Saturday, 27 February 2010

The Curtain Raiser

Did you know that at Lords’, the northwest side of the playing surface is some eight feet higher than the southeast side?

I didn’t, until I met Adrian Morgan, the assistant Head Groundsman of Lords'—the home of cricket. This was during a 3-day trip to Sinharaja ‘World Heritage’ rain forest last November. He was here with his partner Rose—a conservationistinvolved with London Peregrine Partnership. Both of them were very keen bird watchers, and were on their maiden visit to Sri Lanka. With for over thirty years of work experience at Lords', Adrian knew about cricket and cricketers like Jayalalithaa about acting and politics.

Dull-blue Flycatcher
The Sri Lankan endemic, Dull-blue Flycatcher perched on an English Oak at Hakgala Botanical Gardens, 29 Nov, 2009.

Yes, I gleaned plenty of inside stories about various cricketers!
FYI, Adrian has high regard for our skipper, Kumar Sangakkara.

Sri Lanka White-eye
The diminutive endemic, Sri Lanka White-eye at Hatton, at a police check-point.

This tour marked the curtain raiser of my winter 2009/2010 birding and wildlife tour season; and I did it from 25–27 November, 2009. Dazzled by the beauty of Sri Lankan birds, Adrian and Rose followed this with an unscheduled trip to Nuwara Eliya. This was in pursuit of highland endemics and specials. As I was scheduled to commence a 14-day ‘Absolute Birding’ trip with 3 British birders from 30 November, this was squeezed into the tight gap from 28–29 November, 2009. In this combined 4-day "special operation", we bagged twenty-six out of the thirty-three species of birds currently recognised as endemic to Sri Lanka (according to the Birds of South Asia by Pamela Rasmussen).

Coming to birding specifics, our top bird highlight at Sinharaja was seeing a Serendib Scops Owl in a daytime roost. Our highland species included Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush, Dull-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lanka White-eye, Yellow-eared Bulbul, and Sri Lanka Bush Warbler. We missed the montane endemic, Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon. My top site of it is Surrey Estate at Welimada, and we couldn't visit on this tour due to time constraints. However, we were lucky enough to get great views of the sought after western Himalayan delights: Kashmir Flycatcher and Pied Thrush at the Hakgala Botanical Gardens.


Kirigalpoththa said...

So the easiest four should be towards south-east side right? Hope our cricketers know this!

Hope to hear more updates about your 14 days trip :)

Nice photos!!

Chavie said...

Beautiful captures Amila! :D

rainfield61 said...

I always admire the quality level of your photos.

What if I have your type of equipment...

Dev Wijewardane said...

Great shots as always Amila. Really like the light on the flycatcher.

Tabib said...

Great pictures!
That endemic Dull-blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordida) almost looks like the more widespread Pale Blue Flycatcher (Cyornis unicolor)

Gallicissa said...

Hi K,
I am pretty sure they know it!
The hits and misses of the big tour will be shared in due course, thanks.

Hi Chavie,
Thank you!

Hi rainfield,
The equipment matter as much as the person wielding them...

Hi Dev,
The lighting was not too harsh when I shot this. Thanks.

Hi Tabib,
Yes, there are some similarities in those two. Thank you.

S.C.E. said...

Your Sri-Lankan White-eye appears identical to our Japanese one.....

flowergirl said...

I too think highly of Sangakara, Amila...and I am now intrigued and want to hear all those inside stories that you got from Adrian!

Gallicissa said...

Hi Stu,
I think a lot of those white-eyes look similar.

Hi flowergirl,
Good to know that....inside stories will not be revealed in this blog, sorry. It will be risky as I am not an anonymous blogger. :)

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