Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
Peak Wilderness nestles in the centre of the Western ridge of the Central Highlands, north-east of Ratnapura. The wilderness also stretches towards the borders between Central and Sabaragamuwa provinces. With the abundance of treasures and mysteries, Peak Wilderness has been classified as the most constantly wet part of Asia, West of Borneo.
Our slow and tedious walk lasted for about 4 1/2 hours. In spite of the fatigue, we were in awe of the surroundings. We had lunch near a site where a dam was built, to make use of waters of a cascading waterfall to generate electricity to the villagers as well as the national grid. Cool winds and water, replenished us for awhile. Back on the route, we increased our pace, knowing we had to reach our destination before nightfall.
The valley spread before us, as we climbed higher. Through trees and shrubs we could get a peek at the vast expanse of greenery beyond. After walking, stumbling and panting along the distance, we spotted the Ambalama with relief. The waters of Seethagangula beckoned us quietly. Tents were put up, by the able men while Mahatun Mama, a faithful guide and friend of members of FOG for the past 5 years, along with his aides, Bandara and another, got the hearth going for the preparation of tea and dinner.
The only females in the herd, Komila and I hurried to the river to take a wash before it grew too dark. While we attempted to hide behind a rock for privacy, we later heard that a troupe of monkeys had apparently been watching us from a tree!
Morning dawned on the 23rd, after a terribly cold night. The few Buddhists in the group were hoping to climb Shri Pada. After much thought, I decided to join the 7 members to climb the rock. We began the long journey around 6.00 a.m. Four members stayed back to go birding in the surroundings adjacent to the Ambalama.
Legs aching, panting madly, slipping and struggling we trekked for about 1 1/2 hours before stopping over for a breakfast of ‘Kadala’ and coconut at a dilapidated ambalama, which during the season, would have been thriving with free meals and hot cups of tea for pilgrims.
The long trek began again with us being determined to spot a few birds to add to the list! It was treat, therefore, to see a Legg’s flower pecker having its own breakfast, feeding on some small fruit. A pair of Nuthatches was making a racket on a tree, presumably pecking away at some insects they had scented and spotted. We saw yellow eared bulbuls, hill mynahs and red vented bulbuls chirping away, on that glorious morning. The air was fresh and pure, and the sun shone bright and hot on us.
“Start climbing early, try to make it to the summit before 1.00 p.m. If you can’t and even if the summit is just there to reach, you need to climb down looking at it, by 1.30 p.m and reach the ambalama by 6.00 p.m.” were the instructions we got from Dr. Newton Jayawardane and Chaminda Jayaratne. We knew we had to keep to the deadlines and we were chasing time! There were traces of Elephant dung as we passed ‘batakelle’. A few blood thirsty leeches were making an effort to get on us, and some succeeded in making us bleed a fraction.
We reached the summit around 12.45 p.m. and the experience was awesome! Below, the montane forest cover spread. Vast, pure untouched and spellbinding, the canopy was an umbrella amidst the clouds. We could see the Blue waters of Castlereigh and Mousakelle Reservoirs, and of course the winding path we took was also visible, making us aware of the long trek back on the same route. It was hot and sunny up there. The winds fanned us. After prayers, and a steaming cup of tea given to us by the security officers at the summit, we began our descend. It was disheartening to see volumes of polythene carelessly strewn down the slopes of the summit. Pollution, a burning matter of concern where ever we happened to go, was not strange even to Peak Wilderness. We collected as much garbage as we could, and burnt them all at Galwangediye Kade Ambalama.
Descending was tedious as climbing was. After lunch at Ahala Kanuwa Ambalama, we began a steady descend making sure to pass Batakelle, before 3.30 p.m. We had to avoid elephants incase we ran into them! A prayer to see the Dollar bird was not answered. However, there were species of yellow eared, and black capped bull bulls which greeted us on the way down. Mahatun Mama, bare footed, chirpy and agile, guided us through out this tedious and exhilarating journey.
We reached our Ambalama by 6.05 p.m., much to our delight and probably to the relief of the others who would have been waiting for us. After the check list was done, and dinner taken, we retired to our respective tents, to get whatever sleep we could before returning to base, Adawikanda the next morning. Back at Adawikanda the following afternoon, everyone waited to have a dip in the river. Bandara welcomed us to his humble home, to give us a delicious meal for lunch. We relished the waldel kos ata curry, a novelty and a rare meal for city dwellers.
A few of us had to bid farewell to the group at Avissawella because we were Kandy bound. Back at home; to reminisce and re-live moments, it was a journey worth, making the effort of going! An important learning outcome was, to stay fit and healthy. Life becomes easier when one is in good health!
Sri Lanka Jungle fowl
Sri Lanka yellow fronted barbet
Black Crested Bulbull
SriLanka grey hornbill
Red Vented Bulbul
White throated Kingfisher
SriLanka Yellow eared bulbul
Blue tailed bee-eater
Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot
Yellow browed bulbul
Sri Lanka White eye
Oriental White eye
Green Imperial Pigeon
Large billed leaf warbler
Crested Serpent Eagle
SriLanka Brown capped Babbler
SriLanka Schimiter Babbler
Dark Fronted Babbler
Sri Lanka Blue Magpie
Sri Lanka Orange Billed Babbler
Black Hooded Oriole
Yellow Billed Babbler
Thick Billed Flower Pecker
Bar winged Flycatcher shrike
Sri lanka Legge’s Flower Pecker
White bellied Drongo
Pale Billed Flower pecker
Purple rumped sunbird
Black Naped Monarch
Asian Paradise Flycatcher
White Rumped Munia
Sri Lanka Spot winged Thrush
Asian Brown Flycatcher
Brown breasted flycatcher
Sri Lanka Dull Blue Flycatcher
Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher
Grey Headed Canary Flycatcher
Sri Lanka Myna
Velvet Fronted Nuthatch
List of Participants:
Mr. Chaminda Jayaratne, Dr. Newton Jaywardena, Ms. Sulakmi Weragama, Mr. Rohan Kaththiriarachchi, Ms. Komila Stanislaus, Mr. Ruwan, Mr. Ranjith Fernando, Mr. Chana, Mr. Nashad Hafi, Mr. Faris, Mr. Amudhesh
Bird list and Report: Sulekshmi Weragama
Photos: Sulekshmi Weragama, Rohan Kaththiriarachchi and Chaminda Jayaratne
To see more Photos
Thursday, October 28, 2010
A total of 59 people who are keen on birds joined with ‘Sri Lanka Birds’ community. FOGSL warmly welcomes our new members and invites them to enjoy the world of birding while contributing to the conservation process of Sri Lankan birds.
Observations (from 1st April to 30th September)
Number of visits (347)
Total Number of Observations (7357)
Number of Species (221)
Number of Endemic Species (21)
Number of Proposed endemic Species (7)
Number of migrant species (32)
Records of Black-necked Stork, Blue-eared Kingfisher and Spot-billed duck are noteworthy observations done during the period. A total of 32 migratory species were recorded, mainly during April and September, which are the endpoints of the season.
Number of nesting observations recorded during the said period was 87. Altogether 44 species were recorded as nesting during the six month interval.
Mostly recorded species (No: of observations)
House Crow (271)
Red-vented Bulbul (253)
Common Myna (248)
White-throated Kingfisher (247)
Spotted Dove (227)
Top five users (No: of observations)
Newton Jayawardane (3843)
Nadika Hapuarachchi (1054)
Amila Sumanapala (791)
Rahula Perera (537)
Chandanie Wanigatunge (496)
Number of locations visited during the period was 107. It covers wide variety of habitats and geographic regions of the island. Most importantly, many visits were from the North and Eastern provinces, which were previously inaccessible to birdwatchers. Thanks to member Newton Jayawardane’s untiring effort to monitor birds in his hometown, the highest number of observations was recorded at Ragama (2744).
Every birdwatcher in the tropical areas is anticipating the migratory season. So it is already started. Time to go out and record birds as much as possible. And while enjoying the world of birds, you can contribute to the conservation of Sri Lankan birds by submitting your data, to the ‘Sri Lanka Birds’ database.
To see current statistics on the number of field visits, number of observations and bird species, as well as the number of users registered in the system, visit the login page of ‘Sri Lanka Birds’.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Each year FOGSL organizes a field workshop for its members at SNHWA with the objective of providing an opportunity to understand the function and structure of mixed species feeding flocks. This year’s workshop was held from 10-12th September 2010.
We left the University of Colombo on the 9th around seven at night and reached Kudawa at 11.15pm. Thankfully Martin was waiting with his pickup for the luggage, and few of us also managed to get a lift to his lodge where we were stationed for the next three days. Wake up call on the 10th was at 5.30 am and by then the colourful Sri Lanka Magpies were already making noises from nearby trees. We took an early morning short walk to stretch our legs and after a good breakfast entered the protective zone of the forest for serious bird watching. Thirty three bird species were recorded during that day and several bird flock formations were also observed. Species such as Ashy-headed Laughingthrush, Sri Lanka White-faced Starling, Black-naped Monarch, Indian Scimitar Babbler, Malabar Trogon together with the Orange-billed Babbler and the Great Crested Drongo were some of the common species observed in association with these flocks. The highlight of the day was observing a Besra that was perched on a tree stalk. After dinner Martin gave a talk on the history of Sinharaja. He was born in a nearby village and in 1958 moved to his present home, which borders the forest and since then has been involved in activities going within the forest. He spoke about the Government’s selective logging initiatives in the early 1970s and thereafter how the forest became a strictly protected in the late 1980s. Further he mentioned about his observations on the receding water levels of the surrounding streams during the past few decades.
Next day we had a very close encounter with two Sri Lanka Magpies, who came and perched on the wooden beams of the dining hall of the lodge. During our morning walk, the adventurous and young at heart decided to climb Mulawella while the rest opted to go in search for day roosting sites of owls. The scenery form the top of Mulawella was worth the strenuous climb, while on the journey various amphibians, lizards, butterflies and fish were observed. We encountered a large bird flock on the way down. Back on the road, we had an interesting observation where a Spot-winged thrush was attacking a Sri Lanka Magpie. The owl searches were very lucky and had close sighting of the Serendib Scops-Owl and the Chestnut-backed Owlet, both endemic to Sri Lanka. Later, we listen to an interesting lecturer given by Prof. Kotagama on Bird Flocks of Sinharaja as well as the milestone happening towards conserving the forest.
At the very start of day three, a Grey Hornbill was observed near to the lodge and during our walk to the research station several bird flocks were encountered, and tagging behind one flock were two giant squirrels. On our way back, we had a rare opportunity of seeing an Oak Leaf butterfly that repeatedly closed and opened its wings to show us its splendor. After the lunch we returned to Colombo with lots of good memories of birds and other animals as well as shared laughter!
Sinharaja is Sri Lanka’s last large viable area of the virgin primary tropical rainforest which used to cover most of the island in the long gone past. 64% of its trees are endemic and many of them are rare. The reserve is also home to 23% of Sri Lanka’s endemic animals, including 85% of the country’s endemic birds and over 50% of its endemic mammals, reptiles and butterflies.
Mr. Dinu Ranasinha, Mr. Tharindu Gunaratne, Mr. Asitha Samarawickrama, Ms. Sulakmi Weragama, Ms. Lakshini Bambaradeniya, Mr. Rohan Kaththiriarachchi, Ms. Komila Stanislaus, Mr. Shivarumar Selvaraj, Ms. Devika Gunawardena, Mr. Nilantha Megasuriya, Mr. P.D.R.C. Karunanayake, Mr. Sethiya N. Perera, Mr. Helaranga P. Perera, Mr. K.K.D.L. Ruvinka, Mr. G.D. Illeperuma, Mr. S.K.K. Suraweera, Mr. Ranathunga Chathuranga, Ms. Amaley Munasinghe, Ms. Nishanthi Perera, Mr. D.S. Perera, Mr. Saman Abesingha, Ms. Sindy de Silva, Mr. Amila Salgado, Mr. Kusum Fernando, Mr. Indrika Pradeepa, Mr. Ravindra , Prof. S.W. Kotagama
Bird list: Indrika Pradeepa
Photos and Report: Nishanthi Perera
Sri Lanka Spurfowl (h)
Sri Lanka Junglefowl
Sri Lanka Hanging-parrot
Sri Lanka Emerald-collared Parakeet
Sri Lanka Red-faced Malkoha
Sri Lanka Green-billed Coucal (h)
Sri Lanka Serendib Scops-owl
Sri Lanka Chestnut-backed Owlet
Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill
Sri Lanka Yellow-fronted Barbet
Greater Racket-tailed Drongo
Sri Lanka Magpie
Sri Lanka Scimitar-babbler
Sri Lanka Orange-billed Babbler
Sri Lanka Ashy-headed Laughingthrush
Sri Lanka White-eye
Sri Lanka Myna
Sri Lanka White-faced Starling
Sri Lanka Spot-winged Thrush
Sri Lanka Scaly Thrush
Sri Lanka White-throated Flowerpecker
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
The Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka’s (FOGSL) field trip to Mihintale and Ritigala took place from the 21-24th of August 2010 with the participation of 13 FOGSL members headed by Professor Sarath Kotagama. Our base was the guest house of the Rajarata University which was in very close proximity to the Mihintale archaeological site. On arrival at the guesthouse we were greeted by three Sri Lanka Grey Hornbills and by following them we managed to see two Golden-fronted Leafbirds and a pair of Indian Brown Mongoose.
After lunch and a little rest we set off on a birding walk through the gardens of the university and was amazed by the variety of birds that called the university their “home”. We were very lucky to see a whole family of Malabar Pied Hornbills consisting of a father, mother and a daughter!! Some of us were also able to witness a Crested Serpent-eagle being hawked by a Shikra. Other birds seen included Orange-breasted and Pompadour Green-pigeons, Yellow-eyed and Tawny-bellied Babblers and also Ashy, Plain and Jungle Prinias. Huge rain clouds were the only thing that stopped us from more birding and we had to retreat to the guesthouse to avoid getting wet. After dinner we could not resist going out to search for a Jerdon’s Nightjar which was heard very close to the guesthouse. Our efforts were rewarded when we spotted it on a branch of a tree a few meters away from the path.
Next morning we set off for birding near the archaeological site and were joined by a few keen students from the Rajarata University. Here first to greet us was our national bird, the Sri Lanka Jungle fowl, while the sharp eyes of Indrika spotted a Changeable Hawk-eagle which we observed with the scope for quite a while. The time between breakfast and lunch was spent listening to lectures by Professor Kotagama which was very interesting for all of us as we learnt many things we didn’t know about birds. After lunch it was decided to go birding near the lake just outside the university. The highlight of this expedition was a Brown Fish-owl, while quite a number of aquatic birds including Cormorants, White-breasted Waterhen, Purple Swamphen and a pair of Woolly-necked Storks were also observed.
The next morning we were up early as we had planned a day birding trip to Kebithigollewa and Padaviya. The university students also joined us for this expedition. Our guide for this leg of the journey was a FOGSL member from Kebithigollewa named Harsha. We were taken to two birding hotspots on the way to Padawiya wewa. The first was a lake where we were able to observe some spoonbills, Gull-billed Terns and a Wood Sandpiper. The second path also led to a lake but it was completely dry as it was the dry season. We were able to view a pair of Pied Cuckoos and also a Black Drongo. Lunch was at Padawiya wewa where most of the members had a refreshing bath in the wewa. On the way back an unexpected stop was made at a lake at the edge of the road which proved to be a very good birding area. By the end of this stop we were all quite tired and couldn’t wait to go back to the guesthouse for some hot tea and a shower.
Next morning we headed to Ritigala. On the way we stopped at two lakes of which the second lake was very good for birding. The sharp eyes of Professor Kotagama spotted Lesser Sand Plovers, Wood Sandpipers and also a lone Little Ringed Plover. After we reached Ritigala we were given a briefing about the archaeological site by one of the lecturers from the Rajarata University. We walked up to the designated point while viewing the ruins. It was a shame to see many groups of people acting in a manner which was not suitable within an area which is legally protected for safeguarding its rich heritage for future generations. It was around 12 noon when we said our final goodbyes to our friends from the Rajarata University. It was a trip where we made new friends and managed to observe 118 bird species!
Mr. Ranjith Silva, Miss. Uraji Karunaratne, Mr. Asitha Samarawickrama, Miss. W.A. Harsha Abewickrama, Ms. Sindy de Silva, Mrs. Tharidra de Silva, Kids Rahul and Shahal, Mr. Amila Salgado, Mr. Rohan Kaththiriarachchi, Ms. Shamila Perera , Mr. Indrika Pradeepa, Prof. S.W. Kotagama
Reported by Asitha Samarawikram
Bird List by Indrika Pradeepa
Photos by Amila Salgado (read his report here)
See more photos here.
Sri Lanka Junglefowl
Lesser Sand Plover
Little Green Bee-eater
Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill
Malabar Pied Hornbill
Sunday, September 12, 2010
In 2005 an outbreak of the H5N1 'bird flu' virus in South East Asia led to widespread fear with predictions that the intercontinental migration of wild birds could lead to global pandemic. Such fears were never realised, and now research published in the Journal of Applied Ecology reveals why the global spread of bird flu by direct migration of wildfowl is unlikely.
The highly pathogenic H5N1 virus is primarily a disease of poultry, often resulting in mass mortality. However, the virus can also infect other species, including wild birds and humans. Some wild ducks, geese and swans can carry the virus asymptomatically, (without showing any symptoms) meaning that they have the potential to spread the virus as they migrate.
"The actual risk of H5N1 spread through migratory birds depended on whether infected individuals were capable of migratory movements while shedding virus, and the distance over which such individuals could travel. Our research has answered these questions using analysis of infection and migratory routes and timings for many bird species" says Dr Nicolas Gaidet.
His team analysed 228 birds from 19 species using satellite telemetry from 2006 to 2009 over the bird flu affected areas of Asia, Europe and Africa. The results indicated that migrating wildfowl are capable of dispersing the virus over extensive distances as much as 2900km before symptoms become apparent.
However, while this is theoretically possible the team found that direct virus dispersal by migrating birds would require asymptomatic infection to coincide precisely with the migration season. The results revealed a very small 'window' of between 5 to 15 days when dispersal of the virus over 500 km could occur.
It is crucial to the spread of disease over such a distance that an infected bird must not be showing the symptoms of infection. If the symptoms are evident then it is highly likely that the individual may not migrate, or at least they will be unable to cover the distance as well as a healthy bird.
Read the research paper here
Saturday, September 4, 2010
Professor of Ecology Anders Hedenström from Lund University has pondered over how this species of bird can fly so far without stopping. The distance is twice as far as previously known non-stop distances for migratory birds.
Professor Hedenström emphasises that the bar-tailed godwit is far superior to all aircraft constructed by humans when it comes to the art of flying for a long time without a break. The best man-made flying machine with a record closer to that of Bar-tailed Godwit is QiniteQ's Zephyr, an unmanned solar-powered craft which remained in the air for 82 hours, (around 3.5 days), compared with the Bar-tailed Godwit's eight-day flight.
But what is it that makes the bar-tailed godwit able to fly 11 000 kilometres without a single break? How can these birds manage without sleep or food for eight whole days? One explanation is that they consume unusually little energy compared with other species of bird. Anders Hedenström has calculated that the bar-tailed godwit consumes 0.41 per cent of its body weight each hour during its long flight. "This figure is extremely low compared with other migratory birds," he says.
There are still pieces of the jigsaw missing that could explain the bar-tailed godwit's record non-stop flight. Could the bird's success be due to a particularly good ability to navigate with the help of an inner compass that makes use of the earth's magnetic field, for example? Anders Hedenström notes that there are a number of exciting questions surrounding the bar-tailed godwit's ability not to get lost up in the air.
Read the full story here.
Read the journal article “Extreme Endurance Migration: What Is the Limit to Non-Stop Flight?”
Photo: Lars Hedenström (www.sciencedaily.com)
Monday, August 9, 2010
After habitat loss and degradation, the leading threats to biodiversity are over-exploitation and invasive alien species. For birds, newly synthesised data using the standard classification schemes for utilisation and threat types for the IUCN Red List allow novel analyses on the importance of these threats and permit the calculation of Red List Indices (RLIs) to show trends in the status of birds driven by these factors.
Evidence of utilisation by humans was found for a total of 4,561 bird species, representing 45.7% of the world’s 9,990 extant and extinct bird species. Among these, two purposes of use dominate:
· 3,649 species (37.0% of extant species, 87.4% of utilised species) were recorded as being used as pets, and
· 1,398 species (14.2% of extant species; 33.5% of utilised species) were recorded as being hunted for food.
Less significant uses include sport hunting, wearing apparel or ornamentation and traditional medicine , with small numbers of species being recorded as used for handicrafts, fuel (from oil or fat, principally from seabirds) and household goods (e.g. down for mattresses), etc. Many species are used in more than one way; for example, 68.9% of species that are hunted for food are also kept as pets.
Much of this use drives trade at an international scale, involving at least 3,337 species, mostly for the pet trade. RLIs show that although successful control and management of use and trade have led to some species improving in status, this has been outweighed by the number of species deteriorating in status owing to unsustainable exploitation. Overall, the RLI showing trends in extinction risk driven by issues related to use shows a negative slope: human use of birds is currently unsustainable. Similarly, and of relevance to the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the RLI for internationally traded bird species showing trends in extinction risk driven by issues related to international trade is also declining: international trade remains a threat to the world’s birds.
Invasive species impact at least one third of the world’s threatened bird species (398 species, 32.6%), with mammals being the most important (impacting 81.1%), particularly through predation by carnivores and rodents. The RLI illustrating impacts of invasive species shows that they are driving deterioration in the status of the world’s birds. RLIs for the impacts of use and invasive species will be important indicators to help track progress towards the target of significantly reducing biodiversity loss by 2010.
This article is written by Stuart H.M Butchrtfull and published by the Bird Conservation International.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Antarctic penguins come on land for just a few short months each summer to breed and raise their chicks. Raising a family in the coldest place on earth is no small feat. Adelie penguins pull it off by tag-team parenting, the researchers explained. Males and females take turns incubating the eggs and guarding the chicks while their mate forages for food.
Males arrive first to claim a territory and build a nest. When the females arrive, the males serenade prospective mates by throwing their heads back, pointing their beaks to the sky, and emitting a series of hoarse trills and squawks. Males with more consistent pitch were snatched up more quickly. These males were also heavier and more successful at raising chicks, the researchers found. The fat surrounding the male's voice box changes what his call sounds like and body fat appears to stabilize their calls. By listening to male courtship calls, a female can tell how fat a male is and what kind of father he'll be. Fatter males make better fathers because they have the energy reserves to endure long fasts, so are less likely to leave the nest and desert their chicks.
After choosing a mate the female lays two eggs and returns to sea, leaving the male alone to tend the egg until she returns to take the next shift. For the first two weeks penguin dads do the bulk of babysitting duty without breaking to eat. According to the research findings by relying on stored fat reserves, father penguins can lose more than 20% of their body weight over the course of the summer breeding season and as a result their calls changed too. Therefore a skinny male is unlikely to be able to pretend he's a big fat male.
The reference for this article is: Emma J. Marks, Allen G. Rodrigo, Dianne H. Brunton. Ecstatic display calls of the Adélie penguin honestly predict male condition and breeding success. Behaviour, 2010; 147 (2): 165
The participants were told to gather at the Fort Railway Station at six ‘o’clock on the 19th morning to catch the train to Mirigama. The participants were picked up from the Mirigama station and taken to the scout camp.
Upon arriving at the camp everyone refreshed themselves with a drink of ‘thambili’. After refreshments, a brief introduction to the workshop was given and the children were divided into two groups. Each of these groups appointed a member to lead the group. After this the participants were taught how to clean the camp grounds with the use of jungle material and how to set up tents. Each group were to set up one tent each. As there were no carpets to prevent sand getting inside the tents, a smart boy collected dead Jak leaves and put them together with sticks in order to make a makeshift carpet.
By now the tired children were quite hungry and everyone tucked into rice packets bought along the way. After everyone had filled their stomachs with lunch the eager kids were briefed about the survival skills. The children were taught the importance of staying together to avoid getting lost, how to tie different types of knots, first aid and how to light a fire using a magnifying glass, using stones and using wood.
After lighting a fire, the participants had the opportunity to fry a fish over the fire. A fish which had been purchased from the town was wrapped in Jak leaves and put over the fire. While the fish was being cooked, the members learnt how to find direction with the use of a needle. A bowl was filled with water and when the needle was put into it the side with the eye of the needle turned towards the north. Most of us had never known how to find directions using just a needle and a bowl of water.
One of the most important aspects of survival is having enough water to drink. A bowl of water was filled, covered with foil and a stone placed over it. This bowl was then buried in the soil. After a few hours water droplets begin to form on the foil and this water can be used to drink.
Participants were then taught how to clean and eat raw sweet potatoes by cleaning them with a penknife.
At dinner time the one of the groups were given the task of making noodles and the other group were to make sandwiches. The parents were not allowed to help the children and all the work was done by the children themselves. It was very nice to see these young kids working as a team in order to get the job done. The prepared dinner was taken to the campfire and everyone enjoyed the dinner cooked by the children.
The next morning everyone was up early to go on an early morning walk. Common birds such as the Myna and Red-vented Bulbul were observed. The children were also taught how to find a footpath if ever they got lost in the jungle. After arriving back at camp, breakfast which had been made by the parents was eaten and the kids had a break and played card games with each other.
Soon after lunch it was time to leave and all the participating FOG kids were given a gift each.
This workshop was a great experience for the kids and the parents as well and no doubt it everyone who participated benefited from this workshop.
Reported by: Asitha Samarawickrema
Kids: Kalindu Premarathne, Minandi Wilathgamuwa, Jayath Manura, Thusith Venura, Senuja Weerasinghe, Thilina Weerasinghe, Savindu Weerasinghe, Thenusha Jayathilake, Maneesha Jayathilake, Vinuja Weerasooriya, Namesha Perera
Parents: Mrs. D.H.N. Wijeratne, Mrs. Karini Kathriarachchi, Mrs. R.D. Ranawaka Arachchi, Mrs. Chandima Weerasinghe, Mrs. Sunethra Jayathilake
fogsl Staff: Mr. Upul Wickremasinghe, Mr. Susantha De Silva, Mr. Chaminda Rathnayake, Mrs. Shamila Corea, Ms. Shyama Weerakulasuriya