Sri Lanka 11th & 12th - Buddhist Temple & Sinharaja

White-breasted Kingfisher
 
A fair day today. Bandala and I are off to Sri Dharmapala Aranya Senasanaya, a Buddhist temple several kilometres downstream from Deniyaya, opposite the Lumbini Tea Factory. We left the car and walked up the trail to the Temple. It was quite open to start with and then we were surrounded by Rain Forest. Birds were few and far between to start with but a troop of Purple-faced Langurs performed well.


Purple-faced Langur

 I was stopping every few seconds to peer into the gloom searching for Spot-winged and Sri Lanka Thrushes. Unsuccessfully I might add. Dusky-striped Jungle Squirrel was the best thing seen on the walk up. Once within the boundary of the temple we took our shoes off and complied with the local customs associated with the temple. Again I felt humbled as the Monks, with basically nothing, made an amazing lunch of Dahl, curried Banana, Chicken curry and various spicy vegetables.
Every visitor was offered food, even the multitude of stray dogs were given food and water. The temple also had a group of Toque Macaques that took advantage of the situation.

Toque Macaque, Sri Dharmapala Aranya Senasanaya
 
I was not allowed to take any photographs of the temple. It is built on several level of the mountain and it is immaculate. A few Asian Brown Flycatchers were venturing around the trees, A Sri Lanka Drongo was heard singing. There were a lot of insects, especially Butterflies such as Blue Mormon and Sri Lanka Tree Nymph, Dragonflies and a flying Stick Insect longer than my forearm!!
I did get a few pictures of the peculiar Cannonball flower and the idyllic swimming pool halfway up the mountain stream.
Cannonball. Named for the fruit which is the same size, shape...and weight as the afore mentioned object

Temple Pool
 
As we headed back down the mountain to Temple Road we noticed an increase in birdlife, especially thrushes with no less than 3 Spot-winged Thrushes and a Sri Lanka Thrush seen.


Spot-winged Thrush
A short walk west along the Temple Road gave Sri Lanka Spur Fowl, Yellow-faced Barbet, Emerald Dove, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill and Giant Squirrel.
 Alexandrine Parakeet
 Black-hooded Oriole
 female Scarlet Minivet

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 Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill
 Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot
Square-tailed Bulbul
Yellow-faced Barbet
Orchid sp.
 
The 12th started out as a glorious day. Lizards lounged, birds sang, I snored...apparently (news to me!). We were off to Sinharaja this afternoon. Lots of clouds around which could spell trouble later.
My iridescent alarm clock, Peter the Pitta, was in good voice and we even "chatted" when I imitated his call and he responded. Sorry Peter, strictly "Butter Side Up".

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Indian Pitta
 
Gorgeous George the friendly Green Forest Lizard.
 
I took a short walk before lunch and came up with Brown Wood Owl, Besra, Legge's and Changeable Hawk Eagle, Crested Honey Buzzard, Brown-capped Babbler and Green Warbler.

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 Indian Robin, male
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Indian Robin, female / 1st winter


Oriental Magpie Robin
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Scaly-breasted Munia
White-breasted Kingfisher
 
The afternoon came and off we went to the top of the, extremely productive, Enasalwaththa Rd in Sinharaja. It absolutely poured down to the point where I could not use my cameras. Added to this was the fact that we were also well above the cloud base. This meant that everything still got wet. It was my last time up here so I was not going to waste it, even though we spent the first hour in the car keeping dry.
Even though I could get no photographs I decided to walk down along the road to the forest edge. It was awesome. At least 3 large flocks of Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Orange-billed Babbler, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Sri Lanka Frogmouth, Sri Lanka Thrush, Spot Winged Thrush, Dull-blue Flycatchers and Indian Blue Robin. All in the pouring rain. I think this allowed me to get quite close to some of the birds. We finished off with 2 Jungle Nightjars on way down the mountain.
Sinharaja, Enasalwaththa rd
 Gecko sp
A very pregnant Kangaroo Lizard
 

It's my last full day in Sri Lanka on 13th and it won't go to waste. Look out for the penultimate Sri Lanka post. Coming soon.
 
 
 






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