Sunday, 5 February 2012

Of the Sri Lanka Bay Owl That I Spotted from a Moving Vehicle


Somewhere in the lowland wet zone, I spotted this Sri Lanka Bay Owl from a moving vehicle!

That was during an Absolute Birding tour that I guided in the second half of January, 2012 for Mark Yates, Gary Thonburn (both from the U.K.) and Brendon Ryan from South Africa.

We were returning to our accommodation 'empty-handed' after specially going to see this scarce owl, which is a rarely seen resident bird species in Sri Lanka. We were not helped by so many elements on this day, which included the weather. During the journey back, which seemed a very long one, I kept spot-lighting randomly, hoping for a consolation Slender Loris or so.

This has worked before.
No loris, but an endemic Yellow-striped Chevrotain seen in the headlights of the vehcile, was a good enough consolation.
 
That was until I picked another eye-shine, which saw our vehicle coming to a screeching halt. When I trained my binoculars, they belonged to—would you believe—a Sri Lanka Bay Owl!

I soon shared my serendipitous find with my clients, who took a few decent shots. The one above was sent by Gary Thoburn, who wielded a Canon 500mm lens. We left the bird to carry out its hunting and moved on. Soon, I found that during the frenetic moments of spotting the bird, I had lost an eye cup in my Swarovski binoculars; I backtracked about 100 metres on foot to recover it. Glued to the same old perch was a still-busy-foraging Sri Lanka Bay Owl.

With this amazing find, this tour saw us bagging 12 out of the 15 resident night birds. Our tally included 9 owl species. We saw nearly 250 species of birds out of which 190 were photographed.

To see more images of birds and natural history photographed on this trip, visit Gary's photo site in a few weeks.

Related post: A tuktuk trip and a top lifer!

8 comments:

GG said...

Nice. The caption about taking the shot from a moving vehicle reminded me of 'Velusumana' one of the heroes of Dutugamunu, who used to do all sorts of amazing feats on a moving horse.... hmm...maybe my imagination is going haywire.

Gallicissa said...

GG,
Thank you.

According to a reliable spiritual source, in one of my past lives (in the 5th century A.D. at Sigiriya!), I had hunted wildlife for fun. I had used bow and arrow for that. I don't know whether I had been adept at hunting on the go like Velusumana, but I can inquire!

(I guess I still carry some of my old attributes, though in a bloodless way.)

Kirigalpoththa said...

Moving vehicle? yet so clear!

Gallicissa said...

K, It was spotted from a moving vehicle; it wasn't photographed from one.

elcamperoinquieto.com said...

Greay shot indeed!
Saludos from Spain!

javajones said...

Hi Amila

I sent you a mail regrading potential clients. Let me know if you got it or if your mailing address has changed

Sach said...

Hi mate it's been long. How are the things? Damn I miss the good old days when Kottu was flourishing and we used to be regulars.

Gallicissa said...

@elcamperoinquieto.com said...
Thank you! Warm and wet greetings from Sri Lanka!

@Java,
Thanks a lot!

@Sach,
I have been mostly away from computers. Now I am back online. I hope to revive my blog.

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