NOTES ON FIELD TRIPS TO WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK

  • Wilpattu National Park 15th - 18th April 20211

      2.33pm entered the park with my friend Bathiya Senadipathy. It was overcast and the day before the park had received heavy showers.

      Less than 100 meters from the park entrance the safari jeep that left ahead of me stopped and started to reverse. A massive bull - Elephant moved on to the road and started to walk down in our direction. The safari jeep reversed pass me. I parked and stood my ground. After a short stand off and  a brief mock charge the Elephant reluctantly moved off the road. When I drove pass, him he turned and trumpeted but did not charge.

      2.40pm a troop of Grey Langur and 6 Spotted Deer at Kone Gaha Ela.

      2.42pm the slight drizzle which started at the park entrance has now become a heavy shower.

      2.58pm 4 Spotted Deer between Divulgas Mandiya and Galwanguwa.

      3.00pm a Parker’s Black Turtle at Palu Kola Wala.

      3.13pm 27 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      3.14pm 21 Spotted Deer at the “Kukulkatu pitiya “in Maradanmaduwa.

      3.17pm a Black-naped Hare at Maradanmaduwa.

      The rain subsided and much to our pleasant surprise there was sunlight by the time we reached Walas Wala.

      3.47pm 34 Spotted Deer and a troop of Grey Langur at Kumbuk Wila.

      4.02pm a sounder of 3 Wild Boar and 4 Spotted Deer at Eriyakulampooval.

      4.57pm 4 Spotted Deer at Madangaha Wala.

      5.01pm 19 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.

      5.08pm one Black-naped Hare at Kokkare Villu.

      5.22pm a Sambhur just before Walas Wala.

      5.28pm one Leopard at Walas Wala. N 08.40781, E 080.04263

      It was a male cub and was lying on a branch of a “Palu” tree growing on the bank across Boralu Wala. After taking some images we left as we were already late to reach the park entrance on time. Upon examination of its spot pattern, I realized that this is the single surviving cub of the first of two cubs of Boralu Wala Female 2 (BRWFC 2) that I had been looking forward to seeing during my previous visits without any success. I had included this cub in the Leopards of Wilpattu - Guest section on my site under the name Humbas Wala Leopard 1. Having looked at the images sent to me by Hemantha Wimalasena on 14th November 2020 and 7th January 2021 I was able to determine the age of this cub to be around 7 - 8 months. This is my first sighting of this leopard. I named it Boralu Wala Male 1 with the code (BRWMC 1) for the purpose of my study.

      6.15pm left the park.

      6.20pm 3 Elephants, 45 Spotted Deer and 4 Wild boar at Hunuwilagama Tank.

       

      Mammals - Elephant 4, Leopard 1, Sambhur 1, Spotted Deer 164, Wild Boar 7, Black-naped Hare 2, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Parker’s Black Turtle 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

       

      16th April 2021

      7.00am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake and Bathiya Senadipathy.

       A Golden Jackal at the park entrance.

      7.26am a lone Wild Buffalo bull between Palukola Wala and Galwanguwa. He held his head down and the tail lifted permitting two Jungle Crows pick off ticks. I also have observed this symbiotic relationship between Wild Boar and the Jungle Crows at Wilpattu.

      7.41am 37 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      7.42am 17 more Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      8.05am 4 Spotted Deer stag at Borupan Wila.

      8.06am 2 Mugger Crocodile and a Flapshell Turtle at Borupan Wila.

      8.10am a Lesser Adjutant Stork at Borupan Wila

      8.12am an adult male Wild Boar, a herd of 7 Spotted Deer and another Lesser Adjutant Stork at Thimbiri Wila.

      8.41am 4 Wild Boar at Mahapatessa.

      8.45am 9 Spotted Deer at Eriyakkulampooval.

      9.07am a Barking Deer between Downhall Pitiya and Mana Wila.

      9.25am a Star Tortoise at Kattarambu Villu.

      9.26am 2 Spotted Deer between Kattarambuwa and Nabada Wila.

      9.45am 2 Spotted Deer at Mana Wila.

      10.02am 6 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila.

      10.13am a pair of Black-naped Monarch nesting at Manik Wila.

      11.11am a herd of 11 Wild Buffalo with a tiny calf at Borupan Wila.

      11.19am a troop of Grey Langur between Borupan Wila and Borupan Junction.

      11.34am a Barking Deer at Kuda Boralu Wala.

      12.35pm Parker’s Black Turtle at Palu Kola Wala.

      1.05pm a Mugger Crocodile at Walas Wala.

      1.27pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Kumbuk Wila sand patch.

      1.48pm one Elephant at Kokkare Villu.

      1.51pm 5 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.

      2.06pm one Elephant feeding at Aalam Villu.

      2.09pm 5 Spotted Der at Panikkar Villu.

      2.15pm an Asiatic Golden Plover in near perfect breeding plumage at Panikkar Villu.

      2.29pm 28 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.

      2.35pm a Spotted Deer stag at Kombansanchipooval sand patch.

      2.55pm an Adult male Wild Boar and a pair of Lesser Whistling Teal with ducklings at Nelum Wila.

      3.02pm an immature Crested Serpent Eagle at Kokkare Villu. During their first year after fledging the plumage of this species looks very different to the adults. Those who only look for plumage colour and patterns for identification of birds (without concentrating on the general impression and shape) often end up mis identifying these young birds.

      3.14pm one Leopard between Kokkare Villu and Kumbuk Wila. N 08.42025, E 080.00220

      A safari jeep was parked at a distance and the driver flashed the head lights signaling the presence of a leopard. When I arrived, the leopard had moved into the forest from the open patch where it had been seen. However, we move a little forward and spotted the leopard lying down partly covered by a bush. I managed to get a few images before the animal got up and moved into the forest. Its behaviour suggested that it’s not habituated with vehicles as much as the usually seen leopards. Later upon its spot pattern I was quite pleased to note that this is Illanda Motte Male 1 (IMM 1) that I had photographed in early February 2020 at Illanda Motte. I have so far had only 3 records of this very shy male.

      3.24pm 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Mahapatessa and Thimbiri Wila.

      3.28pm 7 Spotted Deer and 2 Mugger Crocodile at Thimbiri Wila.

      3.45pm 2 Spotted Deer between Lunu Wewa and Lunu Wila.

      3.48pm 4 more Spotted Deer and a sounder of 7 Wild Boar between Lunu Wewa and Lunu Wila.

      4.00pm 2 Spotted Deer at Demata Wila.

      4.06pm a troop of Grey Langur at Mahapatessa.

      4.15pm a Barking Deer between Kudapatessa and Kuruttupandi junction.

      4.46pm a sub adult Sanbhur just beyond Walas Wala. This animal has no fear of vehicles or Humans and approaches vehicle seeking human company.  Upon inquiry I learnt that few Sambhur had been brought from the Zoological Gardens and released inside the park.

      5.12pm a Black-naped Hare at Maradanmaduwa.

      5.35pm a Crested Hawk Eagle was feeding on a Land Monitor kill at Thammanna Wala.

      6.10pm left the park.

       

      Mammals  - Elephant 2, Leopard 1, Indian Buffalo 12, Sambhur 1, Spotted Deer 135, Wild Boar 13, Barking Deer 3,  Golden Jackal 1, Ruddy Mongoose 3, Black-naped Hare 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 5, Flapshell Turtle 1, Parker’s Black Turtle 1, Star Tortoise 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard,  Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

       

      17th April 2021

      6.51am entered the park with Bathiya Senadipathy accompanied by guide Tissa Ratnayake.

      7.31am 15 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      7.32am 5 more Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      7.33am a Sambhur that was at the edge of the forest at “Kukuklkatu Pitiya” glade ran in to the forest upon our arrival.

      7.58am 12 Spotted deer, a sounder 7 Wild Boar and a heard of 11 Wild Buffalo at Borupan Wila.

      8.00am a Flapshell Turtle at Borupan Wila.

      8.03am 9 Spotted Deer at Thimbiri Wila.

      8.09am 6 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.

      8.55am 2 Golden Jackal at Illanda Motte.

      9.12am 2 Spotted Deer at Kuruttupandi Villu.

      9.48am 9 Spotted Deer Panikkar Villu upper road.

      9.56am 12 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.

      10.17am 6 Lesser Adjutant Storks, 2 White-necked Storks, 3 Open Bill Storks, 2 Spoonbills and 48 Painted Storks feeding in a small pool of water at Pallekandal.

      10.32am 4 Spotted Deer at Pomparippu Pitiya.

      11.08am sounder of 11 Wild Boar at Tala Wila.

      11.10am 7 Spotted Deer at Kombansanchaipooval sand patch.

      12.30pm two Mugger Crocodile, a sounder of 6 Wild Boar with17 tiny piglets at Eriyakkulampooval.

      12.55pm a Tusker with a single left tusk crossed the road between Mahapatessa and Demata Wila. No photography was possible as the Elephant moved swiftly into the forest. I was informed of a large single tusker seen at Borupan Wila in the morning and was quite certain this is the same animal.

      1.20pm considering the direction in which the tusker moved we drove into Eriyakkulampooval expecting him to make an appearance. Tissa, our guide was quite certain that the tusker would come in this direction. About 20 minutes lapsed and my friend and I were dozing off in the midday heat. We were woken up by Tissa’s rushed voice “sir etha, etha”. The tusker was behind some bushes not too far from the vehicle. Our patience was rewarded as the Tusker broke cover and walked out permitting us to get some clear images. He walked away from us along the edge of the villu and sprayed water on its body on a few occasions. Thereafter he started to feed on “Kok Mota”. After some time, the majestic animal walked up the sand dune and moved into the forest. My first sighting of this Tusker was five years ago on the 7th of May 2016 at Pomparippu. In my data base I have referred to him as the Pomparippu Single Tusk tusker. I was quite happy to see him again. I noticed that he has many more “bumps” on his body  since I saw him last indicating gunshot injuries that had healed. I wished him well as he disappeared into the forest. The continuous destruction of our forests makes it increasingly difficult for these animals to survive. I hope Wilpattu will provide him a safe sanctuary to live his life without falling prey to a poacher’s gun.

      2.43pm a Black-naped Hare at Borupan Pitiya.

       2.55pm 6 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.

       2.58pm 4 Spotted deer at Madangaha Wala.

      3.40pm 31 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila.

      4.36pm 12 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.

      4.38pm a Star Tortoise and a Black-naped Hare at Kokkare Villu.

      4.44pm one Mugger Crocodile at Kumbuk Wila.

      4.47pm a Spotted Deer stag at Kumbuk Wila sand patch.

      4.51pm a Mugger Crocodile at Walas Wala.

      5.11pm a male Sloth Bear at Thambioluwa. He was foraging and had his whole head buried in a termite hole when I saw him first.

      5.17pm a Black-naped Hare at Maradanmaduwa.

      5.23pm a Star Tortoise between Galwanguwa and Palu Kola Wala.

      5.24pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Galwanguwa and Palu Kola Wala.

      5.29pm 2 Black-naped Hare in a glade between Palu Kola Wala and Kalagedi Bokkuwa.

      5.31pm two Star Tortoises at Divulgas Mandiya. One was drinking off the manmade pond.

      5.34pm another Black-naped Hare in the glade before Thammanna Wala.

      5.40pm a Star Tortoise in the first glade on Maha Wewa road.

      6.00pm left the park.

       

      Mammals  - Elephant 1, Sloth Bear 1, Indian Buffalo 11, Sambhur 1, Spotted Deer 123, Wild Boar 41, Golden Jackal 2, Ruddy Mongoose 1, Black-naped Hare 6, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.

      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 4, Flapshell Turtle 1, Star Tortoise 5, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard,  Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      18th April 2021

      6.45am entered the park with Bathiya Senadipathy accompanies by guide Tissa Ratnayake.

      6.47am 5 Spotted Deer between the park entrance and Kone Gaha Ela.

      6.55am Puff Ball mushrooms between Percy Bendi Wewa and Paalu Wilandawa junction.

      7.22am 17 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      8.23am 2 Spotted deer at Demata Wila.

      8.55am a Ceylon Swallow was seen perched on a dead tree at Manik Wila.

      8.56am 12 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila.

      10.11am a sounder of 32 Wild Boar at Lunu Wila.

      10.21am one Wild Buffalo between Manik Wila and Ochchappu Kallu.

      11.08am a rare medicinal plant King of Bitters Munronia pinnata referred to as Bim Kohomba in Sinhala was in bloom at Ochchappu Kallu.

      11.13am 2 Spotted Deer between Ochchappu Kallu and Kok Motte.

      11.36am one Ruddy Mongoose between Kok Motte and Nabbada Wila.

      11.43am one adult male Sambhur at Kattambu Villu.

      12.04pm a Flapshell Turtle at Illanda Motte.

      12.31pm an Indian Rock Python had caught a Barking Deer between Mahapatessa and Kumbuk Wila. I was only able to get a few record photos due to the many vehicles that were parked at this location.

      1.12pm an Elephant at Kokkare Villu.

      1.19pm 8 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.

      1.20pm a herd of 11 Wild Buffalo at Kumbuk Wila.

      1.23pm a Sambhur stag between Kumbuk Wila and Borupan Junction.

      2.30pm left the park.

       
      Mammals  - Elephant 1, Indian Buffalo 12, Sambhur 1, Spotted Deer 46, Wild Boar 32, Ruddy Mongoose 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Indian Grey Mongoose, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey Indian, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.

      Reptiles – Indian Rock Python 1, Flapshell Turtle 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

       Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the field trip

      Birds – Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Black-naped Monarch (Nesting), Indian Plaintive Cuckoo, Asiatic Golden Plover (breeding plumage)

      Butterflies - Ceylon Lacewing, Banded Peacock, Tawny Coaster, Monkey Puzzle, Blue Mormon, Blue Mormon, Common Mormon, Common Sailor, Crimson Rose, Redspot Duke, Blue Wanderer, Common Lascar, Common Gull, Common Jay, Lime Butterfly
       
      Wild Orchids - Vanilla walkerae

       

      Fruiting Trees – Indi (S) Wild Date Palm (E) Phoenix farinifera

      Flowering Trees - Lunu Warna (S) Crataeva adansonii

      Wild Flowers - Derris parviflora  Sudu Kala Wel (S), Dopatrium nudicaule Small Horsefly’s Eye (Heen Bim Savan), Canavalia virosa Sword Bean, (Mudu Awara), Senna auriculata Tanners Cassia (Ranawara) ,Crotalaria verrucosa Blue Rattlepod (Nil Andanahiriya), Asystasia gangetica Chinese Violet (Puruk), Bacopa monnieri Waterhyssop (Lunu-wila), Gmelina asiatica Asiatic Bushbeech (Demata), Bauhinia tomentosa Yellow Orchid Tree (E) Yellow Bell Bauhinia (E) Kaha Pethan (S), Cassia fistula Golden Shower Tree (E) Ehela (S), Centranthera indica Swamp Foxglove (E) Dutu Sathutu (S), Connarus monocarpus Indian Zeebra Wood (E) Radaliya (S), Crossandra infundibuliformis Fire Cracker Flower (E), Crotalaria retusa Wedge-leafed Rattlepod (E) Kaha Andanahiriya (S),  Eriocaulon sp Pipeworts (E) Kok Mota (S), Evolvulus alsinoides Dwaf Morning Glory (E) Visnu-kranti (S), Hibiscus micranthus Tiny Flower Hibiscus (E) Bebila (S), Ixora coccinea Flame of the Forest (E) Rath Mal (S), Leonotis nepetifolia Lions Ear (E) Maha-yakwanassa (S), Leucas biflora Two Flowered Leucas (E) Geta Thumba (S), Limnophila aquatic Giant Ambulia (E) Asian Marshweed (E) Reewul-Puruk-Wila (S), Murdannia spirata Asiatic Dewflower (E) Thana Pala (S), Ochna obtusata Bird’s Eye Tree (E), Mal Kera (S), Osbeckia zeylanica Ceylon Osbeckia (E) Lanka Bovitiya (S), Memecylon umbellatum Ironwood, Blue Mist (E) Kora Kaha (S), Pancratium biflorum Forest Spider Lily (E) Wal-lunu (S), Pancratium zeylanicum Ceylon Spider Lily (E) Wal Lunu (S)

       

  • Wilpattu National Park 27th - 28th March 2021

      7.00am entered the park. No guide was provided due to the shortage of guides.
      7.06am a Ruddy Mongoose just before Ranawara pitiya.
      7.07am an adult male Wild Boar trotted across the road from the water hole at Ranawara Pitiya.
      7.12am 2 Spotted Deer at Paaluwilandawa junction
      7.19am between 12 Spotted Deer Thammanna Wala and Kalagedi Bokkuwa.
      7.38am 8 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      7.46am a Sambhur at Ibba Wala.
      8.09am 14 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      8.15am 21 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      9.15am 4 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      9.32am a fresh specimen of a male Indian Sunbeam butterfly at Nelum Wila.

      9.57am 9 Spotted Deer between Panikkar Villu and Aalam Villu.
      10.02am a single Great Orange Tip butterfly “mud sipping” along with a group of Common Gull butterflies at Aalam Villu.

      10.08am one Elephant and 7 Spotted Deer at Panikkar Villu.
      10.26am 42 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 14 Wild Boar at Tala Wila.
      11.40am a Flapshell Turtle and a large concentration of mostly Lesser Albatross butterflies at Illanda Motte. There were a few Lemon Immigrants and a single Common Jay also settled on the damp earth.

      11.45am 2 Ruddy Mongoose at Downhall Pitiya.
      11.58am a Barking Deer between Herath Hamy Wala and Kattarambu Villu.
      12.44pm an adult male Wild Boar at Illanda Motte.
      1.04pm 16 Spotted Deer and a Mugger Crocodile at Mahapatessa.
      1.24pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Kumbuk Wila pitiya.
      1.28pm 2 Smabhur crossed the road between Kumbuk Wila and Borupan junction.
      1.45pm a small sounder of 4 Wild Boar between Borupan Wila and Thimbiri Wila.
      1.48pm a Mugger Crocodile at Thimbiri Wila.
      2.28pm 6 Spotted Deer at Aalam Villu.
      2.33pm a Lesser Adjutant at Panikkar Villu and the Spotted Deer has increased to 19.
      2.46pm one Elephant at Kokkare Villu.
      2.52pm a Sounder of 8 Wild Boar at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      3.42pm a White-necked Stork at Madangaha Wala pitiya.

      3.58pm 2 Ruddy Mongoose at Nelum Wila.
      4.05pm 3 Spotted Deer on Kokkare Villu upper road.
      4.09pm a Little Ringed plover of the local race at Kokkare Villu. Three subspecies of this interesting bird have been recognized. Charadrius dubius curonicus breeds in North Africa, Europe and Asia. They migrate to the more temperate countries such as India, Sri Lanka and countries in southern Africa during winter. C.d. dubius breeds from the Philippines to New Guinea and the Bismarck Arch and C.d. jerdoni breeds in Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore and China. The migrant race has a longer all black bill and is larger in size than the race Jerdoni which has a pale yellowish bill base, more extensive white on the forehead and retains the breeding plumage including the swollen yellow eye-ring throughout the year.

      4.24pm a Flapshell Turtle at Thimbiri Wila.
      4.26pm a Black-naped Hare at Borupan Wila.
      4.27pm a female Sambhur with a calf at Borupan Wila.

      4.49pm a Barking Deer between Boralu Wala and Humbas Wala.
      4.50pm adult male Sambhur antler at Humbas Wala.
      4.52pm another Sambhur between Humbas Wala and Ibba Wala.
      5.03pm a sounder of 5 Wild Boar on Ikirigollawa Road.
      5.13pm a Black-naped Hare at Galwanguwa.
      5.15pm a Black-naped Hare between Galwanguwa and Palu Kola Wala.
      5.17pm I noticed a small flowering tree of about 12 feet by the side of the road which I had not observed before. Later upon checking the field guides I was able to identify the species as Capparis divaricatareffered to in English as the Spreading Caper.

      5.22pm 5 Wild Buffalo at Palu Kola Wala.

      5.27pm 2 Spotted deer between Kalagedi Bokkuwa and Thammanna Wala.

      5.29pm 2 Black-naped Hare between Kalagedi Bokkuwa and Thammanna Wala.

      5.40pm a Crested Honey Buzzard bathing in a small manmade pool between Paaluwilandawa and Percybendi Wewa.

      5.42pm 6 Spotted Deer at Percy Bendi Wewa.

      5.43pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Ranawara pitiya and Weli Ela.

      6.00pm left the park.

      Having arrived at my bungalow I was quite pleased to observe a herd of 7 Elephants coming to water. The tank shore also had 47 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 6 Wild Boar.

      Mammals - Elephant 9, Indian Buffalo 5, Sambhur 7, Spotted Deer 215, Wild Boar 39, Barking Deer 2, Ruddy Mongoose 7, Black-naped Hare 5, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, , Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.

      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 2, Flapshell Turtle 2, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      28th March 2021
      7.00am entered the park.
      7.07am a Barking Deer between the park entrance and Weli Ela.
      7.10am 2 Ruddy Mongoose at Ranawara Pitiya.
      7.37am 4 Wild Buffalo between Kalagedibokkuwa and Divulgas Mandiya.
      7.40am one more Wild Buffalo at Palu Kola Wala.
      7.52am 4 Spotted Deer between Galwanguwa and Maradanmaduwa.
      8.28am a Barking Deer walked across the road between Borupan junction and Kumbuk Wila.
      8.39am 12 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      8.48am 8 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila Pitiya.
      9.28 a Ruddy Mongoose between Manik Wila and Kumutu Villu.
      9.29am a Golden Jackal between Manik Wila and Kumutu Villu.
      9.39am 2 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.
      9.40pm a troop of grey Langur between Kanjuran and Kaali Villu.
      10.22am a Spotted Deer stag ran across the road between Kuveni Palace and Mana Wila.
      10.25am 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Kuveni Palace and Mana Wila.
      10.31am a White – spotted Chevrotain (Mouse Deer) between Kuveni Palace and Mana Wila.
      10.38am an adult male Wild Boar ran across the road between Kuveni Palace and Mana Wila.
      10.45am and adult male Wild Boar at Kattarambu Villu.
      10.53am a Brown Fish Owl perched on the edge of the water flew up to a dead tree at Nabbada Wila.

      11.15 two Sambhur antlers between Mana Wila and Downhall Pitiya.
      11.55am a Spotted Deer crossed the road between Ilanda Motte and Manikrala Uraniya.
      12.46pm a bachelor party of 3 Spotted Deer stags between Demata Wila and Mahapatessa.
      1.31pm a Rudy Mongoose on Panikka Wila upper road.
      2.03pm a sounder of 12 Wild Boar between Nelum Wila and Thammannagaha junction.
      2.36pm a Ruddy Mongoose on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      2.45pm one Leopard between Kokkare Villu and Kumbuk Wila. N 08.41732, E 079.99805
      Ranjan, a safari jeep drive informed me that they saw a leopard move into the forest where the road from Madangaha Wala joins Kokkare Villu. I drove down to Kumbuk Wila rest area and turned back while the others drove down Kumbuk Wila upper road. As I expected the leopard had moved back on to the road and was walking in my direction. It was an adult- female and I was able to instantly identify this leopard. It was Kumbuk Wila Female 2 (KWFC 2) popularly referred to as “Cleopatra” by the guides and jeep drivers. Having walked in the direction of Kumbuk Wila she lied down on the road permitting me to get some good images. Unfortunately for me she was not accompanied by her cubs. Upon the arrival of a few other jeeps, she moved into the forest but continued her walk towards Kumbuk Wila.  

      3.22pm a Mugger Crocodile at Kudapatessa.
      3.39pm two Lesser Whistling Teals perched on an exposed branch allowed me to make a nice image.

      4.04pm 53 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.
      4.12pm one Leopard at Tala Wila. N 08.37969, E 079.94600
      I drove to the Pomparippu end of Tala Wila to photograph the 50+ Spotted Deer herd that was grazing. Upon my return spotted an adult female leopard walking across the open plains. The leopard turned and looked in my direction once but continued to walk until she moved into the forest. Later upon examination her spot pattern I identified it to be Kombansanchaipooval Female 1 (KSPF 1).

      4.36pm another leopard at Panikka Wila junction. But it moved into the forest as I arrived. I was not able to get any images of this animal and had to move on as I had to reach the park entrance by 6.15pm
      5.30pm a Star Tortoise between Maradanmaduwa and galwanguwa.
      5.33pm another leopard at Palu Kola Wala. N 08.36338, E 080.10028
      It was also a female and was seated on the bund. I was quite pleased when the leopard walked down the bund and started to drink. Having drunk for about 6 minutes she walked up the bund and moved into the forest. Upon examining her spot & rosette pattern I was pleased to note that this is Divulgas Mandiya Female 1 (DGMF 1).

      5.43pm a Black-naped Hare between Kalagedi Bokkuwa and Thammanna Wala.
      5.45pm another leopard on the road between Paaluwilandawa junction and Percy Bendi Wewa. N 08.34908, E 080.11762
      It was also a female leopard and was lying across the road. As I stopped the vehicle she stood up and started to walk in my direction. I was not able to reverse to give way for the advancing leopard as there were other vehicles parked behind me. Having walked almost up to the vehicle she moved into the forest. Having examined the spot pattern I realized that this is Percy Bendi Wewa Female 2 (PBWF 2) on my site. I was quite excited as I have had only one brief sighting of this elusive female in August 2020.

      Observing leopards in Wilpattu requires patience and persistence. Whole of yesterday I did not have a single leopard sighting despite driving all over the park throughout the day. Except for stopping to have my meals I always drive continuously to maximize the chances of seeing leopards and other wildlife. I have had many undisturbed sightings during midday when most others take a rest at Kumbuk Wila. As 70% of the land area in Wilpattu is covered in dense forest most roads are not exposed to the sun and animals including leopards are sometimes seen on these roads even during midday. It was quite frustrating as some of the others in the park have had leopard sightings. I stopped to have lunch around 2 pm and wondered whether the lack of sightings the previous day and today is due to my not having an extra pair of eyes in the form of a guide. The park office had decided not to provide guides to those who are familiar with the park roads due to an acute shortage of staff. I quickly finished lunch and commenced the game drive again as I was determined to at least one leopard before end of the day. It was almost unbelievable when within the next three hours I had five leopard sightings almost one after the other.
      6.10pm left the park.

      Mammals - Leopard 5, Indian Buffalo 4, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 84, Wild Boar 14, Barking Deer 2, Golden Jackal 1, Ruddy Mongoose 5, Black-naped Hare 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, White – spotted Chevrotain 1, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.

      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 1, Star Tortoise 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard,  Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the field trip

      Birds – Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Crested Honey Buzzard, Little Ringed plover, Indian Cuckoo (singing), Indian Three-toed Kingfisher,

      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Blue Wanderer, Indian Sunbeam, Lesser Albatross, Lemon Migrant, Common Jay, Tailed Jay, Banded Peacock, Great Eggfly, Great Orange Tip. Crimson Rose

      Wild Orchids – Vanda spathulate, Vanda tessellate

      Fruiting Trees – Indi (S) Wild Date Palm (E) Phoenix farinifera

      Flowering Trees - Lunu Warna (S) Crataeva adansonii

      Wild Flowers - Derris parviflora  Sudu Kala Wel (S), Dopatrium Junceum Horsefly’s Eye (Bim Savan), Dopatrium nudicaule Small Horsefly’s Eye (Heen Bim Savan), Canavalia virosa Sword Bean, (Mudu Awara), Senna auriculata Tanners Cassia (Ranawara) ,Crotalaria verrucosa Blue Rattlepod (Nil Andanahiriya), Crotalaria medicaginea  Trefoil Rattlepod (E), Adanahiriya (S), Hibiscus eriocarpus Maple-leaved Mallow (Kapukinissa), Plumbago zeylanica Ceylon Leadwort (Ela Nithol), Asystasia gangetica Chinese Violet (Puruk), Bacopa monnieri Waterhyssop (Lunu-wila), Gmelina asiatica Asiatic Bushbeech (Demata), Caesalpinia bonducella Gray Nicker (E) Bonduc Nut (E) Kumburu (S), Bauhinia tomentosa Yellow Orchid Tree (E) Yellow Bell Bauhinia (E) Kaha Pethan (S), Cadaba trifoliate Indian Cadaba (E), Irawara (S), Cassia fistula Golden Shower Tree (E) Ehela (S), Centranthera indica Swamp Foxglove (E) Dutu Sathutu (S), Connarus monocarpus Indian Zeebra Wood (E) Radaliya (S), Crossandra infundibuliformis Fire Cracker Flower (E), Crotalaria retusa Wedge-leafed Rattlepod (E) Kaha Andanahiriya (S),  Eriocaulon sp Pipeworts (E) Kok Mota (S), Evolvulus alsinoides Dwaf Morning Glory (E) Visnu-kranti (S), Hibiscus micranthus Tiny Flower Hibiscus (E) Bebila (S), Ixora coccinea Flame of the Forest (E) Rath Mal (S), Leonotis nepetifolia Lions Ear (E) Maha-yakwanassa (S), Leucas biflora Two Flowered Leucas (E) Geta Thumba (S), Limnophila aquatic Giant Ambulia (E) Asian Marshweed (E) Reewul-Puruk-Wila (S), Murdannia spirata Asiatic Dewflower (E) Thana Pala (S), Ochna obtusata Bird’s Eye Tree (E), Mal Kera (S), Osbeckia zeylanica Ceylon Osbeckia (E) Lanka Bovitiya (S), Capparis divaricata Spreading Caper (E)

  • Wilpattu National Park 6th - 07th March 2021

      8.00am entered the park with my friend Bathiya Senadhipathy and guide Kapilan Sivarasa.

      8.01am 2 Spotted Deer at the park entrance.

      8.08am 3 Spotted Deer between Kone Gaha Ela and Ranawara Pitiya.

      8.23am a Spotted Deer just passing Thammanna Wala.

      8.42am 2 Golden Jacal at Maradanmaduwa.

      9.14am 2 Spotted Deer at Thambioluwa.

      9.42am 12 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.

      10.09am 6 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.

      11.24pm 7 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.

      11.44am a single Spotted Deer between Panikkar Villu and Aalam Villu.

      11.46am a Barking Deer at Aalam Villu.

      1.31pm a pair of Chestnut-headed Bee Eater excavating a nest hole at Mana Wila sand patch. These birds were seen excavating nest holes at many sandy locations in the park.

      2.03pm one Leopard Between Manikrala Uraniya and Eriyakkulampooval. N 08.43739, E 080.00172
      The female leopard was lying on a horizontal branch of a tree about 30 feet from the road. She was quite relaxed and looked in our direction offering me to get a few good images. In a few minutes she stood up and walked down the tree trunk on to the ground. Having “marked” the foot of the tree she moved on to the road and started to walk towards Eriyakkulampooval. After examining the surroundings for a few minutes, she walked to the edge of the water and drank water for a few minutes. A Wild Boar that was feeding on the edge of this water body towards the Demata Wila end detected her presence and ran in to the forest. Having walked along the strip between the water’s edge and the forest she moved into the forest in the direction of Demata Wila. Upon checking the spot pattern, I was happy to note that this is Manikrala Uraniya Female 1 (MRUF 1).

       

      2.35pm a female Jungle Fowl with an immature at Kumbuk Wila.

      3.26pm 4 Spotted Deer and a Mugger Crocodile at Thimbiri Wila.

      3.41pm one Elephant at Kokkare Villu.

      3.45pm 10 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.

      3.47pm a sounder of 14 Wild Boar at Kokkare Villu.

      4.00pm 6 Spotted Deer at Kudapatessa.

      4.01pm a Mugger Crocodile at Kudpatessa.

      4.59pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Kudapatessa and Mahapatessa.

      5.02pm a Mugger Crocodile at Mahapatessa.

      5.10pm 16 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.

      5.21pm a female Sambhur feeding close to Humbas Wala.

      6.10pm left the park.

       

      Mammals – Elephant 1, Leopard 1, Sambhur 1, Spotted Deer 71, Wild Boar 15, Barking Deer 1, Golden Jackal 2, Ruddy Mongoose 1,Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 3, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

       

      7th March 2021

      6.55am entered the park with guide Sampath Aanada.

      7.23am 2 Spotted Deer between Thammanna Wala and Maha Wewa.

      7.34am a Black-naped Hare at Maha Wewa.

      7.52am 4 Spotted Deer between Kalagedi Bokkuwa and Divulgas Mandiya.

      8.01am 2 Wild Buffalo between Palu Kola Wala and Gal Wanguwa.

      8.06am 4 Spotted Deer between Galwanguwa and Maradanmaduwa.

      8.08am A male Indian Peafowl eagerly displaying to a female caused a roadblock at Maradanmaduwa. Not wanting to disturb the performer we waited for him to move off the road. 17 Spotted Deer at “Kukulkatu pitiya”.

      8.40am a Giant Squirrel at Humbas Wala.

      8.46am a Mugger Crocodile at Wales Wala.

      8.58am a Wild Buffalo at Borupan Wila.

      9.00am a sounder of 8 Wild Boar feeding at the water’s edge at Timbiri Wila.

      9.01am a Spotted Deer stag between Timbiri Wila and Mahapatessa.

      9.07am 12 Spotted Deer and a Wild Boar at Mahapatessa.

      9.09am 2 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.

      9.35am a male Orange-headed Ground Thrush between Kuruttupandi junction and Kuruttupandi Villu.

      9.36am an adult male Wild Boar at Kuruttupandi Villu.

      9.47am a troop of Grey Langur between Kumutu Villu and Kanjuran Villu.

      9.52am 12 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 12 Wild Boar at Kanjuran Villu.

      10.07am a sounder of 14 Wild Boar at Kaali Villu.

      10.10am a Ruddy Mongoose between Kaali Villu and Mara Wila.

      10.26am 7 Spotted Deer at Mara Wila.

      11.01am 4 Spotted Deer and a Barking Deer at Mana Wila.

      11.02am sounder of 8 Wild Boar at Mana Wila.

      11.05am a male Rusty Spotted Cat between Mana Wila and Herathhamy Wala.

      The small feline was stalking some prey and was crouched on the road. Upon our arrival the little predator quicky moved off the road. I reversed, stopped the engine and waited. My patience paid off when the cat cautiously emerged from the foliage after about 15 minutes permitting me to get a few images of this seldom seen cat. Despite being common it is a very rare to see them during daytime.

      11.32am a Ruddy Mongoose between Nabada Wila and Kattarabu Villu.

      12.59pm a Barking Deer between Thammanna Gaha junction and Nelum Wila.

      1.28pm a sounder of 17 Wild Boar at Tala Wila.  

      1.35pm two Yellow-wattled Lapwings at Tala Wila.

      2.04pm 7 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.

      2.30pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Kudapatessa and Mahapatessa.

      2.47pm a sounder of 18 Wild Boar at Kumbuk Wila pitiya.

      2.50pm 5 Spotted Deer, a sounder of 8 Wild Boar and a troop of Grey Langur at Thimbiri Wila.

      3.14pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Mahapatessa and Kudapatessa.

      3.44pm a troop of Grey Langur on Kokkare Villu upper road.

      4.16pm a heard of 17 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 4 Wild Boar at Borupan Wila.

      4.17pm 2 Spotted Deer at Borupan pitiya.

      4.50pm 3 Spotted Deer at Palu Kola Wala.

      5.02pm a Wild Buffalo at Percy Bendi Wewa.

      5.20pm left the park

       
      Mammals - Elephant, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Indian Buffalo 4, Sambhur, Spotted Deer 98, Wild Boar 91, Barking Deer 2, Golden Jackal, Ruddy Mongoose 3, Black-naped Hare 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Indian Grey Mongoose, Purple-faced Leaf Monkey Indian Brown Mongoose, White – spotted Chevrotain, Common Palm Civet, Small Indian Civet, Sri Lanka Golden, Striped-backed Palm Civet, Fishing Cat, Rusty Spotted Cat 1, Jungle Cat, Indian Crested Porcupine, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile, Flapshell Turtle, Parker’s Black Turtle, Spotted Black Turtle, Star Tortoise, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Green Garden Lizard, Painted-lip Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the field trip

      Birds – Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Orange-headed Ground Thrush, Indian Pitta, Indian Blue Chat, Yellow-wattled Lapwing

      Butterflies – Pea Blue, Crimson Rose,

      Wild Orchids – Vanda tesselate,

      Fruiting trees – Kiri Koone in bloom

      Wild Flowers - Dopatrium Junceum Horsefly’s Eye (Bim Savan), Dopatrium nudicaule Small Horsefly’s Eye (Heen Bim Savan), Canavalia virosa Sword Bean, (Mudu Awara), Senna auriculata Tanners Cassia (Ranawara) ,Crotalaria verrucosa Blue Rattlepod (Nil Andanahiriya), Crotalaria laburnifolia Bird Flower (Yak-beriya), Crotalaria medicaginea  Trefoil Rattlepod (E), Adanahiriya (S), Hibiscus eriocarpus Maple-leaved Mallow (Kapukinissa), Plumbago zeylanica Ceylon Leadwort (Ela Nithol), Asystasia gangetica Chinese Violet (Puruk), Bacopa monnieri Waterhyssop (Lunu-wila), Gloriosa superba Glory Lily (Niyangala), Gmelina asiatica Asiatic Bushbeech (Demata), Cadaba trifoliate Indian Cadaba (E), Caesalpinia bonducella Gray Nicker (E) Bonduc Nut (E) Kumburu (S), Bauhinia tomentosa Yellow Orchid Tree (E) Yellow Bell Bauhinia (E) Kaha Pethan (S), Cadaba trifoliate Indian Cadaba (E), Irawara (S), Cassia fistula Golden Shower Tree (E) Ehela (S), Centranthera indica Swamp Foxglove (E) Dutu Sathutu (S), Connarus monocarpus Indian Zeebra Wood (E) Radaliya (S), Crossandra infundibuliformis Fire Cracker Flower (E), Crotalaria retusa Wedge-leafed Rattlepod (E) Kaha Andanahiriya (S), Drosera burmannii  Tropical Sundew (E)   Watessa (S), Eriocaulon sp Pipeworts (E) Kok Mota (S), Evolvulus alsinoides Dwaf Morning Glory (E) Visnu-kranti (S), Hibiscus micranthus Tiny Flower Hibiscus (E) Bebila (S), Impatiens oppositifolia Rosmary Leaved Balsam (E), Ipomoea sepiaria Purple Heart Glory (E), Ixora coccinea Flame of the Forest (E) Rath Mal (S), Leonotis nepetifolia Lions Ear (E) Maha-yakwanassa (S), Leucas biflora Two Flowered Leucas (E) Geta Thumba (S), Limnophila aquatic Giant Ambulia (E) Asian Marshweed (E) Reewul-Puruk-Wila (S), Murdannia spirata Asiatic Dewflower (E) Thana Pala (S), Ochna obtusata Bird’s Eye Tree (E), Mal Kera (S), Osbeckia zeylanica Ceylon Osbeckia (E) Lanka Bovitiya (S), Pseuderanthemum latifolium Broad-leaf False Eranthamum (E)

  • Wilpattu National Park 4th - 07th February 2021

      7.15am entered the park with Bathiya Senadipathy and our guide Tissa Ratnayake.

      7.22am 3 Spotted Deer at Ranawara pitiya.

      7.28am 7 Spotted Deer at Percy bendi Wewa.

      7.29am 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Percy bendi Wewa and Paaluwilandawa junction.

      7.40am a Spotted Deer stag at Kalagedi Bokkuwa.

      8.23am a Flapshell Turtle at Walas Wala.

      8.29am one Elephant feeding across the water body at Borupan Wila.

      8.31am a herd of 12 Spotted Deer at Borupan pitiya.

      9.33am an Elephant at Nelum Wila.

      9.49am 3 Spotted Deer at Aalam Villu.

      9.54am 19 Spotted Deer at Panikkar Villu.

      10.14am 32 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.

      10.18am a lone Spotted Deer stag between Tala Wila and Kombansanchaipooval.

      10.36am 7 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.

      11.00am 27 Spotted Deer and a large Mugger Crocodile at Manik Wila.

      11.04am 2 Golden Jackal between Manik Wila and Illanda Motte.

      12.25pm one female leopard between Mana Wila and Down Hall Pitiya.
      N 08.46811, E 079.99010

      As we drove towards Downhall pitiya a leopard leaped off the road into the forest ahead of the vehicle. It was a female leopard. I immediately revered the vehicle to give the animal space and after a short while she walked back on to the road. She walked in our direction for about 100 meters and I kept on reversing the vehicle to maintain space between the advancing leopard and my vehicle. After walking for some time, she was alerted by some sounds emanating from the forest walked into the forest. Later upon examination of her spot pattern I was thrilled to note that that this is Borupan Wila Female 3 (BWFC 3), one of the two female cubs of the third litter of Borupan Wila Female 2.

      1.12pm one ruddy Mongoose between Mana Wila and Downhall pitiya.

      1.57pm 2 Wild Buffalo at Mahapatessa.

      1.59pm Thammanna Trees in bloom at Mahapatessa.

      2.08pm one Rat Snake at Demata Wila. The snake was hunting frogs in the shallow waters and moved hurriedly into the forest. This sub species of this common species known as Sri Lanka Rat Snake Ptyas mucosa maximus and is the second longest snake in the country being only second to the Indian Rock Python.

      2.11pm a Flapshell Turtle at Lunu Wila.

      2.18pm a Mugger Crocodile at Lunu Wewa.

      2.31pm a troop of Grey Langur at Borupan Wila.

      2.35pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Borupan Wila and Thimbiri Wila.

      2.38pm a heard of 9 Wild Buffalo at Thimbiri Wila

      3.00pm 12 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila pitiya.

      3.05pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Kokkare Villu.

      4.09pm a Ruddy Mongoose on Kumbuk Wila upper road.

      4.33pm 2 female Sambhur between Humbas Wala and Ibba Wala.

      5.06am a Hoopoe at Maradanmaduwa. Even though regularly seen in Mannar and in most other dry zone national parks this species is rarely seen at Wilpattu.

      5.11pm a Star Tortoise at Galwanguwa.

      5.17pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Galwanguwa and Palukola Wala.

      5.28pm a Sambhur between Divulgas Mandiya and Thammanna Wala.

      5.36pm a Barking Deer between Paaluwilandawa junction and Percy Bendi Wewa.

      5.45pm a Black-naped Hare between Percy Bendi Wewa and Ranawara Pitiya.

      5.47pm another Black-naped Hare between Ranawara pitiya and Konegaha Ela.

      5.49pm a Barking Deer between Konegaha Ela and park entrance.

      6.01pm left the park.

      Mammals - Elephant 2, Leopard 1, Indian Buffalo 10, Sambhur 3, Spotted Deer 124, Wild Boar, Barking Deer 2, Golden Jackal 2, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare 2, Ruddy Mongoose 7, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 2, Flapshell Turtle 2, Star Tortoise 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      5th February 2021
      6.30am entered the park with my friend Bathiya Senadhipathy.

      6.52am a well grown male Sambhur antler between Divulgas Mandiya and Palukola Wala.

      7.00am a Wild Buffalo between Palukola Wala and Galwanguwa.

      7.21am 2 Sambhur between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wala.

      7.38am 13 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 10 Wild Boar at Kumbuk Wila pitiya.

      7.55am a Golden Jackal and 4 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.

      10.15am a Collared Dove at Manik Wila.

      10.30am a Ruddy Mongoose between Manik Wila and Downhall pitiya.

      10.33am observed a species of wildflower that I had not seen earlier in the park.  Later upon perusing the field guides on wildflower I was able to determine the species as Gynura lycopersicifolia. I was not able to find a common English name for this species. It’s referred to as Wal Thampala and Hulan thala in Sinhala. This species if confined to southern India and Sri Lankan dry zone.

      11.38am a Mugger Crocodile at Mana Wila.

      11.43pam a Ruddy Mongoose between Mana Wila and Downhall Pitiya.

      12.41pm a Ruddy Mongoose on Mahapatessa upper road.

      1.08pm a troop of Grey Langur between Manikrala Uraniya and Eriyakkulampooval.

      2.41pm 6 Spotted Deer between Panikkar Villu and Kombansanchaipooval.

      2.47pm a sounder of 18 Wild Boar and 37 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.

      3.05pm a Barking Deer between Panikkar Villu and Nelum Wila.

      3.40pm one Leopard between Kuruttupandi and Manik Wila sand patch. The leopard was lying on the road and moved into the forest upon our arrival. There was no possibility photography thus had no opportunity to Identify the leopard.

      3.55pm a Flapshell Turtle at Kudapatessa. The turtle had moved out of the water and had walked on to the road. When water levels reach

      4.08pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Mahapatessa.

      4.15pm a sounder of 10 Wild Boar feeding on an island in the middle to Demata Wila.

      4.34pm one Flapshell Turtle at Thimiri Wila.

      5.21pm a Black-naped Hare and 4 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      5.57pm left the park.

      Mammals - Leopard 1, Indian Buffalo 1, Sambhur 3, Spotted Deer 64, Wild Boar 38, Barking Deer 1, Golden Jackal 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare 1, Ruddy Mongoose 4, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 1, Flapshell Turtle 2, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard,  Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      6th February 2021
      6.31am entered the park with my friend Bathiya Senadhipathy.

      6.47am 4 Spotted Deer between Thammanna Wala and Kalagedi Bokkuwa.

      7.28am 16 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.

      7.41am observed a species of Mushroom that I had not observed before in the park between Kokkare Villu and Kuruttupandi Villu. I was not able to identify the species with the guidebooks available to me.

      8.10am a Forest Wagtail at Kanjuran Villu.

      8.52am a Crested Hawk Eagle perched on an exposed branch flew off offering us an excellent photo opportunity.

      9.06am a sounder of 10 Wild Boar at Eriyakkulampooval.

      9.10am one leopard at Eriyakkulampooval. N 08.43725, E 080.00208
      The leopard was lying across the water body on the sandy area between the forest and the water edge. It was a big male leopard. I managed to get a few record images despite the distance. Within a few minutes he stood up walked into the forest. Later an examination of its spot pattern revealed that it is Nelum Wila Male 5 (NWMC 5).

      10.51am 8 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.

      10.54am a troop of Grey Langur on Lunu Wewa road.

      10.59am a Ruddy Mongoose on Lunu Wewa road.

      11.02am 12 Spotted Deer at Lunu Wewa.

      11.20am 11 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.

      11.36am one Elephant 6 Spotted Deer and a Wild Buffalo at Borupan Wila.

      1.08pm one leopard between Illanda Motte and Manik Wila. N 08.45453, E 079.98639

      It was a female leopard and looked disturbed by my vehicle and two vehicles advancing on the Manik Wila upper road. I managed to get a few images as she moved into the forest which enabled me to identify the leopard. It was Borupan Wila Female 3 (BWFC 3). The vehicles had been following the leopard. Once the vehicles had moved off, we moved towards Illanda Motte and waited on the road expecting the leopard to come back on to the road. Having waited for 25 minutes decided to drive off and as we did saw the leopard ahead of us on the road walking in our direction. We I reversed the vehicle beyond a bend until she was out of sight, parked a waited with our cameras ready expecting her to continue her walk towards Illanda Motte. But we were out of luck. As she failed to appear, I moved forward and observed that her pug marks had stopped a little beyond the bend and she had moved back into the forest.  

      3.08pm a sounder of 9 Wild Boar at Kudapatessa.

      4.33pm one Ruddy Mongoose between Borupan Wila and Kumbuk Wila.

      4.51pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Kokkare Villu and Kudapatessa.

      5.15pm 2 females Sambhur between Humbas Wala and Ibba Wala.

      5.21pm a Sloth Bear at Maradanmaduwa.

      5.39pm 6 Spotted Deer at Ranawara pitiya

      6.00pm left the park.

      Mammals - Elephant 1, Leopard 1, Sloth Bear 1, Indian Buffalo 1, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 63, Wild Boar 19, Barking Deer, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Ruddy Mongoose 2, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles –Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      7th February 2021

      6.31am entered the park with my friend Bathiya Senadhipathy.

      7.46am a Sambhur between Percy Bendi Wewa and Thammanna Wala.

      8.12am 7 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      8.21am 2 Sambhur between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wala

      8.43am 3 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.

      9.33am 3 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.

      10.52am 2 Spotted Deer on Kokkare upper road.

      11.17pm a Sambhur between Ibba Wala and Kuda Boralu Wala.

      11.23am 37 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      11.38am 2 Spotted Deer close to Thammanna Wala.

      11.41am a Barking Deer between Thammanna Wala and Paaluwinlandawa junction.

      12.05pm left the park.

       

      Mammals - Sambhur 3, Spotted Deer 51, Barking Deer 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles –Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

       Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the field trip
      Birds – Lesser Adjutant, Painted Stork, White-necked Stork, Hoopoe, Curlew Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit, Lesser Sand Plover, Little Ringed plover, Common Green and Red Shanks, Crested Hawk Eagle, Collared Dove.
      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Banded Peacock, Ceylon Lacewing
      Wild Orchids – Vanilla walkerae

      Fruiting trees -
      Wild Flowers - Dopatrium Junceum Horsefly’s Eye (Bim Savan), Dopatrium nudicaule Small Horsefly’s Eye (Heen Bim Savan), Canavalia virosa Sword Bean, (Mudu Awara), Senna auriculata Tanners Cassia (Ranawara) , Chamaecrista kleinii (Bim Siyambala), Crotalaria verrucosa Blue Rattlepod (Nil Andanahiriya), Crotalaria laburnifolia Bird Flower (Yak-beriya), Crotalaria medicaginea  Trefoil Rattlepod (E), Adanahiriya (S), Hibiscus eriocarpus Maple-leaved Mallow (Kapukinissa), Plumbago zeylanica Ceylon Leadwort (Ela Nithol), Asystasia gangetica Chinese Violet (Puruk), Bacopa monnieri Waterhyssop (Lunu-wila), Crinum defixum Ker Gawl (Heen-tolabo), Gloriosa superba Glory Lily (Niyangala), Gmelina asiatica Asiatic Bushbeech (Demata)

  • Wilpattu National Park 23rd - 24th January 2021

      7.26am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.

      7.28am 7 Spotted Deer at the park entrance.

      7.31am 3 more Spotted Deer between the park entrance and Weli Ela.

      7.32am a Star Tortoise between Weli Ela and Ranawara pitiya.

      7.38am Acampe praemorsain bloom close to Ranawara pitiya. This is one of the four species of epiphytic wild orchids found in the park with the other five being ground orchids.

      7.42am a Wild Buffalo and two White-necked Storks at Percy Bendi Wewa.

      8.01am one Wild Boar between Palu Kola Wala and Galwanguwa.

      8.06am a single Spotter Deer antler at Eda Kohombagaha pitiya.

      8.10am 17 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      8.13am 2 more Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa, “Kukulkatu pitiya.”

      8.17am a single Spotted Deer at Thambioluwa.

      8.26am a Barking Deer between Humbas Wala and Boralu Wala.

      8.54am a Star Tortoise at Kumbuk Wila.

      9.16am an Osprey at Kokkare Villu.

      9.25am a Black-naped Hare at Kokkare Villu.

      9.26am 4 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.

      9.29am 5 more Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.

      9.42am 3 Spotted Deer at Kokkare villu sand dune.

      9.45am 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Kokkare Villu and Kudapatessa.

      10.32am a Mugger Crocodile at Kudapatessa.

      10.45am one Leopard between Kokkare Villu and Kuruttupandi Villu.

      N 08.43314, E 079.98274

      It was an adult female leopard and walking towards Kuruttupandi Villu. Examination of its spot pattern reveled that it is Manikrala Uraniya Female 1 (MRUF 1). Her belly flap was low indicating that she is feeding cubs. The leopard walking ahead of us and there was one vehicle ahead me. I managed to get a few images when she stopped to scent mark a couple of times. I was following her and the vehicles in front kept on reversing to accommodate the advancing leopard. However much to our disgust the vehicle in front delayed to reverse forcing the cat to move in to the forest.

      11.13am a troop of grey Langur at Kumutu Villu.

      11.21am an adult Crested Hawk Eagle sunbathing at Kanjuran Villu.

      11.37am a Spotted Deer between Kumutu Villu and Manik Wila.

      1.51pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Panikkar villu and Kombansanchaipooval.

      1.58pm an adult male Wild Boar at Tala Wila.

      3.13pm a sounder of 4 Wild Boar at Lunu Wewa.

      3.16pm an adult Mugger Crocodile was basking at the foot of a large Termite hill at Lunu Wewa.

      3.31pm a Spotted Deer antler at Borupan pitiya.

      3.56pm 2 Wild buffalo at Maradanmaduwa.

      4.12pm a Black –naped Hare at Maradanmaduwa.

      5.10pm 7 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.

      5. 17pm a Black-naped Hare between Palu Kola Wala and Kalagedi Bokkuwa.

      5.55pm left the park.

      Mammals  - Leopard 1, Indian Buffalo 3, Spotted Deer 51, Wild Boar 6, Barking Deer 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare 3, Ruddy Mongoose 3, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.

      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 2, Star Tortoise 2, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard,  Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

       

      24th January 2021

      6.40am entered the park with guide Tissa Ratnayake.

      6.47am a Barking Deer crossed the road between Weli Ela and Ranawarapitiya.

      7.05am one Sambhur at Divulgas Mandiya.

      8.00am 4 Spotted Deer at Kokkare villu sand dune.

      8.06an 2 Spotted Deer at Kudappatessa.

      8.25am 5 Spotted Deer and one Sambhur at Manik Wila.

      8.28am 2 Golden Jackal at Illandamotte.

      8.29am a Sambhur at Illandamotte.

      8.36am a Sambhur at Mana Wila sand patch.

      9.51am a mouse Deer darted across the road between Mana Wila and Kuveni Palace.

      10.08am 4 Mugger Crocodiles at Kaali Villu.

      10.30am an immature Land Monitor “sunning” with only its head out of a tree hole at Mare Villu.

      10.44am one Ruddy Mongoose between Mara Wila and Kaali Villu.

      11.00am a troop of Grey Langur between Kaali Villu and Kanjuran Villu.

      11.05am a Ruddy Mongoose between Kanjuran and Kumutu Villu.

      11.20am one Leopard between Manik Wila and Illandamotte. N 08.45568, E 079.98812

      It was a female leopard and was walking towards Manik Wila. Upon seeing the leopard I switched off the engine and the cat responded by lying down on the road. A closer look at the spot pattern revealed that this is the Manikrala Uraniya Female 1 (MRUF 1). She was licking her paws and her body and every now and then looking in my direction. I reversed the vehicle expecting the leopard to start her walk again and she did. As usual I always maintained a distance of about 30 feet to give the leopard space. She would walk for a short distance and rest again. Having walked up to the upper road junction she walked on to the upper road. I then started to follow her up to the end of that road where she started to stalk some Spotted Deer. Her ambush attack was not successful as the deer started to give out alarm calls and ran across the road. A loud alarm call of a Ceylon Jungle Fowl indicated that she had walked very close to the back of the DWC quarters at Manik Wila. There after a few alarm calls of Palm Squirrels indicated that she had crossed the road and moved in to the forest beyond the bungalow. I was observing the leopard for almost one hour and 30 minutes.

      1.05pm 7 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila.

      1.45pm 2 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.

      2.07pm a troop of Grey langur making their booming calls between Panikkar Villu and Kombansanchaipooval.

      2.54pm a black-naped Hare between Manik Wila and Illandamotte.

      3.27pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Nabada Wila and Kok Motte.

      4.14pm observed a few “Roller” Dung Beetles close to a large pile of Buffalo dung at Mana Wila sand pacth. I find these humble insects very interesting and cannot be grateful enough to them for the excellent service they provide. One needs to realize that if not these efficient “poop disposers” our natural habitats would be over run with poop and visiting a national park would be a pretty smelly affair with piles of animal dung all over and covering the park roads. These insects can be broadly categorized under four groups. Rollers or telecoprids will shape the dung in to a ball and roll it to a location of their preference to bury it under ground. These are the most commonly known of the dung beetles and some are able to roll about 50 times their body weight. They’ll feed on it or use it as a brood ball where the females will lay eggs in it. Tunnellers or endocoprids will dig tunnels underneath a pat of dung and drag dung from the pat down to their tunnel. Safe at the bottom of their tunnel they feed and use them as brood balls to raise their families. Dwellers or paracoprids are a lazy lot that do not bother to roll or dig tunnels but just feed and lay eggs on the pile of fresh dung. These “throw caution to the wind” kind and their larvae are exposed to dangers of being eaten by birds and being run over by vehicles and trampled by other animals etc. The fourth category is referred to as stealers or kleptocoprids and is the most devious of them all. They steal dung balls from the rollers and use them lay their own eggs. Their larvae will kill the host beetles larvae as they develop in the dung ball.

      3.58pm a few Dark Blue Tiger butterflies feeding on “Podi Sinngo marang” flowers at Mana Wila sand patch.

      4.27pm 31 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila. Their numbers had increased from 7 to 37.

      4.53pm a large Mugger Crocodile was basking in the sun while an Indian Grey Mongoose walked across the road ahead of the vehicle.

      5.16pm a Golden Jackal and two Yellow wattled Lapwings at Maradanmaduwa.

      5.31pm 3 Spotted Deer at Divulgas Mandiya.

      5.45pm a Black-naped Hare at Ranawara pitiya.

      6.00pm left the park  

       

      Mammals  - Leopard 1, Sambhur 3, Spotted Deer 63, Barking Deer 1,  White – spotted Chevrotain (Mouse Deer) 1, Golden Jackal 3, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Black-naped Hare 2, Indian Grey Mongoose 1, Ruddy Mongoose 3, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 5, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard,  Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the filed trip
      Birds – Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Osprey, Yello-wattled Lapwing
      Butterflies – Banded Peacock
      Wild Orchids – Vanda spathulata & Acampe Praemorsa
      Fruiting trees – none.
      Wild Flowers - Canavalia virosa Sword Bean, (Mudu Awara), Senna auriculata Tanners Cassia (Ranawara) , Chamaecrista kleinii (Bim Siyambala), Crotalaria verrucosa Blue Rattlepod (Nil Andanahiriya), Hibiscus eriocarpus Maple-leaved Mallow (Kapukinissa), Plumbago zeylanica Ceylon Leadwort (Ela Nithol), Asystasia gangetica Chinese Violet (Puruk), Bacopa monnieri Waterhyssop (Lunu-wila), Crinum defixum Ker Gawl (Heen-tolabo), Gloriosa superba Glory Lily (Niyangala), Gmelina asiatica Asiatic Bushbeech (Demata)