Jetwing Eco Holidays
46/26 Navam Mawatha
Our usual office hours are from Monday to Friday from 9am to 5 pm. We do access emails intermittently outside these hours. We are at GMT plus 5 hrs 30 mins.
- Saturday 21-22 December 2002 Sinhraja Rainforest Tour with Amila Salgado. See under Forthcoming Tours for more details.
- Saturday 28 December 2002, Research Seminar NBLT, University of Colombo, Colombo 3. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka. 9.30 am. Research Seminar.
- Friday 24 to Sunday 26 January 2003 An Exhibition of Paintings by Padmanath Samaraweera, Art Gallery, 106, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7. (See Press Releases below)
BIRDING & WILDLIFE NEWS
An Asiatic Dowitcher, possibly the second record for Sri Lanka (last week of November), was picked out by Steve Madge (early December) in a flock of Black-tailed Godwits at Malala Modera in Bundala National Park. Others in the birding group including Deepal Warakagoda were also able to observe it. The Black-tailed Godwits moved further out in the subsequent days making it difficult for other birders to locate the Dowitcher.
Malala Modera was also holding 20 - 30 Shoveller in eclipse plumage in the first two weeks of December. Chandima Dheeresekera also reports 6 Shoveller (14 Dec) from Kirala Kale wetland (flood plain of the Nilawala River) in Matara.
Deepal Warakagoda also reports Richards Pipit from the Buttuwa Plains in Yala National Park and a Red Knot (highly scarce migrant) first reported by Uditha Hettige (last week of November), at Ethul Kalapuwa.
Sri Skanda Rajah and Wimala Navaratna Rajah on tour with Wijekoon (Jetwing Eco) had a leopard sighting at Rathmal Wala (11 Dec). They did well with time for only two game drives.
Linda and Robert Toye on a Leopard Safari (clients of Tiger Trails) with Wicky Wickremesekera (Jetwing Eco) reported 3 Leopard sightings and 2 Bear sightings from Yala National Park between 2 -3 Dec during a Leopard Safari.
Umesh and Priya Patel on a Leopard Safari with Kamil Samahon (Jetwing Eco) report 4 Leopard sightings and a bear with two cubs at Rakinawala. The cubs are around a year old and frequent the Padikkeme- Rakinawala area.
Gehan & Nirma de Silva Wijeyeratne and Vijitha de Silva joined a group of five jeeps which were observing a male leopard atop Padikkema (9 Dec). Deer alarming and reacting to the presence of Leopard was observed subsequently on two days at Diganwala, without the leopards showing itself. There was speculation that the male atop Padikkeme had moved down to the Gonalabbe Plain and was also hunting near Diganwala. Mammal watching in and outside Yala was good with three sightings of Stripe-necked Mongoose and Civet Cats in the evenings outside the park. A pack of four hunting Jackals put to flight a herd of Spotted Deer at Gonalabbe Plain. A group of three Buffalo joined in and chased the jackals away. Tim and Irene Loseby on tour with Deepal Warakagoda reported a Leopard outside the park gate and also a Rusty-spotted Cat.
The Leopards female and cub at Kota Bandi Wewa has offered fleeting glimpses to frustrated photographers. Several observers noted fresh pug marks on the tracks, but had missed the wary adult Leopard.
Gehan and others with Tracker Vasantha observed over 50 European Bee-eaters (9 Dec) flocking for an evening flight roost at the junction of Gonalabee Meda Para and Talgasmankada Road at Yala. Photographer Vajira Wijegunewarda who was staying in the park noted that the large flock had been gathering there in the evening, for three consecutive days. Gehan, Viraj Karunaratne (Yala Game Lodge) and Vasantha observed Broad-billed Sandpiper amongst the few thousand waders which were on the shoreline of the Ethul Kalapuwa.
Gehan also reports Black-winged Stilts with Australasian type black hind neck markings at Palatupana Lewaya (9 Dec) and at Bundala National Park (11 Dec).
Around 15 - 17 November there were reports of a pair of Leopard at Kotigala, with mating observed, per the records on the wildlife newsboard at the Yala Safari Game Lodge. Records of a male atop Kotigala appearing at random intervals has continued to mid December. Personnel at the Yala Park Office mentioned to Gehan that they have had a sighting of the Chaitya male, which had been absent for some time. There were fears that it may have succumbed to poachers.
Hiran Cooray and Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne (24 Nov) observed a pair of Black-necked Storks engaging in courtship behaviour on Gonalabbe Plain.
Placid Cooray with Viran Perera, Leslie Bandaranayaka and Sarddha Coorey were at Yala from 27/11 to 30/11. Palcid reports "We spotted a Bay-backed Shrike at Buttuwapitiya on the left along the Main Road close to the turn off into Spill Road. We were told by our tracker Vasantha Hewage that this bird has visited the same site on 3 consecutive seasons. We also spotted a Leopard on the bund at Spill Road and a Civet Cat with 3 cubs on the road to the Safari Game Lodge.
Dithya Angammana (Naturalist Hunasfalls Hotel) and Nadeera Weerasinghe (07 Nov), observed 4 Indian Blue Robins in the reforested area at Hunas Falls Hotel.
On a study visit to the Hunnasgiriya submontane forest (16 Nov.) they observed flowers of two Chrystosonia spp.which are root parasitic plants, blooming in two colours, mauve & yellow.
In another visit to the summit of Hunnasgiriya mountain (27 Nov) accompanied by Nadeera, Kumudu, Prasanna and Vipula, they observed flowers of Zingiber cylindricum at the fringe of the submontane forest and a total of 8 species of Strobilanthes blooming at different elevations. Four of the species were identified as Strobilanthes hookeri, Strobilanthes pulcherriana, Strobilanthes viscosa & Strobilanthes sexennis. The first three are endemic.
Dilrukshan Tilakaratne reports "Myself, Chitral Jayatilake and Ravi Samarasinha were in Yala from 24th to 27th October and it was one of the best trips that I have had in the recent past. Myself and Chitral had a total of six leopard sightings. On the 24th evening we came across a male leopard on the Jamburagala Road at about 4.30 p.m and was able to take a good look at him till about 6.00 p.m in the evening as he was walking steadily along the road upto Gonagala. Basically, it was a hide and seek game between the leopard and us. But were able to get a very good view of the animal. Upon returning at about 6.30 p.m we discovered a female cub on the Piyadasa Road who was about 6-8 months old. According to Ravi this is the first time anyone had taken a photograph of this particular Cub. On the 25th morning we managed to track this cub once again down Piyadasa Road where he was relaxing under a bush at about 9.30 a.m.
That same evening a male leopard was spotted at Karawgaswala around 5.00 p.m and the leopard was relaxing on the bank of Karangaswala for about 10-15 minutes until another jeep came closer and scared the animal. Then again on the 26th we managed to get another good look at the new female Cub down Piyadasa Road around 4.00 p.m when he was resting under a tree. She seems to be full of character and I'm sure that leopard watchers will have very good sightings on this Cub, if she remains in this area. She doesn't seem to be all that shy. On the 27th morning Ravi spotted a male and female leopard on the rock behind "Kotigala" but could not take any photos as it was quite a distance. Both of then remained on the rock till about 9 -10.30 and disappeared. All in all it was a fantastic trip and just thought of reporting these sightings for the benefit of all".
Sri Lankan Photographer wins award at BG International Wildlife Photographer of the Year
In October this year, Rukshan Jayawardene won an award at the prestigious BG International Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2002 Competition organised jointly by the BBC and the Natural History Museum London.
He received the 'Highly Commended' award for his photograph "Hawk Eagle grappling with a monitor" in the Animal Behaviour/Birds category. This photograph is currently on display at the Jerwood Gallery of the Natural History Museum with 80 other award winning pictures. It is also published in the book - Wildlife Photographer of the Year - Portfolio 12. An image from the same series also won Rukshan the first place in the Birds category in the Nature Photographer Competition 2001 held in Colombo. Rukshan's success will inspire other Sri Lankan wildlife photographers to participate in the international event.
SHORT PAPERS/TRIP REPORTS
Butterfly Watching in Yala (1-2 December 2002)
- Chandrika Maelge
Was it leopard hunting or were we pursuing butterflies in 4 x 4 vehicles? Who would have thought of encountering more than 20 species of butterflies, at Yala, when ostensibly Leopard was the target species. Large colonies of Pioneer, Grass Yellow, Lemon Emigrant, Common Gulls, Common Albatross & Common Emigrant were seen. Occasionally Glassy Tiger, Small Salmon Arab & Crimson Rose crossed our path. The Plain Orange Tip was making fun of us refusing to be photographed, while the Lime butterflies were having a time of their life mud paddling.
The male Peacock Royal was showing-off his beautiful wings, while his partner was playing a silent role and one friendly Yellow Orange Tip decided to rest on my head! Overall it was truly beautiful. Among other species seen were Plain Tiger, Common Crow, Common Tiger, Chocolate Soldier, Small Grass Yellow and the Common Evening Brown. The most dominant butterfly species was the Pioneer. At least a few thousand butterflies of this species would have been seen by us. They were found in clumps of Pethi Tora (Cassia tora, family Fabaceae), a herbaceous plant which had sprouted anew after the rains. The plant was common beside the jeep tracks and at the edges of the grassy plains.
SINHARAJA RAINFOREST TOUR 21-22 Dec.
A 1 night & 2-day rainforest tour to Sinharaja with Natural History Interpretation by Amila Salgado of Jetwing Eco Holidays. Limited to 15 participants. For more details contact Amila Salgado on firstname.lastname@example.org
(This section's information is repeated)
Photo Guides to the Birds of the Dry Lowlands, Birds of the Rainforests & Highlands, Common Butterflies of Sri Lanka and Sinharaja Rainforest have been published and are available at leading bookshops (Lake House Bookshop Hyde Park Corner, ODEL etc). They are in A4 leaflet format, folded into three panels. Priced at Rs 35 each. They can be viewed on www.jetwingeco.com
Sri Lanka Leopard at Yala An A3 sized colour print depicting the famous GMC 5 leopard cub in Yala National Park. Photographed by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, in evening light as the cub was in motion. The print is sold in a presentation envelope which is also attractive designed with a sepia image of the leopard with information on the on-going Leopard Research. Available from leading bookshops. Rs 500.
Audio cassettes: The Bird Sounds of Sri Lanka by Deepal Warakagoda In two 60-minute cassettes.
This audio identification guide is the definitive work of its kind, and a very useful companion to guide books on the Island's birds. Each cassette has an insert with comprehensive information. English and Sinhala names are announced for each species.
Part 1, Second edition (Non-passerines), just published, presents 74 species, including 10 endemics. Digitally mastered for better quality, it now offers: Besra Sparrowhawk, Painted Partridge, Indian Peafowl, Barred Bustard-Quail, Large Crested Tern, the two commoner Green Pigeons, Collared Dove, Blossom-headed Parakeet, Indian Cuckoo, Palm Swift and three more Woodpeckers.
Part 2 (Passerines) offers 43 species, with varied vocalisations for each species. It includes 4 endemics; the 5 'songbirds' of Sri Lanka - Indian Skylark, Magpie-Robin, White-rumped Shama, Spotted-winged Thrush and Blackbird; and a 'Forest Bird Concert'.
Drongo Nature Sounds Library, 9/2A, Station 1st Lane, Udahamulla, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka. Tel: (00 94) (0)1 817370. E-mail: email@example.com. The cassetes are Rs 350 each.
A Guide to the National Parks of Sri Lanka. Department of Wildlife Conservation.. Full colour, 88 pages with maps of each national park. Rs 210
A handy A5 sized handbook to 14 of Sri Lanka's 15 National Parks. Only the recently declared Kaudulla National Park is excluded. The information for each park covers location, access, physical features, climate, history of establishment, cultural heritage, vegetation, fauna and visitor facilities. This guide book will be an essential source of reference to thos interested in the Sri Lankan National Parks. Copies can be purchased from the DWLC's office at Gregory's Road, Colombo 7.
NATURE PHOTOGRAPHER 2002 EXHIBITION OPENS AT THE WORLD TRADE CENTER
A young Leopard sits on a rock, with an almost quizzical expression. A swathe of dry grass, blurred into a fiery yellow merges into an inky blackness. The lighting is theatrical. The image, endearing. Arun Kirtisinghe fired the shutter in Yala National Park. On Wednesday 27 November he attended a Press Conference for the Prize Giving and launch of the exhibition of the Nature Photographer 2002 Exhibition. He had no idea that he would come away with the coveted Nature Photographer 2002 overall winner award. He took home the Rs 100,000 prize plus the Mammals category first prize worth another Rs 10,000.
Over 50 winning and commended images of the Nature Photographer 2002 Exhibition will be on display on Level 3 of the Lobby of the World Trade Center from the 30th November to 15 January 2002. A 32 page colour portfolio of the winning and commended entries is also on sale at a special exhibition price of Rs 400. The Nature Photographer 2002 is open to participants world-wide. However, according to Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, the Chairman of the Competition and a Director of Jetwing, the event is proving especially important to photographers based in Sri Lanka. They now have a medium to showcase their talent through the exhibition as well as the portfolio which will be on sale in bookshops. The World Trade Center has a flow through of around 8,000 visitors a day. The decision by Overseas Realty (Ceylon) Ltd to host the exhibition together with FujiFilm's commitment to once again take this year's exhibition around the country, will ensure that the exhibition will reach a wide audience.
The Birds section was won by Chitral Jayatilake with an almost graphic image of a Black-necked Stork on the beach at Mahaseelawa Kalapuwa. The Other Animals category was won by South African Marius Burger with a close up of a tree frog in Madagascar. The frog's eyes are islands of colour in batik like patterns. Padma Imbuldeniya won the Landscapes section with an abstract image of a fungus on a log, over a stream, with the light shimmering and sparkling off the water. A close up of a Tiger in Bandavgarh National Park in India won Amodha Kannangara the first prize for the Young Nature Photographer 2002.
The Press Conference, Prize Giving and Exhibition Launch was attended by Jude Silva (Manager) of Hayleys Photoprint agents for FujiFilm, Sarath Piyaratne (Deputy CEO) HSBC, Shiromal Cooray (MD - Jetwing Travels) and Hiran Cooray (Jetwing Hotels). The panel of judges were drawn from a wide array of disciplines and included wildlife photographers Lal Anthonis, Namal Kamalgoda, Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, artists Anoma Wijayawardane and Lester Perera, marine biologist Anouk Illangakoon, photographer Dominic Sansoni from Barefoot and Rochelle Kannangara from Q & E Advertising. Sarath Kotagama, Professor of Environmental Science from the University of Colombo was the Chief Guest and gave a short address outlining the importance of visual media to stimulate an interest in conserving our wilderness heritage.
This year's events media campaign was partnered by Daily Mirror, Lankadeepa, TNL, TNL Lite and YATV. However, access to the winning images and the stories associated with the competition is available to all sections of the media.
EXHIBITION OF BIRD PAINTINGS BY PADMANATH SAMARAWEERA
The exhibition will be held on 24, 25 and 26 January 2003 at the Art Gallery, 106, Ananda Coomaraswamy Mawatha, Colombo 7.
Pathmanath Samaraweera, is one of Sri Lanka's foremost wildlife artists. Alongside a busy professional career, Dr Samaraweera has acquired a reputation not only for his art but also as a wildlife photographer and conservationist. The 70 paintings at the exhibition span a period of four decades. Several older ones are retouched. Some of the original field sketches will be displayed. Also, as the artist says, "While the expert birdwatcher will have no difficulty in identifying the birds illustrated, a short note accompanies each painting to help those not so familiar with Sri Lankan birds, in the hope that their interest will be aroused to identify and study some of these birds or visit their habitats."