Friday, July 24, 2009

Bird observations during the month of June

Worldbirds’, the data base for bird observations around the globe, now have 133 countries online. Total observations recorded in the system exceeded two million recently. Its Sri Lankan counterpart “Sri Lanka Birds” was able to record 2000 visits with nearly 38,000 bird observations recently.

This brief report provides an analysis of data entered by ‘Sri Lanka Birds’ members for the month of June. The analysis is based on the data downloaded on 21st July 2009.

New members 13
FOGSL warmly welcomes new members to the ‘Sri Lanka Birds’ community. FOGSL hopes they will enjoy the system while contributing towards the conservation of Sri Lankan birds.

Total Number of Observations 1316
Number of Species 138
Number of Endemic Species 22
Number of Proposed endemic Species 6
Number of migrant species 4

Nesting records
Number of observations 22
Number of species 10
Species (Great Egret, Intermediate Egret, Little Cormorant, House Crow, Jungle Crow, House Swift, Purple Sunbird, Red-vented Bulbul, Spotted Dove and White-bellied Sea-Eagle)
Pale-billed Flowerpecker was also reported in breeding stages other than nesting.

Mostly recorded species (No: of observations)
House Crow (54)
White-bellied Drongo (50)
Common Myna (47)
Red-vented Bulbul (46)
Common Tailorbird (45)

Top five users (No: of observations)
Newton Jayawardane (559)
Rahula Perera (332)
Amila Sumanapala (208)
Nadika Hapuarachchi(167)
Rienzie Fernando (25)

A total of 32 locations were visited during June by ‘Sri Lanka Birds’ members. Highest number of observations was made at Ragama (381) as in many previous months. It is important to notice some visits to the Eastern province during the month.

Current statistics that shows the number of field visits, number of observations and bird species, as well as the number of users registered in the system are given in the login page of ‘Sri Lanka Birds’
Contributions of members towards the conservation of birds through this initiative are highly appreciated by the FOGSL.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Capturing birds during the non-migratory period 2009

FOGSL Bird Ringing team conducted a short bird ringing session at Bundala National Park from 25th to 28th June 2009 in collaboration of the Department of Wildlife Conservation. This session was conducted to capture birds at the non-migratory period.

Bird ringing at the non-migratory period is not exciting as at the migratory period where large number of birds and species captured. Although it is expected to have very low number of migrant birds in the area, there were fairly good number of birds which can be considered as stragglers and resident group of Kentish plovers. However, 12 bird species including four wader species were captured during the session. A common redshank which was first ringed during the ringing session in December 2008 was recaptured.
Prof. S.W. Kotagama, Mr. C.D. Kaluthota, Mr. R.A.R. Perera, Mr. Kasun Dayananda and Mr. Pradeep Suranga participated in this session. Five officers of the Department of Wildlife Conservation also participated in the ringing session as trainees. FOGSL acknowledges all the participants for their difficult task in the field, Mr. W.A.A.D.U. Indrajith (Park Warden, Bundala NP) and his staff for their role to facilitate this session in the Bundala National Park.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Watching Uva Birds

Field visit to Nilgala

Nilgala is a part of the Gal Oya National Park that situated in the Uva Avifaunal Zone. It is one of the best places to watch some bird species which are restricted to the Uva avifaunal zone. Therefore, annual field visit to Nilgala is always a high demand field trip. A team of 25 FOGSL members headed by Prof. Sarath Kotagama participated in the Field visit for 2009 from 3rd to 6th July.

FOGSL team camped at the Nilgala Beat office and had good opportunity to observe birds in several habitat types including dry pathana and riverine forest. Visiting the ‘Makara’, the famous place where Gal Oya River goes underground, was an unforgettable experience to members.

Area was in dry condition due to lack of rain in the recent past. Forest fires in the Pathana area in dry period was a frequent event. It is evident that, due to these forest fires, bird life of the area was affected. However, members were able to record a total of 94 species including five endemics during the four day period. Although some of the ‘most wanted’ species such as Painted Francolin, Yellow-footed Green Pigeon and Blue-eared Kingfisher were missed, members got the opportunity to fill the gap by observing many other wildlife including elephants. Participants: Prof. S.W. Kotagama, Mrs. Thena Perera, Mr. Chameera Seneviratne, Mrs. Nioli Weerasinha, Mr. Ravi Deraniyagala, Mr. Nanda Siriwardhane, Dr. Newton Jayawardhana, Miss. Madubashini Jayawardhana, Miss. Ayanthi Samarajeewa, Mr. Sanjeewa Ariyaratne, Mr. Mohamad Faris, Mr. Sudarshan Zoysa, Mrs. Cheryl Silva, Mr. Rohan Kaththiriarachchi, Mr. Mahitha Kaththiriarachchi, Mr. Ashoka Jayasekara, Mr. G. Herath, Miss. Yuraji Karunaratne, Mrs. Sujatha Mayadunnage, Ms. H.M.N.G.S.C. Bandara, Mr. Thilantha S. Abesinha, Mr. Sanjeewa Udawatta, Mr. Kusum Fernando, Mr. A. Nashath B. Hafi, Mr. Indrika Pradeepa

List of Birds recorded
Sri Lanka Spurfowl
Indian Peafowl
Cattle Egret
Brahminy Kite
White-bellied Sea-eagle
Crested Serpent-eagle
Common Buzzard
Black Eagle
White-breasted Waterhen
Barred Buttonquail
Red-wattled Lapwing
Spotted Dove
Emerald Dove
Orange-breasted Green-pigeon
Pompadour Green-pigeon
Green Imperial-pigeon
Sri Lanka Hanging-parrot
Rose-ringed Parakeet
Plum-headed Parakeet
Sri Lanka Emerald-collared Parakeet
Indian Cuckoo
Drongo Cuckoo
Asian Koel
Blue-faced Malkoha
Sirkeer Malkoha
Greater Coucal
Spot-bellied Eagle-owl
Jungle Owlet
Jerdon's Nightjar
Indian Swiftlet
Crested Treeswift
Malabar Trogon
Stork-billed Kingfisher
White-throated Kingfisher
Black-backed Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher
Little Green Bee-eater
Eurasian Hoopoe
Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill
Malabar Pied Hornbill
Brown-headed Barbet
Crimson-fronted Barbet
Coppersmith Barbet
Brown-capped Woodpecker
Yellow-crowned Woodpecker
Rufous Woodpecker
Streak-throated Woodpecker
Greater Flameback
Common Iora
Common Woodshrike
Large Cuckooshrike
Black-headed Cuckooshrike
Small Minivet
Scarlet Minivet
Bar-winged Flycatcher-shrike
Black-hooded Oriole
White-bellied Drongo
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
White-browed Fantail
Black-naped Monarch
Asian Paradise-flycatcher
Great Tit
Red-rumped Swallow
Jerdon's Bushlark
Zitting Cisticola
Grey-breasted Prinia
Plain Prinia
Black-crested Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul
White-browed Bulbul
Yellow-browed Bulbul
Asian Black Bulbul
Common Tailorbird
Sri Lanka Brown-capped Babbler
Tawny-bellied Babbler
Dark-fronted Babbler
Yellow-eyed Babbler
Yellow-billed Babbler
Oriental White-eye
Velvet-fronted Nuthatch
Hill Myna
Common Myna
Oriental Magpie-robin
White-rumped Shama
Indian Robin
Tickell's Blue-flycatcher
Jerdon's Leafbird
Thick-billed Flowerpecker
Pale-billed Flowerpecker
Purple-rumped Sunbird
Purple Sunbird
Scaly-breasted Munia
Paddyfield Pipit
Photos and Bird List: Indrika Pradeepa

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

A sight record of Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath) at Arugam Bay, South Eastern Sri Lanka

During a field survey of Mangrove sites at Arugam bay, we were able to record a Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath) on 10th March 2009 at around 11h30. It was feeding in the marshy area adjacent to the lagoon.

We positively identified this heron as a Goliath Heron based on the greater size compared to the Grey Heron which fed in the vicinity and other morphological characteristics. The prominent, widely spread black color patches on neck, large grayish bill and grey legs helped us to identify the species. Unfortunately, we were unable to photograph it.

Goliath Heron (Ardea goliath) is the largest among the Herons, about 140cm body length. It is very much larger than the Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) and the Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea), which are commonly found in Sri Lanka. It has a darker bill, brown crown, plain grey upper wings, dark chestnut under wings and dark grey legs. Goliath herons typically found in marshes, lagoons, sea shores and near fresh or saline water bodies in dry lowlands.

This species was recorded only handful of occasions in the island and that includes two specimen records. Hence, it is categorized as a vagrant species in Sri Lanka. Following records are documented in ‘Annotated checklist of the Birds of Ceylon’ by W.W.A. Phillips (1978).

“Specimens were shot by Mr. Le Mesurrier on 4th April, 1878, on the banks of the Mahaweli ganga, a few miles above Kandakardu in the Tamankada Pattuwa and by Mr. Exham Swyny, early in 1879, at Palatupane in the Kirinde District. Another example was seen on a latter occasion at Willapalawewa. Recently one was seen at Kokkare Villu, in Wilpaththu, by Mr. D. Summers-Smith and Dr. T.S.U. De Zylva, in February 1975”.

Recently a single bird was recorded at Negambo Lagoon in 1990 by R.I. De Silva.

Reported by FOGSL members H.G. Salindra Kasun Dayananda and K.D. Sameera Ariyarathna.