Lost Geordie On Tour - Sri Lanka

Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Tissa Lake, Tissamaharama
After much deliberation and chewing of nails I decided that I needed a holiday. A chat with two birding friends pointed me in the direction of Sri Lanka. Good choice.
I had intended to have a three centre holiday but my stay near Kandy fell through so I missed out on a few target birds such as Kashmir Flycatcher and Pied Thrush. However, the places I did stay were amazing. Some of the friendliest people and best cooks! you could ever hope to meet. I booked the flight and first hotel via Experia.com. The flights were with Emirates with a stop in Dubai each way. I cannot praise Emirates enough. Professional, attentive, friendly and smiling cabin crew, some very good food (yeah! I know, it took me by surprise too.), and enough in flight entertainment to keep anyone happy. I would definitely fly Emirates again.
Dubai birding was tough for the time I had. The only available time was during the bus transfer for the outbound connecting flight. My Dubai list consists of a huge 9 species. All seen from the bus. Woodchat Shrike, Common Myna, Collared Dove, Indian Silverbill, Palm Dove, Hoopoe, Bank Myna, Namaqua Dove and Barn Swallow. It's a start.
The first hotel was the Hotel River Front in Tissamaharama (Tissa from now on).
Hotel River Front, Tissamaharama

 This is a family owned & run hotel which backs onto the local river. The hotel staff were amazing from the cook (managers mum) to the owner, who, incidentally, picked me up from the airport, north of Colombo, and drove me 5 hours to the hotel.
The term "Drove" is used for simplicity. Sri Lanka drivers make those in Rome seem positively pedestrian.
I arrived at the hotel at 9pm and immediately went to bed with a whole congregation of neighbours and friends stopping to say hello & goodbye. Often these are said in the same sentence.
Most moth and insect sightings will be kept till the end of the trip. It will take me a while to discover what they are. 
Went to sleep to the sound of Cicadas, Crickets and Indian Scops Owl.
November 3rd- Up at the crack of dawn. Just getting acquainted with the local wildlife this morning and a trip to the local Tanks ( massive man made reservoirs over 1000 years old) on the books post lunch.
As I sat outside my room I had my first Sri Lankan mammal & woodpecker. The mammal was the irrepressible and common Palm Squirrel and the woodpecker a rather bedraggled Black-rumped Flameback. Other early birds showed their, soon to be very familiar, faces. Yellow-billed Babbler, Common Myna and House Crow. Other morning birds included Asian Koel, Oriental White-eye, Pale-billed Flowerpecker and White-browed Bulbul.
 Black-rumped Flameback
Yellow-billed Babbler
Pale-billed Flowerpecker
Asian Koel (female)
Oriental White-eye
White-browed Bulbul

Other birds noted were Purple & Purple-rumped Sunbirds, Sykes Warbler and Brown-headed Barbet.
At 2pm a driver and jeep arrived to take me birding around "Tissa Tanks".
At Tissa Lake it took a while to take in what I was seeing. White-breasted Kingfishers, Red-wattled Lapwings, Oriental Darter, Little Cormorant, Herons and lots of them. A White-bellied Sea Eagle, Purple Gallinule and Lesser Tree Duck. Mammals were represented by the massive colony of Flying Foxes.
White-bellied Sea Eagle, Tissa Lake
White-breasted Waterhen
Grey-headed Swamphen
Oriental Darter
Black-headed Ibis
Spot-billed Pelican
Flying Fox. Almost 2 meters wingtip to wingtip. Vegetarian thank goodness.
We then followed a track to Debarawewa Lake where there were even more Herons and Egrets. It was getting late and thousands of birds could be seen heading to their roosts. Pick of the bunch were Black Bittern, Sri Lanka Woodshrike, Cotton Pygmy Goose and Tailorbird.

Black-headed Munia
Purple Heron, Debarawewa Lake
Lots more to follow!



  1. Nice and Interesting Post.
    It is valuable for traveler.
    Really Sri Lanka is the famous travel destinations.
    Thanks for sharing !
    Holidays in Sri Lanka


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