The Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) has dedicated year 2014 to the value of “Island Biodiversity”. Sri Lanka is already recognised as one of the biodiversity hotspot of the world and being an island (along with India’s Western Ghats) has helped higher concentrations of endemic. Starting the FOGSL lecture series under the theme “Birds of Sri Lanka: Splendor of Island Biodiversity” prof.Devaka Weerakoontalked about why Island biodiversity is important, how Sri Lanka became a Biodiversity Hotspot and need to take action to conserve our threatened biodiversity.
FOGSL arranged a special birding trip to mark the even of World Wetland Day 2014. The Anawilundawa Ramsar Wetland which is an important habitat for Wetland Birds has been the main destination of the tour. Following are some moments captured during this trip. Photo credit to Ajith Gamage and Sujeeva Gunasena.
Not only birds, but insects too migrate. Dr.Michael Van der Poorten delivered the MigrantWATCH lecture in January on this theme.
The new year 2014 has been dedicated to Small Island Nations. Inline with this, the Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) has selected “Island Biodiversity” as its theme of the 2014 . Been an island, Sri Lanka is home for many unique species. The theme ‘Island Biodiversity’ is more relevant to Sri lanka. Birds of Sri Lanka too is an important part of the country’s biodiversity and perhaps the most interesting group of animals due to their attraction and their presence even on busy urban areas.
Hence FOGSL will align its 2014 programs under the theme “Birds of Sri Lanka: Splendour of Island Biodiversity”.
To start 2014 FOGSL invited all to Welcome the New Year listening to the ‘Dawn Chorus’ compose by Nature’s Musicians.
Following is an article published on Sri Lanka’s most popular English Newspaper – The SundayTimes taking the message to a wider audience..
In the soft dawn of a New Year, a sweet sound will steal your heart
By Malaka Rodrigo
For the many preparing to see in 2014 to the booming sound of rock bands and firecrackers the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka has a counter-proposal: welcome the dawn of the New Year to the sweet sound of the dawn chorus. Birds are nature’s wonderful songsters and they sing every morning to welcome the day but their songs mostly go unnoticed due to our busy lifestyle. With all their skills, musicians and composers who have been inspired by the charms of birdsong have not been able to emulate the perfection of Nature’s melody.
Says FOGSL, there’s no better way to see in the New Year than by listening to our birds singing their dawn chorus, but if January 1 is disturbed by the sounds of crackers and you are feeling too sleepy from late-night partying to wake up in time to hear the birds, select any day of the first week of 2014 and listen to nature’s symphony to remind yourself of the need to be closer to nature.
If you listen to the dawn chorus in your area regularly you will notice changes in the melody as some birds intensify their singing during the breeding season. The best example is the well-known songster, the Asian Koel (koha), who starts singing its beautiful song to attract its mate around April.
The Oriental Magpie Robin (polkichcha) is another common songster that enriches the dawn chorus by singing from the highest point in the area. The birds start the day around 4:30-5 a.m. Get up early before sunrise and keep listening!
Northern parts of Sri Lanka has been declared as a unique avi-fauna zone with several bird species found only in these areas. Some of the star migrants such as Greater Flamingo are now mainly inhabit areas in Jaffna and Mannar; so it is indeed a unique birding experience. Vimukthi Weeratunga: well known photographer and environmental activist has delivered the 4th lecture under the MigrantWATCH program on December.