Our route included several stops, the main one being at Udawalewe Reservoir. Here we explored the wetland from the road and also the scrub on the opposite side of the road. It was good to add Black-headed Cuckooshrike to the trip list here plus a showy juv Oriental Magpie Robin, Jerdon's Bushlarks, Paddtfield Pipits, 1 Marshall's Iora, Grey-breasted Prinia, Plain Prinia and Zitting Cisticolas.
The wetland held c6 Spot-billed Pelicans, Little Cormorants, Indian Cormorants, Oriental Darter, loads of Painted Storks and Lesser Whistling Ducks, a single Common Kingfisher, 3 Blue-tailed Bee-eaters and then at the far end a small group of c6 Ashy-crowned Sparrow-larks and 3 Yellow Wagtails including a nice male 'feldegg'.
Overhead we had several Brahminy Kites, Oriental Honey Buzzard and White-bellied Sea Eagle.
When into hilly 'tea country' we made a stop and found a nesting pair of Plum-headed Parakeets and a Black-hooded Oriole while the same area held c3 Black Eagles. Other birds seen on the journey included Crested Serpent Eagle, Asian Openbill, 2 Pheasant-tailed Jacanas, White-browed Bulbul and White-rumped Munias. Asian Elephant and Grey Mongoose were also seen, the latter completing our set of the 4 Sri Lankan mongooses.
Oriental Magpie Robin
Brahminy Kite (juv)
White-bellied Sea Eagle
Arriving at the superbly situated Rock View Motel we checked in, had some lunch and prompty ticked Sri Lanka Hill Myna out of the window! A pair of Purple-rumped Sunbirds were found nesting in a flowering bush right opposite the hotel doorway and a white Asian Paradise Flycatcher showed briefly.
The mid-late afternoon birding session was close by where we were met by another of Hetti's local contacts (indeed, the same guy was also our jeep driver for the next 2 days). He took us first to a small area of woodland by the road where a mega Chestnut-backed Owlet perched at eye level looking at us. We also had a pair of Tawny-bellied Babblers there before another roadside site close by had us getting intimate with a pair of roosting Sri Lanka Frogmouths with a Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler just opposite. We then spent a little time around the grounds and garden of one of the local farmers where, just by standing still and scanning we scooped with Legge's Flowerpecker, Sri Lanka Hill Mynas, Sri Lanka Crested Drongo, Orange-breasted Green Pigeons, Sri Lanka Green Pigeons. Green Imperial Pigeons, 2 Layard's Parakeets, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrots, Yellow-fronted Barbet, 3 Orange Minivets, Black-capped Bulbul, 3 Black Bulbuls and 3 Golden-fronted Leafbirds. We had 4 emdemics in one tree at one point! Around the house was a showy Emerald Dove while we had tea kindly made by the house owners wife!
Sri Lanka Frogmouths
Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler
Sri Lanka Crested Drongos
Sri Lanka Green Pigeon
4 endemics in 1 tree!
Sri Lanka Crested Drongo
l to r - Indunil, Yours truly, Hetti, Graham & AbdulRahman