Tuesday, August 15, 2017

The Sri Lankan axis deer



The Sri Lankan axis deer or Ceylon spotted deer is a subspecies of axis deer that inhabits only Sri Lanka. They are active primarily during early morning and again during the evening, but they are commonly observed near waterholes anytime. The Sri Lankan axis deer eats primarily grasses, but it also eats fallen fruits and leaves. The Sri Lankan axis deer graze closely with langur, peacock, wild buffalo, and sambar deer. They usually lives in groups of between 10-60 animals, though herds may include up to 100 animals.
Axis deer are important prey for the Sri Lankan leopard. It is also prey for sloth bears and jackals.

These deer inhabit lowland dry forests, savannas, and shrub lands. Very rarely, these deer inhabit dry mountain areas.

Unlike the mainland axis deer (Axis axis) which is plentiful, Sri Lankan axis deer populations are considered to be vulnerable. Threats include hunting for meat and deforestation. Historically, axis deer were found in very large numbers in the entire dry zone of Sri Lanka, but these numbers have been significantly reduced. Today several thousands of these deer are found in Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan axis deer are mainly found in protected areas in the dry zone, with a small number of herds living outside the protected forest areas. Large herds can be found only in protected areas.
Have you seen them yet?


video

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

White-browed fantail Flycatcher

The white-browed fantail is a small passerine bird belonging to the Old World flycatcher family. The adult white-browed fantail is about 18 cm long. It has dark brown upperparts, with white spots on the wings, and whitish underparts. The fan-shaped tail is edged in white, and the long white supercilia meet on the forehead. The throat and eyemask are blackish and border whitish moustachial stripes.
The white-browed fantail breeds across tropical regions of the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The species ranges from eastern Pakistan to southern Indochina. It is found in forest and other woodland.

Visit Sri Lanka to witness this beautiful bird if you have not seen it yet!
This video was captured by Nawfer, Naturalist in Jetwing Eco Holidays

video

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Elephant Gathering in Sri Lanka

'The Gathering' is the name given to the elephants that assemble on the banks of the Minneriya Reservoir during the dry season. Every evening, between 150 and 200 elephants arrive at the reservoir, mainly to graze the grasses growing on the tank bed. During the drought, the water level drops, revealing a tank bed that allows the grass to grow. The elephants turn to these much needed fodder at a time when foliage in other areas dry up. The Minneriya reservoir also becomes a playground where the elephants can satisfy their water needs.

Located between Habarana and Polonnaruwa, the 8890 hectares of Minneriya National Park is an ideal eco tourism location in Sri Lanka . The park consists of mixed evergreen forest and scrub areas and is home to Sri Lanka 's favourites such as sambar deer, leopards and elephants.

However the central feature of the park is the ancient Minneriya Tank (built in 3rdcentury AD by King Mahasena). During the dry season (June to September), this tank is an incredible place to observe the elephants who come to bathe and graze on the grasses as well as the huge flocks of birds (cormorants and painted storks to name but a few) that come to fish in the shallow waters.

The Minneriya National Park lies 182 km from Colombo in the North Central Province of Sri Lanka. The park is protected because of its tank which was built by King Mahasen in the third century AD and is of utmost importance for the survival of the elephants in the dry season.

Getting to Minneriya is easy. It’s about a 30-minute drive from Sigiriya – one of the most popular tourist sites in the north-central region. (By the way, Climbing Sigiriya and visiting the park can easily be done in one day).

You’ll need to hire a jeep to take you out to the reservoir as well as a tracker to accompany you on your ride. The tracker is there to direct the driver and to ensure you are a safe distance from the animals at all times. He will also tell you anything you want to know about the park and the elephants. Both can be hired at the entrance to the park, or you can book in advance. 

video


Gal Oya National Park

After Independence Sri Lanka’s first significant irrigation project is the Gal Oya Valley project. Within it was built the biggest reservoir in the country, the Senanayake Samudra which is considered the key feature of the Gal Oya National Park. In fact the Gal Oya National Park has the distinction of being the only park in the country where boat safaris are also an option.
Catching sight of elephants swimming across the lake being one of the most exciting aspects of the boat safari. That is if you are not already impressed with the picturesque hill-forests, the leopards, water buffaloes, wild boar, crocodiles, and different species of deer that inhabit the park. There are also many little islands on the Senanayake Samudra which are dwelling place of numerous birds species. It is estimated that from 430 bird species on record in Sri Lanka a 150 of them reside at Gal Oya.

It is approx. 4.5 hours drive from Sigiriya and approx.. 7 hours drive to Colombo. 

Gal Oya National Park can be reached from Colombo via Ratnapura, Pelmadulla, Udawalawe, Thanamalwila, Wellawaya, Moneragala and then north from Siyambalanduwa to Inginiyagala. The park entrance is 20 km west from Ampara at Inginiyagala. Inginiyagala affords the tourists the opportunity of a boat trip around the great Senanayake Samudra reservoir. Ampara can be reached by domestic flight too.

Additionally, Gal Oya National Park allows the visitors to enjoy its beauty and wild life by Boat safari as well as by Jeep safaris. Boat safari affords the opportunity to land in an island within the reservoir called “Bird Island” swarming with birds.
This National Park Jeep safaris that consist of two tracks of 5km and 13 km are ideal to catch the sights of elephants and leopards.Best time to visit Gal Oya National Park is from March to July. During this period, the boat safaris bring the spectacle of herds of elephants swimming from one island to another island in the great Senanayaka Samaudra reservoir.

Furthermore, Gal Oya National Park is a sanctuary to 32 species of terrestrial mammals. The highest populations are common Langur (Presbytis Entellus), endemic Toque Macaque (Macaca Sinica), Leopard (Pathera Pardus kotiya) sloth bear (Melursus Ursinus), Elephant (Elephas Maximus), Wild Boar (Sus Scrofa), three species of deer and Water Buffalo (Bubalus Bubalis).

About 150 species of birds of 334 species of Sri Lanka are seen at Gal Oya National Park. The Lesser Adjutant, Spot-billed Pelican and Red-faced Malkoha are some of the park’s resident birds. The Indian Cormorant, Oriental Darter, Grey Heron, and Lesser Whistling Duck are among the common water birds of the Senanayake reservoir. The White-bellied Sea Eagle, and Grey-headed Fish Eagle are the notable raptors of the area. Gal Oya National Park‘s butterfly species include the endemic Lesser Albatross.

The Gal Oya National Park can be visited throughout the year but the period from March to July is recommended.  During this period, the boat safaris bring the spectacle of herds of elephants swimming from one island to another island in the great Senanayaka Samaudra reservoir.

Unique to the island, Gal Oya is the only national park where safaris are conducted by boat, allowing closer than usual wildlife encounters. The highlight of a visit is to spot elephants swimming between the islands dotted around the lake – a memorable and profound experience.
Gal Oya National Park may be visited on a 3-hour jeep safari when staying locally only.





Thursday, June 29, 2017

Greater Flamingo

The greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in parts of Africa, southern Asia (coastal regions of Pakistan and India), and southern Europe (including Spain, Albania, Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Portugal, Italy and the Camargue region of France). Some populations are short distance migrants, and sightings north of the breeding range are relatively frequent; however, given the species' popularity in captivity, whether or not these are truly wild individuals is a matter of some debate. A single bird was seen on North Keeling Island (Cocos (Keeling) Islands) in 1988.
Sri Lanka has 453 species of birds of which 237 species are resident birds which means that they breed here. The balance 216 bird species are migrants among whom 72 species are considered “vagrants” coming on and off unlike the others which are regulars. Sri Lanka which is at the tip of India shares 89% of all bird species with India but 11% of the resident birds here are endemic. This has come about due to different climates and elevations within our tiny country.
Jetwing Eco Holidays tour guide U.L Nawfer has spotted the below flock of greater flamingos in Bundala, Sri Lanka on 15th June 2017. Every year these migratory Flamingos are flocking to north Sri Lanka, although they are shunning the south. According to Nawfer, the south of Sri Lanka particularly Bundala has been colourfully adorned by the beauty of 1,500-2,000 Greater Flamingos during this season.
Bundala National Park, located about fifteen kilometers east of Hambantota (a similar distance west of Tissamaharama), is one of Sri Lanka's foremost destinations for birdwatchers, protecting an important area of coastal wetland famous for its abundant aquatic (and other) birdlife. The park is also home to significant populations of elephants, Marsh & estuarine crocodiles, turtles & other fauna, including the leopard. Stretching along the coast east of Hambantota, Bundala National Park is ideal for instant gratification: in a four hour jeep ride, we can see elephants, 8ft crocs, giant squirrels & flamingoes. Afternoon safaris in the dry season (December - May) provide visitors with the best chance of seeing the wildlife.
The most famous visitors are the huge flocks of flamingos. The Bundala area is the flamingos' last refuge in the southern Sri Lanka and anyone can see here in variable numbers throughout the year; their exact breeding habits remain a mystery, though it's thought they migrate from the Rann of Kutch in northern India. It's a winter home to the greater flamingoes & up to 2000 have been recorded here. Many other birds journey from Siberia & Rann of Kutch in India to winter here, arriving between August & April. About 350 flamingoes have made Bundala their year-round home.
Below are the images of flock of flamingos that have been spotted by Jetwing Eco Holidays tour guide U.L Nawfer in Bundala National Park, Sri Lanka. 









Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Chaminda 's Wildlife Photo Diary

Chaminda Jayasekara is the resident environmentalist in Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya Sri Lanka.  Chaminda gained his primary and secondary education from Nelumwewa Maha Vidyalaya in the District of Polonnaruwa and tertiary education from the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities of the Rajarata University, and obtained a Degree in Tourism Management.
He received his practical training as part of my university studies in 2008 at Jetwing Vil Uyana. This is where he met Mr. Chandra Jayawardene, whom he considers as his guru. After leaving the university in in 2009, Chaminda joined Jetwing Vil Uyana.
In 2010/11, under the Jetwing Research Initiative Chaminda Selected Loris watching as his topic. As a result in 2010 he was able to locate a small pocketed population of Loris within the precincts of Jetwing Vil Uyana. Thereon he continued his work and also introduced this fascinating animal to hotel guests, and encouraged them to observe and appreciate the Loris.
Chaminda is also a wildlife phototgrapher, a travel blogger and a traveller by himself. Out of all the variety of animals that Chaminda comes across in Sri Lanka, below are few of his favorites.




 Slender Loris feeding at Jetwing Vil Uyana


Shaheen Falcon at Sigiriya


Blue whale at Trincomalee


Brood Parasitism at Jetwing Vil Uyana


Fishing Cat at Jetwing Vil Uyana


Otter at Jetwing Vil Uyana

Biodiversity Checklist Of Jetwing St. Andrew’s

Monday, June 26, 2017

Frog Watching Tour at Jetwing St. Andrews Nuwera Eliya Sri Lanka

Although it is one of the major cities in the central hills, many wetlands and montane forest patches which are ideal habitats for amphibians, can still found in Nuwara Eliya. Many vertebrate species including amphibian species are recorded frequently in this area...    
 Perhaps because they live "on the edge" between water and land, and have semi-permeable skin, frogs and toads are very sensitive to pollution and other environmental changes. Worldwide, many species are declining in numbers or have recently become extinct. Amphibians are considered as environmental indicator species since they are very susceptible to slight changes and monitoring frog and toad populations is one way to check the health of wetland areas.
 

Almost any time of day is a good time to find frogs, but sighting them is often easier during early dawn hours and at dusk when the temperature decreases. Led by the resident naturalist, Jetwing St. Andrew’s conducts night tours for frog enthusiasts, who may sight an array of night creatures inhabiting the area including endemic frog species.


Frog Watching Tour 06th January  2016

Started our tour at 7.00 pm from the hotel and enter to wetland area then we went to the forest   7.40 pm ended the trail at 8.30 pm and reach back to hotel.
Weather – Clear and Cool around 09 0C throughout the tour. 
With;
  • Nimali Ariyawansa family from Sri lanka live in USA
  • Brad Fleming, Sasha, Sofia & Emily from Australia
  • Svend Arge with his Son from Denmark 




Frogs
  1. Montane hour-glass tree frog (Taruga eques) 
  2. Common house toad (Duttaphrynus melanostictus)  
  3. Montane frog (Fejervarya greenii) 
  4. Horton plains shrub frog (Pseudophilautus alto)
  5. Small eared shrub frog (Pseudophilautus microtympanum)
  6. Schmarda’s shrub frog (Pseudophilotes schmarda)
  7. Leaf nesting shrub frog (Pseudophilautus femoralis)







Written By: Ishanda Senevirathna – Naturalist
Jetwing St.Andrew’s Hotel Nuwara eliya



Fauna List in Jetwing Yala Sri Lanka

Terrestrial Fauna List in Jetwing Yala






Birds

HERONS AND EGRETS


1.
Little Egret
Egretta garzetta
R

2.
Large Egret
Egretta alba
R

3.
Cattle Egret
Bubulcus coromandus
R/M


HAWKS, KITES, EAGLES AND VULTURES






4.
Brahminy Kite
Haliaster Indus
R

5.
White-bellied Sea Eagle
Haliaeetus leucogaster
R

6.
Crested Hawk-Eagle
Spizaetus cirrhatus
R


PARTRIDGES, QUAILS AND PHEASANTS






7.
Ceylon Jungle fowl
Gallus lafayetii
E

8.
Indian Peafowl
Pavo cristatus
R



BUTTON QUAILS







9.
Bustard-Quail
Turnix suscitator
R


RAILS, CRAKES, GALLINULES AND COOTS






10.
White-breasted Waterhen
Amaurornis phoenicurus
R



PLOVERS







11.
Red-wattled Lapwing
Vanellus indicus
R



SANDPIPERS AND ALLIES







12.
Common Redshank
Tringa tetanus
M

13.
Green Sandpiper
Tringa ochropus
M

14.
Turnstone
Arenaria interpres
M



COURSERS AND PRATINCOLES







15.
Small Pratincole
Glareola lacteal
R




TERNS








16.
Lesser Crested Tern
Thalasseus bengalensis
M

17.
Large Crested Tern
Thalasseus bergii
R

18.
Common Tern
Sterna hirundo
R/M


PIGEONS AND DOVES







19.
Rock Pigeon
Columba livia
R

20.
Spotted Dove
Streptopelia chinensis
R

21.
Orange-breasted Green Pigeon
Treron bicincta
R

22.
Green Imperial Pigeon
Ducula aenea
R



PARROTS







23.
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Psittacula krameri
R



CUCKOOS







24.
Common Coucal
Centropus [sinensis] parroti
R

25.
Pied Crested Cuckoo
Clamator jacobinus
R

26.
Indian Koel
Eudynamys scolopaceus
R



NIGHTJARS







27.
Long-tailed Nightjar
Caprimulgus atripennis
R

28.
Indian Nightjar
Caprimulgus asiaticus
R




SWIFTS








29.
Palm Swift
Cypsiurus balasiensis
R

30.
House Swift
Apus affinis
R



TREE SWIFTS







31.
Crested Tree Swift
Hemiprocne coronate
R



KINGFISHERS







32.
Common Kingfisher
Alcedo atthis
R

33.
White-breasted Kingfisher
Halcyon smyrnensis
R



BEE-EATERS







34.
Little Green Bee-eater
Merops orientalis
R

35.
Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Merops philippinus
R/M



ROLLERS







36.
Indian Roller
Coracias benghalensis
R



HOOPOES







37.
Hoopoe
Upupa epops
R/M


BARBETS







38.
Brown-headed Barbet
Megalaima zeylanica
R

39.
Crimson-breasted Barbet
Megalaima haemacephala
R



WOODPECKERS







40.
Yellow-fronted Pied Woodpecker
Dendrocoposmahrattensis
R




PITTAS








41.
Indian Pitta
Pitta brachyuran
M



SWALLOWS AND MARTINS







42.
Common Swallow
Hirundo rustica
M

43.
Red-rumped Swallow
Hirundo daurica
M



PIPITS AND WAGTAILS







44.
Indian Pipit
Anthus rufulus
R



CUCKOO-SHRIKES AND MINIVETS







45.
Small Minivet
Pericrocotus cinnamomeus
R

46.
Ceylon Wood Shrike
Tephrodornis affinis
E



MONARCHS







47.
Ceylon Paradise Flycatcher
Terpsiphone paradisi ceylonensis
R



FANTAILS







48.
White-browed Fantail
Rhipidura aureola
R

49.
Red-vented Bulbul
Pycnonotus cafer
R

50.
White-browed Bulbul
Pycnonotus luteolus
R




IORAS








51.
Common Iora
Aegithina tiphia
R



LEAFBIRDS







52.
Jerdon's Chloropsis
Chloropsis jerdoni
R



SHRIKES







53.
Brown Shrike
Lanius cristatus cristatus
M


OLD-WORLD FLYCATCHERS AND CHATS







54.
Magpie-Robin

Copsychus saularis
R

55.
Black Robin

Saxicoloides fulicatus
R




BABBLERS








56.
White-throated Babbler
Dumetia hyperythra
R

57.
Black-fronted Babbler
Rhopocichla atriceps
R

58.
Yellow-eyed Babbler

Chrysomma sinense
R

59.
Southern Common Babbler
Turdoides affinis
R


CISTICOLAS, PRINIAS AND TAILORBIRDS







60.
Ashy Prinia

Prinia socialis
R

61.
Plain Prinia

Prinia inornata
R

62.
Common Tailorbird

Orthotomus sutorius
R




SUNBIRDS








63.
Purple- rumped Sunbird
Leptocoma zeylonica
R

64.
Loten’s Sunbird

Cynnyris lotenius
R




WAXBILLS







65.
White-rumped Munia Lonchura striata
R

66.
Spotted Munia
Lonchura punctulata
R




OLD-WORLD SPARROWS







67.
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
R




STARLINGS AND MYNAS








68.
Brahminy Myna
Temenuchus pagodarum
M

69.
Common Myna
Acridotheres tristis
R




ORIOLES







70.
Black-headed Oriole Oriolus xanthornus
R




CROWS AND MAGPIES







71.
House Crow  Corvus splendens
R

72.
Jungle Crow Corvus [macrorhyncos] culminates
R


R – Resident

M – Migrant

E – Endemic



Reptiles

1.
Common Bronze Back
Dendrelaphis tristis
2.
Common Banded Kukri Snake
Oligodon arnensis
3.
Indian cobra
Naja naja
Turtles

4.
Green Turtle
Chelonia mydas
Tortoise

5.
Star tortoise
Geochelone elegans
Geckoes

6.
Bark gecko
Hemidactylus leschenaultii
7.
Common House Gecko
Hemidactylus frenatus
8.
Spotted House gecko
Hemidactylus parvimaculatus
9.
Four-claw Gecko
Gehyra mutilate
Agamid Lizards

10.
Bahir’s sand lizard
Sitana bahiri
11.
Common Garden Lizard
Gara ceylonensis
Monitor Lizards

12.
Land Monitor
Varanus bengalensis
Skinks


13.
Common Skink
Eutropis carinata lankae
14.
Spotted Skink
Eutropis macularia
Frogs


1.
Spotted tree frog
Polypodatus maculatus
2.
Variegated Ramanella
Ramanella varigata
3.
Red narrow mouthed frog
Mycrohyla rubra


Mammals


1.
Ruddy mongoose

Herpestes smithii
2.
Asian Elephant

Elephas maximus
3.
Wild Boar

Sus scrofa
4.
Water Buffalo

Bubalus bubalis
5.
Palm Squirrel

Funambulus palmarum
6.
Sri Lankan Giant squirrel

Ratufa macroura
7.
Black naped Hare

Lepus nigricollis
8.
Short nosed fruit bat

Cynopterus sphinx
9.
Schneider's Leaf-nosed Bat

Hipposideros speoris
10.
Asiatic long-tailed climbing mouse
Vandeleuria oleracea
11.
Brown rat

Rattus norvegicus
Butterflies


1.
Commomn Indian crow


2.
Plain tiger
Danaus chrysippus
3.
Common tiger
Danaus genutia
4.
Peacock Pancy
Junonia almana
5.
Common leopard
Phalanta phalantha
6.
Joker
Byblia ilithyia
7.
Tawny Coster
Acraea violae
8.
Lime Blue
Chilades lajus
9.
Grass jewel
Chilades trochylus
10.
Common hedge blue
Acytolepis puspa
11.
Pea blue
Lampides boeticus
12.
Common line blue
Prosotas nora
13.
Monkey puzzle
Rathinda amor
14.
Common Jezebel
Delias eucharis
15.
Common grass yellow
Eurema hecabe
16.
Little orange tip
Colotis etrida
17.
Plain Orange tip
Colotis eucharis
18.
Small salmon Arab
Colotis amata
19.
Dark Wanderer
Pareronia ceylanica
20.
Crimson rose
Pachliopta hector
21.
Lime butterfly
Papilio demoleus
22.
Indian Skipper
Spialia galba
23.
Bush Hopper
Ampittia dioscorides
24.
Common Grass dart
Potanthus pseudomaesa
25.
Tropic Dart
Potanthus confucius


Dragonflies

Yellow wax tail

Sri Lnaka orange tail Sprite Rapacious Flangtail


Green Skimmer Asian Pintail Blue Percher Indigo Drop wing