Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Sri Lanka November/December 2015 Part 9 Kirinda and surrounds

In part 6 of my Sri Lanka blog I recounted my first 24 hours in an around the Kirinda Beach Resort Hotel. It has been a bit of a "birdfest". Having finally arrived at what I hoped would be the highlight stop, bird wise at any rate, of the trip I had gone mad in a photographic orgy snapping everything in sight.
Of course you soon find things slowing down. 
Some birds were always around, this was their territory. Paddyfield Pipit were numerous.
Well I'm assuming Paddyfield anyway.


Tiny little Zitting Cisticola were also easily spotted.
Up in the air there were Asian Palm Swift and Barn Swallow. I don't know where the Palm Swift land, certainly not with the Swallows.
The Swallows had little photographic appeal as I see them all the time. The Palm Swift were ignored as it's too frustrating trying to track them in flight with a heavy lens.
No if I was looking for something a bit easier the Black-winged Stilt offered an opportunity.
Trying to capture the perfect shot leaves plenty of opportunity as I'm a long way from getting there.
If I got fed up with the Stilts there was always the Cattle Egrets too.
but they are so numerous you tend to overlook them until you get home and then you realise they are actually quite a handsome bird.
There were plenty of Prinias about.
Plain Prinia particularly.
Then there were these too which I think are Jungle Prinia.
Do correct me if I'm wrong though.
Now and again something new appeared on the scene.
The not so Common Iora!
No, it was back to photographing Stilts.
Suddenly I spotted a bird land in distant bushes. A female Cuckoo for sure, but I couldn't be sure what species. My initial hopes were Lesser Cuckoo although as of then I had yet to see a Grey-bellied one .
The mystery was solved once and for all a couple of days later.
I walked around the corner to be confronted by this scene.
The Cuckoo flew to some wire fencing giving clearer views of a grey belly.
Further along the path I found another. very close to where I had been photographing the Stilts.
They were obviously a pair.
I had spotted Pied Cuckoo several times but always distantly.
The one chance for a close up I blew as I wasn't prepared when I suddenly came across one.
Frustratingly I had flushed it as I walked the path and this was the closest I was to get.
Something to go back for then!
I wandered off towards the mud flats on several occasions but after a couple of days without torrential the mud wasn't quite as bad. Carefully watching my footing I got quite close to the large flock of Pacific Golden Plover.
I even managed to get closer to the Purple Heron that usually flew the minute anything moved any where close to it.
Purple Heron   Sri Lanka
While out on the flats I spotted a totally new bird , the Ashy-crowned Sparrow Lark, a lifer.
Delighted with my find it made up for the state of my sandals which were near ruined!
I decided to head back to the hotel as it was getting brighter and hotter in the sun. As I approached the hotel entrance I spotted some Indian Robins up the side path. Ah why not? I'll have a go at them again.
I never did get to photograph them, instead I was distracted by movement in the tree above.
Two days after the Yala trip.
I wish our guide could see this now!
The conditions were challenging, the sky above very bright.
But this bird was so obliging I had ages to mess around with various camera settings.
trying to get the best out of the situation.
Believe it or not I left the bird to it and returned to the hotel. 
but I was really delighted with my Blue-faced Malkoha.
Of course the following day we went to Bundala and the resulting disappointment, but that's what it's all about. The highs and lows.Without them you wouldn't get the excitement so you have to be prepared for failure too but not on that particular day!

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