Bird Watching Tours in Kalpitiya

Sri Lanka is known for what is believed to be the largest mixed-species feeding flocks (the Sinharaja Bird Wave), which are found in the lowland rainforests of Sri Lanka. Its potential for watching pelagics is not yet recognised in full and was only recently developed by the Jetwing Eco Holidays team. The seas off the Kalpitiya Peninsula, situated on the West coast of the island offer good opportunities to observe rarely seen pelagics due to its close proximity to the edge of the continental shelf. It also runs in parallel to the peninsula. Pelagics such as Lesser Noddy, Brown Noddy, Brown-winged Turns, Wedge-tailed, Flesh-footed and Persian Shearwaters can be found in these nutrient rich waters. In addition to watching sea birds, Kalpitiya is the best place in Sri Lanka to observe large pods of Spinner Dolphins, often numbering in the hundreds. A bonus is the presence of Sperm Whales and an occassional Blue Whale.

This is a seasonal tour run in April only, as pelagic seabird movements occur at the onset of the South-west Monsoon, which occurs anytime from the 14th April onwards. During stormy days however, the pelagics often drift from deeper waters towards the shore and sea bird watching can be conducted from the beach.

Our team has pioneered marine wildlife tourism in the island. We have had good views of pelagics such as Lesser Noddy, Brown Noddy, Flesh-footed and Persian Shearwater, Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Pomarine Skua, Arctic Skua, Bridled Tern, Red-billed and White-tailed Tropicbird etc during our seabird watching sessions around the island.

Other near-shore seabirds which are sighted regularly include Caspian, Large-crested, Lesser-crested, Common, Little and Gull-billed Terns. The Palavi and Nachchikallai salterns nearby offer good sightings of waders and water birds where it is not uncommon to record 75 species of birds in a single day.

Outlined below is a 5 night / 6 day itinerary, mainly focusing on watching pelagics.

 

Day
1

Arrival in Sri Lanka and transfer to Jetwing Beach, Negombo for one night.

Day
2

Morning, on route to Alankuda visit the wetlands in Annaiwilundawa Sanctuary with your naturalist for water birds that include Black Bitterns,  Yellow Bitterns and Cotton Teal. Afternoon, check in at Alankuda Beach, Kalpitiya for four nights. Evening, visit the Palavi and Nachchikallai saltpans for waders. Species seen include Little Stint, Lesser Sand Plover, Redshank, Turnstone, Terek, Common and Marsh Sandpiper, Golden Plover and Grey Plover.

Day
3

Day 3 to Day 5

Mornings take the boat from Alankuda Beach to look for pelagics. The Shearwaters and Noddys are seen during their annual migration across the Indian Ocean. Bridled Terns may be seen in large numbers, sometimes in flocks of up to 400 individuals. We more usually see small flocks of 5-10. Late April is also a good month to look for Flesh-footed and Wedge-tailed Shearwater, Brown and Lesser Noddies etc.

Evenings, activities to be undertaken can include sea bird watching from the beach, visiting Palavi and Nachchikallai saltpans for waders or pampering your senses with signature treatments at the hotel spa.

Day
6

Transfer to International Airport.

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