Some of the noteworthy birds for Lahiru the bird watcher included Chestnut-backed Owlet (a vocal pair), Layard’s Parakeet, (approximately 50 noisy individuals—easily the biggest aggregation that I have seen; also observed their courtship behaviours), Gold-fronted Leafbird (in song), Dollarbird (a boring immature), Green-billed Coucal, (jaw-dropping scope views; old record shot below), Black-headed Cuckooshrike (a pair in a mixed-species flock) and a Lesser Yellownape (long views).
The above Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher was the only bird that I digiscoped on this trip.
Moving on to natural history specials, our most exciting find was a butterfly named Autumn Leaf Doleschallia bisaltide (Family: Nymphalidae), which remarkably takes the shape a decayed leaf when perched (recalling a smaller Blue Oakleaf). A butterfly lifer for all of us, it was spotted by yours truly while having lunch at Rafter’s Retreat’s restaurant. Unfortunately, it was perched too high for my photographic reach.
Our next top butterfly highlight was a male Duffer Discophora lepida, which is a scarce resident in Sri Lanka. It paused long enough to afford a photo opportunity for Chandanie.
Despite not looking for them specifically, we encountered two amphibian species, which were special. The first was Sri Lanka Rock Frog Nannophrys ceylonensis (Family: Ranidae). A record shot of it is below.
And the second one was Kelaart’s Dwarf Toed Adenomus kelaarti (Family: Bufonidae).
Here are 5 random facts about these two amphibian species.
1. Both were named by Albert Günther (1830-1914) whose name is synonymous with a fair number of Natural History in Sri Lanka.Did you know that Sri Lanka holds the world record for the highest number of global amphibian extinctions?
2. Both genera are endemic to Sri Lanka.
3. Both genera comprise of 3 species each.
4. They both comprise of one species each of which the current conservation status reads as "extinct".
5. One of these extinct species, Kandy Dwarf Toad Adenomus kandianus was described by Günther in 1872.
6. The other extinct species in question, was named in honour of Günther, as Nannophrys guntheri (Gunther’s Rock Frog).
That’s right, out of 130 cases of amphibian extinctions documented in the world, Sri Lanka accounts for 21 cases, which is not a feat we can be proud of.
The tadpole that I posted for an ID quiz early this month was photographed on this trip. Here's a more revealing shot of it.
It was of the Sri Lanka Rock Frog, which lives on moist rock surfaces, often hiding inside crevices during daytime. For this it is quite well adapted, with a shape recalling more of a regular frog squashed by a wooden a dough roller.
This frog lays eggs in the same habitat it lives and so, the tadpoles when hatched have no free swimming life stage as most tadpoles do. Instead have a terrestrial existence on moist rock surfaces before metamorphosing into adult frogs.
Here’s how I had looked when I shot the above tadpole.
And here’s a crop highlighting the subject, which really proves how small it was.
My APOBPS treatment has got delayed for reasons beyond my control. Hopefully it could be "administered" in this week.