Malkohas, Hornbills & Leopards
For an island of its size, Sri Lanka has a high density of species of birds. A total of 444 birds have been recorded including migrants. No less than 33 species of birds are endemic, found nowhere else in the world. The mixed species feeding flocks in Sinharaja (dubbed the ‘Rainforest Rainbow’) are the largest in the world. The birds are also relatively tame and easy to watch.
Arrive in Sri Lanka and transfer to Villa Talangama, Colombo for one night. Afternoon walk along Talangama Tank for Black and Yellow Bitterns, Watercock & other common sub-continental species.
Morning drive to Bodhinagala Forest Reserve, which is a lowland rainforest closer to Colombo. We look for Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Sri Lanka Hanging Parrot and if lucky the scarce endemic Green-billed Coucal. Thereafter proceed to Martins Simple Lodge, Sinharaja for three nights.
Full days visit to Sinharaja Rainforest (A UNESCO World Heritage Site) for lowland endemics and mixed species bird flocks. According a study of the mixed species bird on average 42 individual birds occur in the flocks, which makes this the world’s largest mixed species bird flock. The mixed species Bird flock study of Sinharaja forest has been continuing since 1981 and is considered as the World’s longest studied bird flock study. Birding highlights include Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling and Scaly Thrush.
Full days visit to Sinharaja Rainforest.
After breakfast leave for Elephant Reach Hotel, Yala for two nights. Afternoon safari to Yala National Park. According to the Leopard Research sponsored under the Jetwing Research Initiative Yala Block 1 has one of the highest densities of Leopards in the world. Yala therefore offers one of the best chances in Asia to see Leopards. Other large animals you may see include Elephant, Sloth Bear, Mugger Crocodile, Spotted Deer, Sambhur, Barking Deer, Wild Boar, Wild Buffalo, Jackal, Grey Langur and Mongoose. Birding highlights include Malabar Pied Hornbill, Painted Stork, Lesser Adjutant and Black-necked Stork.
Morning birding around Tissa wetlands and afternoon visit Yala National Park once more.
After breakfast leave for Jetwing St Andrew’s, Nuwara Eliya for two nights. Afternoon visit Victoria Garden for Himalayan migrants Kashmir Flycatcher, Pied Thrush Indian Pitta and Indian Blue Robin. Other highlights include Yellow-eared Bulbul, Sri Lanka Hill White-eye and Dull blue Flycatcher.
Pre dawn start for Horton Plains National Park for the endangered Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush. Other highlights include Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Wood Pigeon. Afternoon at leisure.
After breakfast leave for Sisira’s River Lounge, Kithulgala for two nights.Afternoon Cross the Kelani River in a dugout canoe and reach the Kelani Valley Forest Reserve, which is a lowland tropical rainforest rich in endemic fauna and flora. The Kelani Valley Forest Reserve is ideal for any missed lowland endemics such as Sri Lanka Myna, Green-billed Coucal, Spot-winged Thrush, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Sri Lanka Spurfowl, Brown-capped Babbler and Red-faced Malkoha.
Morning and afternoon endemic birding at Kelani Valley Forest Reserve.
After breakfast leave for Hunas Falls Hotel, Kandy for one night. En route visit Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic, Kandy, which is an object of veneration to Buddhists and the most important sacred relic in the country.
Morning visit a nearby patch of forest for the endemic Chestnut-backed Owlet and Brown Fish Owl and if lucky the diminutive Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher.Afternoon leave for Jetwing Vil Uyana, Sigiriya for two nights.
Morning visit Polonnaruwa (A UNESCO World Heritage Site), the medieval capital of Sri Lanka. Visit the world famous rock-cut Buddha statues of Gal Vihara and the Parakrama Samudra (‘Sea of Parakrama’) a 2500-hectare man made reservoir built by King Parakramabahu I (1153 –1186 AD) with a capacity of 134 million cubic metres. Birding highlights include Wooly-necked Stork, Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill, Large Cuckoo Shrike and Coppersmith Barbet.
Afternoon visit Minneriya National Park for Elephants. During September and October, over 300 elephants gather on the receding shores of the Minneriya Tank. ‘The Gathering’ of Elephants at Minneriya is one of those awesome spectacles, which should rank alongside better-known wildlife spectacles such as the migration of wildebeest in Africa.
Morning birding at the hotel nature trail, afternoon leave for Jetwing Sea, Negombo for one night.
Transfer to International Airport.