.32pm 3 Spotted Deer and 2 Sambhur at Kumutu Wila.
      3.33pm 5 more Spotted Deer at Kumutu Wila.
      4.30pm 2 Mugger Crocodiles at Mahapatessa.
      4.35pm a sounder of 15 Wild Boar and 5 Spotted Deer at Kudapatessa.
      4.41pm 4 Spotted Deer berween Kuruttupandi junction and Kokkare Villu.
      4.48pm 6 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      5.03pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Madangahas Wala.
      5.11pm 8 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      5.16pm 25 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      5.21pm one Mugger Crocodile at Borupan pitiya Wala.
      5.35pm 5 Spotted Deer at Ibba Wala.
      5.40pm 2 Sloth Bear, a mother and its cub foraging at Thambioluwa.
      5.49pm another male Sloth Bear at Thambioluwa.
      6.25pm left the park.

      Mammals  - Elephant 1, Leopard 2, Sloth Bear 3, Wild Buffalo 43, Sambhur 14, Spotted Deer 176, Wild Boar 35, Barking Deer 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare 1, Ruddy Mongoose 2, Giant Squirrel & Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 5, Devaka’s fan-throated Lizard.

      10th March 2019
      4.50am a Common Palm Civet on the road to the park entrance.
      6.15am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      6.25am a Wild Buffalo at Percy Bendi Wewa.
      6.32am 4 Wild Buffalo at Thamanna Wala.
      6.39am a Black-naped Hare close to Palu Kola Wala.
      6.49am a Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      7.12am one Wild Buffalo at Borupan pitiya Wala.
      7.19am 15 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      7.30am 12 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      7.36am a troop of Grey Langur and a Mugger Crocodile at Mahapatessa.
      7.38am 2 Spotted Deer at Eriyakkulampooval.
      8.03am 14 Spotted Deer at Mana Wila.
      8.09am one adult male Wild Boar with an injury at Thelambugas Wala.

      8.12am I observed a Little Cormorant diving for fish in the small pool of water and forcing small fish to swim towards the shore from deeper areas. A Pond heron followed the Cormorant when it moved towards the shore and picked the fish with ease. One each occasion the Little Cormorant would come out of the water to chase the Pond Heron but the crafty Heron would fly off and return just as the Cormorant swam towards the shallow areas.
      9.03am one Golden Jackal between Kaali Villu and Mara Wila.
      9.15am a Booted Eagle circling over Kaali Villu.

      9.30am two White-winged Black Terns perched on the edge of the water with a few Whiskered Terns and Gull-billed Terns at Kaali Villu.

      9.46am a pair of Lesser Whistling Teal with newly hatched ducklings at Kuda Mara Wila.

      9.48am 9 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.
      10.41am a nest of Crested Hawk Eagle at Kombansanchaipooval.

      10.48am one Elephant at Tala Wila.
      10.56am a Yellow-wattled Lapwing and a displaying Indian Peacock at Tala Wila.

      11.03am a Ruddy Mongoose at Tala Wila.
      11.42am observed an adult Crested Hawk Eagle flying in with a freshly killed bird to the bird in the nest at Kombansanchaipooval.
      12.04pm 2 White-necked Storks at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      12.18pm a troop of Grey Langur between Borupan junction and Borupan Wila.
      12.44pm 3 Spotted Deer at Kumbukk Wila.
      12.52pm11 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      12.56pm a troop of Grey Langur at Kokkare weli kanda.
      1.24pm 4 Wild Buffalo at Eriyakkulampooval.
      1.29pm a troop of Grey Langur between Eriyakkulampooval and Manikrala Uraniya.
      1.37pm one adult male Wild Boar and 5 Spotted Deer at Illanda Motte.
      2.36pm a Mugger Crocodile at Namada Wila.
      3.07pm a large troop of Grey Langur between Manikrala Uraniya and Eriyakkulampooval.
      3.14pm one Elephant drank as he walked across Eriyakkulampooval.

      3.50pm one Leopard sleeping under a bush at Borupan pitiya. No photography was possible.
      4.30pm a troop of Grey Langur at Maradanmaduwa.
      4.44pm one Barking Deer between Maradanmaduwa and the first bridge and the cause way on Maha Wewa road.
      4.50pm 2 Spotted Deer between the first bridge and the cause way on Maha Wewa road.
      5.12pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Maha Wewa.
      5.17pm 12 Spotted Deer and 26 Wild Buffalo at Maha Wewa. It was interesting to see all the calf’s resting together on an earth mound at the edge of water.

      5.25pm an Indian Nightjar seated on eggs at Maha Wewa.

      5.27pm a Black-naped Hare at Maha Wewa.
      5.38pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Thamanna Wala and Paaluwilandawa junction.

      Mammals  - Elephant 2, Leopard 1, Wild Buffalo 36, Spotted Deer 121, Wild Boar 1, Barking Deer 1, Golden Jackal 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare 2, Ruddy Mongoose 2, Common Palm Civet 1, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 2
      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the filed trip
      Birds – Booted Eagle, Chestnut-headed Bee Eaters (digging nesting holes at many sandy locations) Orange-headed Ground Thrush, Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Osprey, Booted Eagle, White-winged Black Tern, Curlew Sand Piper, Indian Nightjar (Nesting), and Banded Crake, White-rumped Shama’s are very vocal as they are preparing to nest. Crested Hawk Eagle (nesting), Yellow Wattled Lapwing.
      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Crimson Rose, Common Gull, Lesser Albatross, Quaker and Common Mormon
      Fruiting trees – all the Thimbiri Trees had produced beautiful reddish maroon shoots.
      Wild Flowers – Ranhiriya, Wellangiriya, Bu Nelu (between Kattarambuwa and Namada Wila)Dutusathutu and Lanka Bovitiya in bloom.

       

  • Wilpattu National Park 2nd – 3rd March 2019

      6.44am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      27 Spotted Deer at the park entrance.
      6.45am a female Sambhur with a calf between Park entrance and Weli ela.
      6.56am one Elephant close to Percy Bendi Wewa.
      7.05am a Black-naped Hare ran across a glade between Thammanna Wala and Maha Wewa.
      7.22am 22 Wild Buffalo and 3 Wild Boar at Maha Wewa.
      7.30am 34 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      7.33am Upon seeing a large bird of prey that was different to the usual raptors seen in the park I had a closer look through the binoculars and was thrilled to see an Osprey perched a dead stump at Maha Wewa. This is my first sighting of this species in the park. To the best of my knowledge no one had recorded this species in the park prior to this sighting.  The bird was perched on a dead stump at the center of the water body.

      7.50am 4 more Wild Buffalo at Maha Wewa.
      7.52am 42 Spotted Deer and one Elephant at Maha Wewa.
      7.53am a troop of grey Langur at Maha Wewa.
      8.10am 10 more Spotted Deer on the road to Maradanmaduwa.
      8.13am Indian Caper ( Wellangiriya) Capparis brevispina in bloom between Maha Wewa and Maradanmaduwa.

      8.30am 5 Spotted Deer between Maha Wewa and Maradanmaduwa.
      8.48am one Leopard and a Ruddy Mongoose at Maradanmaduwa. I was not able to get any images of the leopard as it moved in to the forest almost as we arrived. While awaiting the Leopard to break cover we observed the Mongoose at a distance.
      10.48am a troop of Grey Langur between Borupan junction and Borupan Wila.
      10.49am a collection of Quaker butterflies settled on a fresh pile of Elephant dung to feed on the nutrients between Borupan junction and Borupan Wila.
      11.21am a Wild Buffalo at Borupan Wila.
      11.23am 3 Spotted Deer at Thimbiri Wila.
      11.25am an Indian Pea Hen with three tiny chicks at Thimbiri Wila.

      11.47am a Barking Deer at Eriyakkulampooval.
      12.00noon a Ruddy Mongoose between Illanda Motte and Manik Wila.
      12.23pm  2 Spotted Deer, a Barking Deer and a sounder of 9 Wild Boar with 8 tiny piglets at Kanjuran Villu. Upon our arrival the herd ran in to the forest followed by the piglets. We parked on the Erenapala Motte road that at the edge of the forest to have lunch. I was alerted upon hearing a nasal sound and noticed that three of the little piglets has got separated from the herd.  They moved aimlessly for a short while and stayed motionless in the leaf litter when I started the vehicle. We left expecting the herd to return looking for their lost offspring.

      1.00 pm 1 Spotted Deer at Kumutu Villu.
      1.18pm a troop of Grey Langur between Kuruttupandi and Kokkare Villu.
      1.40pm 6 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      1.44pm a female Golden-backed Woodpecker moving with a small mixed feeding flock permitted me to get a few images.

      1.53pm a “bachelor party” of 4 Spotted Deer stags between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      2.15pm 3 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      2.38pm one Leopard at Borupan pitiya. N 08.42598, E 080.02702
      The Leopard was a sleep in a depression under a bush and was hardly visible. As there were few vehicle parked I moved to a distance to permit others to get a glimpse of the Leopard. Any photography was only possible if the Leopard stood up.
      2.56pm The Leopard was alerted by something and moved out in to the open permitting me to take a few record shots through the grass before going back to sleep under the bush. Upon examination of the spot pattern I was able to identify it as the Borupan Wila Female 4 (BWFC 4).

      3.51pm a Barking Deer between Thimbiri Wila and Kokkare Villu.
      4.18pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Walas Wala and Boralu Wala.
      4.27pm a female Sambhur at Humbas Wala.
      4.56pm a Flapshel Turtle in water hole between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa.
      5.13pm a Brown-capped Babbler remained on the road between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa until its mate flew across the road permitting me to get a few images.
       5.26pm one Golden Jackal in the glade before Thammanna Wala on Maha Wewa road.
      5.40pm 52 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.

      5.49pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Maha Wewa.
      5.51pm 17 more Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      5.53pm 16 more Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      5.55pm 8 more Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      6.07pm 7 Spotted Deer between Maha Wewa and Thamanna Wala.
      6.09pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Ranawara Pitiya and Weli Ela.
      6.27pm left the park.

      Mammals  - Elephant 2, Leopard 2, Wild Buffalo 27, Sambhur 3, Spotted Deer 167 (Maha Wewa numbers have been sensitized), Wild Boar 20, Barking Deer 3, Golden Jackal 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare 1, Ruddy Mongoose 3, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Flapshell Turtle 1

      3rd March 2019
      6.18pm entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      6.29am one Wild Buffalo at Percy Bendi Wewa.
      6.43am a Mugger Crocodile and a White-necked Stork at Palu Kola Wala.
      6.52am 3 Spotted Deer between the Grave pond and Maradanmaduwa.
      6.54am 2 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      7.00am one Wild Buffalo at Thambioluwa.
      7.10am a Black-naped Hare sprinted across Borupan Pitiya.
      7.15am 10 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      7.55am 9 Spotted Deer and two Mugger Crocodile at Mahapatessa.
      8.33am troop of Grey Langur between Kuruttupandi Villu and Manik Wila.
      8.42am a Ruddy Mongoose at Illanda Motte.
      8.50am a Ruddy Mongoose between Downhall pitiya and Mana Wila sand patch.
      8.54am a sounder of 6 adult female Wild Boar with 24 tiny piglets at Mana Wila.
      9.03am a Ruddy Mongoose between Thelambugas Wala and Kattarambuwa.
      9.27am 7 Spotted Deer at Mana Wila.
      9.30am 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Mana Wila sand patch and Downhall pitiya.
      9.48am one Elephant feeding on the water plants at Manikrala Uraniya.

      10.03am 4 Spotted Deer and one Wild Boar at Eriyakkulampooval.
      10.13am a Wild Buffalo at Thimbiri Wila.
      10.15am 2 Mugger Crocodiles at Borupan Wila.
      10.51am a Barking Deer between Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      10.56am a Spotted Deer at Thammannagaha junction.
      11.14am 11 Spotted Deer at Aalam Villu.
      11.54am 6 Spotted Deer between Aalam Villu and Panikkar Villu.
      12.02pm 3 Spotted Deer at Kombansanchaipooval.
      12.04pm 2 Spotted Deer crossed the road between Kmbansanchaipooval and Thala Wila.
      12.06pm one Wild Boar and a Barking Deer at Tala Wila.
      1.03pm we arrived at Pallekandal Tank. N 08.34427, E 079.90143
      This is my first visit to this tank, which is long and narrow. There was a good amount of water a plenty of fresh Elephant droppings in the vicinity.

      1.26pm observed a nest of White-browed Bulbul at Pallekandal.

      2.16pm photographed a nest of Black-headed Oriole Panikkar villu and Nelum Wila.

      2.24pm 10 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      2.32am 5 Spotted Deer at Madangaha Wala.
      2.36am 6 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      3.46pm while driving on the Percy Bendi Wewa bund noted a large bull Elephant advancing on the road toward the tank. The Elephant kept walking towards the vehicle  forcing me to reverse. In a few minutes, much to my relief, he walked down to the tank. I noticed a number of gunshot injuries on its body that appear to have healed which reminded me of the human elephant conflict which causes much hardship & trauma to man and animal alike in the villages boardering the park. After drinking he walked deeper in to the tank where only his head was visible.

      4.22pm I left the park to arrive at Wilpattu Safari camp located on the borders of the park on receiving information from Hementha Wimalasena that a Banded Crake (Slaty-legged Crake) has been seen there the previous day. I was fortunate enough to get a few record photos of this rare bird along with a few other species of birds including a bicolored Indian Paradise Flycatcher.

      Mammals  - Elephant 1,Wild Buffalo 3, Spotted Deer 82, Wild Boar 32, Barking Deer 2, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare 1, Indian Grey Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose 5, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 5

      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the filed trip
      Birds – an Osprey, Banded Crake, Curlew Sandpiper, Crested Honey Buzzard, Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork,
      Butterflies – Quaker, Blue Mormon, Lesser Albatross, Common Jay, Blue Wanderer, Common Mormon, Tawny Coaster, Common Gull, Crimson Rose & Danaid Eggfly.

      Wild Flowers - Indian Caper ( Wellangiriya) Capparis brevispina, Bu Nelu Stenosiphonium cordifolium, Puruk (Chinese Violet) Asystasia gangetica, Pethan (Yellow Bell Bauhinia) Bauhinia tomentosa, Ira wara (Indian Cadaba) Cadaba trifoliate, Mudu Avara (Sword Bean) Canavalia virosa, Kaha Andanahiriya (Wedge-leafed Rattlepod) Crotalaria retusa,  Nil Andanahiriya (Blue Rattlepod) Crotalaria verrucosa, Heen Bim Savan(Small Horsefly’s Eye ) Dopatrium nudicaule, Lanka Bovitiya (Ceylon Osbeckia)  Osbeckia zeylanica, Fire Cracker Flower Crossandra infundibuliformis,  Ela Nithol (Ceylon Leadwort) Plumbago zeylanica.
      Lunu Warna Crataeva adansoni trees were also in bloom.

       

  • Wilpattu National Park 2nd - 4th February 2019

      7.05am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      A Golden Jackal at the park entrance.
      7.20am a Brown Fish Owl perched on an exposed branch over looking the tank caused a minor traffic jam at Percy bendi Wewa.
      8.01am one White – spotted Chevrotain (Mouse Deer) crossed the road between Percy bendi Wewa and “Nuga Gala” on the road to Makalanmaduwa.
      8.05am another White – spotted Chevrotain (Mouse Deer) darted across the road between Nuga Gala and “Maha Galthalawa” on the Makalanmaduwa road.
      8.17am a Spotted Deer between Maha Galthalawa and Thel Beep Wewa junction.
      8.30am 2 Spotted Deer between Maha Galthalawa and Thel Beep Wewa junction.
      9.09am 4 White-necked Stork at Them Beepu Wewa.
      9.20am 2 Ruddy Mongoose and a troop of Grey Langur between Thel Beepu Wewa and Makalanmaduwa.
      9.31am a Star Tortoise between Maradanmaduwa junction and Makalanmaduwa.
      9.32am a Ruddy Mongoose between Maradanmaduwa junction and Makalanmaduwa.
      9.35am the purple flowers of “Katu Karandu”  Baleria mysorensis and “Heen-madu” Merremia tridentate  in bloom close to Makalanmaduwa.

      12.01pm one Ruddy Mongoose between Nuge Gala and Percy Bendi Wewa.
      12.06pm a troop of Toque Monkey between Nuge Gala and Percy Bendi Wewa.
      12.19pm an adult male Wild Buffalo at Thamanna Wala.
      12.28am 8 Spotted Deer between Thamanna Wala and Maha Wewa.
      12.32pm 1 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      12.36pm a sounder of 15 Wild Boar at Maha Wewa.
      12.37pm 5 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      12.38pm 2 Ruddy Mongoose at Maha Wewa.
      12.39pm 4 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      12.41pm 4 more Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      12. 44pm 2 Spotted Deer, a Wild Buffalo and a Wild Boar at Maha Wewa.
      12.46pm troop of Grey Langur at Maha Wewa.
      1.46pm a nest of White-necked Stork with one grown chick was built on the branch of a Kumbuk terminalia arjuna tree growing below the Maha Wewa Bund. The adult flew off the nest upon our approach and perched on a close by dead tree. Two Lesser Adjutant Storks circling above Maha Wewa.

      1.47pm a White – spotted Chevrotain rand across the road between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa.
      1.52pm a Brown Fish Owl perched over looking the second water hole from Maha Wewa towards Maradanmaduwa.
      2.02pm 8 Spotted Deer between Maha Wewa and Maradanmaduwa.
      2.08pm a Flapshell Turtle in water hole close to Maradanmaduwa.
      2.12pm 5 Spotted Deer at Maradammaduwa.
      2.50pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Ibba Wala and Boralu Wala.
      3.00pm 22 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      3.03pm 1 Spotted Deer between Kumbuk Wila and Kokkare Villu.
      3.19pm one Leopard at Kokkare Villu. It was sleeping under a bush and was hardy visible. No photography was possible.
       4.05pm 1 Spotted Deer at Viranda Wala.
      4.14pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Borupan Wila and Borupan junction.
      4.50pm one Leopard at Madangaha Wala. N 08.41524, E 079.99699
      We spotted the Leopard lying on the ground in the glade beyond the water hole. Spotted Deer had already started too give out alarm calls announcing the presence of the Leopard. Later upon examining its spot pattern I identified it as the Nelum Wila Female 3 (NWFC 3), which I have observed from the time, it’s was a cub. As we had to reach the park entrance by 6.00pm we left.

      5.35pm an adult male Wild Buffalo between Maradanmaduwa and Palu Kola Wala.
      5.37pm a herd of 10 Wild Buffalo immersed in the water at Palu Kola Wala.
      5.42pm 2 Spotted Deer at Divul Pitiya.
      6.14pm a herd of 27 Spotted Deer opposite the filed of the park warden’s bungalow at the park entrance.
      Mammals  - Leopard 2, Wild Buffalo 13, Spotted Deer 91, Wild Boar 16, White – spotted Chevrotain 3, Golden Jackal 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare, Ruddy Mongoose 5, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Flapshell Turtle 1, Star Tortoise 1

      3rd February 2019
      6.25am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      6.42am 2 Spotted Deer between Thammanna Wala and Divul Pitiya.
      6.44am a herd of 9 Wild Buffalo at “Eda Kohomba Gaha Pitiya”.
      6.55am one adult male Wild Buffalo at Maradanmaduwa.
      7.19am 8 Spotted Deer at Borupan Pitiya.
      7.24am one Indian Brown Mongoose at Borupan Pitiya. This species is rarely seen at Wilpattu.
      7.34am one Ruddy Mongoose at Borupan Wila.
      7.39am a Wild Buffalo at Kumbuk Wila pitiya.
      7.40am 22 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      8.09am 2 Golden Jackal between Kokkare Villu and Kuruttupandi junction.
      8.11am 8 Spotted Deer at Kuruttupandi Villu.
      8.45pm 3 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 8 Wild Boar at Kumutu Villu.
      9.23pm one Ruddy Mongoose at Eriyakkulampooval.
      9.27am 12 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      9.57am 2 Golden Jackal at Kokkare villu.
      10.12am photographed a very active Layard’s Flycatcher between Aalam Villu and Erenapala Motte.

      10.39am an adult male Wild Boar and a Spotted Deer stag at Erenapala Motte.
      11.09am 5 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      11.13am 2 more Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      11.19am 6 Spotted Deer at Madangala Wala.
      11.22am a Barking Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      1.15pm a troop of Grey Langur making frantic alarm calls at Maradanmaduwa. We were not able to spot the Leopard that the monkeys had seen. A small herd of 7 Spotted Deer also looked intently in the direction of the Monkeys but did not give out any alarm calls.
      2.00pm a mixed troop of Toque Monkey and Grey Langur at Thambioluwa.

      2.07pm 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Humbas Wala and Boralu Wala.
      3.15pm a Mugger Crocodile at Thelambugas Wala.
      3.29pm a small bush of Trefoil Rattlepod Crotalaria medicaginea, which is an uncommon species, was in bloom at Mana Wila sand patch.

      3.32pm one adult male Wild Boar at the sand patch between Manikkapolauttu and Downhall Pitiya.
      3.43pm 11 Spotted Deer 11 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.
      4.04pm one Elephant at Manikkapolauttu.
      5.55pm left the park.
      Mammals  - Elephant 1, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Wild Buffalo 11, Sambhur, Spotted Deer 91, Wild Boar 10, Barking Deer 1, White – spotted Chevrotain, Golden Jackal 4, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Brown Mongoose 1, Ruddy Mongoose 4, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 1, Flapshell Turtle, Parker’s Black Turtles, Star Tortoise

      4th February 2019
      6.28am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      6.37am 7 Spotted Deer between Percy Bendi Wewa and Paaluwilandawa junction.
      6.44am one male Wild Buffalo at Thammanna Wala.

      6.47am 2 Spotted Deer between Thamnamnna Wala and Maha Wewa.
      6.53am one Wild Buffalo at the Kukulkatuwa road junction.
      6.54am a Barking Deer between Thamnamnna Wala and Maha Wewa.
      6.57am 3 more Wild Buffalo on the road to Maha Wewa.
      6.59am 9 Spotted Deer and 2 Buffalo at Maha Wewa.
      7.03am 56 Spotted Deer, one Wild Boar and one more Wild buffalo at Maha Wewa.
      7.07am a herd of 38 Wild Buffalo with many calves at Maha Wewa.
      7.08am one more Spotted Deer antler at Maha Wewa.
      7.10am 42 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      7.25am pair of Purple Coot at Maha Wewa. Even though this is a common species in the country in the country in Wilpattu it is seldom found in other water bodies.

      7.29am a Crested Goshawk had caught an immature White-spotted Chevrotain. The avian predator flew on to a tree upon our arrival. I immediately revered my vehicle to ensure that the bird is not disturbed. In a few minutes the bird flew down to claim its prey again but much to our surprise the Chevrotain sprang in to action and darted in to the under growth with the bird pursuing it unsuccessfully. I was quite displeased that my arrival resulted in an unnecessary interference for the bird but was happy that the small herbivore escaped death. I was only able to capture images of the Chevrotain and drove off thinking of what exceptional images I would have captured had the bird succeeded in containing its prey.

      7.44am one Leopard on the Maha Wewa Maradanmaduwa road. It was a young animal and moved in to the forest before I was able to get any images.
      8.14am 2 Spotted Deer between Maha Wewa and “Ethpatiya Gala”.
      8.18am a Barking Deer between Maha Wewa and “Ethpatiya Gala”.
      8.29am a Star Tortoise on the road between Maha Wewa and “Ethpatiya Gala”.
      8.53am a short walk through the jungle brought us to “Eth Patiyagala”. This is my first visit to this location. It is a large rocky outcrop with a small rock pool (“kema”), which was filled with water.

      9.59am a slight drizzle that started few minutes ago had developed in to a heavy shower. A Star Tortoise was drinking water from a small puddle on the road. I stopped the vehicle to ensure that it is not disturbed. In a few minutes the coloureful reptile moved slowly in to the forest.
      11.08am 11 Spotted Deer at Kuruttupandi Villu.
      11.18am 12 Spotted Deer at Kumutu Villu.
      11.25am 9 Spotted Deer and one Wild Boar at Kanjuran Villu.
      11.35am 2 Golden Jackal and 2 Spotted Deer at Kaali Villu.
      11.40am 2 Spotted Deer and an Indian Peacock was drying its feathers at Kaali Villu.

      12.00noon 24 Spotted Deer at Mana Wila.
      12. 20pm 5 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila sand patch.
      12.29pm 4 Spotted Deer at Kudapatessa.
      1.01pm 23 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      1.15pm 29 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      1.19pm 4 Spotted Deer at Thimbiri Wila.
      1.20pm a male Indian Peafowl feeding among “Kok Mota” offered me a nice photo opportunity.

      1.22pm sounder of 6 Wild Boar at Borupan Wila.
      1.46pm 24 Spotted Deer at Borupan Pitiya.

      2.08pm 2 Wild Buffalo at Kokkare Villu.
      2.10pm 15 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      2.12pm 24 more Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      2.18pm one Elephant across the water at Kokkare Villu.
      2.23pm a Flapshell Turtle on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      2.38pm another Flapshell Turtle on Mudu Muwa Wala road. The sudden heavy shower pushes these reptiles to instinctively move in search of new water holes.
      3.03pm 5 Spotted Deer between Thambioluwa and Maradanmaduwa.
      3.41pm 8 Spotted Deer at Ranawara Pitiya.
      4.10pm left the park.
      Mammals  - Elephant 1, Leopard 1, Sloth Bear, Wild Buffalo 48, Sambhur, Spotted Deer 324, Wild Boar 8, Barking Deer 1, White – spotted Chevrotain 1, Golden Jackal 2, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Black-naped Hare, Indian Grey Mongoose, Ruddy Mongoose, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile, Flapshell Turtle 2, Parker’s Black Turtles, Star Tortoise 2
      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the filed trip
      Birds – Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Layard’s Flycatcher, Red-winged Crested Cuckoo & Brown Fish Owl
      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Common Mormon, Blue Wanderer, Crimson Rose &  Quaker.
      Wild Orchids – Vanda spathulata
      Fruiting trees - Thimbiri
      Wild Flowers - Heen-madu Merremia tridentate, Dam Katu Karandu Baleria mysorensis, Bu Nelu Stenosiphonium cordifolium, Puruk (Chinese Violet) Asystasia gangetica, Pethan (Yellow Bell Bauhinia) Bauhinia tomentosa, Ira wara (Indian Cadaba) Cadaba trifoliate, Mudu Avara (Sword Bean) Canavalia virosa, Dutu Sathutu (Swamp Foxglove) Centranthera indica, Bim Siyambala Chamaecrista kleinii, Heen Tolabo (Ker Gawl) Crinum defixum, Yak-beriya (Bird Flower) Crotalaria laburnifolia, Andanahiriya (Rattlepod) Crotalaria medicaginea, Andanahiriya (Smooth Rattlepod) Crotalaria pallida,  Kaha Andanahiriya (Wedge-leafed Rattlepod) Crotalaria retusa,  Nil Andanahiriya (Blue Rattlepod) Crotalaria verrucosa, Heen Bim Savan(Small Horsefly’s Eye ) Dopatrium nudicaule, Kapukinissa (Maple-leaved Mallow) Hibiscus eriocarpus , Lanka Bovitiya (Ceylon Osbeckia)  Osbeckia zeylanica, Ela Nithol (Ceylon Leadwort) Plumbago zeylanica.

       

  • Wilpattu National Park 26th to 27th January 2019

      6.20am entered the park from the Eluwankulama entrance with Dr. Srinath, Vasanta, John and Anne accompanied by guide D.M. Wasantha
      6.32am a sounder of 14 Wild Boar at Uththamadaru Bridge.
      6.37am 6 more Wild Boar at Pomparippu pitiya.
       6.39am 12 Spotted Deer at Pomparippu pitiya.
      6.58am among the hundreds of thousands of purple bushes that had produces millions of purple flowers on either side of the road between spotted one, which had white Flowers between Pallekandal pitiya and Tala Wila. This is the first time that I observed this species with white flowers.

      7.18am we emerged from the forest in to Tala Wila to be rewarded by an absolutely tranquil and a breathtaking scene. A scattered herd of 57 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 15 Wild Boar were feeding on the freshly bloomed “Kok Mote” in the mist-laden plains studded with many Peafowl. One Elephant fed on the water plants in the Villu.

      7.50am a troop of Purple-faced Leaf Monkey at Panikkar Villu bungalow. This is my first sighting of this species in this area.
      8.39am 2 Sambhur on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      8.41am one Leopard at Wilanda Wala.  N 08.42494, E 080.02918
      It was on a tree about 20 feet beyond the water hole. I managed to get a few images but had to leave within a few minutes to give way to the other vehicles that started to arrive. Later having examined the spot pattern I was able to identify the Leopard as Borupan Wila Female 4 (BWFC 4), one of the two female cubs of the third litter of Borupan Wila Female 2 (BWF 2).

      9.27am one Wild Buffalo and 8 Wild Boar and 2 Mugger Crocodile at Borupan Wila.
      10.27am we arrived at Wilanda Wala again to check on the Leopard. Within seconds of our arrival the Leopard stood up on the branch and climbed down the tree permitting me to get a few good images.

      > 11.25am a herd of 11 Wild Buffalo at between Maradanmaduwa and Galwanguwa.
      11.27am 7 Spotted Deer at Galwanguwa.
      12.24pm 3 Spotted Deer between Galwanguwa and Palukola Wala.
      2.56pm 7 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      4.13pm 2 Ruddy Mongoose on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      4.34pm 5 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila.
      4.55pm a Flapshell Turtle at Kuruttupandi Villu.
      5.28pm a Barking Deer ran across the road between Tala Wila and Pill Motte.
      6.02pm left the park
      Mammals  - Elephant 1, Leopard 1, Wild Buffalo 12, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 91, Wild Boar 43, Barking Deer 1,Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Ruddy Mongoose 2, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 2, Flapshell Turtle 1

      27th January 2019
      6.15am entered the park from the Eluwankulama entrance with Dr. Srinath, Vasanta, John and Anne accompanied by guide D.M. Wasantha.
      7.13am 61 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 19 Wild Boar at Tala Wila.
      7.22am 2 Spotted Deer at Kombansanchaipooval.
      7.30am 14 Spotted Deer at Panikkar Villu.
      8.00am 8 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      8.02am one Leopard at Nelum Wila  N 08.40405, E 079.98243.
      The Leopard was walking towards our direction with two vehicles following her. Unfortunately for us she moved in to the forest upon our arrival. I managed to get a few images of her left flank enabling me to identify her as the Nelum Wila Female 3 (NWFC 3).

      9.06am 2 Spotted Deer and a Mugger Crocodile at Kuruttupandi Villu.
      9.26am one Sambhur between Mahapatessa and Thimbiri Wila.
      9.57am 12 Spotted Deer at Thimbiri Wila.
      10.00am 5 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      10.10am 2 Mugger Crocodile at Borupan pitiya Wala.
      10.36am a male Peafowl performed its “pre mating Dance” to attract a nearby Peahen at Kokkare Villu.

      10.45am 15 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      11.55am Left the park.

      Mammals  - Elephant 1, Leopard 1,Wild Buffalo, Sambhur 1, Spotted Deer 111, Wild Boar 19, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 3
      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the filed trip
      Birds – Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Drongo Cuckoo, Chestnut-headed Bee Eater.
      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Blue Wanderer, Crimson Rose, Lesser Albatross.
      Wild Flowers - Wild Flowers – Bu Nelu Stenosiphonium cordifolium (including Thimbiri Wila, Kokkare Villu, Mahapatessa, Kudapatessa, Ilanda Motte, Manikkapola uttu, Kaali Villu, Mara Wila, Palukola Wala, Pill Motte etc., Puruk (Chinese Violet) Asystasia gangetica, Pethan (Yellow Bell Bauhinia) Bauhinia tomentosa, Ira wara (Indian Cadaba) Cadaba trifoliate, Mudu Avara (Sword Bean) Canavalia virosa, Dutu Sathutu (Swamp Foxglove) Centranthera indica, Bim Siyambala Chamaecrista kleinii,  Yak-beriya (Bird Flower) Crotalaria laburnifoliaAndanahiriya (Rattlepod) Crotalaria medicaginea,   Andanahiriya (Smooth Rattlepod) Crotalaria pallida,  Kaha Andanahiriya (Wedge-leafed Rattlepod) Crotalaria retusa,  Nil Andanahiriya (Blue Rattlepod) Crotalaria verrucosa, Heen Bim Savan(Small Horsefly’s Eye ) Dopatrium nudicaule, Kapukinissa (Maple-leaved Mallow) Hibiscus eriocarpus , Lanka Bovitiya (Ceylon Osbeckia)  Osbeckia zeylanica, Ela Nithol (Ceylon Leadwort) Plumbago zeylanica,

  • Wilpattu National Park 12th to 13th January 2019

      6.04am entered the park with Guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      6.38am a Golden Jackal was trotting in our direction on the road and moved in to the forest about 50 meters ahead of our parked vehicle.
      6.52am the Wild Buffalo herd at Maradanmaduwa has lost two of their newborn calves. On the 15th of December last year I counted 13 but now they are reduced to 11. My guide Tissa told me that the calves were killed by Leopard’s.
      6.54am 24 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa “Kukul Katu” filed.
      6.57am a Sloth Bear walked on the road and moved in to the forest between Maradanmaduwa and Thambioluwa.
      7.04am 2 Spotted Deer between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wala.
      7.05am one adult Sambhur between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wala.
       7.15am another Sambhur crossed the road between Borupan junction and Kumbuk Wila sand patch.
      7.27am 1 Spotted Deer stag on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      7.34am one Wild Boar at Nelum Wila.
      7.45am 6 Spotted Deer at Aalam Villu.
      8.39am wild flower species Bu Nelu Stenosiphonium cordifolium in bloom at many locations from Thamanna Wala to Mara Wila.

      8.55am a Mugger Crocodile and 3 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      9.16am 5 Spotted Deer at Thimbiri Wila.
      9.23am a Mugger Crocodile at Borupan pitiya wala.
      9.25am 24 Spotted Deer at Borupan pitiya.
      9.36am 15 Spotted Deer and one Elephant at Kumbuk Wila pitiya.
      9.39ama Barking Deer between Kumbuk Wila and Kokkare Villu.
      9.40am 3 Spotted Deer between Kumbuk Wila and Kokkare Villu.
      9.51am a Star Tortoise at Kokkare Villu.
      9.56am a Mugger Crocodile at Kokkare Villu.
      10.37am two Ruddy Mongoose between Tala Wila and Pill Motte.
      10.59am 40 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.
      11.54am 4 Spotted Deer between Panikkar villu and Nelum Wila.
      11.58am a sounder of 14 Wild Boar at Nelum Wila.
      12.36pm one Wild Buffalo at Thambioluwa.

      12.58pm 1 Fishing Cat cub that has been rescued from Nikaveratiya has been handed over to the bungalow keeper at Maradanmaduwa.

      1.31pm 2 Spotted Deer between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wala.
      2.39pm 7 Spotted Deer at Mana Wila.
      3.00pm a Start Tortoise on the road between Mana Wila and Kuveni Palace.
      3.09pm 3 Spotted Deer at Kuveni Palace.
      3.50pm a Ruddy Mongoose and 12 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.
      3.57pm one Spotted Deer at Kumutu Villu.
      5.33pm one Wild Buffalo between Maradanmaduwa and Palukola Wala.
      6.00pm left the park.
      Other species observed during the day
      Mammals  - Elephant 1,Sloth Bear 1, Wild Buffalo 13, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 150, Wild Boar 15, Barking Deer 1, Golden Jackal 1, Fishing Cat 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Mouse Deer, Ruddy Mongoose 3, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 3,Parker’s Black Turtles 1, Star Tortoise 2

      13th January 2019
      8.25am entered the park with Mr. Nanda Senanayake and guide Tissa Ratnayake.
      27 Spotted Deer at the park entrance.
      8.32am 8 Spotted deer between park entrance and Ranawara pitiya.
      8.34am 3 more Spotted Deer at Ranawara pitiya.
      8.36am one Barking Deer at Percy bendi Wewa.
      8.45am 4 Spotted Deer at Kalagedi Bokkuwa.
      9.00am 12 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      9.05am a troop of grey Langur at Thambioluwa.
      11.00am one Wild Buffalo between Borupan junction and Kubuk Wila sand patch.
      11.10am 1 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      11.16am one Elephant a Kokkare villu.

      11.44am one Wild Buffalo at Mana Wila sand patch.
      11.53pm 3 Spotted Deer antler’s at Cheena Uttu.
      12.13pm 12 Spotted Deer at Mana Wila.
      12.16pm one Barking Deer between Mana Wila and Kuveni Palace.
      1.22pm 6 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.
      1.28pm 5 Spotted Deer at Kumutu Villu.
      1.49pm a sounder of 15 Wild Boar at Nelum Wila.
      1.50pm 13 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      1.59pm a Barking Deer at Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      2.30pm left the park.

      Other species observed during the day
      Mammals  - Elephant 1, Wild Buffalo 2, Spotted Deer 94, Wild Boar 15, Barking Deer 3, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 1, Parker’s Black Turtles 1

      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the filed trip
      Birds – Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Yellow Wagtail (M. flava thunbergi),
      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Blue Wanderer, Crimson Rose
      Wild Orchids –
      Fruiting trees -
      Wild Flowers – Bu Nelu Stenosiphonium cordifolium (including Thimbiri Wila, Kokkare Villu, Mahapatessa, Kudapatessa, Ilanda Motte, Manikkapola uttu, Kaali Villu, Mara Wila, Palukola Wala etc., Puruk (Chinese Violet) Asystasia gangetica, Yakiranag (Ceylon Atalantia) Atalantia ceylanica, Pethan (Yellow Bell Bauhinia) Bauhinia tomentosa, Ira wara (Indian Cadaba) Cadaba trifoliate, Mudu Avara (Sword Bean) Canavalia virosa, Dutu Sathutu (Swamp Foxglove) Centranthera indica, Bim Siyambala Chamaecrista kleinii, Heen Tolabo (Ker Gawl) Crinum defixum,  Yak-beriya (Bird Flower) Crotalaria laburnifoliaAndanahiriya (Rattlepod) Crotalaria medicaginea,   Andanahiriya (Smooth Rattlepod) Crotalaria pallida,  Kaha Andanahiriya (Wedge-leafed Rattlepod) Crotalaria retusa,  Nil Andanahiriya (Blue Rattlepod) Crotalaria verrucosa, Heen Bim Savan(Small Horsefly’s Eye ) Dopatrium nudicaule, Kapukinissa (Maple-leaved Mallow) Hibiscus eriocarpus , Lanka Bovitiya (Ceylon Osbeckia)  Osbeckia zeylanica, Ela Nithol (Ceylon Leadwort) Plumbago zeylanica, Wal Thibbatu (Wild Nightshade) Solanum sp. (Solanaceae)