Friday, 7 October 2011

A world of birds in Colombo

I love our new apartment as it is on a lake-like water way with lots of side creeks, wetlands and marshes, and is only 10 km west of the capital Colombo.I have spotted some amazing birds such as the endangered Spot Billed Pelican pictured above: Photo: Bob McKerrow

 The most common species seem to be egrets and herons such as the one pictured above. Photo: Bob McKerrow.

(Left, Layard parakeets)

This small island contains descriptions of 435 bird species including 110 migratory species. It has 26% of the total number of birds identified world wide.. During the Migratory period from November to February birds visit Sri Lanka. There are three main fly ways, Eastern, Western and via Andaman islands. Sri Lanka is a major migratory bird’s point because it is the last land mass of the world.

Common resident birds:
White Breasted kingfisher, Pied Kingfisher, Common Kingfisher, Lesser Whistling Teal, Stork Billed Kingfisher, White Breasted Moorhen, Purple Coot, Brahminy Kite, Pheasant Tailed Jacana, White Bellied Sea Eagle, Red-wattled Lapwings, Black Bittern, Little Cormorant,  Little Egret, Little Grebes (smallest duck in Sri Lanka), Pond Heron. Common Moorhen Cattle Egrets, Purple Heron, White Browed Prinia

The Common Garden birds include
Black Headed Oriole, Magpie, Robin, Yellow Billed Babbler, Tailor Bird, Purple Rumped Sunbird Red Backed Woodpecker, Brown Headed Barbet, Coppersmith Barbet

Winter migrants that are regularly sighted include
Blue tailed Bee-eaters, Brown Shrikes, Pintail Snipe Paradise Flycatchers
Garganey Black Winged Stilts, Gray Wagtails East Asian Swallow, Forest Wagtails Whiskered Tern

The marshes in this area are a stop over for migrating birds:
Common Sandpipers,  Booted Eagles
Marsh Sandpipers,  Common Coots
Lesser Sand Plovers,  Pintail Ducks
Common Snipe,  Black Tailed Godwits

The area also has a small population of mammals. Being nocturnal they are very hard to see. These include:
Indian otter Porcupine and the Fishing Cat

Conservation of Migratory Bird

Sri lanka’s Avifauna is one of the richest in the whole of Asia.
The Department of Wildlife Conservation(DWLC) has declaired many Protected Areas with special concerning of Birds such as Bundala National Park (BNP), Anaiwilundawa Sanctuary. Bellanwila –Aththidiya Sanctuary and Muthujajawela Sanctuary. Both Bundala National Park and Anaiwilundawa Sanctuary are Ramsar sites.National birds ringing programme.

The DWLC organizes a National Birds Ringing Programme in BNP in every year. During the

migratory period birds are ringed twice, one is on December and another is on February. 150 birds from different species are ringed at once. Field Ornithological Group of Sri Lanka assists to this.

I have come to like crows in a more natural habitat. Photo: Bob McKerrow

Went out to photograph the globally threatened Spot Billed Pelican (pictured above) at 6 a.m two weeks back morning and as I zoomed in to take the shot, I saw something like a floating log; when I focussed. it was a crocodile, 30 metres from the base of my new apartment. But then, was it a crocodile? I showed the photos I took to friends and after much debating, it is a water monitor. Photo below:

Our youngest boy is taking a great interest in the birdlife in front of our apartment and I have been teaching him to photograph them on the big camera. Through the lens he sees frogs and spiders and finds them more interesting than the birds.

  I shot this heron feeding down a small side stream one very wet morning 1 km from where I live. Photo: Bob McKerrow

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