Saturday, 10 January 2009

Masala – 2

It’s time for another masala post.
As promised, I am sharing some of the non-birding highlights recorded on the Christmas Birding tour that I led last month. Let's start off with amphibians. We did several frogging walks at the Sinharaja rain forest. It produced a few goodies.
One of the top findings was this strikingly coloured endemic shrub frog described in 2005 as Labugama Shrub Frog Philautus abundus.
Labugama Shrub Frog
Its discovery was published in this paper in the Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2005 Supplement No.12 that announced 27 new species of shrub frogs of the genus Philautus. This paper was authored by the indefatigable Biologist duo, Kelum Manamendra-Arachchi and Rolex Award laureate, Rohan Pethiyagoda, who have put Sri Lanka on the global map of the amphbian hotspots with the discovery of 100 species new to science!
I presume this is an Orange-canthal Shrub Frog Philautus stictomerus. We didn't handle any of these but merely tried to put names looking at their externally diagnosable features without disturbing them. Some of them are difficult to tell without handling as their diagnstics are not all visible in casual view.
probable Orange-canthal Shrub FrogHere’s a Common Paddy field Frog aka. Cricket Frog Fejervarya limnocharis . This colour morph with a bright orange mid-dorsal stripe is more attractive than its other drab-coloured morphs.
Common Paddy field Frog I found this endemic Bronzed Frog Rana temporalis on a shrub.
Bronzed Frog
To change the topics completely, have you heard any rumours about the new Nikon D3x? It looks like a pretty awesome camera to me. You need to have pretty deep pockets to get one of those though. Sadly it is out of reach for me and a few people I know including this bloke, Hitler. Check this out.

Moving on to invertebrates, this endemic Long-horned Grasshopper, was my top non-birding highlight of the trip. It was identified by Dr. Priyantha Wijesinghe to be Temnophylloides astridula . It was found by yours truly at Sinharaja in an afternoon walk. According to Priyantha, this was described by G.M Henry in 1939 in the following paper:
Henry, G. M. 1939. A new tettigoniid genus and species from Ceylon. Spolia Zeylanica [=Ceylon Journal of Science Section B Zoology and Geology] 21(3): 229-232, pl. XX.
The genus; Temnophylloides is a monotypic one meaning that there is only a single species representing it, which in this case is endemic to Sri Lanka. We encountered it on the way back too, frozen in the same posture, at the same spot. It started to drizzle a bit then when I attempted this picture. I presume it is a nocturnal insect as when we passed this spot during the frogging walk at night it was gone.
Click here to read report of a similar looking Zumala robusta photographed in Aug, 2008. Temnophylloides astridula
No masala post is complete without a tagging game. And Christopher at Picus Blog has tagged me for a yet another tagging game named Six Random Things. Here are 6 random things...
1. My favourite daytime drink is Fresh Lime Soda.
2. My cultural book collection is bigger than my bird and natural history one.
3. I am a pretty amazing bathroom singer.
4. I had 2 US birders from NJ cancelling their 16-day Sri Lankan bird & culture tour schuled for Aug, 2009 soon after the Mumbai Attacks. They booked it in Aug, 2008.
5. I hope to get a new lens and some other camera accessories soon.
6. I consider “Step Brothers” as the funniest comedy movie of 2008. What? You don’t like it? Okay tell me a good one then!
I saved the best for last. Yesterday, my blog was picked as the “Best Photoblog of 2008” in the 2008 Blogging Awards by the irresistible London Lanka and Drums, the popular life-style blog that rocks the Sri Lanka blogsphere and beyond. Click here to see the amazing nominees and here to see the continuation of the very encouraging speech done by the Guest Judge –- photographer extraordinaire, Dominic Sansoni, who is one of the Three Blind Men in Sri Lanka. I’d like to say a big thank you to both RD and Dom for this very special honour! It feels very special to be recognized this way.
In the 2007 Blogging Awards, Gallicissa was picked as the “Best New comer” See the star-studded award ceremony here.

16 comments:

spookydragonfly said...

Congratulations on being chosen as the Best Photoblog of 2008, Amila!!
I'm not surprised, all of your photos are amazing, and your text loaded with information and humor alike. You are one of a kind! How about adding an audio feature so that we can all enjoy that singing voice...wonder what your musical selections are?!

Java Jones said...

Neat collection of froggie photos Amila. And congratulations on the award - most deserving.

Keep up the great work in 2009 as well.

Cheers!

Sunita said...

That's fantastic, Amila! Bravo!
But then they're not telling us anything we didnt know already. Your photos are absolutely amazing but combined with your writing about them makes for a real rocking blog ...
Best indeed!

Sasani said...

Hey, Congrats on your blog awards!

I'm back at work after a month long vacation...still recovering from the holiday mood.

So will update the blog soon.
Nice frogs by the way.

Gallicissa said...

Hi Kim,
Thanks as always! Fantastic to hear those words! I am positively blushed.

I sing Sinhala songs. The selections vary greatly depending acts of engagement.
I afraid I do not have any audio features ready at the moment but I sound a lot like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30pIy5JwR8M

p.s. This bloke went on to win that reality TV show on his 20th B’day on 9 Jan.

Hi Java,
Thanks a lot, sir!
Glad you liked them. I bet you have seen most of them in your frogging forays.

Hi Sunita,
Thanks a lot! I am blushed beyond recognition. Those encouraging comments mean so much to me.

Hi Sasani,
Thanks a lot! I was wondering why you were maintaining radio silence. Good to have you back!

RyanM said...

Great post as usual Amila - fantastic shots especially the Long-Horned Grasshopper. 3 things though
1) The Hitler video was hilarious - thanks for sharing that. Nikon does seem to be edging in superiority in the camera race but Canon will hit back soon I am sure :)

2) Step Brothers - seriously ??? Come on !!! Have you watched Tropic Thunder - I thought that was a pretty funny film

3) CONGRATULATIONS on wining the best Photoblog ! What an honour and such a well deserved one as well. What Dominic says is absolutely true - it is one thing to see such great pics of birds and insects but the experience is enhanced with the way you write.

Keep up the good work (but I am sure you will)

Riyazi

Christopher said...

Congratulations on the "Best Photoblog of 2008" award - it is certainyl well-deserved. Your photography is always top-notch, as is the writing.
Thanks for doing the "6 Random things"

And finally - happy belated birthday!

Charlie said...

Congratulations - well-deserved!!
I really do need to get out to Sri Lanka soon - if those two Americans who dropped out had already paid I'll take their places :)
By the way, I love Fresh Lime Soda when I'm in the subcontinent. You a 'sweet' or a 'salt' man??
All the best and congrats again
Charlie

Gallicissa said...

Hi Riyazi,
Thanks a lot!
Yes, that Long-horned Grasshopper was a big catch. Priyantha too was quite pleased about it. They are so well camouflaged that it is quite easy to overlook them. I am glad you liked the Hitler’s rant! Some people have lots of time and creativity.

Thunder was funny too. But those two Step Brothers were too funny!
Thanks again for your well wishes on the award & compliments!
It is very nice to hear them.

Hi Christopher,
Thanks you very much! I am pleased to hear those comments. Sorry for not playing by the rules. I hope I will be forgiven!

Hi Charlie,
Thanks a lot! Good to hear from you! Pleased to know that you’d like to visit Sri Lanka soon.
And thanks again for stepping forward to take those two slots.
They have been refunded of their dues already.

I still a have gap in the PEAK birding season here from 10-22 Feb, if soon means that soon!

Glad to hear that you too love Fresh Lime Soda! I am a not too salty and not too sweet type of a man. It really is quite a refreshing drink at the midday heat.

Tabib said...

Great captured of endemic frogs species. Congratulation on award and what a funny video!.

Duncan said...

Well deserved Amila. How about favouring us with your ten top natural history highlights for 2008, a hard job I know, but 'ave a go ......... ;-)

Gallicissa said...

Hi Tabib.
Thanks! I had a few more frogs that I will put out once I have identified them. Some of them are very difficult to tell from pics alone. Glad you liked the video. It is a work of a genius.

Hi Duncan,
Thanks! It is strange, I was thinking of doing something like that after seeing your post! Now that I have your blessings, I will be happy to do it!

Modesto Viegas said...

Very good frog collection!!! Regards and congratulations!

Gallicissa said...

Hi Modesto,
Thanks as always!
Hope you will have a smashing 2009!

S.C.E. said...

That video is hilarious!

Gallicissa said...

Glad you liked it, Stu!

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