Bundala National Park

Posted on June 27, 2012  by admin  in Attractions, sliding   1 Comment »
Bundala National Park

Bundala National Park is perhaps the most important wetland in Sri Lanka for both resident and migratory birds. It is famous for its aquatic birdlife which feed on the rich harvest provided by the numerous lagoons
throughout the park. The park covers some 6,216 ha and during the winter months more than 160 species of birds can be found within its boundaries. The park is the last refuge of the Great Flamingo in this part of the Island and encountering one of the huge flocks of Flamingo’s can be truly breathtaking. Among some of the birding highlights are the rare Black-necked stork and the Great Thick-knee, and the more common Painted Storks, Pelicans, Egrets, Herons, Water Hens, Spoon Bills, Open Bills, Cormorants, Lapwings and Sand Pipers

 Bundala National Park is perhaps the most important wetland in Sri Lanka for both resident and migratory birds. It is famous for its aquatic birdlife which feed on the rich harvest provided by the numerous lagoons throughout the park. The park covers some 6,216 ha and during the winter months more than 160 species of birds can be found within its boundaries. The park is the last refuge of the Great Flamingo in this part of the Island and encountering one of the huge flocks of Flamingo’s can be truly breathtaking. Among some of the birding highlights are the rare Black-necked stork and the Great Thick-knee, and the more common Painted Storks, Pelicans, Egrets, Herons, Water Hens, Spoon Bills, Open Bills, Cormorants, Lapwings and Sand Pipers.

 

 Plicans  & Painted Storks taking flight

 Situated in the dry-zone, this sanctuary is cut off from the Indian Ocean by a wide beach and fringing dunes. The park is a mixture of dry semi-evergreen forest, scrub jungle and wetland habitat with shallow water holes. The open habitat makes it easy to spot the herds of elephants and other animals that roam the area and cruising through the park in an open top 4-by-4 adds to the experience.

The park is also home to a small population of leopards, which prey on the numerous spotted deer and sambur. Although sightings are rare, it is worth exploring several rocky outcrops where previous sightings have occurred. There are also sloth bear, giant squirrels and civet cats and the waters are inhabited by both the marsh crocodile and the ‘salt water’ or estuarine crocodile. From October to January several species of endangered marine turtles find their way here to lay their eggs on the shore.

The Marsh Crocodile

Bundala national park is Sri Lanka’s only declared Ramsar wetland and honoured internationally for its significant role for hosting over 20,000 shorebirds at any given time from August to April. Every species of water bird found in the country is said to visit this national park.

Elephants, deer, wild buffalo, and around 150 species of resident and migratory birds can be seen in the park. Out of the 150 species of migratory and resident birds, 45 are waders (associated with the lagoons, tidal mud flats and salterns).

Apart from several species of waterfowl, the rare Black-necked stork and Great Thick-knee are particular birding highlights. It is easy to spot the Blue-tailed Bee-eater, Spoonbill, Red Shank, Green Shank, Spot-billed Pelican, Blue-faced Malkoha, Brahminy Kite, Crested Hawk eagle and Brown Shrike, to name but a few.

Migratory birds such as Asiatic Golden Plover, Avocet, Black Tail Godwit, Broad Billed Sand Piper, Brown Headed Gull, Caspian Plover, Caspian Tern, Common Sandpiper, Common Teal, Common Tern, Curlew, Curlew Sandpiper, Garganey, Glossy Ibis, Greater Flamingo, Green Sandpiper, Green Shank, Grey Plover, Gull Billed Tern, Kentish Plover, Large Crested Tern, Large Sand Plover, Lesser Sand Plover, Little Ringed Plover, Little Stint, Little Tern, Marsh Sand Piper, Oystercatcher, Pintail, Pintail Snipe, Red Knot, Red –necked Phalarope, Red Shank, Ringed Plover, Roseate Tern, Ruff, Sanderling, Shoveller, Spotted Red Shank, Temminck’s stint, Terek Sandpiper, Turnstone, Whimbrel, Whiskered Tern and Wood sandpiper can be seen at the park.

The resident birds such as Black Bittern, Black necked Stork, Black winged Stilt, Cattle Egret, Great Stone Plover, Grey Heron, Indian Darter, Indian Shag, Lesser Adjutant, Little Cormorant, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Little Green Heron, Median Egret, Moorhen, Night Heron, Open Bill Stork, Painted Stork, Pheasant-tailed Jacana, Pond Heron, Purple Coot, Purple Heron, Smaller Egret, Sppon Bill, Spotted Billed Pelican, White necked Stork, White Ibis, White-breasted water Hen and the Yellow Bittern are among the species. The migrants and vagrants make their journey from as far as Siberia.

 

 

Yala – Ruhunu National Park

Posted on June 21, 2012  by admin  in Attractions, sliding   1 Comment »
Yala - Ruhunu National Park

Yala National Park is world renowned as one of the best parks to observe and photograph leopards. Although it has one of the world’s densest leopard populations, it still requires good luck to see one of the elusive creatures in its natural habitat.

Covering an area in excess of 126,000 ha, the park is divided into 5 blocks, of which only Block One is open to the general public. The area consists of scrub jungle and brackish lagoons with stunning rock monoliths scattered throughout the park. The many different habitats provide a unique experience to anyone visiting the park and support a great variety of animals. The often low-density vegetation provides ideal conditions for safaris as it allows a clear and unobstructed view of the wildlife.

 

Yala National Park has a substantial elephant population along with many other species like spotted deer, sambur, wild buffalo, sloth bear, mongoose and crocodiles to name a few. Also more than one hundred and thirty different species of birds can be seen, ranging from the lesser flamingos to Paradise Flycatchers, Crested Hawk Eagles and the rare Black necked Stork

Kalamatiya Bird Sanctuary

Posted on June 06, 2012  by admin  in Attractions   No Comments »

This site is met with 1 km away from Ranna on he Ranna-Kalamatiya road. The Bird Sanctary in Kalametiya was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1938 (2.500 hectares) but this was abolished in 1946 due to the opposition of local residents. A considerably reduced area was once again declared a sanctuary in 1984, The Sanctuary includes the Lunama and Kalamatiya lagoons. Karukalli Saltern and the surrounding marshy areas. Kalamatiya area records about 15] species of birds of which 54 are migratory. There are four nationally threatened birds found within the Sanctuary – Indian Reef Heron, Glossy Ibis, Sri Lankan Jungle Fowl and Black-capped Purple Kingfisher with Jungle Fowl being the only endemic species. 38 species of reptiles, a large number of which are nationally and globally threatened. 41 species offish, about 20 species of mammals with 4 endemic (Shrew- Hikmeeya, Toque Monkey – Rilawa. bicoloured, Spiny Rat -Katu Miya and Tree Mouse) and a large number of plants have been recorded within the Sanctuary.

Ussangoda

Posted on June 02, 2012  by admin  in Attractions, sliding   No Comments »
Ussangoda

Ussangoda is a legendary landing place of Ravana, the evil king of Hindu mythology who piloted his special peacock chariot across the skies. The area’s landscape is unusual, and its red earth is barren – possibly the result of a meteor that struc k in ancient times.

Ussangoda provides a panoramic view of the beach and the sea. The extent of this place is approximately 20 acres and very little grows on the barren red earth. Scrub jungle surrounds Ussangoda from the land side and on the sea side the plateau drops a sheer 60 feet over a rocky escarpment out to the open sea below. In ancient times this area was struck by a meteorite and the barren and unusual landscape stills bares witness to this catastrophic event.

 

Madunagala Hot springs

Posted on June 02, 2012  by admin  in Attractions   No Comments »
Madunagala Hot springs

Laying in a wide expanse of open country, Madunagala Hot Springs is a wonderful creation of nature in all its natural beauty. Historically, these hot springs flowed into a natural water hole. Recently they have been renovated and attractive stone tanks and basins have been created.

Here, the hot water bubbles into the ponds and mixes with cooler water there. Warm water flows smoothly into the surrounding basins where visitors can enjoy the soothing mineral water. Changing rooms, western toilets and small shops with snacks and beverages are close by. Special indigenous ayurvedic drinks such as “Belimal” and “Ranawara” are local treats worth trying.

Diving

Posted on June 02, 2012  by admin  in Attractions   2 Comments »
Diving

Diving at Great Basses & Little Basses Reefs off Kirinda

The reefs of Great Basses and Little Basses provide some of the best diving (or snorkelling) Sri Lanka can offer. The rocky outcrops of the Great and Little Basses are surrounded by sandstone reefs carved into strange formations by time and tide. Several shipwrecks are to be found here.

The famous Arthur C Clarke based his book ‘The Treasure of the Reef’ on his dives of the Basses reefs. On the 22nd of March 1961, together with his diving partner, filmmaker Mike Wilson, he discovered the wreck of a 24 gun ship which belonged to the Mogul Emperor Aurangzeb (1658 – 1707), which was sent to trade in the Far East but was sunk in a storm off the Great Basses. Inside they discovered thousands of silver Rupees, all dated 1702.

A particularly unique feature of the Great Basses is the light-house that was actually constructed on the reef. It was designed and built by Sir J.N. Douglass, the engineer of Trinity House. The lighthouse went into operation on March 10th 1873, and was occupied and kept in operation until the Tsunami of December 2004. Although the lighthouse still stands proud, nowadays only a small solar powered light switches on at night. The main lights, which have kept ships at bay for more than a hundred years, now lay silent.

Even with all this amazing history, it is to see the myriad fish and occasional marine mammals that most divers go to the Basses. Porpoises, harmless Gray sharks, Tuna, Angelfishes, Groupers, Giant Maori Wrasses (Napoleons), Snappers, Rays and many others denizens of the ocean can be seen here.

The Great Basses and Little Basses reefs can be reached from Kirinda by a 45 minute boat ride. Unfortunately, the ocean is often rough and the currents very strong. As a result only around 50 days per year are available for diving, from early March to mid-April.

Jungle River Safari

Posted on June 01, 2012  by admin  in Attractions, sliding   No Comments »
Jungle River Safari

Walawa Nadee Eco Tours Organisation, provides boat rides for those of you interested in spotting some wildlife in an area known for its rich bio diversity. The Walawa River Boat Rides popular among locals and tourists will take you through a rich biodiversity area complete with six varieties of mangroves, 52 fish species, 72 bird species, 38 plant varieties and 28 animal species.

Animals such as the rabbit, meeeminna (type of small deer), water monitor, monkeys and seven turtle species can be seen during the boat rides. Among the bird species are the Eagles, bats, peacocks, water herons and storks among others. If you are a bird lover the best time to set out on a boat ride is at 8am or 4pm.
You can see most of these species if you are lucky within one and a half hours. A boat can take ten people at a time.

www.walawariversafari.net

Rakawa Lagoon & Turtle Conservation Project

Posted on May 07, 2012  by admin  in Attractions   4 Comments »
Rakawa Lagoon & Turtle Conservation Project

Rakawa is a seaside rural community engaged in fisheries and agriculture. Its long sandy beach and mangrove skirted lagoon gives it a rustic beauty. There is high local biodiversity as, in addition to mangrove forest, the local vegetation consists of scrub jungle, medicinal plants, and fruit trees. Also a wide variety of wildlife, including mammals, reptiles, 150 resident and migratory bird species, and many arthropods and aquatic creatures can be seen here.

 Millions of years before man colonized Sri Lanka, sea turtles were coming to the undisturbed beaches of this Island to lay their eggs. The beach near Rakawa is one of Sri Lanka’s most important marine turtle nesting sites where five of the world’s seven species of marine turtle come ashore to nest throughout the year. All five species of turtles that nest in Sri Lanka are either endangered or critically endangered. Amongst them is the Leatherback turtle, the largest of all the sea turtles, which can grow up to 3 meters in length and weighs up to 600 kg. It is at Rakawa beach that the Turtle Conservation Project (TCP) has established an “in situ” nest protection and research programme, allowing the protection of nests where they are laid by the female turtle and for the hatchlings to scramble down to the ocean immediately after emergence from the nest.

The project at Rakawa is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka. It incorporates the local community in its efforts to conserve turtles in their natural habitat, employing as nest protectors those who were formerly dependent on the illegal collection of turtle eggs. Turtles are most likely to come ashore under the cover of darkness, and you are invited to join the people at the Turtle Conservation Project during their night watch. They can explain to you the importance and practices of turtle conservation after which you can join the night watch in anticipation of that magical moment when a turtle comes ashore and lays her eggs.

 

Kudawella Blow hole – Hummanaya

Posted on May 07, 2012  by admin  in Attractions, sliding   No Comments »
Kudawella Blow hole - Hummanaya

The Kudawella Blow Hole, a site that is breathtakingly mysterious. Volumes of sea water whistle through a natural fine hole from beneath a massive rock in the sea. Located on a rock about 40 ft above sea level, this magnificent site was first discovered after a close scrutiny of photographs taken from the sea.

At the site, rough and high waves push water into the triangular based rock bottom, and force it through a hole at the bottom of the rock with very high pressure. With the sound of a blow whistle the water is blown high into the air. Approaching this place, one can find many small outlets selling local fruits, thirst quenching drinks and the all time favorite fresh fried fish.

In addition to this you will also find souvenir shops with a variety of local handicrafts and ornaments made out of sea shells and other marine findings.

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