All Newsletters

MARCH – APRIL 2008

MARCH 2008 TO APRIL 2008
HIGHLIGHTS
[*] Sri Lanka identified as a dragonfly hot spot (See Press Releases)
[*] Seabird Watching yields species not seen by land-based birders (See Articles)
[*] First record of Orange Migrant butterfly in Sri Lanka (See Birding & Wildlife News)
[*] Human Leopard Conflict (See Articles)

BIRDING AND WILDLIFE NEWS
Chandima Jayaweera reports following the sightings while on tour with Mark and Liza Wiffine from April 6-26, 2008. On 8th April a Broad-billed Roller and Russell ’s Viper were spotted at Kitulgala. On their tour they saw all 33 species of birds endemic to Sri Lanka. On 11th April at Sinharaja, they saw a Serendib Scops owl and a Frogmouth. On 16th April at 9.35am, a leopard was sighted at Karuwalagas junction and on the same day around 5.40pm they saw a Sloth Bear with two cubs on the main road. They also reported sightings of the following butterflies and dragonflies – Black-tipped Flashwing, Shining Gossamerwing, Blue Sprite, Clipper, Common Jezebell, Forget-me-not, Sociable Glider, Common Leopard, Common Sailor, Birdwing, Common Mormon, White Four-ring, Common Crow, Spine-tufted Skimmer, Oriental Green-wing, Rivulet Tiger and Fruhstorfer’s Junglewatcher.
On 9th April 2008 Howard Martenstyn reported that about 1,000 spinner dolphins were spotted by Ajith, the boatman employed by Alankuda Beach, at 7:10 AM about 4-5 km directly west of Alankuda beach, swimming in from the north. They were in a playful mood and performed most of the dolphin repertoire of behaviour.
On 25th March 2008, Howard photographed a Sooty Tern at Alankuda Beach. He says “5 birds landed on the beach over 3 consecutive days at around sunset each day. They seemed exhausted”. The Sooty Tern is a scarce migrant to Sri Lanka.
The Daily Mirror newspaper in Sri Lanka carried a photograph by Senaka Abeyratne of a Killer Whale. This rare picture was taken about three nautical miles off Kalpitiya (West Coast) on Saturday, March 15th 2008. The others on the boat were Sinharaja Tammita-Delgoda, Hirante Welandawe, Ramani Corea, Harin Fernando and Neil Wedamuni (boatman).
According to Howard Martenstyn, Senaka and others had gone dolphin watching but not a single Dolphin had been seen that day, though it had been seemingly perfect conditions. The Killer Whale (which is actually a dolphin) is a scarce cetacean in Sri Lankan waters.
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne visited Chilaw Sand Spit on Tuesday 8th April 2008 with Hasitha Perera of Jetwing Seashells. They report as follows. “We arrived around 3.00 pm after some heavy rain. It drizzled lightly, on and off. The Oystercathers were still present. A few solitary Sanderling. 3 Lesser Sand-plover. One was acquiring the rufous collar. A Comnon Sandpiper approached close. No Common Terns present on this day”.
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Supurna Hettiarchchi (“Hetti’), Chandraguptha Wickremesekera (‘Wicky’), Chandima Jaywaeera and Sam Casser (on 4th April only) were whale and dolphin watching and bird watching in the South in the first week of April. They send in the following reports.
Thursday 4th April 2008 Mirissa
Took boat out at around 6.30 am. In about 40 minutes we encountered our first spouts of Blue Whales. At one time we had at least 4 spouts visible simultaneously. There would have been beteween 6 – 10 Blue Whales. One pair was probably a mother and calf. Except on 2-3 occasions, they were not tail fluking and engaging in deep dives. They were engaging in shallow dives on a very calm sea with no white on the surface. The whales were feeding. The GPS tracked the boat’s route and showed that for around two hours we stayed within a grid under 500m x 500m. A pod of Long-snouted Dolphins were estimated to hold about 20-25. Brown-winged Terns (approx 10) and one Large-crested Tern were seen. The terns were within 6 kilometers of the shore.
Wednesday 2nd April 2008 Bundala
Soon after arriving we photographed a pair of confiding Ceylon Swallows collecting mud. We were so distracted we did not realise a Eurasian Curlew had walked onto the road. It walked along the road towards us, feeding off a raised embankment besides the road. It probed the mud on the ‘exposed wall’ of the embankment as well as on the ditch and came to within half frame of my 600mm.
Some swallows we photographed seemed to be of the European race rustica. Waders seen included Indian Stone-curlew, Great Thick-knee, Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Black-winged Stilt, Little Stint, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Little Pratincole, 4 Red-necked Phalaropes, Redshank, Kentish and Lesser Sand Plover, etc. Two of the four Red-necked Phalaropes were beginning to develop the red on their necks.
There were at least a dozen Little Pratincoles that kept flying back to the road which cut across the salt pan. At one point a domestic dog came and half a dozen Pratincoles mobbed it, joined by 5-6 Black-winged Stilts, and a Redshank. None of the birds flew at the dog. But they perched close to it and called in an agitated fashion. Some of the pratincoles were juveniles. One Pratincole walked up to the jeep and called loudly. It engaged in a little shivering motion and would crouch, then look towards us and call. We realised it may be agitated because it was planning to nest near where the jeep was parked and we moved away.
(Note a detailed story on whale watching was published in the May 2008 Special Issue of the Sri Lanka Wildlife eNewsletter. See www.jetwingeco.com).
Upali Nissanka, who was on a tour with Martine Sherry from March 22, 2008 for fifteen days, has the following highlights to report. They saw four Pied Thrush in Victoria Park near New Bridge on March 29th at around 5.30pm. On March 28th , near the Seethaeliya Temple, they saw two Arrengas (male & female). They also saw one leopard at Yala National Park on March 31st at 10.00am near Patanangala Junction. Birding highlights included four White-naped Woodpeckers, 2 km between Yala Junction and Bundala Road on April 1st at 7.00am. They also saw a Chestnut-backed Owlet near Sisira’s River Lounge on March 27th at around 2.00pm.
Wicky Wickramasekara, on a tour with Roy and Anna Taylor on March 22nd , 2008, saw Grey Lorries near Sigiriya Rock. On March 26th in Yala National Park, a jungle cat, ring-tailed civet, Mouse deer and Gerbil were seen. Golden Palm civets were sighted in Sinharaja on March 28th, and on March 29th Red Lorises were seen in Sinharaja.
Ray Wijewardene, in response to the last Sri Lanka Wildlife, sent in his ‘profound appreciation for the enthusiastic sighting, descriptions and publications… and particularly the Dragonfly book’. Ray Wijewardene is one of Sri Lanka’s foremost inventors and an accomplished aviator. He goes on to provide a very interesting commentary on the flight dynamics of dragonflies. “Dragonflies and Damselflies have been one of my great loves for many decades, and specially for their remarkable flight abilities in ‘hover’ as well as even to dart-backwards or side-ways. I have built (flying) models of these remarkable creatures, as also of other ‘flapping-wing’ creatures. Their ability to ‘hover’ amazes me as also a keen helicopter builder and pilot. I was amazed with a ‘Stationary-Still’ colour-photo I have of a (red-bodied- transparent-winged) dragon-fly in reverse flight which shows its remarkable ability to ‘flip’ its wings, 180-degrees, so that the leading edge is now to the rear, which thus enables it to fly backwards…. The muscular system to achieve this is truly amazing. …. In helicopters we have to achieve this by the complexity of ‘cyclic-control’.. We’ve a lot to learn from insects…. And specially how they store the energy required for hovering flight which uses the maximum-energy of all flight…. One appreciates this mainly when trying to match the performance of such insects.. Their aero-dynamics is completely different to ours … All to do with ‘Vortex-theory’ rather than the obsolete ‘Bernoulli’…The aerodynamics of four-winged insects is so different from that of two-winged insects and birds”.
Rohan Pethiyagoda writes about a leopard interaction on 9th March from Agarapatana, where a montane forest restoration project is underway. He say ‘our resident leopard at Agra killed and ate half a dog (not ours, thankfully) last night, abandoning half the kill in our garden. It is nice to think that just 50 acres of secondary scrub could keep a leopard in food and water after just 10 years of restoration. Tough on the dog, though… Although sightings have been few (2 daytime, 4 or 5 night-time), the leopard routinely leaves tracks and scats on the property, which suggest that it, and a cub/juvenile, are resident there. The scats suggests that macaques and barking deer are an important part of its diet. Last year the leopard attacked and seriously injured a man just outside the restoration site, on Torrington Estate, and the previous year a man collecting firewood on Diyagama Estate, nearby. Both attacks were in daytime and appear to have been caused by a surprised animal, rather than a hungry one. More than a dozen dogs have been taken from the nearby village and the local people are cautious about wandering around alone after dark.’
Sri Lanka records a new butterfly species
On February 16th, 2008, Dr. Michael van der Poorten identified a species of butterfly new to Sri Lanka – the Orange Migrant, Catopsilia scylla. C. Scylla. It is found in Malaysia, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia and Borneo but had never been recorded in Sri Lanka. Male and female adult butterflies were seen flying near Kurunegala; eggs, larva, pupae and pupal cases were also found in abundance on shrubs of Cassia surattensis, its principal larval host plant in the island. Cassia surattensis is not native to Sri Lanka but has been introduced and planted along roadways. Michael and his wife are currently studying the biology of the butterfly and how it arrived in Sri Lanka. They will also continue to monitor the populations and determine its geographic range and flight periods. As of March 23rd, 2008, adults, eggs, larvae and pupae are still being seen. Please report any sightings to them at info@srilankaninsects.net. The subspecies to which the population belongs still needs to be determined. For more information and photos, please go to: www.srilankaninsects.net.
Dr. Michael van der Poorten is presently working on a book on the butterflies of Sri Lanka which he expects to be published at the end of this year. The book will bring together what is presently known about Sri Lankan butterflies, their life histories, larval host plants, their current status and distribution. It will be lavishly illustrated with images taken mostly by him and also by others.
Marshall’s Iora at Lunugamvehera
Amila Salgado, guiding Peter Nickless, Roger Dodds, Graham Mant and Graham Jones, reports a pair of the newly rediscovered breeding resident Marshall’s Iora (White-tailed Iora), Aegithina nigrolutea, from Lunugamwehera on 9th February 2008. It was found together with the Common Iora, which was the more abundant of the two species in this area from the brief observations made. This population of Marshall’s Ioras was found originally by the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka.
Galle Art Trail and Galle Film Festival
Come and spend the long October weekend in Galle. Walk The Galle Art Trail and enjoy The Galle Film Festival with late night screenings, live jazz, wine tastings and a masked Arts Ball. There will be over fifty artists’ works for sale, painting on everything from traditional canvas to pots and pans. Sri Lanka’s best photographers and sculptors will be exhibiting in over twenty locations. Along with an exciting range of artist workshops, art talks, a craft market, garden parties and gourmet dinners, The Galle Film Festival will be showing over twenty-five international and Sri Lankan films.

The Galle Art Trail and Galle Film Festival open on October 24th 2008 and the main events will run on the 24th, 25th, 26th, 27th & October 31st through to November 2nd. For more information email: info@gallearttrail.com or call Juliet Coombe on 0776838659 if you know any artists who might be interested in coming along. Check out www.gallefilmfestival.com The full programme of workshops and talks will be on-line from September 1st

ARTICLES
Whale and Seabird watching off the south coast of Sri Lanka
Charles Anderson
Whale Watching
With Americans, Corey and Diane Rusk, I spent 14 days whale watching off the south coast this April. We went out with the Mirissa Water Sports boat Spirit of Dondra every day from the 9th to the 22nd of April 2008. We were joined by Jetwing naturalist Anoma Alagiyawadu from the Lighthouse Hotel on all but one day and by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne (CEO, Jetwing Eco Holidays) on 3 days.
Blue Whales were by far the most commonly encountered species, with sightings on 14 out of 14 days (and an average of 4.5 sightings per day). This makes the south coast of Sri Lanka one of the very best places to see Blue Whales in the entire world. I believe that most of these Blue Whales are on migration, en-route from their NE monsoon feeding grounds off Trincomalee to their SW monsoon feeding grounds in the Arabian Sea. However, most of the Blue Whales seen during our trips were not obviously traveling westward. Rather, they were repeatedly diving in localized areas, presumably feeding, so perhaps they are on passage, but having found food off the south coast, are quite happy to loiter as long as the food remains. Clearly there is still a lot to be learnt about these whales.
Sperm Whales were also present, with pods being seen on five occasions. While most Blue Whales were seen over the continental shelf, Sperm Whales tended to occur a bit further offshore, in the shipping lanes. This gives us a clue as to why there are so many whales here. A glance at any chart of the Indian Ocean shows that Dondra Head is the southern-most point not only of Sri Lanka, but also of the entire Indian subcontinent. Any ship wanting to pass between east and west has to pass by Dondra, and so too does any cetacean. Furthermore, off Dondra the continental slope comes to within less than 3 nautical miles of the coast. With the seasonally changing monsoon currents producing seasonally changing blooms of plankton; with the land masses of India and Sri Lanka acting like an inverted funnel to channel cetacean movements; and with deep water so close to shore, it is perhaps not surprising that the southern tip of Sri Lanka is such a cetacean hotspot.
Other cetacean species seen were: Bryde’s Whale, Dwarf Sperm Whale, unidentified Beaked Whale, Spinner Dolphin, Striped Dolphin and Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphin.
Seabird Watching
Among the seabirds, Whiskered and several other Terns were seen relatively close to shore. However, most of the ‘more interesting’ species were seen a few miles off, and would not have been visible to a land-based observer.
Shearwaters were seen in reasonable numbers. All were medium-large, all-brown birds. The most Shearwaters (38) were seen on or after 19th April. Some of these birds were definitely, and most were probably, Flesh-footed Shearwaters. They were nearly all heading west, presumably on their annual migration across the Indian Ocean from SW Australia to the upwelling areas of the Arabian Sea. Wedge-tailed Shearwater and Sooty Shearwater were also recorded.
Pomarine Skuas were relatively common, and also relatively easy to identify since more than half were in breeding plumage with full tail extensions (‘spoons’). All Pomarine Skuas seen were heading eastward, towards the Bay of Bengal. This was in marked contrast to most other birds, which were heading west. The peak passage of Pomarine Skuas occurred during 14th – 19th April (74 birds), with greatest numbers recorded on 17th April (25 definite and 20 probable birds).
While nearly all the Skuas seen were identified as Pomarine (or probable Pomarine) Skuas, three birds were thought to be Arctic Skuas. Two could not be identified with absolute certainty, but one (seen on 19th April) showed the classic tail projection and colouration of an adult pale phase bird, and was positively identified as Arctic.
The commonest seabird seen was the Bridled Tern. Hundreds were seen most days, with many in feeding flocks of 30-400 individuals. Most were heading westwards. There is a relatively well-known southward migration of Bridled Terns along the west coast of Sri Lanka, peaking in August-September. Perhaps these April birds are part of the return migration. The smallest numbers of Bridled Terns (10’s rather than 100’s) were seen during 14th – 19th April. Intriguingly, these were the exact days on which the largest numbers of Pomarine Skuas were recorded. Coincidence? Or might the presence of relatively large numbers of Pomarine Skuas have driven the Bridled Terns further offshore?
Among the ‘white’ terns, the commonest was the White-winged Tern. Most were either moulting into, or already in, their beautiful breeding plumage. This made them easy to identify, which is not always the case for birds in non-breeding plumage. Nearly all the White-winged Terns seen were heading westward, and were presumably on passage towards their central Eurasian breeding grounds. Exceptions were seen late in the day (after about 1500h) when some birds were seen flying eastward, perhaps towards local roosting sites. Most sightings were of single birds or small loose flocks, but 100+ were seen in one extraordinary feeding flock with Bridled Terns on 21st April.
Noddies were recorded on four days, always in association with feeding flocks of Bridled Terns. Those that were seen closely enough were all identified as Black Noddies. However, there is a bit of a problem with the taxonomy of small Noddies in the Indian Ocean, with confusion over the separation and ranges of Black and Lesser Noddies (Anous tenuirostris) still not fully resolved.
Dr. Charles Anderson is a professional marine biologist who has lived and worked in the Maldives since 1983. His research on whales there led him to believe that Blue Whales should be present off the south coast of Sri Lanka in April, a hypothesis which he confirmed with visits in April 2007 and 2008. He can be contacted on: anderson@dhivehinet.net.mv or charles.anderson11@btinternet.com

Human-leopard conflict in Sri Lanka
by Andrew Kittle
Human-elephant conflict is a familiar theme in Sri Lanka, with large numbers of both human and elephant casualties every year, mostly as a result of crop-raiding elephants meeting with members of rural communities. However, while being by far the most severe and widespread, this is not the only form of human-wildlife conflict manifest on the island. Leopards are the top carnivores in the country, at the apex of the food chain in habitats as diverse as the arid thorn scrub of the south-east to the rain-drenched montane forests of the central hills, and most in between. Renowned for being elusive and possessing the ability to survive in close proximity to human settlements, the leopard remains widespread despite the continuing forest fragmentation and general decrease in forest cover in the country. Thankfully, unlike within the boundaries of our sub-continental neighbour to the north, India, human-leopard conflict remains a fairly small, albeit growing problem in Sri Lanka. There is but a single credible example of the dreaded man-eater, a leopard near Punani that, due to injury, preyed on several humans around 1920.
The causes of the human-leopard conflict are numerous but the most obvious and pervasive is the steady encroachment by humans into former wilderness areas where leopards roam. This type of encroachment has been ongoing for over a century, since the large scale clearing of forests began at the advent of the plantation era. Leopards still regularly use agricultural plantation lands such as rubber and tea estates to move between intact forest patches, and it is in these areas where most direct human-leopard conflict occurs. This type of conflict tends to be accidental, as when a tea plucker startles a leopard amid the tea bushes. It is a testament to the secretive – and essentially non-confrontational – nature of leopards that these types of incidents are remarkably rare. We have been keeping records of human-leopard interactions in Sri Lanka over the past few years and have recorded only 3 attacks on people in the past 4 years, all in plantation areas and all appearing to result from leopards being caught by surprise.
More common is conflict over livestock. In many parts of the country, predominantly the low country dry zone, herders let their cattle and buffalo roam unhindered in many protected areas and their buffer zones. These domestic animals, particularly cattle which are evolutionarily naive, make easy prey for leopards putting the big cats in direct conflict with their owners, who lose economically from the interaction. The most common response is for the owner to poison the carcass, as leopards feed on large kills over a number of days and will return numerous times to the same kill. When this happens, livestock owners tend to end up with dead leopards on their hands, which can then be skinned to make some profit. We have come across numerous confiscated, inexpertly prepared leopard skins in Sri Lanka that probably originated from this type of encounter. This is not to say that poachers do not target leopards for their skins and bones, because they do, but so far this seems to be a fairly minor threat although rumours of larger-scale leopard poaching operations persist and need to be investigated.
Another persistent threat to leopards comes in the form of traps laid for other species. There have been several recent reports from estate lands in the central hills of leopards being caught in wild boar snares, wire loops that tighten around the body and result in a lengthy and gruesome death. Even if these traps catch their intended targets they produce negative results for leopards as they are effectively reducing the prey base available and pushing leopards towards a reliance on livestock and dogs, resulting in increased human-leopard conflict.
When a leopard becomes perceived as a “problem” by authorities a commonly proposed solution is the translocation of the animal. This appears an attractive way out because it shows the potential to both remove the problem and allow the animal in question to live. Unfortunately, however, it has been proven time and time again to be ineffective. First, moving a “problem” animal usually equates to simply moving the problem. A livestock killer will generally remain a livestock killer in its new environment. Second, many leopards moved as many as hundreds of kilometers from their home ranges, stubbornly return. Part of the reason for this is that when they get translocated, they are put into an area already inhabited by leopards. Leopard social structure is such that incoming animals are not taken lightly and rarely welcomed and it is inherent in this structure that available space for settling is at a premium. Many translocated leopards are thus promptly killed by resident animals. Finally, taking one leopard out of an area simply opens that area up for the next animal seeking a place to settle. In our Hantane study area we know of at least 3 leopards being poached out over the past 3 years, but there never seems to be a lack of leopards in the area, indicating that the replacement rate is high. A well-balanced study on leopard translocations carried out by Hamilton (1976) in Tsavo shows unequivocally the dismal success rate of rehabilitating “problem” individuals this way. Current monitoring work in India which is closely following translocated leopards, a practice widely carried out by Indian wildlife and forest officials, is also showing the futility of such actions.
A final, vital point regarding this conflict is the importance of verifying the correct animal. In Sri Lanka we have found the leopard being blamed for taking pet dogs when the actual culprit, exposed using photographs shown to witnesses, has been a fishing cat. Furthermore, where there is one leopard there are usually more, so simply seeing, for example, a young male in the area on one occasion, is not enough to assume that it is him preying on your cattle, for it may be his brother, his mother, his father or all of them!
Humans and leopards can co-exist peacefully, and do so for the most part. The solution, in as far as there is one, is education and awareness. It is important for people to be aware both that leopards reside in and around their lands, and how to keep them from becoming a problem. Locally, livestock owners tend to be resigned to losing some animals to leopards when they graze them inside forest reserves or other protected areas. Where they have a problem is when leopards come to them and take animals outside these areas. Leopards generally hunt nocturnally so one practical solution is to keep animals secured overnight (this goes for pets as well).
Leopards are wonderful creatures, stunningly beautiful, mysterious and graceful. They are important components of Sri Lanka’s many flourishing ecosystems, perhaps more important than we currently recognize and they are also a significant part of the social and cultural fabric of the this island, worth preserving in their natural state to the best of our abilities. Avoiding conflict and working to mitigate it where it does occur is an imperative part of leopard conservation in the country.
Andrew Kittle is engaged in research on wild felines in Sri Lanka. He is a founding trustee of The Leopard Project, The Wilderness & Wildlife Conservation Trust, Sri Lanka. www.wwct.org.

‘PRESS RELEASED’ ARTICLES
Sri Lanka identified as Dragonfly Hotspot
Sri Lanka’s position as a dragonfly watching hot spot is confirmed in a paper in the journal Hydrobiologia. A scientific paper titled Global diversity of dragonflies (Odonata) in freshwater states the following, ‘Although at present there is no sound basis for identifying the most important areas of endemism, it goes without question that the faunas of the islands of New Guinea, Sulawesi, Sri Lanka and Madagascar are exceptionally rich in endemics …”. The paper was by authored by Vincent Kalkman, Viola Clausnitzer, Klaas-Douwe Dijkstra, Albert Orr, Dennis Paulson and Jan van Tol in volume 595: 351–363 of the journal Hydrobiologia.
Dragonflies and Damselflies are in two sub-orders within the order Odonata. However both sub-orders are often loosely referred to as ‘Dragonflies’. The Damselflies are distinguished by separated eyes and a habit of holding their wings closed over the back along the line of the body. The dragonflies have bulbous eye which touch each other at the top. Furthermore they usually hold their wings open. A wetland on the suburbs of Sri Lanka’s capital such as the Talangama wetland, will hold endemic species of damselflies such as the Adam’s Gem (Libellago adami) and Orange-faced Sprite (Pseudagrion rubriceps). However most of the other endemics are confined to the remaining patches of wet zone forests in Sri Lanka.
The authors of the paper go on to make a comment about Damselflies showing higher endemism than Dragonflies. Citing examples from Madagascar, the Philippines and Sri Lanka, they comment that “It is noteworthy that the percentage of endemic Zygoptera is almost always much higher than the percentage of endemic Anisoptera”. In Sri Lanka 30% of dragonflies are endemic and 68% of damselflies are endemic. In other words, two out of three damselfly species in Sri Lanka are endemic.
Of late, Sri Lanka has become positioned as a destination for dragonfly watching. In fact it is probably the first destination in Asia to overtly brand itself as a destination for dragonfly watching. Jetwing Eco Holidays, a leading wildlife travel company ran three dragonfly tours in the financial year ended 31st March 2008. They expect this trend to continue and expect the number of dragonfly watching tours to Sri Lanka to grow. Dragonflies alone could be generating revenues of a few million rupees each year to Sri Lanka’s growing wildlife tourism industry. “It is difficult to quantify, but the specialist end of wildlife travellers alone could be generating between 100 to 300 million rupees of revenue annually’ states Ajanthan Shantiratnam, of Jetwing Eco Holidays.
Sri Lanka benefits from one of the best photographic field guides to the Odonata in an Asian country. This was the result of Sri Lankans collaborating with Slovenian Matjaz Bedjanic and American Karen Conniff. The field guide now makes it possible for researchers and conservationists to be able to map the distribution of a high profile group of animals, which they previously could not do. “Countries like Malaysia and Singapore have developed economically, by tapping into foreign financial capital and intellectual capital’ says Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays. “Sri Lanka can do the same in terms of economics and bio-diversity research if we actively seek out fruitful partnerships without dissipating energy in trying to protect private niches which we have imagined in our minds. This applies whether it is to research, eco-tourism, and industry of finance”. As a profit motivated company, Jetwing Eco Holidays constantly looks at how it can grow the pie for everyone. It makes its knowledge and publications freely available on its website www.jetwingeco.com. Beneficiaries of the company growing the revenue pie are researchers and conservationists who now have access to identification guides to assist in their field work.
The first purpose made organised group tour for dragonfly watching to Sri Lanka was led by Dave Smallshire and local naturalist guide ‘Wicky’ Wickremesekara in 2007. Dave Smallshire is the author of Britain’s Dragonflies, a photographic guide book published by Wild Guides. Accompanying the tour as a guest expert was Karen Conniff. The comprehensive tour report detailing the 65 species they encountered (of an island total of 117 plus species) is carried in the Sri Lanka Wildlife eNewsletter which is archived on www.jetwingeco.com. Naturalist guide Supurna Hettiarachchi also closed a very successful season for wildlife guides in a year which saw mainstream tourism volumes suffering a reduction. The concluding tour for Hetti was a 14 day dragonfly watching tour with Lol Carman. Unfortunately, Lol’s enthusiasm for creeping up to dragonflies for macro photography resulted in an unscheduled overnight stay in Kalawana Hospital. He hit his head on a rock and was kept under observation. Undeterred, he continued his dragonfly watching tour.
Dragonfly watching is a good example of how Sri Lankan Tourism is becoming a driving force in research and conservation. Many Sri Lankan leisure sector companies are active champions of the environment and readily host local and foreign researchers as a part of their support for research and conservation. Many of the Sri Lankan naturalists employed by these companies are also some of the most expert observers and publish many papers based on observational research. As this trend continues, researchers from academic disciplines are finding both support and inspiration from the private sector. Sri Lanka Tourism has also internationally declared its plan to position Sri Lanka as an earth lung, a carbon neutral destination. The Responsible Travel Partnership has many of tourism’s senior personalities on its board. Its Trees for Life program has planted over 100,000 trees in Galle to restore the environment. This includes planting in rainforests, coastal areas, tsunami resettlement villages and planting at school reforestation programs. Tourism’s support for conserving and re-generating Sri Lanka’s forests will help a host of endangered species including some of the island’s endangered primates.
An extended wildlife tourism product portfolio for Sri Lanka will not only help the large players in the tourism industry, it will also help small scale family businesses such as some of the lodges at sites such as Sinharaja, Kithulgala, etc. These family run lodges have enjoyed a relatively smooth flow of bookings during the current financial year thanks to small groups of birdwatchers, dragonfly watchers, photographers, etc.
The volunteer guides at Sinharaja for example are now paying close attention to the dragonflies and butterflies. This is helping them grow their revenue stream, raise their personal profile and become competent all round naturalists. Wildlife tourism is a useful avenue for local people to have skilled employment. It is also increasingly creating an economic agenda for conserving wildlife. “Sri Lanka is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. In the last two centuries, its population has grown ten-fold. It has reached a point where conservation will be impossible if wildlife cannot pay its way” says Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne.

Useful references
Bedjanic, M.. Conniff, K. and de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). Dragonflies of Sri Lanka. Gehan’s Photo Guide Series. Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. 252 pages (A5). ISBN 978-955-1079-15-4. Rs 1,750.
Kalkman, V. J., Clausnitzer, V., Dijkstra, K.-D., B.D., Orr, A.G., Paulson, D.R. and van Tol, J. (2008). Global diversity of dragonflies (Odonata) in freshwater. Hydrobiologia 595: 351–363.

REPORTS

Whale Watching Log Book – April 2008
Compiled by Anoma Alagiyawadu – Naturalist, Jetwing Lighthouse Hotel
Tuesday 01st April 2008
I left Lighthouse at 6.15 am with Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne (CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays), Wicki, Hetti and Jayaweera from Jetwing Eco Holidays. We took the boat from the Mirissa fishery harbor at around 7.00 am and within 45 minuets we had our first Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) spout. Soon we saw six Sperm Whales. Later we saw a one Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus). We returned to Mirissa harbour at 11.15 am.
Wednesday 02nd April 2008
I left Lighthouse at 10.00 am with two Singaporean guests. We took the boat from the Mirissa fishery harbor around 11.00 am. Between 12.15 pm and 12.45 pm, we saw three Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus) and we saw one Bryde’s Whale (Balaenoptera edeni or B. omurai) at 1.05 pm. On the way back to the harbor we saw three Risso’s Dolphins (Grampus griseus) at 1.20 pm. We returned to Mirissa harbour at 2.30 pm.
Thursday 03rd April 2008
I left Lighthouse at 6.15 am with Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne (CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays), Wicki, Hetti and Jayaweera from Jetwing Eco Holidays. We took the boat from the Mirissa fishery harbor at around 7.00 am. On this tour we saw at least six, but probably more than ten, Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus). On the way back to the harbor we saw more than 25 dolphins (species subject to confirmation) close to the harbor.
Friday 04th April 2008
I left Lighthouse at 09.00 am with four guests. We took the boat from the Mirissa fishery harbor around 9.00 am. At 10.50 am we saw two Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus). Again, at around 11.30 am we saw another two Blue Whales. At the same time we saw more than 80 Long-snouted Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris).
Monday 07th April 2008
I left Lighthouse at 5.30 am with Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne (CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays) and two groups of Lighthouse Hotel clients; Nalin and Elizabeth Seneviratne and their son Michael Seneviratne (a UCL medical student) and John, Roz and their two sons (Chris and Mathew). We took the boat from the Mirissa fishery harbor at around 7.00 am. We saw five Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus).
Tuesday 08th April 2008
I went with two guests from Mirssa Watersports Crew. We took the boat from the Mirissa fishery harbor around 7.00 am. We saw two Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus).
Wednesday 09th April 2008 to Tuesday 22nd April 2008
I accompanied Dr Charles Anderson on 13 out of the 14 trips. Blue Whales were observed by Dr Charles Anderson on all 14 of his trips.
Friday 25th April 2008
I left Lighthouse at 5.30 am with Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne (CEO, Jetwing Eco Holidays), Hi Magazine editor Shyamalee Tudawe and her friend Jackie, Shehal , Romayne from Art TV and the Art TV Film Crew. We took the boat from the Mirissa fishery harbor at 6.23 am.
We saw;
At 07.20 am, 200 plus – Long-snouted Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris), 5052.00’N 80027.23’E.
At 07.23 am 02 – Blue Whales (Balaenoptera musculus) 1 nm away from the boat in South.
At 08.15 am 01 – Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus), 5049.891’N 80028.482’E.
At 11.19 am 01- Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) near Mirisa harbor.
We returned to Mirissa harbor at 11.22 am.
Saturday 26th April 2008
I left Lighthouse at 7.15 am with Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne (www.jetwingeco.com), Shehal (www.kanabona.com), Romayne Anthony from Art TV and the Art TV Film Crew.
On the way to the harbor we wanted to stop Koggala Stilt Fishing area, we saw 01- Common Tern (Sterna hirundo) on a fishing post. The beak and legs red colour had started to appear.
We took the boat from the Mirissa fishery harbor at 08.17 am.
We saw;
At 09.15 am more than 500 – Long-snouted Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris), 5052.390’N 80028.591’E.
At 10.20 am 01 – White-tailed Tropicbird (Phaethon lepturus) heading West, 5051.886’N 80030.620’E.
At 11.07 am 01 – Blue Whale (Balaenoptera musculus), 5051.161’N 80034.214’E.
At 11.36 am 02- Noddy heading West and 03 – Bridled Terns (Sterna anaethetus) heading West.
At 11.50 am more than 300 – Spinner Dolphins (Stenella longirostris), 5051.200’N 80035.443’E.
We returned to Mirissa harbor at 02.00 pm.

Dragonfly Species List on Dragonfly watching Tour
– Supurna Hettiarchchi
(15th March, 2008 to 26th March, 2008)
The list below assigns a unique number to each on the very first occasion a species of dragonfly was encountered on this dragonfly watching tour with client Lol Carman.
15th of March 2008
Talangama Wetland
1. White-backed Wisp
2. Wandering Wisp
3. Sri Lanka Orange-faced Sprite
4. Yellow Waxtail
5. Painted Waxtail
6. Asian Pintail
7. Marsh Dancer
8. Malabar Sprite
9. Rapacious Flangetail
10. Blue-eyed Pondcruiser
11. Scarlet Basker
12. Spine-legged Redbolt
13. Asian Groundling
14. Dark-glittering Threadtail
16th of March 2008
Bellana Temple
15. Pied Parasol
16. Variegated Flutterer
17. Sapphire Flutterer
18. Sombre Lieutenant
Sri Lanka Orange-faced Sprite
19. Yellow Featherleg
Kudawa (Sinharaja)
20. Marsh Skimmer
Asian Pintail

17th of March 2008
Sinharaja (Barrier)
Asian Pintail
Research Center
21. Shining Gossamerwing
22. Black-tipped Flashwing
Leopard Rock
23. Oriental Scarlet
Maguru Wala
24. Spine-tufted Skimmer
Yellow Featherleg
Black-tipped Flashwing
Information center
25. Crimson Dropwing
26. Blue Sprite
Painted Waxtail

18th of March 2008
Information Center
Painted Waxtail
Crimson Dropwing
Blue Sprite
Heethala Dola
Black-tipped Flashwing
19th of March 2008
Kithulgala- Nuwara Eliya Road
27. Indigo Dropwing
Shining Gossamerwing
Black-tipped Flashwing
Dark-glittering Threadtail
28. Sri Lanka Foktail
29. Orientail Green-wing
Marsh Skimmer
20th of March 2008
Nuwara Eliya Lake
30. Red-veined Darter
31. Common Bluetail
Victoria Park
Common Bluetail
Wandering Wisp
32. Mountain Reedling
21st of March 2008
Horton Plains
33. Triangle Skimmer
Mountain Reedling
Hakgala Botanical Garden
Triangle Skimmer
Mountain Reedling

22nd of March 2008
Peradeniya Botanical Garden
34. Green Skimmer
Sri Lanka Orange-faced sprite
35. Pink Skimmer
Yellow Waxtail
Asian Groundling
36. Elephant Emperor
37. Sociable Glider
Oriental Scarlet
Mountain Reedling
Pied Parasol
38. Blue Pursuer
Blue-eyed Pondcruiser
Yellow Featherleg
Malabar Sprite
Hunas Falls
Pink Skimmer
Painted Waxtail
23rd of March 2008
Simpson’s Trail
Sri Lanka Orange-faced Sprite
Pink Skimmer
Indigo Dropwing
Marsh Skimmer
39. Asian Skimmer
Shining Gossemerwing
Oriental Green-wing
24th of March 2008
Kandalama Tank
Rapacious Flangetail
Asian Groundling
Kaludiyapakuna
Rapacious Flangetail
Asian Groundling
Yellow Waxtail
Orientail Scarlet
Malabar Sprite
Sombre Lieutenant
40. Blue Percher
Paid Parasol
Variegated Flutterer
Sigiriya Moat
41. Black-tipped Percher
Yellow Waxtail
Blue Percher
Malabar Sprite
Pied Parasol
25th of March 2008
Kandalama Tank
Asian Groundling
Rapacious Flangetail
42. Paddyfield Parasol
43. Indian Rockdweller
Rota Wewa
Asian Skimmer
Oriental Scarlet
Variegated Flutterer
Pied Parasol
Green Skimmer

Nature Observations in the Month of February 2008
By Nadeera Weerasinghe, Naturalist, Jetwing St. Andrew’s
February 8, 2008
Sri Lankan Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri) and Ceylon Whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi) observed in the St. Andrew’s Cloud Forest Trail. Other common montane birds were sighted, such as the Ceylon White-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis) and Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus).
February 12, 2008
At around 1.30pm during my climb to Adams Peak near the ‘Gangula-tenna’, I heard the call of the Montane Slender Loris.
February 13, 2008
Ceylon Woodpigeon (Columba torringtonii), Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri), Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus orientalis), Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus vociferus), Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus), Ceylon Junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii) and the endemic butterfly Ceylon Tiger were observed in Horton Plains National Park.
February 24, 2008
Black Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus kinnisii) sighted in Galways Land National Park.
February 25, 2008
Himalayan Buzzard (Buteo burmanicus), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus) and Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri) observed in Horton Plains National Park.
About 1 km from the Ohiya railway station, Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Nadeera Weerasinghe and Chaminda Prasad observed a Chestnut-backed Owlet (Glaucidium castanonotum) resting on a tree. The call of the Ceylon Blue Magpie (Urocissa ornata) was also heard.
On the same day between 10.0am and 11.30am the following six species of dragonflies were observed near the ticketing counter at Pattipola, at the entrance to Horton Plains National Park: Triangle Skimmer, Sociable Glider, Wondering Wisp, Mountain Reedling, Red-veined Darter, Pink Skimmer.
Brown Mongoose and Mouse-deer were also found at the same location.
Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra) was seen at the Kanda-ela Forest School.
February 28, 2008
Slaty-legged Crake (Rallina eurizonoides amauroptera)was seen at the St. Andrew’s Hotel.
February 29, 2008
Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra) was seen at the St. Andrew’s Hotel

Nature Observations in the Month of February 2008
By Nadeera Weerasinghe, Naturalist, Jetwing St. Andrew’s
February 8, 2008
Sri Lankan Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri) and Ceylon Whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi) observed in the St. Andrew’s Cloud Forest Trail. Other common montane birds were sighted, such as the Ceylon White-eye (Zosterops ceylonensis) and Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus).
February 12, 2008
At around 1.30pm during my climb to Adams Peak near the ‘Gangula-tenna’, I heard the call of the Montane Slender Loris.
February 13, 2008
Ceylon Woodpigeon (Columba torringtonii), Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri), Oriental Honey-buzzard (Pernis ptilorhyncus orientalis), Black-winged Kite (Elanus caeruleus vociferus), Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus), Ceylon Junglefowl (Gallus lafayetii) and the endemic butterfly Ceylon Tiger were observed in Horton Plains National Park.
February 24, 2008
Black Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus kinnisii) sighted in Galways Land National Park.
February 25, 2008
Himalayan Buzzard (Buteo burmanicus), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus) and Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri) observed in Horton Plains National Park.
About 1 km from the Ohiya railway station, Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Nadeera Weerasinghe and Chaminda Prasad observed a Chestnut-backed Owlet (Glaucidium castanonotum) resting on a tree. The call of the Ceylon Blue Magpie (Urocissa ornata) was also heard.
On the same day between 10.0am and 11.30am the following six species of dragonflies were observed near the ticketing counter at Pattipola, at the entrance to Horton Plains National Park:Triangle Skimmer, Sociable Glider, Wondering Wisp, Mountain Reedling, Red-veined Darter, Pink Skimmer.
Brown Mongoose and Mouse-deer were also found at the same location.
Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra) was seen at the Kanda-ela Forest School.
February 28, 2008
Slaty-legged Crake (Rallina eurizonoides amauroptera) seen at the St. Andrew’s Hotel.
February 29, 2008
Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra), seen at the St. Andrew’s Hotel

Nature Observations for March and April 2008
Nadeera Weerasinghe, Naturalist at Jetwing St. Andrews
March 1, 2008
Nadeera Weerasinghe (Naturalist – Jetwing St. Andrew’s) accompanied two Jetwing Eco Holidays clients to Horton Plains National Park in the morning, followed by Victoria Park in the evening. The following flora and fauna were observed:
Horton Plains National Park
Butterflies
Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana), Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis), Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon teredon), Tawny Coster (Telchinia violae) and Indian Red Admiral (Vanessa indica nubicola)
Birds
Himalayan Buzzard (Buteo burmanicus), Mountain Hawk-eagle (Spizaetus nipalensis kelaarti), Besra Sparrowhawk (Accipiter virgatus besra), Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus), Crested Serpent-eagle (Spilornis cheela spilogaster), Pied Bushchat (Saxicola caprata atrata), Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus malayensis), Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri), Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus kinnisii), Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus), Blyth’s Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum), Bright-green Warbler (Phylloscopus nitidus), Large-billed Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus magnirostris), Indian Blue Robin (Luscinia brunnea), Ceylon Whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi) (Call) and Ceylon Spurfowl (Galloperdix bicalcarata) (Call).
Mammals
Highland Ceylon Brown Mongoose (Herpestes fuscus flavidents).
Flora
In most of these areas Ma- rath Mal (Rhododendron arboreum) can be seen starting to bloom at this time.
At Lake Gregory a Little Grebe (Tachybaptus ruficollis capensis) and a White-bellied Sea-eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster) were sighted.
Victoria Park
Birds
Indian Blue Robin (Luscinia brunnea), Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra), Pied Ground-thrush (Zoothera wardii) (08 individuals), Forest Wagtail (Dendronanthus indicus) and Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea melanope).
March 5, 2008
Near the entrance to Horton Plains National Park both the male and female Sri Lankan Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri) were observed.
March 12, 2008
A Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus) and an Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus kinnisii) were sighted at the Jetwing St. Andrew’s premises.
March 13, 2008
In Horton Plains National Park the following flora and fauna were observed:
Butterflies
Common Indian Crow (Euploea core asela), Glassy Tiger (Parantica aglea) and Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana).
Birds
Himalayan Buzzard (Buteo burmanicus), Ceylon Whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi) (Call), (Shaheen) Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus peregrinator), Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus) and Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus kinnisii).
Reptiles
Black Cheek Lizard (Calotes nigrilabris).
March 20, 2008
At Horton Plains National Park the following wildlife was observed:
Butterflies
Common Indian Crow (Euploea core asela), Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana) and Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis).
Birds
Himalayan Buzzard (Buteo burmanicus), Ceylon Whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi) (Call), Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus), Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus kinnisii), Ceylon Woodpigeon (Columba torringtonii), Indian Blue Robin (Luscinia brunnea) and Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea melanope).
Mammals
Mountain Toque Monkey (Macaca sinica opisthomelas) and Bear Monkey (Trachypithecus vetulus monticola).
Flora
Ma-rath Mal (Rhododendron arboreum), Valeriana moonii and Buttercup (Ranunculus sagittifolius) have started to bloom.
Reptiles
Black Cheek Lizard (Calotes nigrilabris).
March 21, 2008
Nadeera Weerasinghe and Darshani Singhalage sighted two Ceylon Grey Langur (Semnopithecus priam thersites) troops beside the main road between 12 and 13 kilometer posts from Rikillagaskada Junction on Kandy-Randenigala Raja Mawatha. This area has mainly wet zone vegetation and is at an elevation of about 1200m.
March 22, 2008
An orphaned juvenile Large Ceylon Flying-Squirrel (Petaurista petaurista lanka) from Royal Botanic Gardens was found. It was cared for over several days until it was recovered by members of the Youth Exploration Society of Sri Lanka. After a few days, when the animal had recovered, it was released at the same location.
Nadeera Weerasinghe (Naturalist – Jetwing St. Andrew’s) accompanied Dr. Michael van der Poorten and his wife, Nancy van der Poorten to Horton Plains National Park and the Bomure Ella area on March 30, 31 and April 1, 2008. The following fauna and flora were observed:
March 30, 2008 (in heavy rain)
Ceylon Hedge Blue (Udara lanka, Moore), Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), Dark Cerulean (Jamides bochus bochus) and Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana).
March 31, 2008
Butterflies
Ceylon Hedge Blue (Udara lanka, Moore), Ceylon Treebrown (Lethe daretis), Indian Fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius taprobana), Indian Red Admiral (Vanessa indica nubicola), Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana) and Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis).
Birds
Pied Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus picatus leggei), Sri Lanka Bush-warbler (Elaphrornis palliseri), Indian Blackbird (Turdus simillimus kinnisii), Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus), Blyth’s Reed-warbler (Acrocephalus dumetorum), Bright-green Warbler (Phylloscopus nitidus), Large-billed Leaf-warbler (Phylloscopus magnirostris), Indian Blue Robin (Luscinia brunnea), Ceylon Whistling-thrush (Myophonus blighi) (Call), Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis ceylonensis), Orange Minivet (Pericrocotus flammeus flammeus) and Ceylon Rufous Babbler (Turdoides rufescens).
Mammals
Mountain Toque Monkey (Macaca sinica opisthomelas) and Bear Monkey (Trachypithecus vetulus monticola).
Flora
Ma-rath Mal (Rhododendron arboreum), Valeriana moonii, Buttercup (Ranunculus sagittifolius) have started to bloom.
April 1, 2008
Butterflies
Common Sailor (Neptis hylas varmona), Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana), Common Jezebel (Delias eucharis), Indian Fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius taprobana), Indian Red Admiral (Vanessa indica nubicola) and Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon teredon).
Reptiles
Black Cheek Lizard (Calotes nigrilabris) sighted in Nuwara Eliya.
Mammals
Mountain Toque Monkey (Macaca sinica opisthomelas) and Bear Monkey (Trachypithecus vetulus monticola) seen in the Bomure Ella area.

Nature Observations in Month of April 2008
(Completed by Nadeera Weerasinghe, Naturalist – Jetwing St. Andrews)
01st April 2008
Nadeera Weerasinghe (Naturalist – Jetwing St. Andrew’s) accompanied Dr. Michael van der Poorten and his wife Nancy van der Poorten for field visits at Bomure Ella area on 01st of April 2008. During this visit we able to identify following Butterfly fauna and other interesting wildlife.
Butterflies
Common Sailor (Neptis hylas varmona) in Race Course – Nuwara Eliya, Indian Fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius taprobana), Indian Red Admiral (Vanessa indica nubicola), Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana) and Common Bluebottle (Graphium sarpedon teredon).
Mammals
Mountain Toque Monkey (Macaca sinica opisthomelas) and Bear Monkey (Trachypithecus vetulus monticola).
09th April 2008
On 09th April 2008, on the Cloud Forest Trail, Nadeera Weerasinghe sighted the following faunal species:
Dusky Blue Flycatcher (Eumyias sordidus), Ceylon Woodpigeon (Columba torringtonii), Indian Blue Robin (Luscinia brunnea), Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea melanope), Pied Flycatcher-shrike (Hemipus picatus leggei), Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher (Culicicapa ceylonensis ceylonensis), Velvet-fronted Nuthatch (Sitta frontalis frontalis), Ceylon Scimitar-babbler (Pomatorhinus [schisticeps] melanurus), Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos ceylonense), Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica robinsoni), Great Tit (Parus major mahrattarum) and Yellow-eared Bulbul (Pycnonotus penicillatus).
Butterflies
Indian Fritillary (Argynnis hyperbius taprobana) and Ceylon Tiger (Parantica taprobana).
Mammals
Highland Ceylon Giant Squirrel (Ratufa macroura macroura).
20th April 2008
Pygmy Lizard (Cophotis ceylanica) sighted & photographed in Jetwing St. Andrew’s Wetland on 20th April 2008. This may be the most recent, authentic, record after approximately 7 years for the Nuwara Eliya city area.
23rd April 2008
On 23rd April 2008 Nadeera Weerasinghe visited Jetwing Warwick Gardens with Renuke Coswatte (Manager – St. Andrew’s) and Chaminda Suraweera (Assistant Manager – Jetwing St. Andrew’s) at around 1600 hrs. About 700 meters before the Bungalow, in a Tea Estate, we sighted a Mouse Deer (probably Mountain Mouse Deer) beside the stream.

Unusual Butterfly species sighted & Photographed in Horton Plains National Park
On March 31, 2008, Nadeera Weerasinghe visited Horton Plains National Park with two other nature lovers. It was a very clear day, with no mist. At around 10.20am they reached Worlds End where, shortly afterwards, Nadeera Weerasinghe sighted a small butterfly settled in the cavity of a dead tree (the tree was possibly a dead keena tree – Calophyllum walkeri). Due to this unusual situation Nadeera managed to take a few digital photographs (Nikon Coolpix 3200) and then realized that the insect was laying eggs in this cavity. Within another few minutes it flew out and returned several times to each cavity to lay more eggs. Although this happened a few times, Nadeera was able to see only two eggs which had been laid in the bottom cavity. As the tree was out of reach, he was not able to get to the base of tree.
After examining the photographs, Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne passed them on to Dr. Michael van der Poorten. The species is possibly an endemic, Green’s Silverline (Spindasis greeni) which has now been subsumed within another species and which requires further investigation.
On March 30 2008, Dr.Michael van der Poorten and his wife, Nancy van der Poorten, traveled with Nadeera Weerasinghe to Horton Plains National Park and visited the location. Unfortunately, due to heavy rain, they were not able to see anything of interest. However, at the same location Nancy van der Poorten observed a caterpillar on a tree next to the dead tree. The caterpillar was a grayish in colour and well camouflaged against the bark.
On March 31, 2008 Dr. Michael van der Poorten and his wife Nancy van der Poorten again visited Horton Plains National Park with Nadeera Weerasinghe to search the same the area. The day was fairly good but fewer butterflies were present and the target species was not in evidence. Further observations will be carried to get a better idea about the species and its population.
If anyone sees it or photographs it, please immediately contact Michael van der Poorten (info@srilankaninsects.net, 0773165 395).

NEW PUBLICATIONS
Bedjanic, M., de Silva Wijeyeratne, G., and Conniff, K. (2007). Dragonflies of Sri Lanka. Gehan’s Photo Guide Series. Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. 248 pages (A5). ISBN 978-955-1079-15-4. Rs 1,750.
The first photographic field guide to the dragonflies of Sri Lanka covering 91 of the 118 species found in Sri Lanka. It includes 35 of the 52 endemic species. A landmark publication and the first modern photographic field guide to the Odonata of South Asia. A pdf of the book can be downloaded (free of charge) from www.jetwingeco.com.
BirdGuides Ltd. (2007). British Birds interactive. DVD-ROM.
£75 for subscribers until 31st December 2007, after which the price will be £99.
A comprehensive resource of 100 years of amazing articles published in British Birds including photographs, illustrations and more than 40,000 pages of text. Users have access to text and image search filters, photographs, illustrations, thousands of articles and can locate articles using species, author, photographer or descriptive terms.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). A Pictorial Guide and Checklist of the Birds of Sri Lanka. Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. 66 pages. A4. Rs 850.
A lavishly produced checklist with photographic plates facing the checklist pages. Photographs of 281 species. The checklists contain a map of key birding sites in Sri Lanka, a booklist, a discussion on the uses of a checklist and the nomenclature, taxonomy and the status of birds as used in the checklist. Twenty one columns of tick boxes.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). Sri Lankan Wildlife. Bradt Travel Guides, UK. 144 pages. 13.5 cm x 21.5 cm. ISBN-10 1 841621 74 9, ISBN-13 978 1 841621 74 6.
An overview of Sri Lanka’s wildlife and wilderness areas, illustrated with over 120 photographs. Probably the best overall introduction to Sri Lankan wildlife. Text and principal photography by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne. GBP 15.99.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2006). Butterflies of Sri Lanka and Southern India. Gehan’s Photo Booklet Series. 26 plates (A5). Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. ISBN 955-1079-11-6. Rs 300.
A booklet comprising of 26, A5 sized colour plates with captioned photographs. Covers 96 of Sri Lanka’s 243 described species of butterflies and skippers (Lepidoptera). A pdf of the booklet can be downloaded (free of charge) from www.jetwingeco.com.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2006). Birds of Sri Lanka and Southern India. Gehan’s Photo Booklet Series. 42 plates (A5). Jetwing Eco Holidays: Colombo. ISBN 955-1079-10-8. Rs 500.
A booklet comprising of 42, A5 sized colour plates with captioned photographs. Covers 263 of Sri Lanka’s 444 recorded species of resident and migratory birds. Eco Holidays: Colombo. A pdf of the booklet can be downloaded (free of charge) from www.jetwingeco.com.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). Portrait of Sri Lanka. New Holland Publishers, London. 120 pages. Hard Cover & Dust Jacket. ISBN 1-84537-110-0.
A beautifully designed souvenir guide to Sri Lanka’s people, culture, landscapes and wildlife. A part of New Holland’s Portrait series.
de Silva Wijeyeratne, G. (2007). The Endemic Birds of Sri Lanka. Jetwing Eco Holidays, Colombo. 44 pages. A5. Self cover. ISBN 978-955-1079-13-0. Rs 210.
A photographic guide to the endemic birds of Sri Lanka with descriptions and illustrations of each species.
De Silva, M. & de Silva, P.K. (2007). The Sri Lankan Elephant. Its evolution, ecology & conservation. WHT Publications (Pvt) Ltd. Colombo. 278 pages. ISBN 978-955-9114-39-0. Rs 1,750.
Gamage, R. (2007). An illustrated guide to the butterflies of Sri Lanka. Published by the author. 264 pages. ISBN 978-955-50360-0-9.
Colour illustrations of 244 species of butterflies and skippers. Some of the plates show some of the food plants. A 5 in size. The inclusion of the host plants make it a useful addition to the butterfly watcher’s library. Rs 2,000.
IUCN Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Environmental Resources. (2007). The 2007 Red List of Threatened Fauna and Flora of Sri Lanka. Colombo, Sri Lanka. 148 pages. ISBN 978-955-8177-63-1.
Zeylanica. (October 2007). Volume 7, No 1. WHT Publications (Pvt) Ltd. Colombo. 124 pages. ISSN 1391-6270. Rs 1,000.