Expert guided birding tours

Red-faced Malkoha at Sinharaja
Red-faced Malkoha; one of the more
tricky endemics to find. We were lucky
with a nice sighting of 4 birds together
at Sinharaja Forest Reserve.

Serendib Scops Owl
Serendib Scops Owl, Sinharaja.
Required a mini off-trail expedition
this time. So sweet when you
finally connect isn't it?

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Finest birding in Asia

Ceylon Grey Hornbill
Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Kitulgala

Yellow-crowned Barbet
The endemic Yellow-fronted Barbet
isn't too scarce but I didn't think they
were easy to see let alone photograph.
Except that is when we found a
fruiting fig at Sinharaja NP.

Brown Fish Owl Udawalawe
This was a nice one bringing back good
memories. When we entered Udawalawe
National Park for our jeep safari I
mentioned to our local guide that I did
remember having seen a Brown Fish Owl
in the park way back in 2000.
The guide put a smile and
kept the rest as a surprise
to come a couple hours later.

Citrine Wagtail at Udawalawe
Listed as a vagrant to Sri Lanka in the
field guide it was no wonder the
Citrine Wagtail we found added
to the excitement of our local guide.

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Indian Pitta at Sinharaja
The cream of forest birds! Trogons and
Pittas always make for a happy day.
  The Indian Pitta may be best
(easier) seen in Sri Lanka rather
than on the sub-continent
where it only breeds in the north.

Pied Kingfisher
Lucky shot! This Pied Kingfisher is about
to take off ready for its next catch.

Pied Thrush at Victoria Park
Those wintering Pied Thrushes
 at Victoria Park in Nuwara Eliya
are always highly wanted and
no wonder as this is just about the only
reliable site to find them, anywhere.

Ceylon Spurfowl
Ceylon Spurfowl. Yes, did it again.

Chetnut-backed Owlet at Kitulgala
The Chestnut-backed Owlet has a
restricted range as it is only found
in forests of the wet zone.

Sloth Bear at Yala NP
I did get the whole animal fitted in the
frame when our Sloth Bear made a
second appearance.

Green Forest Lizard
Common Green Forest Lizard
Beauty available at Sinharaja FR

Great Thick-knee at Yala NP
Sri Lanka remains a stronghold for the
Great Thick-knee - Yala NP

Lesser Yellownape
All those birds showing so well!
Here's a Lesser Yellownape doing
it's best posing at Sinharaja FR

Yellow-browed Bulbul
Yellow-browed Bulbul photo from our
lodge restaurant balcony at
Sinharaja Forest Reserve

I used the fairly new but
inexpensive 200-500mm
 lens from Nikon on this trip.
on a DSLR body with
1,5 crop-factor it gives incredible
reach and image quality.
All shots made hand-held on the
much improved image stabilizer.
I mean, you too can do this!
All you may need is a little field-craft
and a holiday to Sri Lanka! Cheers!

Hope you enjoyed the set. -Stijn-

Sri Lanka, 20 February - 2 March 2018.
Kitulgala Forest Reserve, Sinharaja World Heritage area, Uda Walawe NP, Tissa area,
Yala NP, Surrey bird sanctuary, Nuwara Eliya, Horton Plains, Kandy.

Participants; Amaryllis Rice and Ann Esmas from USA.
Tour leaders; Stijn De Win and Sri Lankan guides.

Photo preview only. Full tour text will follow. View our tour bird list here(PDF file).

On our tour page we promote Sri Lanka as a world top-destination for birding. While advertizing may be easy it is with great pleasure we could confirm our claim with this tour; All endemics were seen well, specialities performed and we added a few very nice surprise sightings. Wildlife viewing was superb with Sloth Bear and Leopard top but I should also mention great food and scenery, friendly people, good accommodation etc. I certainly don't want to put this all on myself, many thanks go out to one of the very best Sri Lankan guides available making this trip such a smooth run. Yes I understand words are easily written; With this page I can only hope you may enjoy some photo-proof of what Sri Lanka has on offer!

Sri Lanka Whistling-thrush maleSri Lanka Whistling-thrush female
Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush showed only briefly for us at a stake-out along the road to Nuwara Eliya. This was
good for us to realize how difficult they can be to find, get good views let alone photograph! However, last
minute, at Horton Plains we connected with this pair. Brilliant especially with the female of which
not many photos seem to be available on the net. And credit to our excellent Sri Lankan
guide for stopping in the middle of the day when we thought odds would be
low, to not give up and get these highly wanted birds to perform.

--Sri Lanka Feb. 2019; Only 3 places available--

Sri Lanka Frogmouth at SinharajaSloth Bear at Yala NP
Sri Lanka - What a Frogmouth!!! Daytime stake-out at Sinharaja National Park.
Best Sloth Bear sighting ever! Photo not cropped just couldn't fit the beast with the birding lens.

Chestnut-backed Owlet at Kitulgala
Chestnut-backed Owlet, a superb endemic and another one you may enjoy in the daytime in Sri Lanka.
These little Owls are usually easier to find at Kitulgala forest rather than at Sinharaja NP.

Crimon-fronted Barbet in Sri LankaSri Lanka Blue Magpie
A quick roadside stop for fresh coconut juice, just somewhere...
and a happy lucky shot of the endemic Crimson-fronted Barbet on top.
The Sri Lanka Blue Magpies of Sinharaja are always a favourite. 

Golden Jackal at Udawalawe NPLeopard at Yala National Park
The National Parks of the dry zone are not only birder's paradise. Mammal delights on our tour included
no less than a couple Golden Jackal at Udawalawe and a big male Leopard at Yala.

Lesser Adjutant at Uda Walawe NP
If ever you would have been looking for a reason to visit a place... this must be a proper case!
Quality sightings is what it is all about in SL, and it really helps to get some fine opportunity shots along.

Indian Roller on a wildlife safari
My old field guide describes the Indian Roller as "dull brown and blue when perched".
Let me agree on the blue, then recommend closing the book and come and watch one in Udawalawe.
It's going to just sit, closeby and allowing for excellent photographic opportunities
all from the comfort of your jeep safari chair.

Bear Monkey at Horton PlainsYellow-eared Bulbul at Horton Plains
The Horton Plains are an incredible scenic and interesting area with absolutely beautiful cloud forest!
And don't these inhabitants fit? Bear Monkey, the highland race of the endemic
Purple-faced Leaf Monkey looks quite different from the
'vetulus' race found at Sinharaja FR.
And a fine contender for "best Bulbul" also lives in the highlands only; Yellow-eared Bulbul.

The endemic Spot-winged Thrush
The lovely Spot-winged Thrush is another must-see target bird. Seen at Kitulgala and Sinharaja it easily
added to the endemics tally. However only 1 individual was friendly enough to allow for photo opportunities.

Dark-fronted Babbler at Sinharaja NPIndian Blue Robin at Nuwara Eliya
  Dark-fronted Babbler at Sinharaja.Indian Blue Robin at Horton Plains. A male, singing.

Elephant at Yala NP
Some of the best wild Elephant watching on earth indeed...Udawalawe and Yala NPs.

Brahminy Starling at Yala NPPurple-rumped Sunbird
If I were to choose a beauty non-endemic? Would go for Brahminy Starling I guess.
Purple-rumped Sunbird, posing just a few meters away in the garden of the lodge at Sinharaja.

Indian Paradise Flycatcher
Indian Paradise Flycatcher, the "wedding dress" bird, is always difficult to fit in a photo frame.
I usually end up using lots of vertical space but I'm grateful this bird allowed for a horizontal expression!

Spot-billed Pelican at Udawalawe
Easier than it looks. This is another point and shoot image made from the safari jeep at Udawalawe NP.
  This is a Spot-billed Pelican.  To view more "lucky shots" visit our Sri Lanka tour page

Brown Wood OwlGreen-billed Coucal at Sinharaja
Surrey Tea Estate Bird Sanctuary. I did see a Brown Wood Owl there 18 years ago on my first Sri Lanka
visit in the year 2000. This time I brought my camera to make a portrait of... I'm not sure, Wood Owl child/grandchild. Or could it be the same old bird in the same spot?
On the right another great performance of the usually elusive (oh well??) Green-billed Coucal.

Ceylon Green PigeonRock Thrush vagrant Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Green Pigeon. Yes, seen from the restaurant of our lodge at Sinharaja.
And it doesn't stop there, we had more "accommodation sightings". From the roof of our hotel at
Udawalawe National Park we could enjoy this vagrant Rock Thrush which was a first for Sri Lanka!

Sri Lanka Bush-warbler at Horton PlainsGreater Sri Lanka Flameback
The scarce Sri Lanka Bush Warbler of the Horton Plains didn't seem too difficult to connect with. However I'm
quite happy with the photo result thanks to this individual posing for us. Mix of location, fieldcraft and luck!

Greater Sri Lanka Flameback, unlike the Lesser (Red-backed) these aren't always easy to find.
Another common name for this Woodpecker is Crimson-backed Flameback.

Indian Peafowl at Yala NP
Measure the quality of a bird by the interest it would manage to generate with non-birding tourists?
Third place; Eagle/Kingfisher (unidentified)
Distant second place Painted Stork (for their "plastic appearance perhaps")
First; An extraordinary creation of mother Nature available in the wild in Sri Lanka!

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