Sri Lanka, Day 3, 12 December 2019 - Inn on the Tree, Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa

Today kicked off with a couple of hours out walking the tracks and paths near the Inn on the Tree pre-breakfast. And it proved to be very nice indeed with some good views of many species. Prinias were first up with several Grey-breasted Prinias which were later added to with Ashy Prinia and Jungle Prinia. Pale-billed Flowerpecker was another new bird for me whilst several Oriental White-eyes and a male Loten's Sunbird also showed well. Both Little Green Bee-eaters and Indian Robins were obvious where ever we went and we also managed both Marshall's Iora, Common Iora, Black-capped Bulbul, Greater Coucal and 2 Black-hooded Orioles. Bird of the morning however was Tawny-bellied Babbler and with a bit of pishing I managed to get a nice picture of one of a pair in low vegetation beside the track. A side path yielded single Large-billed Leaf Warbler and Green Warbler followed by 2 fly-over Asian Openbills, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Asian Palm Swifts and Scaly-breasted Munias on the return walk and an Asian Brown Flycatcher in the carpark.

On the feeder back at the restaurant while having breakfast White-browed Bulbul, Yellow-billed Babblers, Indian Jungle Crow, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill and Palm Squirrel all came to feed.

Greater Coucal

Little Green Bee-eater

Tawny-bellied Babbler

Marshall's Iora

Scaly-breasted Prinia

Common Iora

Grey-breasted Prinia

Asian Brown Flycatcher

White-browed Bulbul

Indian Jungle Crow

Yellow-billed Babbler

 Palm Squirrel

After breakfast we drove th short distance to the ancient ruins and Lion Rock at Sigiriya for the first of our 'cultural' visits. The site is utterly spectacular with the massive rock towering above the surrounding forest and well preserved ruins and 'naughty' wall paintings. We climbed all the steps to the top and back round. As well as the scenic splendour we had a few good birds too - Crested Serpent Eagle, Oriental Honey Buzzard, Paddyfield Pipit, Little Cormorant, Shikra, 2 Small Minivets, White-browed Fantails, Jerdon's Leafbird a superb showy white Asian Paradise Flycatcher and best of all a distinctive 'Saheen' Falcon (Peregrine) swooping around a corner of Lion Rock. Non-avian highlights included many tame Toque Macaques and a Land Monitor.  

Indunil then stopped for a short walk on the way out of the site and we scooped here with our main endemic target of the area Sri Lanka Woodshrike. Along the adjacent canal we also had Crested Hawk Eagle, Oriental Darter, White-breasted Kingfisher and Common Kingfisher.

Little Cormorant

Paddyfield Pipit

Crested Serpent Eagle


Asian Paradise Flycatcher

White-breasted Kingfisher

Oriental Darter

Sri Lanka Woodshrike

Land Monitor

 Toque Macaques

Our second archaelogical site beckoned - the extensive ancient city of Polonnaruwa about an hours drive away. Despite intermitent rain here really enjoyed this huge site. And birdwise we had 2 Asian Wooly-necked Storks, loads of Rose-ringed Parakeets and on a small lake at the end of the visit Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Green Sandpiper, Lesser Whisting Ducks and Red-wattled Lapwings.

On the drive back, as the light faded we were treated to wonderful cloe-up views of a roadside Asian Elephant. That is until it was scared away from the road by a ranger with banger fireworks :-(

Pheasant-tailed Jacana

Common Myna

 Asian Elephant


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