|The view from Worlds End|
|Pied bushchat (female)|
Towards the end of the walk, as we were getting back to the visitor center, we found what looked for all the world to be a tawny pipit, a rare vagrant to Sri Lanka, but unfortunately no pictures to back this up.
I was later told that the best birding was to be had near to the ticket office and visitor center. The walkers all disappear to Worlds End leaving these area quiet. It would have been nice to know before hand but then again we were there for Worlds End so it wouldn't have made much difference.
We did two further outings from Nuwara Eliya - the first to see some (more) waterfalls and the second to visit Hakgala Botanical Gardens. For both of these we were driven by Paul who runs Green Forest Tours and Travel (www.greenforesttours.com) and was excellent value and company.
|Devon Falls - 281 feet drop|
In the same area we came across a very noisy flock of black bulbuls, a couple of great tit (Sri lankan style) and a little later we found several dull blue flycatchers though they were always very mobile.
We met up with the ladies for some refreshment and on the way out we took them to see the canary flycatcher. I can't remember what it was we were looking at at the time but I spotted some movement high under a tree and noticed a reddish throat.........it took me a few moments to realise what it was I was looking at .......a Kashmir flycatcher!
We tried for quite a time to get some shots but it would not cooperate - the ladies not totally appreciating what the fuss was all about and standing around waiting.......impatiently.
Eventually we called it a day and showed the ladies the canary flycatcher and whilst there a yellow fronted barbet put in a show.
So a great 3 hrs though I'd failed to find a yellow-eared bulbul. Still you can't have everything and we'd had a excellent 3 days in the highlands and the weather had been brilliant - sunny and warm everyday despite the forecast (before we departed) saying we were going to have wall to wall rain for our entire stay.
One further incident occurred in Victoria Park that was to have a beneficial effect on the Yala leg of of our trip. Pete and I were looking for the pied thrush for the um-teenth time when a bird guide turned up with a couple of customers. We wandered off upstream and found the thrushes and got some more (poor) images so I went back to tell the guide and his group where the birds were. This led to me chatting with the guide who had his own company working out of Yala. He offered to arrange our trip into Yala National Park and would be able to take us to Bundala himself; we took him up on the offer. More on that later. Also whilst chatting to him a velvet fronted nuthatch put in a brief show but I was too slow with the camera.
The next morning we set off to Yala. This was a long haul ~170km; 5+ hours though we did stop for a bit of sight-seeing and for a drink at Ella.