Posts Tagged ‘Sri Lanka

24
Jan
12

Colourful Afternoon

Filtering through all my photographs to set up the new ‘Wildcatch’ site I came across a shot I took back in March during our stay in Sri Lanka. It wasn’t a good picture; but it brought back vivid recollections of a rather memorable afternoon; memorable … and colourful.

Having been to Sri Lanka previously and not seen Indian Pitta I was keen to see one last March. Indian Pitta is a tail-less large thrush sized bird with plumage akin to a cross between a Kingfisher and a hummingbird.

We were staying in a wonderfully wild place close to Yala National Park. Wild animals wandered freely about the lodge … including Elephant. Walking in the grounds and on the adjacent beach had to be done with more than a modicum of care, especially at night. Bumping into several tons of flaying flesh in complete darkness goes against all recommendations.

I had heard Pittas giving their distinct calls from several places around the area and we decided to go for a walk along the approach track amid some deep scrub. This was my best chance of getting to grips with this very colourful winter migrant.

After whistling the call for a while a bird responded. We waited patiently and chose an area beside a large rock, about the size of a small house, where it would show if it did come close.  We waited for what seemed an age when what can only be described as a flash of brilliance passed through our field of view.  We searched through our binoculars where we thought it had landed. There was a silence as we willed our optics to pick a way through the foliage. The Pitta then hopped into view. The silence was broken with our gasps of delight. The bird showed only briefly, but we saw it. I smiled all the way back to the lodge and I’m still smiling now thinking about that afternoon.

It was only later that evening we discovered others returning in vehicles along the track some 30 minutes after we left, had seen a Leopard sat on the large rock where we had been.




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