TRANSFER FROM NUWARA TO SINHARAJA MAGPIE LODGE – WITH A STOP AT SURREY BIRD RESERVE AND SINHARAJA VISITOR’S CENTRE
ATER 3 DAYS WITHOUT WFi WE ARE BACK IN THE LAND OF THE LIVING
WEATHER: a bright sunny day, temperature ranging from 11C – 30C
We spent most of the day travelling but we made a few stops to break up the journey. Before we even set off we made a pre-breakfast trip to a local site to look for Sri Lanka Thrush (formerly Scaly Thrush). An hour out in the pre-dawn forest proved to be fruitless task as we saw zilch of the Thrush, not many other species either.
After a lovely breakfast we set off for Sinharaja, it was along tedious journey but we made a couple of excellent stops and few impromptu ones too. The first official stop after an hour on the road was at the Hotel complex called Surrey Bird Reserve. The Hotel is situated in a large woodland and that is where we headed. It is a regular stop for birding groups and one where the Brown Wood Owl can be confidently seen.
Our walk was punctuated by many short stops we saw a good variety of Flycatchers including: Dull-blue, Asian Brown, Grey-headed Canary and the White-browed Fantail Flycatcher. Also on the menu was Scimitar Babbler, Brown-headed Barbet, Forest Wagtail and several common species. The Owl of course was the star of the show and our two photographers Nigel and Rob were besides themselves with joy!!
a picture of the whole of this magnificent Brown Owl - taken by Nigel Bleaken
We made a few sudden stops to look at raptors, Serpent Hawk Eagle and White-bellied Sea Eagle showed well, we also saw Woolly-necked Stork a couple of times, once high up on the thermals and once perched in a roadside tree. We also saw Cattle & Great Egrets, Open-billed Stork and Little Swifts.
does my bum look big in this fur coat: Dusky Striped Squirrel
Other stops produced a number of butterflies, yet to be named and a lunch stop was welcomed where tea and coffee and vegetable curry rolls were enjoyed.
Our arrival at Sinharaja Visitor’s centre was around 4pm, it had been a long drive but that was soon forgotten because in the car park we found a star bird, the Sri Lanka Blue Magpie. What a stunner, with ridiculous colours, a combination of red, brown and blue.
the gaudy looking Blue Magpie
At the Blue Magpie Hotel we sat on our balcony drinking a cold beer watching the world go by, aaaahh! We saw Yellow-fronted Barbet, Hanging Parrot, Leyard’s Parakeet, Grey Hornbill, White-bellied Drongo, Tailorbird and a few others.
another full-bird picture taken by Nigel Bleaken
We called the bird log on the balcony at 7pm before going down for a relaxing dinner.