NOTES ON FIELD TRIPS TO WILPATTU NATIONAL PARK

  • Wilpattu National Park 26th – 29th March 2022

      6.40am entered the park.
      6.41am one Elephant between the park entranced and Kone Gaha Ela.
      6.53am a Wild Buffalo between Paaluwilandawa junction and Thammanna Wala.
      7.14am a Black-naped Hare at Maha Wewa.
      7.19am 7 Spotted Deer and 4 Wild Buffalo at Maha Wewa.
      7.24am 78 Wild Buffalo at Maha Wewa.
      7.26am a sounder of 27 Wild Boar and 22 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      7.30am 25 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      7.33am another 42 Wild Buffalo and an Osprey at Maha Wewa.
      7.40am I observed a Golden Jackal that had lost a lot of fur at Maha Wewa. The skin condition looks like an ailment that is commonly observed in stray dogs due to the presences of parasites. I have informed the park officials to take necessary action to prevent this ailment from spreading to other animals and they were thankful for keeping them informed of this matter.

      7.55am an Indian Thick Knee at Maha Wewa.

      7.56am a Ruddy Mongoose between Maha Wewa and Thammanna Wala.
      8.07am 7 Spotted Deer at Thammanna Wala.
      8.25am a herd of 11 Wild Buffalo at Maradanmaduwa.
      8.28am 2 Sambhur at Maradanmaduwa.
      8.29am 3 Spotted Deer between Maradanmaduwa and Thambioluwa.
      8.38am 2 Barking Deer between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wala. 
      8.42am 2 more Barking Deer between Humabas Wala and Boralu Wala
      8.45am another Barking Deer between Boralu Wala and Walas Wala.
      8.52am another Barking Deer at Kumbuk Wila sand pacth.
      8.53am 8 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila pitiya.
      8.59am a Spotted Deer stag between Kumbk Wila and Kokkare Villu.
      9.02am 5 Spotted Deer on Kokkare Villu upper road.
      9.04am a troop of Grey Langur on Kokkare Villu upper road.
      The youngsters were at play while the adults were seated on low branches nearby. One adult male of the troop was on the forest floor close to a freshly built termite hill. It carefully broke off pieces of termite soil off a decaying tree stump. My initial though was that it was feeding on termites. Unlike the omnivorous Toque Monkeys this species is known to subsist exclusively on a plant-based diet. Thus, I was quite curious and observed this animal with the help of my binoculars for some time. He was not picking off termites but was feeding on pieces of termite soil. I have read and had observed in the wild some species of mammals and birds feeding on soil such as clay and mud apparently to overcome mineral deficiencies. This is my first observation of these monkeys feeding on termite soil. I have read a paper on a 13th month study of the feeding habits of Red Leaf Monkeys in Northern Borneo where the authors state that on a very few occasions they observed them feeding on soil by breaking off pieces from Termite Hills. They never fed on soil from the forest floor. They found that termite soil was of a higher PH and had higher levels of cationic nutrients compared to soil from the forest floor.  In another study the researchers observed grey Langur species in Nepal feeding on soil from a dried riverbeds and from termite hills.

      9.35am one Elephant drinking water at Eriyakkulampooval.
      9.52am a Spotted Deer stag ran across the road between Kuruttupandi Vilu and Manik Wila.
      10.00am 5 Spotted Deer and one Ruddy Mongoose at Kumutu Villu.
      10.23am a troop of grey Langur on Kuruttupandi upper road.
      10.49am a sounder of 9 Wild Boar feeding at the water edge at Eriyakkulampooval.
      11.02am 2 Spotted Deer at Manikrala Uraniya.
      11.38am an adult male Wild Boar ran across the road between Kuruttupandi Villu and Kokkare Villu.
      11.47am 3 White-necked Storks, a sounder of 8 Wild Boar and 11 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      I was informed of a Spotted Deer carcass at Tala Wila upper road by safari jeep driver Amila.
      12.20pm When I arrived, there were no vehicles on the upper road. The sound of voices indicated that the crowded jeeps had moved down to the villu. I drove down and was told that a leopard with a short tail moved close to the carcass short while ago but moved in the direction of the villu without feeding. The short-tailed female seen around Tala Wila is more than 10 years in age and had raised a few litters. She is a well experienced female and I figured that she had moved away to distract the safari jeeps from her “kill” as it was lying less than 25 feet from the road. I have had many experiences where Leopards often use such tactics to distract the on lookers and avoid disturbances. Thus, I quickly drove back to where the carcass was seen and parked knowing that she would come back when the level of disturbance becomes less.

      1.22pm Two Ruddy Mongoose appeared on the scene but did not approach the carcass. Perhaps they detected the scent of the leopard nearby. They stood on their hind legs, sniffed the air, and moved back into the jungle.

      1.41pm One leopard at Tala Wila upper road. N 08.37709, E 079.94831

      By this time many of the jeeps had left as there was no signs of the leopard. Two jeeps, including mine were left at the site, and we remained silent. I heard the noise of an animal moving through the dry leaf litter and Yasith Rajapaksha in the jeep in front indicated that the leopard had moved close. In a few minutes she walked through the foliage up to the kill and started to feed. But in less than a minute she started to pull the carcass into the jungle perhaps due to the proximity to the vehicles. Except for the stomach area that had been consumed by the leopard the body of the deer was intact. I was amazed by her strength to drag the kill through the bushes, branches, and the vines with such ease. She dragged the carcass until it was out of sight. There after I was able to see the leopard seated inside the jungle. Photography was quite challenging as due to low light and the foliage. The leopard was Kombansanchipooval Female 1 (KSPF 1) on my site. After March 2021, where I saw her at Tala Wila with no injury to her tail, there was no record of her for the next 6 months. As she was a regularly seen leopard I was concerned about her absence. Usually, I would receive images of her at least once in two months and is usually reported by the safari jeep drivers at least once a month from around Tala Wila. In October 2021 Nilushan Wijesinghe and Hashantha Lokugamage sent me images of a thin leopard with a short stump of a tail, and I was thrilled to find that it was KSPF 1. Even though I cannot be certain it is very likely that she was badly injured and lost her tail due to a Wild Boar attack at a locality which is far from Tala Wila. Leopards often follow a sounder of Wild Boar having piglets while keeping a safe distance and ambush any piglet that moves away from the safety of the sounder. The squealing piglet results in the adult female Wild boar to run in the direction of the leopard at lightning speed. Thus, the tactic of the leopard is to move up a tree with the prey in its mouth almost instantly. Any slight miscalculation will result in a vicious attack by the sounder of Wild Boar. I have observed such attacks by leopards at Maradanmaduwa and Panikkar Villu. Despite having lost some weight very likely due to not being able to hunt and losing almost two thirds of her tail she had made a full recovery and moved back to the area where she is now seen regularly.

      2.01pm a sounder of 11 Wild Boar at Tala Wila.
      2.03pm 12 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.
      2.28pm 14 Spotted Deer at Panikkar Villu.
      2.45pm 2 Mugger Crocodiles fighting over a Wild Boar carcass at the water body at Nelum Wila pitiya.

      2.52pm a troop of Grey Langur Barking Deer between Nelum Wila and Thammanna Gaha junction.
      2.56pm a Pied Kingfisher at Kokkare Villu. Unlike the White-breasted, Common and the Indian Three-toed this species of kingfisher is seldom seen in the park.
      3.04pm 4 Spotted Deer and a Wild Boar at Kuruttupandi Villu.
      3.08pm a troop of Grey Langur between Kuruttupandi and Manik Wila.
      3.37pm a herd of 12 Wild Buffalo at Thimbiri Wila.
      3.41pm 5 Spotted Deer between Thimbiri Wila and Borupan Wila.
      3.42pm 17 Spotted Deer and an adult male Wild boar at Borupan Wila.
      4.45pm left the park.

      Mammals – Elephant 2, Leopard 1, Indian Buffalo 148, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 149, Wild Boar 58, Barking Deer 7, Golden Jackal 1, Ruddy Mongoose 2, Black-naped Hare 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.

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

       

      27th March 2022
      6.58am entered the park.
      7.15am one leopard between Paaluwilandawa junction and Thammanna Wala.
      N 08.35055, E 080.11736
      It was an adult female leopard and was seated at the edge of a small water hole before Thammanna Wala. I stopped the engine and started to take a few images. She was quite relaxed despite the proximity to the vehicle. There was whitish patch resembling a cataract on her left eye. After few minutes she moved back into the forest. Later upon comparing her spot pattern I was pleased to note that it is Thammanna Wala Female 1 (THWF 1) on my site. My first sighting of this female was in August 2014 and the second sighting was after 8 years on the 13th of March 2022. She is about 10 years and six months now. I have received images of this leopard from 2012 including a record of mating with Maradanmaduwa Male 3 (MMM 3) in 2017 but received no record of her having a litter.

      7.28am a Ruddy Mongoose at Thammanna Wala.
      7.43am 2 Lesser Adjutant Storks 7 Spotted Deer and 2 Wild Buffalo at the “Boralu Wala” at Maha Wewa.
      7.45am 87 Wild Buffalo, 97 Spotted Deer and 32 Wild Boar at Maha Wewa.
      7.46am another sounder of 22 Wild Boar at Maha Wewa.
      7.56am another 46 Spotted Deer at the Maha Wewa bund.
      8.07am an Indian Roller perched on a leafless branch of a tree at Maha Wewa.

      8.30am one Osprey perched on a dead tree stump overlooking the tank at Maha Wewa.

      8.45am a Ruddy Mongoose between Maha Wewa and Thammanna Wala.
      9.13am 9 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      9.18am a Ruddy Mongoose at Thambioluwa.
      9.21am 2 Sambhur and a Ruddy Mongoose at Ibba Wala.
      9.37am sounder of 4 Wild Boar and 6 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      9.42am 2 Buffalo and 2 Spotted Deer at Thimbiri Wila.

      10.15am one leopard walking from Illanda Motte towards Downhall pitiya. N 08.46290, E 079.99114
      I followed fresh pug marks of a big male leopard from the culvert at Illanda Motte and
      saw him walking towards the Downhall pitiya sand patch. After walking a short distance, he walked into the forest but walked back on to the road within a few minutes and continued its walk without looking at least once in my direction. Having walked up to the beginning of the sand patch he marked a “Radaliya” Connarus monocarpus bush by the side of the road and looked at an Indian Peafowl at a distance but turned back to look at something over his shoulder permitting me get a few images at least of a part of its face. Then walked into the forest. Later upon examining the spot pattern I was pleased to note that the leopard was Nelum Wila Male 5 (NWMC 5) on my site.

      10.30am a Barking Deer between Down Hall Pitiya and Mana Wila.
      11.01am a sounder of 11 Wild Boar at Eriyakkulampooval.
      11.08am an adult male Wild Boar at Manikrala Uraniya.
      12.27pm a troop of grey Langur between Manikrala Uraniya and Eriyakkulampooval.
      1.25pm a Spotted Deer on Kokkare Villu upper road.
      1.26pm a Barking Deer between Thammanna Gaha junction and Nelum Wila.
      1.27pm an adult male Wild Boar at Nelum Wila.
      1.30pm two Spotted Deer stags at Nelum Wila sand patch.
      1.37pm a Spotted Deer on Panikkar Villu upper road.
      1.43pm 2 Spotted Deer at Alam villu.
      1.52pm 6 Spotted Deer at Kombansanchaipooval
      2.03pm 15 Spotted Deer at Tala Wila.
      2.04pm 23 more Spotted Deer across the Villu at Tala Wila.
      2.05pm 12 Spotted Deer on Pomparippu road.
      2.39pm one Ruddy Mongoose at Pallekandal Pitiya.
      2.45pm I arrived at Pill Motte and decided to wait at the water hole as I was yet to see a leopard drinking from this pond. As usual it was calm, and I enjoyed being by myself listening to all the jungle sounds. Since I started my study in 2012, I have observed that this water hole dries up completely by end May and fills up again with the heavy rains in end October. During these dry months animals in this area have no other water hole nearby to drink. Many visitors to the park seldom visit this area of the park unless they enter from the Eluwankulama entrance. In September 2016 a half-cut plastic can was placed by the safari jeep drivers from Eluwankulama and many animals including a leopard had been seen drinking from the same. Thus, I sought permission from the park warden Mr. Manoj Waidyaratne to build a concrete pond at my cost at this location and he accepted and supported my request. Mr. Seram who was the officer in charge of the DWC office Eluwankulama and his team volunteered to overlook the construction work according to my dimensions and specifications. I had already pre planned to locate the pond at the edge of the water body and under the shade of a Thimbiri tree so that animals including birds will feel safe in being able to make a quick getaway. It was completed on the 24th of September 2016. Since then, I have spent many hours here and observed with great happiness hundreds of birds of different species and mammals such as Spotted Deer, Wild Boar, Sambhur, Grey Langur and Ruddy Mongoose ect drinking from this pond during the dry season. All except the elusive leopard. Since building this pond in 2016, I was so eager to witness and photograph a leopard drinking here. During many of my visits during the dry months I would always visit this pond expecting to observe a leopard. On so many occasions I would park and wait patiently for long periods of time without any luck.

      3.06pm 2 Barking Deer arrived and after looking around for some time gathered enough courage to drink.

      3.16pm one leopard at Philli Motte pond. N 08.37269, E 079.89659
      All at once the two Barking Deer ran away from the vicinity of the pond and started making loud alarm calls. Excitement was building within me with the expectation of seeing a leopard. I had my binoculars glued to my eyes observing the area beyond the pond. The Barking Deer continued to make alarm calls. After few minutes of silence, I observed some movement through the trees. It was indeed a leopard. My dream of capturing a leopard at this pond was just one click away. I quickly positioned my camera. The leopard was cautious and stopped without breaking cover. I could see its movements through the camera and muttered to myself “come on come on”. After what seemed like forever a beautiful female leopard cautiously walked down to the pond and started to drink. It was just as I had imagined. I kept on taking images of her every move. It was a young female of around 2 years. This is my first sighting of a leopard drinking at this pond. While photographing I knew that these would be images that I would cherish and would help me remember and relive this experience for a long time. Having quenched her thirst, she walked across to the road and disappeared into the forest. Later upon examining her spot pattern I noted that it is not a leopard that is in my data base. I named her Phill Motte Female 1 (PMF 1).

      3.47pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Philli Motte and Tala Wila.
      3.56pm an adult male Wild Boar on Panikkar Villu upper road.
      4.11pm 19 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      4.13pm 4 White-necked Storks and one Elephant drinking at Nelum Wila pitiya.

      4.35pm a female Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill having a “dust bath” in the soft sand on the road between Kumbuk Wila sand patch and Borupan junction. The bill of the female is black with a cream patch on the upper mandible. The mature male has a cream-coloured bill with a black patch at the base and the juveniles have a uniformly cream coloured bill.

      4.45pm 6 Spotted Deer at Humbas Wala.
      4.47pm a troop of Grey Langur between Humbas Wala and Ibba Wala.
      5.08pm a troop of Grey Langur at Palu Kola Wala.
      5.20pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Kukulkatuwa turn off and Maha Wewa.
      5.22pm a Sambhur ran across the road between Kukulkatuwa turn off and Maha Wewa.
      5.37pm a Flapshell Turtle between Maha Wewa and Thammanna Wala.
      5.4pm a Sloth Bear on the road at Thammanna Wala.
      5.46pm one Buffalo at Percy Bendi Wewa.
      6.00pm left the park.

      Mammals – Elephant 1, Leopard 3, Sloth Bear 1, Indian Buffalo 92, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 256, Wild Boar 70, Barking Deer 5, Ruddy Mongoose 7, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Indian Grey Mongoose, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Flapshell Turtle 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      28th March 2022

      4.30am one Elephant in garden at my house at Hunuwilagama.
      7.15am entered the park.
      7.15am a troop of Toque Monkey accompanied by a heard of 15 Spotted Deer close to the park entrance.
      7.16am another 9 Spotted deer between the park entrance and Kone Gaha Ela.
      7.17am 5 Spotted Deer and a Wild Boar between Kone Gaha Ela and Ranawara Pitiya.
      7.19am another 9 Spotted Deer between Kone Gaha Ela and Ranawara Pitiya
      7.32am a Ruddy Mongoose at Divul Gas Mandiya.
      7.33amm another Ruddy Mongoose between Divulgas Mandiya and Palukola Wala.
      7.49am 7 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      7.53am Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica had congregated on a few trees at Maradanmaduwa. Perhaps they were getting ready to fly back to their breeding grounds. Most individuals with a complete breastband and pure white breast belong to the nominate subspecies rustica while a few with broken breast bands and a chestnut breast belong to the race gutturalis.

      8.28am 4 Spotted Deer between Kumbuk Wila and Kurrutupandi Villu.
      8.49am a White-bellied Sea Eagle circling above Kumutu Villu and 6 Spotted Deer feeding at the edge of the forest.
      8.55am 2 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.
      9.12am a Flapshell Turtle at Kanjuran Villu.
      9.13am a Ruddy Mongoose between Kanjuran Villu and Kumutu Villu.
      9.27am 3 Spotted Deer at Manikrala Uraniya.
      9.42am a Sounder of 7 Wild Boar at Mahapatessa.
      9.51am a group of 9 Spotted Deer stags between Kuruttupandi and Kokkare Villu.
      9.59am 12 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.
      10.05am a Brahminy Kite in the middle of a pool, 4 White-necked Stork and 4 more Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila pitiya.

      10.36am 6 Spotted Deer at Kombansanchaipooval
      10.38am 27 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 7 Wild Boar at Tala Wila.
      11.49am a Barking Deer at Nelum Wila.
      11.53am a Ruddy Mongoose on Kokkare Villu upper road.
      12.01pm a troop of Grey Langur between Kuruttupandi Villu and Manik Wila.
      1.30pm one Sambhur and a Golden Jackal at Mana Wila.
      2.01pm a Sambhur at Illanda Motte.
      2.04pm 12 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila.
      2.50pm a Wild Boar at Phill Motte.
      3.21pm a Ruddy Mongoose drank water at Pill Motte.

      4.13pm Spotted Deer at Tala Wila has increased to 39 from 27.

      4.18pm one Leopard on Tala Wila upper road. N 08.37762, E 079.94838
      I drove on to the Tala Wila upper road from the Bungalow end and spotted the leopard on the road. It was Kombansanchaipooval Female 1 (KSPF 1) that was at the kill the day before. She was walking in my direction, and I managed to get a few images prior to her moving into the forest in direction of the kill. As I had to reach the park entrance by 6pm there was no time to wait for her to move out again.

      5.09pm 5 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      5.20pm 2 Sambhur at Ibba Wala.
      5.30pm a Ruddy Mongoose close to Palukola Wala.
      5.40pm a Sloth Bear on the road at Thammanna Wala. It was a male and was appeared quite restless and was unconcerned about the vehicles. He walked from one side of the road to the other sniffing the surface of the road. Perhaps the old “Baloo” was following the scent of a female in eustress.

      5.54pm a Barking Deer close to Kone Gaha Ela.
      6.00pm left the park.
      6.15pm 107 Spotted Deer, a sounder of 27 Wild Boar and one Elephant at Hunuwilagama Tank.

      Mammals – Elephant 2, Leopard 1, Sloth Bear 1, Sambhur 4, Spotted Deer 244, Wild Boar 43, Barking Deer 2, Golden Jackal 1, Ruddy Mongoose 6, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Flapshell Turtle 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      29th March 2022
      6.19am entered the park.
      12 Spotted Deer at the park entrance.
      6.20am 19 Spotted Deer between the park entrance and Konegaha Ela.
      6.49am 12 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      6.50am 3 Sambhur between Maradanmaduwa and Thambioluwa.
      6.52am 3 Sambhur at Ibba Wala.
      7.04am another Sambhur between Walas Wala and Borupan Junction.
      7.09am 10 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      7.17am a Black Turtle at Borupan Wila.

      7.20am during March and April the Thimbiri Trees Diospyros malabarica look beautiful with new reddish tender leaves. These leaves turn from a deep maroon to green over a period. Sometimes they are seen together with Satinwood Chloroxylon swieteniatrees that produce tiny yellow leaves during these months producing a striking colour combination.

      7.24am 10 Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      7.31am 9 More Spotted Deer at Mahapatessa.
      7.34am a sounder of 7 Wild Boar at Eriyakkulampooval.
      7.55am a Star Tortoise just before Downhall Pitiya.
      7.55am 2 Sambhur at Downhall Pitiya pond.

      8.04am a Brown Fish Owl perched on an exposed vine overlooking the road between Downhall Pitiya and Mana Wila.

      8.29am 15 Spotted Deer at Kumutu Villu.
      8.35am 17 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.
      8.52am a Barking Deer between Kuruttupandi Villu and Kudapatessa junction.
      8.57am 9 Spotted Deer at Kudapatessa.
      9.34am 2 Sambhur, a stag following a female, between Kuruttupandi Villu and Kokkare Villu.
      9.51am a sounder of 8 Wild Boar at Panikkar Villu.
      10.05am 2 Spotted Deer between Panikkar Villu and Kombansanchaipooval.

      10.24am 2 Leopards between Tala Wila and Pill Motte. N 08.38318, E 079.93182
      It was a young male and a female. They were lying on the road. I stopped the vehicle about 40 meters from them and started to photograph. The dappled light was quite harsh, but I managed to get some images to enable me to identify the leopards. The female, obviously in eustress, was doing her best to initiate mating while the young male appeared much less interested. On a few occasions the female approached the male while growling and caressed his body with her body and tail, but he refused to mount and mate. Thereafter the male started to walk in the direction Pill Motte followed by the female but were disturbed by the arrival of a vehicle and moved into the forest. It was my friend Mr. Namal Kamalgoda. After some time, the female walked on to the road briefly but walked back. Two safari jeeps heading towards Eluwankulama turned up requiring me to move the vehicle to allow them to pass. Guests in the two jeeps had reasonable views of the leopards in the jungle and moved on. I turned the vehicle and parked alongside that of Namal’s and waited. Within a few minutes the male walked on to the road followed by the female. It was wonderful to observe the interaction between these two leopards. Despite much interest expressed by the female they mated only once. Around midday they moved into the forest. Later upon examination of the spot pattern I was able to identify the two leopards. This is my first sighting of this male. It is the Pomparippu Road Leopard 1 on my site under leopards of Wilpattu – guest section. I named this leopard Pomparippu Road Male 1 for the purpose of my study with the code (PPRM 1). The female is Kombansanchaipooval Female 2 (KSPFC 2).  My last sighting of her was in November 2017 at Kombansanchaipooval.

      12.23pm a troop of Grey Langur between Nelum Wila and Thammanna Gaha junction.
      12.25pm a troop of Grey Langur on Kokkare Villu upper road.

      12.55pm one Leopard between Humbas Wala and Ibba Wala. N 08.40237, E 080.05030

      A safari jeep was parked just beyond Humbas Wala. The jeep driver Lahiru informed me that they followed a big male Leopard walking towards Humbas Wala, and he moved into the forest. I turned the vehicle and decided to drive down to Humbas Wala and wait as I expected the leopard to move back on to the road again and continue its walk. While driving down I spotted the leopard lying down behind a termite hill and managed to get a few images. It was Maradanmaduwa Male 3 (MMM 3) on my site, popularly referred to as “Gota” by the guides and jeep drivers. Within a few minutes of waiting the leopard walked on to the road and walked in my direction. I managed to get a few good images of the advancing leopard. Having walked close to the vehicle he moved back into the forest. My last sighting of this leopard was in February 2020.

      1.11pm 6 Buffalo at Maradanmaduwa.
      1.47pm left the park.

      Mammals - Elephant, Leopard 3, Sloth Bear, Indian Buffalo 6, Sambhur 11, Spotted Deer 115, Wild Boar 15, Barking Deer 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile, Flapshell Turtle, Black Turtle, Star Tortoise 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard, Green Garden Lizard, Painted-lip Lizard.

      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the field trip
      Birds –
      Lesser Adjutant
      Painted Storks
      White-necked Stork
      Osprey
      Black-winged Kite
      Orange-headed Ground Thrush
      Crested Honey Buzzard
      Red Winged Crested Cuckoo
      Brown Fish Owl
      Indian Cuckoo
      Hoopoe
      White-naped Woodpecker
      Thick-billed flowerpecker
      Crimson Backed Woodpecker
      Chestnut – headed Bee Eaters (nesting)
      Pied Kingfisher
      Indian Stone Curlew

      Butterflies –
      Common Jay
      Tawny Raja
      Red Spot Duke
      Blue Mormon
      Great Orange Tip

      Wild Orchids –

      Vanda spathulate
      Vanda tessellate

       Fruiting Trees –

      Spanish Cherry (Moonamal) Mimusops elengi (Fruiting)
      Guru Keena (S) Calophyllum calaba (unripe fruits)

       Wildflowers -

      Asystasia gangetica Chinese Violet (E), Puruk (S)
      Bacopa monnieri Waterhyssop (E), Lunu-wila (S)
      Bauhinia tomentosa Yellow Orchid Tree (E) Yellow Bell Bauhinia (E) Kaha Pethan (S)
      Cadaba trifoliate Indian Cadaba, Ira Wara (S)
      Carissa spinarum Bush Plum (E) Conkerberry (E), Heen Karamba (s)
      Cassia fistula Golden Shower Tree (E) Ehela (S)
      Crossandra infundibuliformis Firecracker Flower (E)
      Crotalaria medicaginea Trefoil Rattlepod (E), Adanahiriya (S)
      Crotalaria verrucosa Blue Rattlepod (E) Nil Andanahiriya (S)
      Dopatrium nudicaule Small Horsefly’s Eye (E) Heen Bim Savan (S)
      Eriocaulon sp Pipeworts (E) Kok Mota (S)
      Evolvulus alsinoides Dwaf Morning Glory (E) Vishnu-kranti (S)
      Gmelina asiatica Asiatic Bushbeech (Demata) (S)
      Hibiscus micranthus Tiny Flower Hibiscus (E) Bebila (S)
      Ixora coccinea Flame of the Forest (E) Rath Mal (S)
      Leucas biflora Two Flowered Leucas (E) Geta Thumba (S)
      Murdannia spirata Asiatic Dewflower (E) Thana Pala (S)
      Senna auriculata Tanners Cassia (Ranawara)
      Centranthera indica Swamp Foxglove (E) Dutu Sathutu (S)

  • Wilpattu National Park 12th – 13th March 2022

      I arrived at my house at Hunuwilagama on the 11th evening with Isuru Tillakawardena and Bathiya Senadhipathy who are my school friends from grade one.
      8.30pm Sambhur and Spotted Deer started making alarm calls from the direction of the park entrance.

      12th March 2022
      8.25am entered the park with Isuru Tillakawardena and Bathiya Senadhipathy.
      8.27am 4 Sambhur and 2 Spotted Deer within sight of the park entrance.
      8.30am 4 Spotted Deer and a Giant Squirrel between park entrance and Kone Gaha Ela.
      8.31am 12 Spotted Deer and a Barking Deer between Kone Gaha Ela and Percy Bendi Wewa.
      8.35am 8 Spotted Deer just before Percy Bendi Wewa.
      8.40am a Wild Buffalo between Percy Bendi Wewa and Thammanna Wewa.
      8.46am 6 Spotted Deer at Thammanna Wala glade.
      9.05am 7 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      9.29am 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Borupan junction and Borupan Wila.
      10.35am Left the park.
      9.30pm a Wild Boar, a Black Turtle and a Common Palm Civet was observed in the garden.

      Mammals - Indian Buffalo 1, Sambhur 4, Spotted Deer 39, Barking Deer 1, Ruddy Mongoose 2, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Common Palm Civet, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Black Turtle, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      13th March 2022

      7.05am entered the park with Bathiya Senadipathy
      7.06am 15 Spotted Deer at the park entrance.
      7.10am 8 Spotted Deer at Ranawara Pitiya.
      7.13am 12 Spotted Deer at Percy Bendi Wewa.
      7.20am 6 Spotted Deer between Percy Bendi Wewa and Thammanna Wala.
      7.24am 2 Flapshell Turtles and a Wild Buffalo at Palu Kola Wala.
      7.30am 37 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      7.35am a Barking Deer at Thambioluwa.
      7.50am 2 Barking Deer at Borupan Junction.
      8.05am 4 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      8.15am 7 Spotted Deer at Kuruttupandi Villu.
      9.10am a Black-naped Hare at Kokkare Villu.
      10.25am 9 Spotted Deer at Kumutu Villu.
      10. 47am 4 Spotted Deer at Kanjuran Villu.
      11.44am a sounder of 14 Wild Boar feeding on some water plants growing in the water at Kokkare Villu.

      12.12pm a Mugger Crocodile at Borupan Pitiya Wala.
      12.40pm 11 Wild Buffalo at Maradanmaduwa
      1.30pm 11 Wild Buffalo and 57 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      1.44pm an Osprey at Maha Wewa.

      2.25pm left the park.
      3.10pm Susil Kumara called me and said he had just come out of the park and had seen a Leopard on a tree at Thammanna Wala. He offered to accompany me into the park. My self and Bathiya entered the park again accompanied by Susil.
      3.44pm one Leopard close to Thammanna Wala. N 08.34812, E 080.11778
      It was an adult female and was on a tree growing by the side of the road. The leopard was lying on a branch with its hind towards us. After some time, she was disturbed by some insects and raised her head to shake them off. Prior to going back to her afternoon siesta, she looked in our direction permitting us to get a few images. Upon examining her spot pattern, I was pleased to note that this is Thammanna Wala Female 1 (THWF 1) on my site. This is an elusive female that is seldom recorded and despite mating was observed in November 2017 she had never been seen with cubs. I have received a few records of this female from July 2012 but had only one sighting on her on the 30th of August 2014.

      4.30pm Left the park.

      Mammals - Leopard 1, Indian Buffalo 80, Spotted Deer 102, Wild Boar 14, Barking Deer 3, Ruddy Mongoose, Black-naped Hare 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Indian Grey Mongoose, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 1, Flapshell Turtle, Black Turtle, Star Tortoise, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard, Green Garden Lizard, Painted-lip Lizard.
      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the field trip
      Birds – Osprey, Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Red-winged Crested Cuckoo, Orange-headed Ground Thrush.
      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Great Orange Tip, Banded Peacock 
      Wild Orchids – Vanda spathulate
      Fruiting Trees -  Kobbe (S) Titberry Tree (E ) Allophylus cobbe
      Wildfowers - Capparis brevispina Indian Caper (E) Wal Dehi, Wellangiriya (S)

  • Wilpattu National Park 12th February 2022

      7.10am entered the park.
      7.27am 7 Spotted Deer at Thammanna Wala.
      7.35am a Mugger Crocodile in a burrow dug in to the Palu Kola Wala bund.
      I reproduce below my field note on this subject on the 5th of July 2020  
      “4.07pm a Mugger Crocodile at Palu Kola Wala seen in a burrow dug in to the Palu Kola Wala bund. I have observed and photographed a single Mugger Crocodile in this burrow during the months of May, June, July, and October. It is interesting to note that from end June until the heavy rains in October this water hole becomes completely dry. Thus, the Crocodile appears to use this burrow for hibernation during the dry months. As the incubation period of this “hole nesting” species is 55 to 75 days the female Mugger seen at this water hole should be laying eggs in the beginning of the rainy season with the expectation of the water hole filling up by October. I have observed hatchlings here in December and January.”

      Due to the recent heavy rains this water hole still holds a lot of water. During December and January, the water level was quite high, and the croc or hatchlings were not observed at this water hole. It would be interesting to observe whether this croc will use this burrow for hibernation until the heavy rains in October or whether she will use it as a nesting chamber during the short spell of rain in April.

      7.45am 12 Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      8.12am 15 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      8.15am a Barking Deer between Kumb uk Wila and Kokkare Villu.
      8.18am 27 Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      8.20am an Osprey at Kokkare villu.

      8.21am 15 more Spotted Deer at Kokkare Villu.
      8.45am 9 Spotted Deer at Illanda Motte.
      8.55am one Leopard at Down Hall Pitiya. N 08.46697, E 079.99055
      It was a big male and was lying down on the bed of a dried-up stream. It was asleep and was only partly visible from one point on the road. Having taken a few images, I moved off permitting the others also to get a view of the leopard. It was the Nelum Wila Male 5 (NWMC 5), one of more frequently seen dominant males in the core area of the park.

      9.09am an orange-headed Ground Thrush between Downhall pitiya and Mana Wila.
      9.58am sounder of 7 Wild Boar at Mahapatessa.
      10.22am one Leopard at Mahapatessa. It moved into the forest before I was able to get any images.
      10.53am a sounder of 6 Wild Boar between Mahapatessa and Thimbiri Wila.
      11.00am a herd of 12 Wild buffalo and a Mugger crocodile at Borupan Wila.
      11.08am a Barking Deer between Borupan Wila and Lunu Wewa bungalow.
      11.10am troop of Grey Langur between Lunu Wewa bungalow and Borupan Wila.
      11.19am a Ruddy Mongoose at Borupan Wila.
      11.24am a pair of White-necked Storks mating at Walas Wala.

      11.45am three Spotted Deer and a Ruddy Mongoose on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      11.54am a troop of Grey Langur on Kokkare Villu uppe road.
      11.58am a sounder of 11 Wild Boar at Nelum Wila.
      12.31pm an Orange-headed Ground Thrush between Panikkar Villu and Nelum Wila.

      12.46pm an adult male Wild Boar at Madan gas Wala.
      1.15pm one Leopard at Thimbiri Wila. N 08.42725, E 080.01084
      The animal was hidden by the foliage growing at the edge of the water. After a few minutes the leopard moved under a Madan tree and walked into the forest. I managed to get a few images during the brief period of opportunity. Later upon studying the spot pattern I moted that the leopard was Kumbuk Wila Male 2 (KWMC 2), on of the two male cubs of Kumbuk Wila Female 2 (KWFC 2) popularly referred to as Cleopatra in the park.

      1.28pm a sounder of 4 Wild Boar at Borupan Wila.
      1.53 a herd of 10 Wild Buffalo at Maradanmaduwa.
      2.22pm 6 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      2.47pm a sounder of 8 Wild Boar at Manik Wila.
      3.03pm 2 Flapshell Turtles at Herathhamy Wala.

      3.15pm 5 Spotted Deer between Downhall Pitiya and Mana Wila.
      3.18pm a Flapshell Turtle at Illanda Motte.
      3.26pm a troop of Grey Langur between Manikrala Uraniya and Eriyakkulampooval.
      4.04pm 29 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      4.24pm a Black-naped Hare at Maradanmaduwa.
      5.04pm a sounder of 12 female Wild Boar with 34 newly born piglets close to the Maha Wewa Bungalow.

      5.06pm 2 Golden Jackal at Maha Wewa.
      5.12pm 15 Wild Buffalo and 127 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      5.20pm 12 Spotted Deer between Maha Wewa and Thammanna Wala
      5.22pm 5 Spotted Deer between Thammanna Wala and Percy Bendi Wewa.
      5.28pm 12 Spotted Deer between Percy Bendi Wewa and Ranawara pitiya.
      5.50pm left the park
      7.20pm a Common Palm Civet photographed on the old mango tree in the garden at my house in Hunuwilagama.

      I arrived at my house in Hunuwilagama on the 11th evening around 8.30pm and was quite excited to see two sub adult Fishing Cats in the garden. As I had to meet a lawyer at Nochchiyagama around 9pm I left expecting to photograph these two cats the following day but had no luck except for the Common Palm Civet who was seen in the garden.

      Mammals - Leopard 2, Indian Buffalo 37, Spotted Deer 255, Wild Boar 83, Barking Deer 2, Golden Jackal 2, Ruddy Mongoose 2, Black-naped Hare 3, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Common Palm Civet 1, Small Indian Civet 1, Fishing Cat 2, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 1, Flapshell Turtle 3, 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, Orange-headed Ground Thrush, Indian Blue Chat, Indian Pitta, Forest Wagtail, Chestnut-headed Bee Eater, Osprey, Red-winged Crested Cuckoo, Indian Plaintive Cuckoo, Indian Cuckoo (Vocalizing), White-naped Woodpecker, Brown Fish Owl,  

      Butterflies – Blue Mormon, Lesser Albatross, Common Mormon, Crimson Rose, Great Orange Tip.
        
      Wild Orchids – Vanda spathulate, Vanda tessellate

      Fruiting Trees –
      Spanish Cherry (Moonamal) Mimusops elengi (Fruiting)
      Guru Keena (S) Calophyllum calaba (Flowering)
      Kiri Koon (S) Walsura trifoliolata (Flowering)

       

      Wildflowers –
      Asystasia gangetica Chinese Violet (E), Puruk (S)
      Bacopa monnieri Waterhyssop (E), Lunu-wila (S)
      Bauhinia tomentosa Yellow Orchid Tree (E) Yellow Bell Bauhinia (E) Kaha Pethan (S)
      Cadaba trifoliate Indian Cadaba, Ira Wara (S)
      Capparis brevispina Indian Caper (E) Wal Dehi, Wellangiriya (S)
      Carissa spinarum Bush Plum (E) Conkerberry (E), Heen Karamba (s)
      Cassia fistula Golden Shower Tree (E) Ehela (S)
      Crossandra infundibuliformis Firecracker Flower (E)
      Crotalaria laburnifolia Bird Flower (E) Yak-beriya (S)
      Crotalaria medicaginea Trefoil Rattlepod (E), Adanahiriya (S)
      Crotalaria verrucosa Blue Rattlepod (E) Nil Andanahiriya (S)
      Dopatrium nudicaule Small Horsefly’s Eye (E) Heen Bim Savan (S)
      Eriocaulon sp Pipeworts (E) Kok Mota (S)
      Evolvulus alsinoides Dwaf Morning Glory (E) Vishnu-kranti (S)
      Gloriosa superba Flame Lily (E) Glory Lily (E) Niyangala (S)
      Gmelina asiatica Asiatic Bushbeech (Demata) (S)
      Hibiscus eriocarpus Maple-leaved Mallow (E) Kapukinissa (S) Wal Wada (S)
      Hibiscus micranthus Tiny Flower Hibiscus (E) Bebila (S)
      Ixora coccinea Flame of the Forest (E) Rath Mal (S)
      Leucas biflora Two Flowered Leucas (E) Geta Thumba (S)
      Murdannia spirata Asiatic Dewflower (E) Thana Pala (S)
      Plumbago zeylanica Ceylon Leadwort (E) Wild Plumbago(E) Ela Nithol(S)
      Senna auriculata Tanners Cassia (Ranawara)

  • Wilpattu National Park 13th – 17th January 2022

      6.15am arrived at Anawilundawa in pursuit of the Black-naped Oriole that had been recorded in the recent past by Mr. Senehas Karunaratne.
      7.20am heard its call and located the bird but it was concealed in foliage.
      7.30am managed to get a few images of this very rare migrant species.
      I’m very grateful to Mr. Senehas Karunaratne for sharing the location of his sighting with me.

      11.06am entered the park
      11.07am 21 Spotted Deer close to the park entrance.
      11.16am a 3 Ruddy Mongoose on the road between Ranawara pitiya and Percybendi Wewa. It was a sub adult and two adults.

      11.17am a troop of Grey Langur between Ranawara pitiya and Percybendi Wewa.
      11.20am the ground orchid Habenaria plantaginea in bloom between Percy Bendi Wewa and Thammanna Wala.
      11.28am a Wild Buffalo at Thammanna Wala.
      11.36am 5 Spotted Deer accompanied by a very noisy troop of Grey Langur between Thammanna Wala and Maha Wewa.
      11.42am one Ruddy Mongoose at Thammanna Wala.
      11.45am 7 Spotted Deer at Thammanna Wala glade.
      11.46am a Wild Buffalo between Thammanna Wala and Palu Kola Wala.
      11.47am 2 Spotted Deer between Thammanna Wala and Palu Kola Wala.
      11.50am 3 more Buffalo between Palu Kola Wala and Galwanguwa.
      11.58am 21Spotted Deer and 2 Golden Jackal at Maradanmaduwa.
      12.02pm 4 Spotted Deer stags at Thambioluwa.
      12.03pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Thambioluwa.
      12.11pm a Spotted Deer between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wala.
      12.44pm 9 Spotted Deer between Borupan Wila and Lunu Wewa bungalow.
      12.53pm a sounder of 4 Wild Boar at Borupan Wila.
      1.05pm a Buffalo at Mahapatessa.
      1.07pm a Mugger Crocodile at Eriyakkulampooval.
      1.49pm 2 Spotted Deer at Mana Wila.
      2.26pm a sounder of 5 Wild Boar and a Mugger Crocodile at Kudapatessa.
      2.36pm 2 Spotted Deer on Kumbul Wila upper road.
      2.37pm 4 Spotted Deer at Thammanna Gaha junction.
      2.39am 2 Spotted Deer at Nelum Wila.
      3.13pm one leopard between Nelum Wila and Panikkar villu. It was on the road but moved into the forest before I was able to get any images.
      3.38pm 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      3.45pm 3 Spotted Deer at Aalam Villu.
      3.55pm 15 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 5 Wild Boar at Tala Wila.
      4.12pm a troop of Grey Langur between Panikkar Villu and Nelum Wila,
      5.10pm 2 Sambhur between Humbas Wala and Ibba Wala.
      5.43pm an Elephant at Percy Bendi Wewa.
      5.55pm left the park.
      7.30pm a Small Indian Civet and two Black turtles seen at the night feeding table at my house at Hunuwilagama.

      Mammals – Elephant 1, Leopard 1, Indian Buffalo 6, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 85, Wild Boar 14, Barking Deer, Golden Jackal 2, Ruddy Mongoose 7, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Indian Grey Mongoose 1, Small Indian Civet 1, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 2, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      14th January 2022
      7.14am entered the park.
      7.19am a barking Deer between Kone Gaha Ela and Ranawara Pitiya.
      7.30am 2 White-necked Stork in a pool before Thammanna Wala.
      7.40am a male Shikra perched on the topmost branch of a tree at Palu Kola Wala.

      7.54am 24 Spotted Deer and 9 Wild Buffalo at the “Kukulkatu Pitiya.  2 White-necked Stork and a few Painted Storks preening themselves while “sunning” themselves at Maradanmaduwa.

      8.12am a Barking Deer on the road between Boralu Wala and Walas Wala.
      8.20am 2 Ruddy Mongoose between Borupan junction and Kumbuk Wila.
      8.22am 4 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      8.24am10 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      8.26am 3 more Spotted Deer at Madangas Wala.
      8.43am troop of Grey langur between Nelum Wila and Panikkar villu.
      8.51am a Lesser Adjutant Stork at Kombansanchaipooval.
      8.55am 3 Spotted Deer and two Yellow Wattled Lapwings at Tala Wila.
      9.08am a Ruddy Mongoose between Tala Wila and Pill Motte.
      9.17am a Ruddy Mongoose on the road at Pallekandal Pitiya.
      9.21am an adult male Wild Boar at Pallekandal pitiya.
      9.27am a sounder of 7 Wild Boar at Pomparippu pitiya.
      9.36am a pair of White-necked Stork at Uththamadaru Bridge

      9.42am a sounder of 12 Wild Boar at Pomparippu.
      9.57am a Ruddy Mongoose between Wellamundalama junction and Periya Uppu Villu.
      10.13am another Ruddy Mongoose between Wllamundalama junction and Peria Uppu Villu.
      10.18am 4 Wild Boar crossed the road between Sinna Uppu Villu and Periya Villu.
      10.19am an Sambhur antler walked across the road between Sinna Uppu Villu and Periya Villu.
      10.26am small herd of Spotted Deer at Palugahathurei turns off at Periya Naga Villu.
      10.44aman adult male Wild Boar at Maila Villu.
      10.47am a Spotted Deer at Paya motte.
      10.49am 5 Spotted Deer at Kaya Motte.
      10.56am a herd of 12 Spotted Deer between Avatara Motte and Mara Wila.
      11.07am Wild Nightshade Solanum Sp (Wal Thibbatu) in bloom at Mara Wila.
      11.54am 12 Spotted Deer at Manik Wila.
      12.00noon a sounder of 4 Wild Boar at Down Hall Pitiya.
      12.03pm two Spotted Deer at Mana Wila Sand Patch.
      12.16pm 2 Flapshell Turtles at Illanda Motte.
      12.46pm a troop of Grey Langur at Kokkare Villu uppe road.
      12.48pm 5 Spotted Deer and a Barking Deer at Kokkare Vilu upper road.
      1.54pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Aalam Villu.
      2.04pm a Ruddy Mongoose at Kombansanchaipooval.
      2.17pm 25 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 7 Wild Boar at Tala Wila.
      2.38pm a Sambhur antler at Pill Motte.

      2.46pm a scattered herd of 18 Elephants including a sub adult Tusker at Pallekandal pitiya.

      2.49pm 7 Elephants at Pomparippu.
      3.30pm a sounder of 8 Wild Boar on Tala Wila Galge Vihare Road.
      4.26pm a Barking Deer between Kuruttupandi Villu and Kudapatessa.
      4.36pm one Elephant at Eriyakkulampooval.

      4.42pm photographed a female White-rumped Shama with a white eye ring. This abnormality looked a growth around the eye.

      4.57pm a Flapshell Turtle at Kumbuk Wila.
      5.34pm a Flaphell Turtle at Palu Kola Wala.
      6.05pm 16 Spotted Deer and one Elephant on the road at the park entrance.
      8.00pm a Small Indian Civet and two Black turtles seen at the Jungle house.
      9.17pm A Brown Wood Owl and Ceylon Frogmouth calls were heard in the night from my house at Hunuwilagama.

      Mammals – Elephant 26, Leopard, Sloth Bear, Indian Buffalo 9, Sambhur 2, Spotted Deer 129, Wild Boar 44, Barking Deer 4, Ruddy Mongoose 8, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Small Indian Civet, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Flapshell Turtle 4, Black Turtle 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      15th January 2022
      4.10am Forest Eagle Owl called a few times from the direction of the park.
      6.08am entered the park.
      12 Spotted Deer at the park entrance. I had to wait patiently as a bull elephant caused a “roadblock” at the park entrance. After some time, he moved into the forest. Mr. Thivanka Thomas had taken an image of my vehicle and the Elephant and was kind enough to share the same with me.

      6.26am a Barking Deer between Paaluwilandawa and Thammanna Wala.
      6.45am a herd of 9 Wild Buffalo and 12 Spotted Deer at the “Kukul katu Pitiya” at Maradanmaduwa.
      6.41am a Barking Deer between Thambioluwa and Maradanmaduwa.
      7.01am a Barking Deer between Borupan junction and Kumbuk Wila. 
      7.03am 12 Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      7.05am 5 more Spotted Deer at Kumbuk Wila.
      7.47am a Ruddy Mongoose Kuruttupandi upper road.
      7.58am a sounder of 8 Wild Boar at Kanjuran Villu.
      8.05am a troop of grey Langur between Kanjuran and Kaali Villu.
      9.14am 13 Spotted Deer between Kumutu Villu and Manik Wila.
      9.41am 15 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      10.15am pair of Brown-capped Babblers were foraging among the leaf litter. I whistled mimicking their “pretty dear” call.  The birds responded by flying up from the forest floor to a branch and started making their threatening calls enabling me to get a few clear images. All the species of Babblers found in the country move on the ground by hopping. This is the only species of that walks as well while foraging.

      10.20am Flapshell Turtle at Boralu Wala.

      11.09am 12 Wild Buffalo and 15 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      11.54am a herd of 52 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      12.47pm a troop of Grey Langur between Maha Wewa and Maradanmaduwa.
      1.05pm 4 Spotted Deer between Maha Wewa and Maradanmaduwa.
      1.20pm 2 Golden Jacals at Maradanmaduwa “Kukul Katu pitiya”.
      1.30pm 4 Sambhur at Humbas Wala.
      2.59pm troop of grey Langur between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa.
      3.04pm 4 Spotted Deer crossed the road between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa.
      3.06pm a herd of 8 Spotted Deer between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa.
      3.07pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Maradanmaduwa and Mahah Wewa.
      3.08pm a Lesser Adjutant and 2 Spotted Deer in the large glade just before Maha Wewa.
      3.10pm a herd of 10 Spotted Deer and a Flapshell Turtle on Maradanmaduwa Maha Wewa road.
      3.16pm a herd of 7 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      3.26pm 8 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      4.06pm a Star Tortoise at Maha Wewa glade.
      4.08pm Toque Monkey and Grey Langur troops at Maha Wewa.
      5.56pm left the park.

      Mammals – Elephant 1, Indian Buffalo 21, Sambhur 4, Spotted Deer 175, Wild Boar 8, Barking Deer 3, Golden Jackal 2, Ruddy Mongoose 2, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Small Indian Civet, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Flapshell Turtle 2, Star Tortoise 1, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      16th January 2022
      7.00am entered the park.
      7.03am 3 Spotted Deer between Kone Gaha Ela and Ranawara pitiya.
      7.45am 3 Spotted Deer between Maha Wewa and Thammanna Wala.
      7.53am 2 Spotted Deer at Divul Gas Mandiya.
      7.57am1 Buffalo between Kalagedi Bokkuwa and Palukola Wala.
      8.07am 27 Spotted Deer and one Golden Jackal at Maradanmaduwa.
      8.11am 4 more Spotted Deer at Maradanmaduwa.
      8.20am a Barking Deer between Ibba Wala and Humbas Wala.
      8.33am 5 Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      8.34am 2 more Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      8.59am 5 Spotted Deer between Mahapatessa and Eriyakkulampooval.
      9.00am a fine specimen of a Crested Hawk Eagle was perched on a dead stump and flew off as I reached Eriyakkulampooval.

      11.07am one Golden Jackal at Kuruttupandi Villu.

      11.29am an adult male Wild Boar between Nelum Wila and Panikkar Villu.
      12.20pm a troop of grey langur between illanda Motte and Manikrala Uraniya.
      12.26pm a Barking Deer between Manikrala Uraniya and Eriyakkulampooval.
      12.37pm a Ruddy Mongoose between Mahapatessa and Kumbyk Wila.
      12.57pm a Sambhur between Lunu Wewa and Borupan Wila.
      1.12pm a Spotted Deer on Kumbuk Wila upper road.
      1.28pm a sounder of 12 Wild Boar at Nelum Wila.
      3.51pm a Flapshell Turtle at Borupan Wila.
      4.10pm I watched a Crested Honey Buzzard drinking water from a puddle at Ibba Wala. Having walked up to the edge of the water the raptor would retreat with its wings up due to movements in the water. A look through the binoculars confirmed that they were caused by frogs. Eventually the bird gathered enough confidence and started to drink.

      4.13pm 2 Spotted Deer between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa.
      4.15pm 2 Ruddy Mongoose, an adult with a subadult, playing on the road between Maradanmaduwa and Maha Wewa. This is the most commonly seen species of mongoose in the park.  The Indian Grey Mongoose is not as common, and the Brown Mongoose is rarely seen. The Striped-necked Mongoose is not recorded at Wilpattu. I observed them for about 20 minutes. It was quite interesting to see this interaction between an adult and young.

      4.42pm 9 Spotted Deer and a sounder of 5 Wild Boar feeding at the edge of the glade before Maha Wewa.
      4.46pm a Black-naped Hare at Maha Wewa.
      4.57pm an adult male Wild Boar below the bund at Maha Wewa.
      4.59pm another Wild Boar at Maha Wewa.
      5.08pm 61 Spotted Deer close the bungalow at Maha Wewa.
      5.11pm 27 more Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      5.12pm 9 Wild Buffalo and 7 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      5.16pm 27 Spotted Deer at Maha Wewa.
      5.40pm 3 Spotted Deer at Ranawara Pitiya.
      5.48pm 61 Spotted Deer at the park entrance.
      5.50pm left the park.
      7.15pm Two Small Indian Civets and two Black Turtles at the feeding area at Jungle House.        
      Mammals - Indian Buffalo 1, Sambhur 1, Spotted Deer 246, Wild Boar 20, Barking Deer 2, Golden Jackal 2, Ruddy Mongoose 3, Black-naped Hare 1, Toque Monkey, Grey Langer, Small Indian Civet 2, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Flapshell Turtle 1, Black Turtle 2, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

      17th January 2022
      6.15am entered the park.
      64 Spotted Deer at the park entrance.
      6.35am 7 Spotted Deer at Galwanguwa.
      6.56am a Buffalo at Walas Wala.
      7.00pm 12 Spotted Deer at Borupan Wila.
      7.03am a Mugger Crocodile and 11 more Spotted Deer at Borupoan Wila.
      7.04am 8 Spotted Deer at Thimbiri Wila.
      7.15am a Mugger Crocodile at Kudapatessa.
      9.28am left the park.

      Mammals - Indian Buffalo 1, Spotted Deer 103, Giant Squirrel, Indian Palm Squirrel.
      Reptiles – Mugger Crocodile 2, Land Monitor, Common Garden Lizard, Low-land Kangaroo Lizard, Devaka’s Fan-throat Lizard.

       

      Birds, Butterflies & Flora observed during the field trip
      Birds – Indian Pitta, Lesser Adjutant, Painted Storks, White-necked Stork, Yellow Wattled Lapwing, Forest Eagle Owl, Brown Wood Owl, Ceylon Frog Mouth, Crested Honey Buzzard.

      Butterflies - Blue Mormon, Great Orange Tip, Red Spot Duke, Common Sailor, Lesser albatross.

      Wild Orchids – Habenaria plantaginea  (Narilatha)
      Vanda spathulate, Vanda tessellate

      Fruiting Trees - Spanish Cherry (Moonamal) Mimusops elengi

      Wildflowers –

      Aeschynomene aspera Pith Plant (E), Maha Diya Siyambala (S)
      Asystasia gangetica Chinese Violet (E), Puruk (S)
      Bacopa monnieri Waterhyssop (E), Lunu-wila (S)
      Bauhinia tomentosa Yellow Orchid Tree (E) Yellow Bell Bauhinia (E) Kaha Pethan (S)
      Cadaba trifoliate Indian Cadaba, Ira Wara (S)
      Canavalia virosa Sword Bean (E) Jack Bean (E) Mudu Awara (S)
      Carissa spinarum Bush Plum (E) Conkerberry (E), Heen Karamba (s)
      Cassia fistula Golden Shower Tree (E) Ehela (S)
      Crotalaria laburnifolia Bird Flower (E) Yak-beriya (S)
      Crotalaria medicaginea Trefoil Rattlepod (E), Adanahiriya (S)
      Crotalaria verrucosa Blue Rattlepod (E) Nil Andanahiriya (S)
      Dopatrium nudicaule Small Horsefly’s Eye (E) Heen Bim Savan (S)
      Eriocaulon sp Pipeworts (E) Kok Mota (S)
      Evolvulus alsinoides Dwaf Morning Glory (E) Vishnu-kranti (S)
      Gloriosa superba Flame Lily (E) Glory Lily (E) Niyangala (S)
      Gmelina asiatica Asiatic Bushbeech (Demata) (S)
      Hibiscus eriocarpus Maple-leaved Mallow (E) Kapukinissa (S) Wal Wada (S)
      Hibiscus micranthus Tiny Flower Hibiscus (E) Bebila (S)
      Ixora coccinea Flame of the Forest (E) Rath Mal (S)
      Leucas biflora Two Flowered Leucas (E) Geta Thumba (S)
      Murdannia spirata Asiatic Dewflower (E) Thana Pala (S)
      Pentapetes phoenicea Scarlet Mallow (E) Bandu-vada (S)
      Plumbago zeylanica Ceylon Leadwort (E) Wild Plumbago(E) Ela Nithol(S)
      Senna auriculata Tanners Cassia (Ranawara)
      Sida cuneifolia Toothbrush Bush (E), Dath Kuru Bavila (S)
      Osbeckia zeylanica Ceylon Osbeckia (E) Lanka Bovitiya (S)
      Crossandra infundibuliformis Firecracker Flower (E)