Archive | November, 2016

Isabelline Wheatear – rare winter migrant

22 Nov

Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina) is a rare winter visitor to Sri Lanka. Susa Weerappuli shares the photo of a female Desert Wheatear spotted in Yala National Park on 14th November 2016.

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Rare migratory night heron found exhausted

20 Nov

Published on SundayTimes on 20.11.2016 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/161120/news/rare-night-heron-found-exhausted-217581.html

A Malayan night heron, a rare migrant bird, appeared in a garden in Thimbirigasyaya this week, spotted by Rajini Jayawardena who lives in Siripa Road last Sunday night.

“It was a relatively large bird and was in the garden, hidden in the darkness. It didn’t fly away even when we went closer to it so I was worried about whether the bird was injured,” Ms. Jayawardena said.

The Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL), based at the University of Colombo, was alerted and its MigrantWATCH team identified the bird as a Malayan night heron, which visits the country around this time.

As there were no visible injuries, the team believed the bird was exhausted and disoriented by its long flight of more than 2000 miles and decided to let it recover by itself.

Ms. Jayawardena kept a watchful eye on the heron to keep it safe from cats, crows and other predators. When even by Tuesday the bird did not show any improvement FOGSL decided to capture it and give it a check-up.

Dr. Sampath Seneviratne, who took care of the bird, said it had no injuries – it was simply exhausted. After receiving some first aid, the night heron was released to a better habitat in a Colombo suburban area.

Bird migration is in full swing with star migrants such as the greater flamingo flocking in their thousands in lagoons in the Jaffna peninsula, according to Janaka Bandara, who photographed these birds.

Global conservation giant meets in LankaThe Global Council of BirdLife International, the world’s largest partnership of conservation organisations with partners in more than 120 countries and territories, meets in Sri Lanka this week.

The organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Patricia Zurita, said the meeting in Sri Lanka will contain important discussions. BirdLife Global Council’s local partner is the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOGSL), represented by Professor Sarath Kotagama.

The public will have a chance to meet BirdLife International’s members and representatives of its Asian partners at the BirdLife Asian Partnership Bird Fair being held today from 7am-5.30pm at the Thalawathugoda Biodiversity Study Park located near the Kimbulawela end of the Japan-Sri Lanka Friendship Road. The event is free and more information can be obtained from http://www.birdfair2016.wordpress.com.

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VIP migrants find haven in Colombo wetlands

17 Nov

Published on SundayTimes on 13.11.2016 http://www.sundaytimes.lk/161113/news/vip-migrants-find-haven-in-colombo-wetlands-216983.html

This is the bird migration season and the remaining wetlands around Colombo are attracting some special migrant birds, particularly in the wetlands around Thalawathugoda.

While testing his new camera, Erich Joseph was lucky to capture the comb duck in a spot close to the Sri Jayewardenepura Hospital. This is a rare migrant and the sighting in our capital city indicates the importance of protecting the remaining wetland habitat in Colombo and its suburbs.

Another migrant, the glossy ibis, has also taken refuge in the Thalawathugoda wetlands. Rishani Gunasinghe, who managed to photograph a small flock of these birds, says that although they look a dull black at a distance, light shining on their feathers brings out their real beauty.

The comb duck

The glossy ibis

RIP Pitta

16 Nov

Udaya Karunaratne on 15.11.2016 reported an Indian Pitta that got slammed into a glass window and got critically injured. It is common that disoriented Indian Pittas and many other species of migrants hit on windows. It is adviced to switch off / dim the lights at night if birds continue to hit on your window. ‘What a pity’ sighs Udaya.

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Malayan Night Heron rescued from Thimbirigasyaya

15 Nov

On Sunday, Bhathiya Senanayake reported to MigrantWATCH team that an unusual bird was presence on his neighbor Ms.Rajini Jayawardena’s garden. They said that bird seems to be injured. Getting down a photo of the bird, MigrantWATCH team identified that the bird is a Malayan Night Heron which is a rare migrant to Sri Lanka. This is the time they arrive the country, so it is assessed the best option to look at the bird where it live.

As the bird didn’t move, MigrantWATCH team made a visit to the bird. Since the habitat was not ideal for the Malayan Night Heron, it is decided to relocate it in a better habitat closer to a wetland. The bird was taken to the University of Colombo and due to release tonight (15.11.2016).

http://gossip.hirufm.lk/12056/2016/11/malayan-nithe-seron.html

Dancing beauties in Thalawathugoda Wetlands

13 Nov

Glossy Ibis – the fairly rare black beauties among the winter migrants – seem to have grown fond of the organic paddy fields of Talawatugoda, reports Rishani Gunasinghe.

The number has increased to 4 since one was first sighted here a couple of weeks ago. A pair has also been observed to be roosting in the Parliament lake by Mr. Will Duncan. Noon to Late afternoon is the best time to see them and observe the vibrant colors on their feathers, but do be careful not to come too close, as they seem to get quite easily disturbed by human presence. The best way to observe them is from a vehicle if they are on a paddy field near the road, or by sitting silently at the edge of the walking track. If you don’t disturb them, they will go on feeding, flying from paddy field to paddy field, They might even take a bath and spread their beautiful wings out to dry, rewarding you with some quite special shutter chances. 

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Opening my front door to a pitta..!!

13 Nov

FOGSL Member Will Duncan shares his excitement on seeing migratory Indian Pitta at doorstep of his own house..!!

“Pittas, sometimes referred to as the jewels of the forest, are keenly sought after by birdwatchers around the world. Absent in Europe and the Americas, birdwatchers from these continents spend hours, days or even weeks hunting for these elusive, beautiful, enigmatic and simply awesome birds. We in Sri Lanka are lucky to have one of these jewels the Indian Pitta as a visitor between the months of October and May. But that doesn’t mean they are easy to see!

At about 5pm on 17th October, the fairly familiar sound of purple-faced leaf monkeys galloping over our rooftop in Thalawathugoda interrupted my daughters violin practice and I decided to open the front door to see if they stayed. They hadn’t but my attention was drawn to a pair of red-vented bulbuls low down in a palm about 2 metres from my front door…but only for a second as my gaze fell to the floor below, and the ‘jewel’ that just stood there, looking at me.

I froze, literally frightened it would go before the rest of the family could share this experience, before I could grab my camera to record this event I had been hoping for since moving to Colombo 3 years ago. I whisper-shouted to my daughter and the pitta stayed. I grabbed my camera and the pitta stayed. It stayed, actively feeding and hopping around the palms and bushes just outside my front door until darkness fell. The bird was gone by morning. Having spent days, hours and almost weeks myself searching for pittas in Thailand, Malaysia, Borneo and the Philippines, actually opening my front door to a pitta was extraordinary and I will never forget it. Neither will my jealous birding friends from the UK!”

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