Sunday, 8 November 2009

November Rain

The rains have returned to the dry zone, ending the withering drought it experienced for several months. I know this, because I am back from a 4-day trip, which took me to several National Parks in that part of the country. I bore witness to some of the pleasant changes brought about by the rains. A brief account below.

Grey-breasted Prinia
Grey-breasted Prinia at Udawalawe

One of things that I have experienced in our dry country is that, when it rains, it really pours, just as Elvis sang decades ago. It had started to rain properly just three days before my arrival at Yala. And I was surprised to see how quickly some of the waterholes had filled up. The Wild Buffalos, neck deep them, were visibly happy that the drought is finally over.

Wild Buffalo
The shrubs, which had shed leaves to conserve water during the drought, spouted up fresh foliage almost before our eyes. It was springtime at Yala. This migrant Brahminy Myna was sitting on such a deciduous shrub.

Brahminy Myna
The new growth in the vegetation brought about happy times for herbivores. This elephant, busy feasting on the succulent new-growth, was not too bothered by our close presence.

Asian Elephant
This female Sambar held this pose long enough for me to bump up the ISO to attempt this shot in low light.


The Spotted Deer were back in the glades, grazing the new grass that had sprung up. Suddenly, there was water everywhere, and the rush-hour traffic, seen near water holes during the height of the drought last month, was over. Life was returning to once barren terrain.

Spotted Deer
Whenever there was a respite from the weather, the bird activity went up. I got my first decent shots of Tawny-bellied Babbler at Udawalawe.

Tawny-bellied Babbler
Courting Indian Peafowl males, displaying their gaudy trains, were a common sight at all sites.


Even in rainy weather, you still could manage plenty of bird and wildlife watching in the tropics. If you are patient enough, that is. Like this Painted Stork at Bundala National Park.

Painted Stork

28 comments:

Nat said...

So Beautiful...as would be expected !! I am extremely glad for you and all our sake...your prayers were granted Amila !

Chavie said...

really good to know that the drought has ended Amila! and beautiful shots, especially loved the tusker! :D

rainfield61 said...

My equipment simply would not help to produce the same quality photos as yours.
Seeing them is refreshing, even better than actually seeing them with my own eyes.

N said...

Nice stuff! Just got back from Yala myself today...too bad our paths didn't cross! Are hoopoes migratory as well because the last two trips I've been I've seen them all over the place (I thought they were resident). The teal (I think) were also present in force in the newly filled waterholes! Icing on the cake was six leopard sitings with one trying to take on a water buffalo.

Bindhu & Unny said...

The tusker and the painted stork was very beautiful. hope to see more images from the Srilankan rainforests through your lens and imagination.

Bindhu & Unny

Bindhu & Unny said...

kirigalpoththa also happens to be a blogger-friend of ours!

Tabib said...

Good to know that rain finally come. Love that Prinia shot!

Java Jones said...

Great detail in the shots Amila - your new lens must be everything you wished for!

The rains have hit the hills as well - just in time too...

Sasani said...

I'm speechless! stunning photos!
This is such a breath of fresh air for poor me stuck in a lab with some stubborn, lifeless equipment.

Kirigalpoththa said...

What a change that the rain has brought in!

I love you commentary.. feel like David Atenborough blogging..

Gald to see Bindhu & Unny too around in the comment field :)

BTW where are all leopards?

blackexists said...

these are GORGEOUS! love the one of the tusker and the peacock.. beautiful :)

santhoshi said...

wow!

Do u know its lucky to see a peacock dancing :)

Dev Wijewardane said...

Great shots. The image of the Prinia is fantastic. Enjoying the 100-400??

Gallicissa said...

Hi Nat,
Thank you!
Indeed, my prayers were granted!

Hi Chavie,
Thank you!
The rains truly bring about amazing changes.

Hi Rainfield,
I guarantee you that seeing them from your own eyes is far better.

Hi N,
You've visited the park with Sujith, the same tracker as I did, and I heard from him that you guys had absolutely fantastic sightings of Leopard. I had none, but that is how life goes! When I was there nobody else had Leopard sightings, so I am not totally devastated when I heard the sightings you've had.

Common Hoopoe Upupa epops ceylonensis is a resident bird, and I have personally observed it nesting at Mannar. It probably undertakes internal movements within Sri Lanka, for it has been recorded in wet zone locations too. I suspect ones at Yala may be moving away to more wetter interiors during the height of the drought, and returning when things look better, after rains.

Hi Bindhu & Unny,
Thank you!
Wonderful to hear from you. I will be back to explore your wonderful blog. Yes, we have a mutual blogging friend in K.

Hi Tabib,
Yes, it is a very good feeling. Better times to follow.

Hi Java,
I am thoroughly enjoying my new lens. It bet it is quite cold there at the flowerbook during rainy weather.

Hi Sasani,
Thanks a lot!
I hope you will get that Ph.D soon, and return to the blogosphere.

Hi K,
I really enjoyed seeing those changes, some subtle, some drastic. Thanks for that lovely compliment!

Leopards? What a rude question to ask Mr. K??

I thought nobody will ask that knee-jerking question. Please refer the reply to N above.

Hi Santhoshi,
Thank you! Yes, I know that! Sadly, I ran out of luck for finding a Leopard though...

Hi Dev,
Thank you!
I rested both my elbows on a platform, and suspended breathing for a few seconds to take that Prinia.

Indeed, I am enjoying my 100-400!
I am very pleased about it...thinking of a tripod now.

Kirigalpoththa said...

Hi Amila,

These leaopards are really shrewed. aren't they? :D

They deny us another chance of seeing them via your blog :(

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

superb photographs Amila. I was trying to pick a favourite. They're so good that they're all my favourite. Thanks.

Sunita said...

Rain? How lucky for you!
Superb shots, Amila, I'm glad to see the APOBPS is nowhere in sight and you're back in fine form with the bird photos. Love that peacock photo! Gaudy and very bling, I know but I still get all excited at the sight of a peacock.
By the way, I like the switch to Minima Stretch template. I like its very clean looks and of course, how much bigger you can make your photos in your posts .

Kathiesbirds said...

Gallicissa, that first bird is so cute but it looks mad! The photo of the elephant is stunning. That female Sambar looks like it has the ears of a hyeana and I absolutley love that Painted Stork! I did not know they could be so beautiful! It is appropriately named!

Gallicissa said...

Hi again, K,
Yes they are. I think it was too early in the rainy season....
Let's see next time.

Hi RD,
Thank you! I picked 22 as blog fodder, and shortlisted 9 pics for this post to tell the story. Expect an e-mail today.

Hi Sunita,
No rain for you still?
Indeed, APOBPS is curable!Peacocks are very bling. I am never tired of seeing them.

Glad you like my new template. I enjoy the freedom I get to express.

Hi Kathie,
That first bird was known as Franklin's Prinia when I started birding. I quite like that name, to be honest. The Painted Stork is a pretty bird, for a Stork.

chandanie said...

Hi Amila,
Great post and fantastic shots as usual. Lahiru and I enjoyed both immensely. Glad to see you enjoying your new lens.
Fantastic details of the peacock, who in the true male form, is showing off ;-)

S.C.E. said...

Nice shots especially the Stork..........

Gallicissa said...

Hi Chandanie,
Thank you! Yep, that Peacock is a big show-off, alight. It's all because females are choosy. The new lens is keeping me quite occupied. Hope you got your camera sorted out. Say hello to Lahiru & J.

Thank you, Stu!

flowergirl said...

Ooh nice! Yes, when it rains it sure does pour around here!

Its back to a steaming sun here today, though Amila!

I love the way you show Yala in every season...must visit.

Lady divine said...

Fabulously amazing!!!!!!!!
Also LOVE the one of the elephant..

Gallicissa said...

Hi flowergirl,
It's sunny here too...
There's something on offer at Yala, rain or no rain.

You'd like Yala a lot.

Hi Lady divine,
Thanks a lot!
That Elephant was so close that I was able to photograph a millipede that was hitching a ride on its trunk.

Larry Jordan said...

Gorgeous shots Amila! It is always welcome when the rains return no? We have had drought in California now for the last three years and finally got some rain recently.

My favorite photo is the startled looking Tawny-bellied Babbler! But the Wild Buffalo is very cool too.

Gallicissa said...

Hi Larry,
Thank you!
That's right.
There never have been a drought lasting for three years in memory. That would be catastrophic and I don't even like to think about it!

A lot of pishing was involved to getting that Babbler to pose like that!

ST said...

hi, Amila just catching up, as usual.
lots of great pics, as usual.
but i have a question for you.

what are the best moths for visiting your part of the world?
generally.
please leave your answer on my blog when you have a spare few minutes.
ST

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