Monday, 31 May 2010

Kudu Tour Highlights

The Kudu 2010 Sri Lanka tour, that I guided from 9–20 January, was rich in wildlife and other moments. Most of them came during our two visits to the amazing Yala National Park in the southeastern Sri Lanka. There were 11 British visitors on this trip, which included the indefatigable Tour Leader, Frances Fedden who's led all Kudu trips to Sri Lanka since ancient past.

Our first highlight of the first game drive was this pair of Leopards crossing the main road, minutes after entering the park. Only one is clearly visible in this picture, with the other showing just the rear bits disappearing in the bushes to the right.

They were a bit distant, and the light was a bit low to get a perfect view, but that was enough to tick Leopard off the checklist—for those of us into listing.

Then we had these two Land Monitors in combat close to the main road. They were both were equally matched in the pugnacity, and we really couldn't judge who the winner was.

Next, we witnessed a courtship behaviour of a pair of Black-winged Stilts, where a male performed an endearing head-bobbing dance in front of a female to send her into a posture of submission. I alerted everybody to be ready for some action, and as predicted we had them in flagrante delicto.

The full paparazzi complement was shared by me here.
And then, there was this Ruddy Mongoose—enjoying a lie-in on a Palu tree, looking pretty and relaxed.

Fresh after rains, the park was teeming with wild flowers. These included the suggestive, Butterfly pea Clitoria ternatea, lending colour to the lush undergrowth. This species is named after the spice island, Ternate in Indonesia. The genus is named after an intimate part of female anatomy.

Crocs were in force as usual, and this one looked very well-fed.

The star of the show, however, was this male Leopard, which was seen by the people who were in the jeep that I was in. We found it very, very close to the jeep, just minutes before it was time for our exit on the second game drive. Frances and others who were in a separate jeep missed this, but roundabout the same time we had this one, they'd got a Leopard resting on the rocks at Kotigala. So we were all square, and happy!


Janith said...

Awesome set of pictures Amila, but the last one in particular is just beautiful! :D

P.s. That croc is HUGE!

Me-shak said...

Wow, Amilla. I love these pictures. Especially the last one. You should apply for some competition like the Natgeo one or something.
Looking forward for more.


dev wijewardane said...

I haven't been to Yala in years. looks like this was a very successful trip in terms of sightings.

rainfield61 said...

I have seen Monitor Lizards fighting and wrestling many years back. It was very interesting except that I did not hold a camera at that time.

Lady divine said...

WOW! amazing pics!

santhoshi said...

great as always !

Offthebeatentrack said...

Nice! Especially love the last shot of the leopard and the mongoose. Never seen one up in a tree. Heading to Yala on Saturday, looking forward to some good sightings :)

Amila Salgado said...

Hi Chavie,
Thanks! Yep, that croc was a absolutely huge.

Hi Shak,
Nice of you to say so!

Hi Dev,
Yes, it turned out to be a very good day in office!

Hi Rainflied,
Such interesting wildlife spectacles often greet you just when there's no camera.

Hi LD,
Good to have you back after your Indian adventure.

Hi Santhoshi,
Nice of you to say so!

Hi Naren,
Good luck with your Yala adventure! Hope you will return with an interesting bunch of stories as always.

Stuart Price said...

Looks like the lizards are lovers and not a new genre in adult movies. Lizard porn!

And Stilt porn too I black and white.......

Amila Salgado said...

Hi Stu,
Haha...interesting view! :)

Amila Kanchana said...

Must have been some experience, way to go!

Kirigalpoththa said...

I too think lizards in one of their romantic frolics. Amazing collection and the last one is the best.

Amila Salgado said...

Hi K,
Mate, there were no love lost between them. I have a full sequence to prove it and I shall put them out later on.

flowergirl said...

OK, I await the full sequence of the monitor fight...that should be interesting!

Amila Salgado said...

Hi flowergirl,
It was quite fun to watch.
I didn't realise you were such a tomboy.

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