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WEATHER: very hot and humid all day.

After breakfast we said goodbye to our lovely lake-side hotel near Tissamaharama but not before logging a few species in the gardens such as: Brown-headed Barbet, Asian Palm Swift, Imperial Green Pigeon, Rose-ringed Parakeet, Common Myna and the ubiquitous Red-vented Bulbul.

Our transfer time was 3 hours but we planned to stop along the way and search for one or two species. As we passed Bundala National Park we stopped at a roadside lake which forms a buffer-zone around the park and is protected. It was full of birds.

The Bundala Pool where we recorded 31 species

In the brief time we searched the lily covered lake we listed 31 species of birds! Including two new and exciting species for our list………..Little Grebe and Common Moorhen!!

Glossy Ibis - taken by Tony Moore

We had sightings of a very close Glossy Ibis, the first we had seen on the ground, also better views of many storks, egrets, herons and some waders.

Waterhen - taken by Tony Moore

We then made three or four short stops to search for the Cotton Pygmy-Goose in lily-covered roadside pools. We never found one though, but we did see more Little Grebes and plenty of repeat sighting of jacanas, Gallinules, Pond Herons and egrets.

Purple Heron taken by Tony Moore

After checking into our last hotel of the trip we took lunch, Even though a strong sea-breeze was blowing it was very hot and humid down there on the south coast. We waited until 3pm before setting off for an afternoon birding session.

a very large Water Monitor - by Tony Moore

The marshes near Matara are another venue which I love to visit and even though we are coming to the end of the trip there are still species out there that would be new for us. The Black Bittern is one of them, we searched every available habitat as we walked along the main track. Dammi our guide found both Yellow Bittern and then Cinnamon Bittern but not the Black version.

Yellow Bittern from Tony Moore

Pheasant-tailed Jacana - by Tony Moore

Hundreds of birds filled the marshes especially large flocks of Lesser Whistling Duck and the usual abundance of Cattle Egrets. Waterhens and Gallinules dashed amongst the vegetation and many birds flitted around the bushes. We had great views of Pied Kingfishers, Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Black-hooded Oriole and fleeting views of a male Asian Paradise Flycatcher.

Black-hooded Oriole - a great picture taken by Tony Moore

We searched open pools for Garganey, Dammi saw a small group of them in flight, but we were too far behind him to see them as they dropped into the marsh. Both Fish and Sea Eagles flew over, causing many birds to take to the air the Whistling Duck were especially skittish.

my personal 'Sherpa' carrying my scope!

The heat and the humidity finally got to us, it really was overpowering, it was hard to take a deep breath at times. We walked back slowly and caught the bus back to the hotel, that was our last official birding session of the tour. Tomorrow, we have our Whale and Dolphin watching cruise to look forward to, another very early start on the way.