We arrived at this crime scene at the Yala National Park during the photography tour that I guided last month. The cold look of the murderer, the bloody scene and eiry silence; we could just about connect the dots. Was it as bad as it seems?
The reddish hue in the water was painted by floral elements falling on it from nearby tree—Tamarind Tamarindus indica. Our prime suspect, the Lesser Adjutant, although has a criminal record of preying on unsuspecting birds, reptiles and small mammals, was innocent at this particular occasion.
Lesser Adjutant is a member of the Stork family and in Sri Lanka, it is mainly found in the dry zone where it is considered a scarce breeding resident. Its bare head almost like that of a vulture is an adaptation to deal with carrion, which account for its severe appearance deficits.