11 March

Wilpattu National Park; Safari Drive

 

We make a very early morning start 5:30 so we are at the park entrance when the sun slowly starts to get up behind the horizon. The sounds outside are amazing, many birds singing in different tones, making a cacaphony of noise. Our driver is waiting patiently for us, and we drive over the bumpy road into the national park, curious what we might spot during this clear hot day. And yes, if you look very closely you can see the contour of sleepy me in the safari truck :-)

Indian Pond Heron
The Indian Pond Heron is quite common to see, and we saw quite a lot of them during our safari drives in Wilpattu National Park. This heron is widespread throughout the island up to the highlands, however it is the most likely to see in the lowlands in the rice paddies. We saw them mainly on the edges of the water ponds together with numurous other water birds hunting for fish. The Indian Pond Heron eats a wide variety of animals from insects to frogs, lizards and fish.
This heron is however very hard to spot, as the streaked brown upperparts make the bird vanish in grassy environments. But they were very easy to spot in flight with their bright white underwings against the blue sky, which was quite surprising and striking to see.
Crocodile
Crocodile seem to live in each an every pond. Sometimes very difficult to spot, some rather close by, with their beaks open, ready to strike when food comes within reach.
Around 9 o’clock we stopped to have some breakfast in the shade of some trees on the waters edge. Monkeys were plenty around as usual to try and steal some of the food.
Golden Jackal
The Golden Jackal is not uncommon to see in Wilpatty National Park. We saw them on several different occassions. In this early morning we saw a pair of 2 together, which is common to see. They sometimes even see them in small family groups of four. The other jackals we spotted were walking on the road alone. The jackal might also indicate that there are leopards around, as they are also are scavangers and after the carcass.
The golden jackal is very similar to the grey wolf in general appearance, but is distinguished by its smaller size, lighter weight, shorter legs, more elongated torso and shorter tail.
Crested Serpent-Eagle
Woolly-necked Stork
The Woolly-necked Stork used to be also known as the parson’s stork on account of its white collar, reminiscent of a parson. It’s a distinctive stork with its glossy back plumage and white back. Like all storks it builds a large untidy nest constructed from twigs and branches. It’s a scarse bird of the dry lowlands. We were lucky enough to see a pair of these storks higher up in a tree.
Indian Peafowl
White-throated Kingfisher
Spotted deer
Blue-tailed Bee-eater
Crocodile
Great Thick-knee
Little Green Bee-eater
Little Green Bee-eater
Black-winged Stilt
Indian Pond Heron
Brahminy Kite
Wild boar
Spotted deer
Crested Serpent-eagle
Tufted Grey Langur
Crested Serpent-eagle
Annonser