In January 2011, I guided Jan Henriksson and Britt Marie Skoglund from Sweden on a 16-day Absolute Birding tour. We saw a total of 255 species of birds, including all endemics and other usual suspects. Jan has done a brief report in Swedish, and just so your Swedish is not up to scratch, you can get it translated using Google Translate.
Jan was the keener birder and photographer of the two, while Britt tagged along giving moral support, and at times, dazzling us with her sharp spotting skills.
Jan works in a prison in Sweden. He told me that it was a stressful job, having to deal with bad guys on a regular basis. And birds and photography were his "releases" from all that. He was a demure person, and often chose to enjoy birds silently. Britt on the other hand, was quite expressive, and was the official go-between on most matters. Oh, and Jan was a huge fan of Two and a Half Men; he said he had all the 8 Seasons of it in DVD with Swedish subtitles!
Some pictures from our trip:
Our vehicle came to an abrupt halt after seeing this on a roadsides post at Udawalawe. We used our vehicle as a hide to get close to it and shoot this at point blank range.
For this, we used a safari jeep as a hide at Bundala National Park, where we had beautiful morning light.
This stayed frozen at Nuwara Eliya in a cool morning. It was too lazy to fly despite us approaching it close. In 2000, I went for a job interview of a nature tour company, and one of the questions thrown at me was to name the Latin name of Yellow-eared Bulbul! I rattled off Pycnonotus penicillatus, and if I remember right, murmuring a dah, after that.
I was selected.
This is the bird that appears on the new Rs. 5,000 currency note, so it is by no means a cheap bird.
Sri Lanka Frogmouth
Beej once commented here, "The Frogmouths always wear a precious expression—bedraggled and slovenly but infinitely adorable."
We found this adorable pair of Sri Lanka Frogmouth at the Sinharaja rain forest. When found in day roosts, this bird is almost always found in low-light; I shot this bumping up the ISO to a crazy high—of 4000. There was a nest of another individual quite high up.
We had a mustering of Painted Storks foraging close together at Bundala National Park, which I find a peaceful place for bird photography (compared to the melee that is Yala N.P.) I photographed this one when it strayed from the rest.
This one too obliged at the superb Bundala National Park. A very small population of this species is found in my village in the lush valleys of the Kelani River.
Grey-headed Canary Flycatcher
This one appeared as if was dressed to go to war, sporting what looked like an iron helmet. I like to freeze birds in such poses, when they appear to look straight at me. This one was real a hyperactive little fellow, rarely staying still for long. We photographed it at Hakgala.
Little Indian Nightjar
It was trying to pass as a rock. Here's a close crop of it looking all sleepy.
We found this at the Udawalawe National Park, very close to a track.
Patience pays off when it comes to dealing with the endemic Dull-blue Flycatcher. This is the bird that appears in the new Rs.50 currency note—a rather cheap denomination for such a pretty bird, if you ask me. Especially considering that it is already insulted scientifically as a sordid bird in Eumiyas sordida.
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