Layard’s Parakeet and Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Ella, April 24th-25th

Little Adam's Peak, near Ella, Sri Lankan highlands. Extensively deforested and replanted with tea and non-native tree species, the area is nonetheless fairly rich in bird life.
Little Adam’s Peak, near Ella, Sri Lankan highlands. Extensively deforested and replanted with tea and non-native tree species, the area is nonetheless fairly rich in bird life.

We rounded off our three-week Sri Lanka trip with a couple of days in the highlands, based in the small town of Ella, where I was hoping to add a few of the higher-altitude endemics to my list. On arrival, the landscape initially looked rather unpromising, with no original forest to be seen, extensive tea plantations, and non-native trees including the dreaded Eucalyptus much in evidence.

However, as it turned out I was pleasantly surprised by the number and variety of birds – including several endemic species – that were in the area. In just two days I recorded 61 bird species, most of them within a short walk of our guesthouse, Ella Nature View Lodge.

Chestnut-headed Bee-eater near its nest site along the Ella railway line.
Chestnut-headed Bee-eater near its nest site along the Ella railway line.

Highlights:

  • Layard’s Parakeet – two pairs seen.
  • Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot – excellent views of a pair.
  • Yellow-crowned Barbet – common.
  • Crimson-fronted Barbet – fairly common.
  • Coppersmith Barbet – several.
  • Brown-headed Barbet – common.
  • Sri Lanka Junglefowl – commonly heard, seen once.
  • Common Hawk-cuckoo – heard only.
  • Black Eagle – two.
  • Booted Eagle – one, presumably late passage bird.
  • Crested Serpent Eagle – common.
  • Oriental Honey Buzzard – common.
  • Yellow-crowned Woodpecker – pair near our hotel.
  • Lesser Yellownape – one in trees along railway.
  • Black-rumped Flameback – fairly common.
  • Black-headed Cuckooshrike – one.
  • Asian Paradise-Flycatcher – several including a long-tailed male.
  • Indian Robin – several pairs in rocky areas.
  • Hill Myna – one.
  • Ashy Prinia – several on territory near hotel.
  • Sri Lanka White-eye – fairly common.
  • Small Minivet – fairly common.
  • White-browed Fantail – fairly common.
  • Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike – several.
  • Sri Lanka Swallow – common.
  • Indian Scimitar-Babbler – several along railway.
  • Tawny-bellied Babbler – fairly common.
  • Yellow-eyed Babbler – several at margins of tea plantations.
  • Jerdon’s Leafbird – one.
  • Golden-fronted Leafbird – several.
  • Loten’s Sunbird – common.
  • Purple-rumped Sunbird – common.
Tea plantations in the early morning sunlight.
Tea plantations in the early morning sunlight.

Lifers: Yellow-crowned Woodpecker, Black-headed Cuckooshrike, Sri Lanka White-eye, Yellow-crowned Barbet, Ashy Prinia, Layard’s Parakeet, Jerdon’s Leafbird, Indian Scimitar-babbler (total 1,903).

Year ticks: Yellow-eyed Babbler, White-browed Fantail, Small Minivet (total 601).

Fiery sunrise from our lodgings in Ella.
Fiery sunrise from our lodgings in Ella.
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s