I birded with Luca Cords on 11 Sep, 2007, one of the men behind club300.de, a popular birding site in Germany. Luca was from Hamburg and was my first bird watcher from Deutschland. This was his first visit to Sri Lanka and he had come with a group of non-bird watchers and was holidaying in a beach hotel in Kalutara when I picked him up to first visit Bodhinagala Forest Reserve, just 30 minutes away. The Swamp forest section of this lowland forest was inundated following heavy monsoonal rain, so we struck to the main access trail, which leads to a Buddhist monastery in the middle. This fragmented secondary lowland forest is dominated by thick bamboo undergrowth, which is preferred by Green-billed Coucal; known as Bata Atikukukla, meaning the ‘Bamboo Coucal’ in the local language.
A couple of Green-billed Coucal were calling from the opposite side of the Kalu River, which borders this forest. We had no luck with them unfortunately, which remained uncooperative but instead had good views of Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Black-capped Bulbul, Black-naped Monarch, Sri Lanka Small Barbet, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Gold-fronted Leafbird, Dark-fronted Babbler & an obliging Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, which was photographed by Luca.
In Kithulgala, the Green-billed Coucal again frustrated us calling on the opposite side of the river; Kelani this time. Several more new birds were added in the form of Orange-billed Babbler, Legge’s Flowerpecker, Emerald Dove, Indian Swiftlet, Long-billed Sunbird, Green Imperial Pigeon, Square-tailed Black Bulbul, Jerdon’s Leafbird and Orange Minivet. As it was threatening to rain and as Luca also wanted a bit of birding in my local patch for wetland birds, we skipped visiting the Kithulgala forest on the opposite side of the river and kept our birding to the well-wooded gardens along the main road. On the way back we had a bit of rain but luckily it remained dry when we reached my local wetland patch in Bomiriya, Kaduwela where we had a good ½ hour of birding. This produced Phesant-tailed Jacana, Asian Openbill, Purple Heron, Purple Swamphen, Great & Intermediate Egrets, Pied Kingfisher, Oriental Darter, Black-crowned Night Heron & Lesser Whistling-duck. Reaching Kaduwela town, I got him his last bird of the trip; the Spot-billed Pelican perched atop of the massive rain tree in the town centre. Thereafter, Luca dropped in my place for a cuppa. The Indian Scops Owls were sadly not seen in the day roost discovered several days earlier.