I joined a trip to the SLWCS’s Field Station in Wasgomuwa with Chandeep Corea. On the way, we picked up two English volunteers: Ed and CJ, from a hotel north of the airport. They both had come to volunteer on a long running Elephant conservation project carried out by SLWCS at Wasgomuwa, and were going to be here for little over a month. I have been invited to visit this Field Station for long by Chandeep, but haven’t been able to find time and was happy visit it finally.
It was very basic but the spectacular views of the Knuckles mountain range and a tank (ancient reservoir built for irrigation purposes) nearby amply make up to it. According to Chandeep, it is common for overseas volunteers to extend their stays. I could see why.
During the stay, I was able to find a good pair of scrabble buddies in ED and CJ and I managed to thrash them in all three games played!
Sri Lanka 3, England 0.
One of our Scrabble games was played on top of a tree hut while waiting for Elephants to immerge during one memorable evening. Soon, we had over 50 Elephants in close proximity to our tree hut, feeding and interacting with each other, which was a fabulous experience. The day before, we observed over 80 Elephants around the same site, which by the way, is situated outside the Wasgomuwa National Park.
This was the peak of the dry season here and Elephants were coming in for drinking and bathing in the tank that was nearby, which still retained some water. Ed and CJ leant how to identify Elephants individually, using their unique features, and for this purpose we also took some video footage for later comparisons.
We had interruptions for our scrabble and elephant observations by Chestnut-headed and Green Bee-eaters, Black-capped Bulbul, Sri Lanka Swallow, Wooly-necked Stork, Grey-headed Fish Eagle, Indian Roller and Pied Kingfisher. I also observed nesting colony of Striated Weavers in the Tank in the Handungamuwa area.