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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