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WEATHER: quite cloudy but very hot and humid for most the day.

The actual Tour started today at 8am after the group's arrival yesterday afternoon. We all met for breakfast at 7am and except for Denis (the menace) Cooper we were all packed and ready to board the bus at 8am. A few birds had been noted in the grounds such as White-bellied Drongo, Yellow-billed Babbler, Common Myna,Spotted Dove, House Crow and the two Collared Scops Owls we found yesterday were roosting in their usual place this morning.

Our journey to Kithulgala took about 3 hours, we made several stops along the way to look at marshes, rice paddies and mountain birds. The first two stops produced a lot of new sightings as we expected them to.

Plain Prinia

Both Ashy and Plain Prinias were seen, also Red-wattled Lapwing, Chinese Pond Heron, Cattle and little Egrets, Grey Heron, Black-headed Ibis, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Ashy Woodswallow, Barn Swallow, Scaly Munia, White-breasted Waterhen, Little Cormorant, Brahminy Kite, Red-vented Bulbul and several more.

Red-vented Bulbul

A Shikra flew across the road in front of the bus, we had two or three sightings of Crested Serpent- Eagles and saw Sri Lankan Swallow (an endemic species) and a Brown Shrike.

Malabar Grey Hornbill taken in the garden of our hotel in Kithulgala

It was 11:30am when we arrived at our new hotel, where we will be staying for the next two nights, we explored the grounds a little bit before our 12:30 lunch.

the viuew from the garden in front of our room.

We only added a few species to the list because we spent a lot of our time admiring the view of the River Koilloni (where part of the film “The Bridge over the River Kwai” was filmed. We heard a lot more birds than we actually saw.

Common Jezebel

Lots of butterflies wee zipping arounds us but many of them failed to settle and refused to reveal their names. We saw Common Leopard, Common Jezebel and Tailed Jay.

Dark Cerulean

On the river we only added Little Cormorant, Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Asian Palm Swift and a fly-over Little Egret.

After lunch we drove down through the town and visited an area popular with birders near the Police Station. After watching our first Emerald Dove we bumped into a small group of birders that was watching an Indian Pitta, wow! That was nice to see.

the Indian Pitta was deep in the forest and refused to show us its profile which is the most colourful

We spent the rest of the afternoon looking for a Chestnut-backed Owlet! Up and down dale we roamed and eventually we heard the little blighter but it never showed. We did add a few more buirds to the list and we also sat in some guy’s yard drinking tea out of china cups! How bizarre was that!

Tickell's Blue Flycatcher taken by Tony Moore in very poor light

We had great views of Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, we saw Yellow-browed Bulbul and a Banded-bay Cuckoo sat in the open for us. A Giant Squirrel was a nice find and more butterflies dashed by.

another shot taken by Tony in really bad light - Banded Bay Cuckoo

Giant Squirrel taken by Tony Moore

Just as we got back to our hotel our guide, Dammi, received a call telling him that the Owlet was showing, but most of the group were too hot and too tired to return so we left it for another day.