There is a small patch of rain forest just an hour’s drive from my place, named Meethirigala reserve. This forest has been spared thanks to a forest buddhist hermitage situated in it. I did a half a day trip to this secondary rain forest yesterday with some bird and bug friends: Ayanthi (organiser), Cheryl, Rohantha and Sandaruwan. I was hoping to focus just on birds (determined not to take the camera gear out of the bag), but soon, had to abandon this idea as the majority favoured photography, and I found myself copying their behaviours. Insects were sluggish due to overcast and early morning conditions, which made their photography more profitable. I am sharing here some of them that cooperated.
First, I start with a critter that have no idea of; if you do, please let me know.
This looks like a type of a builder wasp
I was crawling on the ground when I shot this fly and got a leech on my belly.
A solider beetle.
And God knows what this is!
All of these were photographed at life size or above life size. Most of them were spotted by Cheryl who had a good eye for bugs. She also impressed me immensely with her ability to share fish sandwiches and chilled drinks at regular intervals.
Our top birding highlight of the trip included Common Hawk Cuckoo, which was picked by Ayanthi. This bird is not common here as the name suggests. A female Black-naped Monarch nest-building by the roadside was also nice. An endemic Green-billed Coucal was heard.
Our top butterfly highlight was the Southern Duffer, which was expertly spotted by Rohantha while being glued to a Elaeocarpus serratus tree (Veralu in Sinhala), drinking its sap that was oozing out of a wound in the bark. Later on, Ayanthi announced the second Southern Duffer and a third Southern Duffer joining in there while we were getting on with other things. It turned out to be an all-male drinking party. It was quite a good sighting of this rare butterfly found in forests with bamboo undergrowth. A Common Evening Brown was also seen there at the start. Ayanthi took good pictures of the Southern Duffer and Common Evening Brown together. A perched Banded Peacock spotted inside a bamboo thicket by me was too difficult to photograph but a good one for the trip.
The three males thought it was fit to copy the sap-seeking behaviours of the Southern Duffers, and we paused at the Hanwella Resthouse for some Arrack. The rice and curry that followed tasted good.
Macro Monday HQ is at Lisa's Chaos.
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