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First days birding in Sri Lanka

Before our tour in Sri Lanka officially started we had a couple of days to settle in and explore a few areas around Negombo north of Colombo, the capital. Our hotel was right on the beach and the sunsets were very spectacular as the fishing fleet returned to the harbour.

Sunset at Ranweli

It wasn't long before we caught up with one of the more colourful characters around the area. What did Bee-eaters do before telegraph wires?

Blue tailed Bee eater

Blue-tailed Bee-eater

We joined up with local guide Chaminda Dilruk for a day's birding and he took us to some beautiful wetlands just north of Negombo. Ruth had missed Pheasant-tailed Jacana when we were birding in Gujarat in November so she was very pleased to catch up with so many of these gorgeous birds here.

Pheasant tailed Jacana

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

We continued north until we reached some saltpans near Puttalam, a very odd-looking area but absolutely heaving with birds.

Saltpans at Puttalam

The thatched huts are used to store salt once it has been collected from the pans. These shallows provide a haven for millions of waders, cormorants and egrets.

Birds at the saltpans

Alan could have spent weeks here, slowly working his way through the wader flocks. Some were pretty distant but some came close enough to be photographed including this Terek Sandpiper.

Terek Sandpiper

Terek Sandpiper

In the bushes beside the track, we also caught up with this White-throated Silverbill.

White throated Silverbill

White-throated Silverbill

We were on the edge of a huge lagoon here which must be very fish-rich if this catch drying out in the sun is anything to go by.

Fish drying

Chaminda didn't just show us birds though, he also introduced us to some of the other Sri Lankan wildlife, including this Star Tortoise. You have to be surprisingly quick to catch a wild tortoise in a photograph though!

Chaminda and the Star Tortoise

Chaminda making friends with a Star Tortoise

Watch this space for more photos of our 10-day endemic clean-up tour in the wonderful country of Sri Lanka.....


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