TAMARIND TREE RETREAT - LOCAL LAKE - EURO STAR HOTEL
WEATHER: hot and humid all day. Temp 26 -30C
another pre-tour day in sunny Sri lanka proved to be excellent in many ways. Dawn and I had the morning to ourselves before I went to the airport with Jith (our ground agent) to meet the arriving group.
It was light at 6am. not that I witnessed it, but I was told by Jith. It was from 7am that I sat out on the veranda watching many of the same birds that I saw yesterday. In fact, bird-life wasn't very active at that time in the morning.
We went to breakfast at 8am and it was 9am when we set out for a walk around the grounds for the second time. I We had some great views of the Black-hooded Oriole, also the Lesser Flameback Wodpeckers and I added Brown-headed Barbet to the list.
We left the resort around 10am and walked about 1/2 mile along a busy road to the Euro Star Hotel. I know this hotel from previous visits and I also know that the Collared Scops Owl is often seen there. I found a female Asian Koel whilst searching the trees in the car park, I couldn't find a Scops Owl so we gave and began to walk away. A garden worker then came over to us and ask if we would like to see the owl!! He took to a aplm tree and there was a Collared Scops Owl staring down at us. Shazam!! In the bag!!
On the way back we watched a few birds around the pool, Little Egret, Great Egret (3), a Little Cormorant and a Blue-tailed Bee-eater. They were all distant and I never had my scope with me, so no pictures as such. All three birds are shown in the picture above - can you spot the Bee-eater?
At 1:30pm I returned to the aiprort to meet the group arriving from London, all went well after changing money, buying sim cards etc etc.
After settling into their rooms I met up the group at 3:30pm for a stroll around the grounds. We had a great time and saw a lot of birds including a few that I had not seen so far. All the usual suspects turned up for the afternoon show, Yellow-billed Babbler, White-bellied Drongo, Spotted-necked Dove, House Crow, Black-hooded Oriole, Purple-rumped and Purple Sunbirds, Asian Koel and Common Myna.
Black-hooded Oriole - taken by Tony Moore
Crimson Rose - Tony Moore
A walk along the cyle track produced more sightings, we found Brown-headed Barbet and then our first endemic species the Crimson-fronted Barbet, wow, that is a colourful bird!
the Crimson-fronted Barbet is half the size of its Brown-headed cousin - picture by Tony Moore
We caught up with a few butterflies too, the Crimson Rose is shown above, we also saw White Four-spot, Lesser Grass Blue, Three-spot Grass Yellow, Lemon Emigrant and the Pysche (which looks and flies just like the Wood White in the UK).
Lesser Grass Blue
We then hit a purple patch with sightings of three Lesser Goldenback Woodpeckers, White-throated Kingfisher, Greater Coucal, more good views of Barbets and Drongos.
White-throated Kingfisher - by Tony Moore
It was, yet again, a member of the gardening staff that showed us where some Collared Scops Owls were roosting, we had great views of a pair of them. Our last 'new' bird of the afternoon was the Green Imperial Pigeon and then the Kingfisher turned up again.
Collared Scops Owl - by Tony Moore
Greater Coucal collecting nesting material
Brown-headed Barbet taken by Tony Moore
After dinner Dawn and I saw a Red-wattled Lapwing walking on ther grass by our cabin.