OCTOBER & NOVEMBER
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SRI LANKA WILDLIFE NEWS (OCTOBER – NOVEMBER 2007)
– A compilation by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne. Assisted by Divya Martyn.
[*] The first Dragonfly Tour of Sri Lanka is a success. See Trip Reports.
[*] Dragonflies of Sri Lanka, the first photographic field guide. DVD guide to British Birds, Books on Elephants, Birds, Butterflies, etc. New issue of Zeylanica. See New Publications.
[*] Isabelline Wheatear in Bundala, Oystercather in Chilaw. See Birding and Wildlife News.
[*] Climate change and steps to a Green Christmas. See Articles.
BIRDING AND WILDLIFE NEWS
Book News: Sri Lankan wildlife enthusiasts will have plenty to fill their Christmas stockings with some very useful titles hitting the bookshops. The first photographic guide to the Dragonflies of Sri Lanka fills a void for field naturalists. Its in a portable, A5 size and covers 91 of the 118 species. Affordable and portable photographic booklets have also been published to the butterflies, birds and dragonflies by Jetwing Eco Holidays. WHT Publications have brought out The Sri Lankan Elephant, its evolution, ecology and conservation. No elephant enthusiast will want to be without one. Eleven new species of day-geckos are described by scientists in the latest issue of Zeylanica which also carries a paper cautioning against ‘New Species Syndrome’. Sri Lankan Wildlife by Bradt Travel Guides is a very good introduction. In case it does not reach Sri Lanka by Christmas, it can be ordered on the internet. A Pictorial Guide and Checklist of the Birds of Sri Lanka provides an up to date list of the 444 species and the sub-species recorded from Sri Lanka. 21 columns of tick boxes allow birders to tick their birds when on tour. A very useful reference for many of the rarities and migrants recorded from Sri Lanka is the British Birds interactive on DVD-ROM from BirdGuides Ltd. It allows easy searching of photographs and papers published relating to a bird or topic. Portrait of Sri Lanka is a general photographic guide to Sri Lanka by New Holland which also covers wildlife. A Poster series by the SLWCS and University of Peradeniya will be popular with children. The first is on the Mammals of Sri Lanka.
Ceylon Bird Club Birding News (02 December 2007) carried the following reports.
– A Black-capped Kingfisher at the Talpitiya bridge, Wadduwa, first seen on 8 November by non-member Mendis Wickramasinghe.
– Another at Muturajawela, where the canal and lagoon join, reported on 20 November by Palitha Antony.
– Two Oystercatchers at the Chilaw sand spit, reported on 24-30 November by Deepal Warakagoda, Kithsiri Gunawardena and others.
– An Isabelline Wheatear at the Bundala salterns, on the main bund near the barrier, first seen on 27 November by non-member Wicky Wickremesekera and reported on 1 December by Deepal Warakagoda.
On 30th November Suminda was in Tissa Wewa, Tissamaharama with clients Erick van der Pol and Maria Robbe (Travel Trend) and saw a Black-capped Kingfisher around 4.30 pm on a Mara Tree.
Wicky Wickremesekera on tour with Ian and Liz Duncan reported a Wheatear at Bundala Kalapuwa observed from inside Bundala National Park on 27th November 2007. The bird was too far out to make out the tail pattern for a positive. It was hoped that other observers will have a better view and be able to confirm the species. The Isabelline, Pied and Desert Wheatears are highly scarce migrants with no records of any of them in most years. Subsequently Deepal Warakagoda has confirmed the identification as an Isabelline Wheatear.
Namal Kamalgoda and Gehan Rajapakse were able to photograph an Eurasian Oystercatcher at the Chilaw Sand Spits on 25 November 2007. The Eurasian Oystercather is a scarce migrant to Sri Lanka with most records in the northern half of the island. Other birds recorded at Chilaw included around 150 Sanderlinges and a few Lesser Sand Plovers.
Sam Jayawardena reports 3 Pied Kingfishers at Nawadankulam on 27th November. A flock of 32 Gull-billed Terns on road to Nawadamkulam from Puttalam to Colombo road on same day.
Karen Conniff, Gehan, Nirma and Maya de Silva Wijeyeratne were dragonfly watching in Talangama on 25th November. Several male Scarlet Baskers (Urothemis signata) were in the pond. A female arrived and a male flew up and they copulated in the air and the female began laying eggs all in a matter of minutes. The male hovered close by and engaged in mate guarding. At Karen’s house a female Pale-spotted Emperor (Anax guttatus) was trapped between her sliding doors. They photographed it and released it. It flew away un-harmed. It was a new record for Talangama.
A Checkered Keelback Water Snake was swimming in a pond. This is a common, non venomous water snake. Several Yellow Bitters have taken residence in the Aluth Wewa.
Jill Crawshaw, Dominic Danos, Nadeera Weerasinghe, Sam and Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne visited Kaudulla National Park on 23rd November 2007. A herd of 29 elephants was seen on the lake shore grassland. No tuskers. But they did meet a tusker at night with a group of 5 plus elephants crossing the Trinco Road (A6) on the way back after dark. One Rusty-spotted Cat inside the park and another was seen on the Trinco Road. The Gathering has now dispersed although small herds do remain at both Minneriya and Kaudulla.
On 24th November Gehan and Nadeera went on a primate safari around the Sigiriya moat. A troop of Toque Monkeys were leaping up in the air to catch termites which were taking wing. Around 7.30 am they watched a troop engaging in social grooming.
Chandra Jayawardene, the Naturalist of the Seashells Hotel informs that during a boat tour in the Dutch Canal on 18 November between 07.30 hrs and 10.00 hrs has seen the following a Black-capped Kingfisher resting on a dead tree by the side of the canal and a flock of 50+ Rosy Starlings perched on a coconut branch. He further says, that these were the first ever sightings of these two migratory species he had come across in this area.
According to him with the record of the Black– capped Kingfisher, the number of Kingfisher species in the area is now 5, the other 4 being the Common, Pied, White throated and the Stork–billed Kingfishers.
He further states that the number of migratory birds in the Dutch canal area, such as the Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Common Sandpipers, Barn Swallows, Terns too are gradually increasing in their numbers. During the course of the tour, a duration of 2.5 hrs, a total number of 32 bird species too had been recorded by him on this day.
On 11th November Jayaweera was in Kithulgala with a group of birding clients and saw a Dollarbird (Broad-billed Roller). This is a scarce bird and Kithulgala is one of the best sites in which to see it.
Mohammed Abidally visited Kaudulla over the weekend ending 21st October 2007 to see “The Gathering”. He says “there were huge herds of elephants on the grassland near the tank scattered into about three herds. In one herd where we parked and watched for a while we counted about 175 elephants. Chap called “Kane Hila” is dangerous and charges vehicles, we had a narrow shave. The sunset was fabulous. There is a superb visitor center and small museum at the entrance to the park. Unfortunately the tracker who accompanied us was very inexperienced and he did not even know the roads/tracks inside too well’.
Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne visited Talangama on Sunday 14th October and made the following observations. “There were at least 10 Pheasant-tailed Jacana who were in various stages of moult into non breeding plumage. I wonder whether this is an influx of migrants. As I arrived I encountered a small flock which included Dark-fronted Babbler, Yellow-billed Babbler, Oriental Magpie Robin, White-bellied Drongo, White-browed and Red-vented Bulbul and Common Myna. No migrant waders yet, on the paddy fields. As dusk fell, a Foggy-winged Twister (Tholymis tillarga) hawked over a pond”.
Dave Smallshire leading a dragonfly watching tour to Sri Lanka reports 24 species of odonata observed in a single day (11th October) at Talangama Wetland. This is nearly a fifth of Sri Lanka’s 117 species of odonata. The dragonfly list at Talanagama presently stands at 34 species. The list is likely to grow when more observers becomes acquainted with the species with the new photographic field guide.
Thilanka Ranathunge, Naturalist of the Sigiriya Village hotels has sent in the following observations.
– Purple Faced Leaf Monkey at Sigiriya Village, 7th September 2007
In the early hours of the morning of 2007.09.07, 7 a.m. I was observing a troop of Hanuman Languars (Presbytis entellus) which are frequently sighted in and around Sigiriya Village Hotel. I suddenly noticed a monkey totally different to the Langurs, which I identified as a Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (Presbytis senex) on top of a tree . On a closer view I observed that it was a male. Since the first sighting, this Purple-faced Leaf Monkey was seen around for about a month with the troop of Hanuman Langurs. I was very fortunate to be able to capture this rare visitor on camera.
It is a very shy animal who hides away high in the thick branches of trees instead of moving about on the ground visibly like the Langurs. It quickly moves away from the presence of human beings, which makes it difficult for anyone to get a good view of it.
In the recent past I observed a small troop of Purple-faced Leaf Monkeys around the Sigiriya Rock and Pidurangla area, which is predominantly forest; I presume that due to some disturbance it got separated from the troop and for safety reasons found refuge with the Langurs.
– Rat snake swallowing another Rat snake – 8th August 2007
At 9.00 am on 8th August 2007, I was walking around our hotel clusters searching for butterflies when I suddenly saw a big snake writhing vigorously. On closer observation I noticed a big Rat Snake (Ptyas mucosa) swallowing another Rat snake. The dominant Rat Snake was approx. 5 feet and the victim 3 feet in length respectively.
The victim had tightly wrapped himself around a concrete post having first crept through a hole in the post, thereby making the whole exercise a long and difficult one. Having caught the victim’s head in his mouth, the dominant male waited until in sheer exhaustion the victim fell lifeless and was gradually swallowed completely.
This whole episode took around 2 ½ hours and I was lucky to be able to capture it on camera. This kind of behavior is very rarely sighted and very few incidents are recorded in Sri Lanka.
Dragonflies and Wildlife Tour of Sri Lanka (09-22 October 2007)
By Karen Conniff
Quest for Nature Tour handled by Jetwing Eco Holidays. Sri Lanka Tour leader ‘Wicky’ Wickramasekera, Guest Dragonfly Expert Karen Conniff, Quest for Nature Tour Leader Dave Smallshire.
Day 1. The first Dragonfly Tour of Sri Lanka began when the Dragonfly tour group arrived on October 10th at Villa Talangama located beside Talangama Tank. The group was to inaugurate a new addition to Gehan’s Photo Guide series, Dragonflies of Sri Lanka (Oct. 2007). Just inside the front door of the Villa there is a nice sized fishpond where the 1st dragonfly of the tour was spotted; the Indian Rockdweller (Bradinopyga geminata) also called the Granite Ghost as it disappears from sight as soon as it lands. It is so well camouflaged that it can match almost any rock-like background. A very brief walk along the edge of Talangama tank at dusk gave a few more species to look at.
Day 2. Early on the 11th we left for Sinharaja and Martin’s Lodge with a quick stop at the irrigation canal in Hokandara. It was early but we spotted three endemics immediately, Adam’s Gem (Libellago adami), Sri Lanka Orange-faced Sprite (Pseudagrion rubiceps ceylonicum), and the Stripe-headed Threadtail (Prodasineura sita). Oriental Scarlets (Crocothemis servilia) and Green Skimmers (Orthetrum sabina sabina) were found at the edges of the newly made paddy fields. The Green Skimmers were cleaning up on the mosquitoes above the flooded paddy lands. Before getting into the bus we looked at the local bathing well, where we expected to find Yellow Featherlegs (Copera marginipes). Even with all the clothes washing activity several Featherlegs were there in tandem and single males hanging on to long green vines that trail over the back of the well. We were back on the bus before the hour was up and on our way to Sinharaja.
The ride to Sinharaja can be long, plus the weather was looking doubtful ahead. So, we decided to stop at Morapitiya and have a look for dragonflies at the bridge over rocks in the river. We spotted Shinning Gossamerwings (Euphaea splendens). It became better than one could have hoped for with the rainy and overcast conditions when we found three skimmers beside the road at a seepage area; Marsh, Spine-tufted and Asian Skimmers (Orthetrum luzonicum, chrysis and glaucum) were flying around claiming various perching spots. Looking closer we also spotted a Dark glittering Threadtail (Elattoneura centralis) at the base of mossy rock wall. Several species had been seen several times already and were becoming very well known to us, Asian Pintails and Pied Parasols (Acisoma panorpoides and Neurothemis tulia tulia). We arrived late in the afternoon at Sinharaja and walked the last 1km to Martin’s hoping to see something under the cloud cover. Besides experiencing leeches we saw a Blurry Forestdamsel (Platysticta maculata) along the path. The 1st day’s total was 22 species – not bad for a rather dim cloudy day and a long bus ride.
Day 3. Facing rain again in the morning at Martin’s we managed to get a window of opportunity and made for the forest entrance gate. Dragonfly spotting takes more time than bird watching – the birds tend to fly over and one moves on but dragonflies sit and perch for long periods leaving time to observe their behavior and take lots of photographs. We moved very slowly. A few repeat species were found plus a very rare dragonfly, Fruhstorfer’s Junglewatcher (Hylaeothemis frushstorferi). This happened to be a female with noticeable expansions at the sides of the 8th abdominal segment. Then the weather gave way to an extended shower. A short halt in the rain after lunch gave us time to walk to the Sinharaja visitor center pond, where four new species were found. The day’s total of 14 species encountered with half being first time sightings was not bad considering the rain and cloudy conditions.
Day 4. Again the weather was not looking promising but a slow walk down the road gave us our first Drepanosticta species, which we identified as Brinck’s Shadowdamsel (Drepanosticta brincki) after a detailed inspection. The day was not looking good for staying at Martin’s so we went on to Kitulgala with hopes of clear skies, and deciding on how to cope with the weather.
Arriving at Plantation House with rain for lunch we decided to head out again with a brief pause in the weather and cross the river by canoe to the Kitulgala Forest Reserve. A small stream there produced our first sighting of several Ultima Gems (Libellago finalis). In the rain we returned to the hotel.
Day 5. The next morning looked good and we left early for Mahabage, an area near the Beli Lena ancient man site. As we arrived at the Royal River Resort we found the Dark Forestdamsel (Platysticta apicalis) on some ferns. A good start as we dropped off extra equipment at the Resort. We walked through tea and rubber plantations as we headed for several locations. Our first site was a small swampy area. The area was very active with Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva) and four species of Skimmers that we had seen before. Both Dark Glittering and Jungle Threadtails (Elattoneura centralis and Elattoneura caesia) were present; the Jungle Threadtail was new for the group. We moved on to a small stream where I had found the Rivulet Tiger (Gomphdia pearsoni) a month before and hoped we would see it again. After a careful search along the thick brush next to the river it was spotted briefly before it flew upstream and out of sight. We continued over the river and back down to Royal River Resort for lunch on the river and a swim. Rain followed lunch as it often does at that time of day at the Resort. We took time during to examine a live larvae and exuivae from the Sri Lanka Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicum) while we waited for the weather to clear. The afternoon remained dark and not ideal conditions for dragonflies but the morning had been fantastic.
Day 6. In the morning it was still cloudy and rain was imminent. We got on the bus and headed for Nuwara Eliya. A few stops along the way produced nothing new until we arrived at a slightly polluted swamp before the town of Kotagalla, where Dawn Bluetail (Ischnura aurora aurora) was found in the tall grass. After spotting a few more familiar species we drove on to Saint Andrew’s hotel in Nuwara Eliya. The weather was still doubtful but we went to Victoria Park anyway and had our first glimpse of Mountain Reedlings (Indolestes gracilis gracilis). We were all hoping for better weather in the morning.
Day 7. Our plan was to beat the rain and leave as early as possible for Horton Plains. We arrived at the gate by 8:30 am. At the entrance gate there are two small ponds where we found Mountain Reedlings (Indolestes gracilis) emerging from their tight exuviae on several reeds in the water. At the same time other pairs of Mountain Reedlings were ovipositing into the reeds. A brief glimpse of Anax immaculifrons was had at a small pond on the way to the visitor’s center. After a brief walk across the Horton patana, a boggy grass land area, it started to drizzle a bit and we slowly left Horton Plains with some interesting sightings. The afternoon was also rainy and a tea factory tour was a good option to bird watching in the rain.
Day8. Again we had good morning weather for our trip to Hakgala Gardens north of Nuwara Eliya and got off to another early start. Heading straight for the pond near the spice gardens we found lots of action. Mountain Reedlings were in all stages; emergence, copula, and many tandem pairs were lined up ovipositing in to the grasses and reeds next to the pond. Resting on a rock face in front of us was a beautiful Fiery Emperor (Anax immaculifrons). He performed for us, catching and eating a female Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii) in mid-air. There were plenty of Red-veined Darters to choose from as there were plenty around in copula and ovipositing into the pond. At a smaller rock-lined pond we found Triangle Skimmers (Orthetrum triangulare triangulare), but no females were noticed. We now had seen 7 new species in the past 2 days.
Our drive to Hunas Falls was well timed with a heavy downpour and we didn’t waste any of our dragonfly time. Arriving at Hunas Falls Hotel in the late afternoon we just had time to walk around the lake and take in the mountain scenery. Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne joined us for dinner and would go with us on Simpson’s trail the following morning.
Day 9. We decided to take the long hike to Simpson’s Forest along the edges of the tea estates and small forest patches to look at new habitats along the way. We would save the small stream and lake area at the Hotel for later in the day. It was fine weather for the walk; even too hot at times. The protective rocky edges under the tea bushes were damp from recent rains. It was a good place for a Drepanosticta species that we later keyed out to Adam’s Shadowdamsel (Drepanosticta adami). We found other familiar species along the way and got a lot of exercise, which was needed after the long bus rides and the four course meals at St. Andrews Hotel. We spent some time photographing a young green pit viper in a forested section below Simpson’s Forest but with time running short we returned to the Hotel for lunch. After lunch we again took advantage of the clear weather and went to the falls above the hotel and found that the recent heavy rains had flattened the vegetation along the stream that where normally good spots for several species. Somewhat disappointed we returned to the bridge and searched patiently; it paid off when someone spotted a small dragonfly below the bridge. It was Yerbury’s Elf (Tetrathemis yurburii), a rare and globally endangered endemic. The day ended with a lovely sunset and a sighting of a Fish Owl on the lake.
Day 10. After breakfast and a good look at the resident otter we visited the golf course ponds again and the spice garden at Hunas Falls Hotel. In the garden we found a female Dark-glittering Threadtail, and sampled the lovely tasting pulp inside a Cocoa pod. We didn’t find much in the morning at Hunas Falls and decided to stop as we drove to Dambulla.
Just before the bridge at the Sudu Oya, farmers were preparing their fields for planting rice, basic intuition made us stop. We could see the dizzying action of dragonflies from the bus. We found Paddyfield Parasols (Neurothemis intermedia intermedia) in copula, tandem and ovipositing into the flooded paddy fields. The Blue Percher (Diplacodes trivialis), Pied Parasol (Neurothemis tulia tulia), Pink Skimmer (Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum), Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens), Sociable Glider (Tramea limbata), Foggy-winged Twister (Tholymis tillarga), Dingy Duskflyer (Zyxomma petiolatum) and Scalloped Spreadwing (Lestes praemorsus decipiens) were all present in good numbers. The activity was fantastic.
Arriving at the Amaya Lake Resort and Culture Club on Kandalama tank in time for a late lunch we still had time to visit some of the many tanks nearby before dusk. The Kaludiyia Pokuna tank was the first stop. It had dried some and there were just four small sized mud puddles and it did not look promising. But flying around each of the mud puddles were giant Elephant Emperors (Anax indicus). They were lovely to watch but we had one more tank to visit before dusk.
We arrived at one of the larger tanks in the area. It was full of water and surrounded by large trees and lots of vegetation. The day was just starting to fade as we stood on the edge watching a large Blue-eyed Pondcruiser (Epophthalmia vittata cyanocephala) patrol the tank edge. Also perched on branches over the water were several Rapacious Flangetails (Ictinogomphus rapax) not a new one for us but easy to spot. The total count that day was 24 different species of which 5 were new to the group. How could we possibly do better?
Day 11. Sigiriya and its surrounding moats was where we planned to go after breakfast. It had rained heavily the previous evening and the air was warm and the humidity high; a perfect day in Sri Lanka. Along the way I spotted an old Stupa or Dagoba from the 5th century that I had stopped at before and found that it had a small tank off to one side. I thought it might be worth a quick look before we went on to Sigiriya. The next two hours were like rush hour in a busy city. We were soon dizzy trying to sort them all out. The number of new sightings were not that numerous but it was very exciting since many were ovipositing and would otherwise be very difficult to observe. These were the Amber-wing Glider (Hydrobasileus croceus), Burmeister’s Glider (Tramea basilaris burmeisteri), and Sociable Glider (Tramea limbata). Well, the names of the others are too numerous to list here but the number of sightings in two hours at the one small tank had surpassed the previous day’s count.
I don’t want to get too far ahead of the story – the day was not over yet; that was only the first stop. We seemed to find Elephant Emperor just about everywhere in the area, even along the moat surrounding Sigiriya. We moved along the moat specifically looking for the Dancing Dropwing (Trithemis pallidinervis). On the west side of Sigiriya one finds a moat and a tank, reliable places for the group to find the Dancing Dropwing along with the added bonus of seeing the Malay Lilysquatter (Paracercion malayanum) on the surfaces of the lily pads. After lunch the pace slowed and we found mud-sipping butterflies taking our attention away from the dragonflies. We ended the day at an ancient tank under the massive of Sigiriya but without any new additions to the list, but what a day! The day’s total… well it was 29 species.
Day 12. Arankele is a very special site. From the 6th century it has been a meditation center for forest dwelling monks. The monks walk long meditation paths climbing and descending simple stone stairs lined by dense forest and twisted vines. It makes for a quiet and peaceful location. What we came for were the ancient bathing pools and a nearby tank. We again found Elephant Emperors and Amber-winged Gliders, but added to these were new sightings of mating and ovipositing pairs of Light-tipped Demons (Indothemis carnatica). The old tank gave one last new species with a dramatic name, Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista asiatica asiatica). Unfortunately, the beautiful Sapphire Flutterer, that usually occupies the pool, was not present. But if one should return…… there will be more to see. Our last few photos were of the Indian Rockdweller a fitting end that took us back to the beginning of our first sighting at Villa Talangama. The tour had gone full circle and it was time to go back to towards the airport.
The success of the tour was timing – our sightings depended on good weather. We had periods of fine weather and made use of the time with a total of 65 species from start to finish. Arriving at the last hotel stop in Negombo the rain had really settled in and did not stop for 2 days. The group left for the airport in the rain with memories (full flash card memories too) of some fantastic Dragonflies, Butterflies, Birds and other wildlife in Sri Lanka.
My personal thanks and appreciation go to Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, Wicky Wickramasekera and Dave Smallshire for supporting me throughout the tour. Special thanks go to the 7 tour group members, Dave & Sue Smallshire, Simon & Cathlyn Davidson, Roger Jones, and Peter & Lynn Brown for their patience and love of nature in all forms; they were good companions! Any errors in recording events and species names are my own.
My compliments to the Jetwings Eco Holidays on-the-ground-organizer Ajanthan Shantiratnam, Jude our entertaining bus driver, and all office and hotel support staff that made the tour run smoothly. Dragonflies sighted during the tour from 9th to 22nd October 2007 are listed below. Sightings of butterflies, birds, mammals, snakes, etc. can be found on the Quest for Nature web site www.questfornature.co.uk .
Damselflies and Dragonflies recorded on the tour
Oriental Greenwing Neurobasis chinensis chinensis
Black-tipped Flashwing Vestalis apicalis nigrescens E
Adam’s Gem Libellago adami E
Ultima Gem Libellago finalis E
Shinning Gossamerwing Euphaea splendens E
Scalloped Spreadwing Lestes praemorsus decipiens
White-tipped Spreadwing Lestes elatus
Mountain Reedling Indolestes gracilis gracilis E
Wandering Wisp Agriocnemis pygmaea pygmaea
Malay Lilysquatter Paracercion malayanum
Dawn Bluetail Ischnura aurora aurora
Common Bluetail Ischnura senegalensis
Painted Waxtail Ceriagrion cerinorubellum
Yellow Waxtail Ceriagrion coromandelianum
Malabar Sprite Pseudagrion malabaricum
Blue Sprite Pseudagrion microcephalum
Sri Lanka Orange-faced Sprite Pseudagrion rubriceps ceylonicum E
Yellow Featherleg Copera marginipes
Adam’s Shadowdamsel Drepanosticta adami E
Brinck’s Shadowdamsel Drepanosticta brincki E
Dark Forestdamsel Platysticta apicalis E
Blurry Forestdamsel Platysticta maculata E
Jungle Threadtail Elattoneura caesia E
Dark-glittering Threadtail Elattoneura centralis E
Stripe-headed Threadtail Prodasineura sita E
Rivulet Tiger Gomphidia pearsoni E
Rapacious Flangetail Ictinogomphus rapax
Fiery Emperor Anax immaculifrons
Elephant Emperor Anax indicus
Blue-eyed Pond Cruiser Epophthalmia vittata cyanocephala E
Fruhstorfer’s Junglewatcher Hylaeothemis fruhstorferi fruhstorferi E
Yerbury’s Elf Tetrathemis yerburii E
Sombre Lieutenant Brachydiplax sobrina
Pruinosed Bloodtail Lathrecista asiatica asiatica
Spine-tufted Skimmer Orthetrum chrysis
Asian Skimmer Orthetrum glaucum
Marsh Skimmer Orthetrum luzonicum
Pink Skimmer Orthetrum pruinosum neglectum
Green Skimmer Orthetrum sabina sabina
Triangle Skimmer Orthetrum triangulare triangulare
Blue Pursuer Potamarcha congener
Asian Pintail Acisoma panorpoides panorpoides
Asian Groundling Brachythemis contaminata contaminata
Indian Rockdweller Bradinopyga geminata
Oriental Scarlet Crocothemis servilia servilia
Blue Percher Diplacodes trivialis
Light-tipped Demon Indothemis carnatica
Restless Demon Indothemis limbata sita
Paddyfield Parasol Neurothemis intermedia intermedia
Pied Parasol Neurothemis tulia tulia
Spine-legged Redbolt Rhodothemis rufa
Red-veined Darter Sympetrum fonscolombii
Crimson Dropwing Trithemis aurora
Indigo Dropwing Trithemis festiva
Dancing Dropwing Trithemis pallidinervis
Variegated Flutterer Rhyothemis variegata variegata
Wandering Glider Pantala flavescens
Burmeister’s Glider Tramea basilaris burmeisteri
Sociable Glider Tramea limbata
Foggy-winged Twister Tholymis tillarga
Dingy Duskflyer Zyxomma petiolatum
Scarlet Basker Urothemis signata signata
Sri Lanka Cascader Zygonyx iris ceylonicum E
Elusive Adjutant Aethriamanta brevipennis brevipennis (8/10/07)
Looking Harder at Climate Change
By Ranil Senanayake
(This article was first published in the Daily Mirror on 7th November 2007)
Climate Change is upon us, or is it? Given the differing opinions current at present it will be wise to be well informed. One school of thought says that the global temperatures are going up as a consequence of human activity, the another school of thought says global temperature change is natural phenomenon not related to levels of carbon dioxide and yet another says that there have been higher global temperatures recorded in the past so we should not worry.
If we look at the evidence at hand on global temperatures, there is no doubt that there have been large fluctuations in an increasing trend, in global temperature. Further, all the evidence that we have also point to the fact that these fluctuations have been mirrored by the changes in the concentration of atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. The Vostock Ice core data, that is a result of sampling the air trapped in the ice, reveal that there is indeed a strong correlation between the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide and global temperatures. This has been the very lynchpin for the IPCC argument that Al Gore presented in the movie ‘An Unfortunate Truth’. However a close examination of the data suggests that while there is a definite pattern linking CO2 and global temperatures, it is global temperatures that increase first and that the concentration of Carbon Dioxide follows temperature rise. Further, there is about an 800-year lag time between the increase in temperature and the increase in CO2 concentrations. (Figure 1). One reasonable explanation for such a phenomenon is the massive loss of evapotranspiration cooling and cloud albedo formation at the start of the industrial age. In the planet wide forest clearing operations that were practiced in the late 1600’s onwards. This deforestation activity can readily account for the increases of CO2 levels from 1750. What would such an activity mean for the planet? Can it have an effect on the global temperatures?
Forests are responsible for at least 48% of all terrestrial evapotranspiration. The transfer of water from the soil to the atmosphere by forests is much greater than from similar non-forested areas. The production of clouds is always much denser and more frequent than from non-forested land. Dense clouds provide a high ‘albedo’ or situation where the incoming solar radiation is reflected back into space without heating the earth. In Equatorial regions a temperature difference of 10-15%C has been recorded between forested and cloudy areas and cleared non-cloudy areas in the same region. Thus while the burning of fossil fuel might not have triggered the current changes in global temperatures, human activity in the form of felling the forests of the planet might have! The subsequent activity adding CO2 and simply accelerating the process
While a current response is; ‘Let us plant trees to soak up the carbon’ The reality of the carbon cycle is such that to ignore the real value of carbon from different sources is very much like ignoring the real vale of a currency for purposes of money laundering.
The origin and state of all carbon compounds differ in terms of the contribution to climate change. Carbon that cycles through living systems represents a fixed proportion of the planetary carbon. The planetary carbon is the total found in mineral, organic and inorganic carbon. The carbon that enters the biotic cycle has, in most cases, been a product of photosynthetic activity. In geologic time, carbon is added to the atmosphere through tectonic processes. In an attempt to remove this excess carbon dioxide from the biosphere a small proportion is fossilised and enters the lithosphere never to interact with the biosphere again. This small proportion is translated into vast quantities of fossilized carbon and removed from the biotic/atmospheric cycles. These fossil pools have lifetimes of tens or hundreds of millions of years.
In the evaluation of carbon, this aspect is not considered a fundamental flaw that can be traced to the work of some early modelers. They missed or ignored a crucial element in evaluating the dynamics of the carbon cycle discussed above in terms of sources and sinks. Sources are those carbon compounds that decay into carbon dioxide and sinks are carbon compounds made from carbon dioxide. Early modelers expounded the myth that: “somewhat unfortunately, modeling jargon defines a source or sink as outside the boundary of interest. For example, we don’t care where people come from before they were born.”
This represents a fundamental flaw in the current model. In evaluating relative values of carbon sinks, the source of carbon is critically important. What differentiates the setting value of carbon dioxide is the cycling time of the source of carbon and the retention time of the sink. In this respect, there are two major cycling systems to be considered as carbon sources, the biological and geological.
In our rush to create the new carbon economy, this very simple and fundamental fact has been ignored. Carbon that cycles through living systems represents a very small, well-differentiated proportion of the planetary carbon, the planetary carbon being the total found in mineral, organic and inorganic carbon.
The carbon that enters the biotic cycle has, in most cases, been a product of photosynthetic activity. In geologic time, carbon is added to the atmosphere through tectonic processes. If all the carbon dioxide issuing from the volcanoes of the planet was allowed to accumulate in the atmosphere, the maintenance of the current lifeforms would have been difficult. In an attempt to remove this excess carbon dioxide from the biosphere a small proportion is fossilised and enters the lithosphere never to interact with the biosphere again. Over geologic time, this small proportion is translated into vast quantities of fossilized carbon and removed from the biotic/atmospheric cycles. These fossil pools have lifetimes of tens or hundreds of millions of years.
Thus the value difference of each cycle, the biotic and the fossil, must be recognized. The biotic carbon operates on time frames of tens or hundreds of thousands of years; the fossil carbon in tens or hundreds of millions years. Further fossil carbon is not interactive with the living or biotic cycle. Fossil carbon entering the biotic cycle is the fundamental reason as to why there is the accelerating greenhouse effect. The growing of trees to compensate for fossil carbon and paying the same price, as biotic carbon is tantamount to ‘carbon laundering’. There is no way to compare the carbon from oil and coal with the carbon from a forest. One has a space in the biotic cycle the other does not.
In sum total, it does seem that human activity has provided a trigger for and is accelerating a global phenomenon that many species and ecosystems cannot respond to. Can we adapt and respond to the coming changes? The changes if they are coming, will be massive, in the spirit of the ‘precautionary principle’ it is better to be ready than not. Ignoring it is not an option. A red light at a crossing does not mean that one cannot cross; it is a warning, which means that if you ignore it, you could pay very dearly. However, if the rules of science are ignored, and the difference between biotic and fossil carbon is not recognized officially, we will be helping perpetuate a massive fraud.
I’m dreaming of a green Christmas
By Dr Sriyanie Miththapala
Harvard Professor Tom Lehrer sang
‘Hark the Herald Tribune sings advertising wondrous things . . .
God rest ye merry merchants may ye make the yuletide pay . . .
Angels we have heard on high, tell us to go out and buy.”
And so right he is. It seems that little of the original spirit of Christmas remains in this age of consumerism. Never mind the true meaning of Christmas, now it is merely a time for frenetic buying, rushing, overeating and general immoderation.
Quite apart from the central need to put the Christ child and all that He stands for back into Christmas, there is another problem with these excesses during Christmastime: they damage the environment.
Our earth is already overused and damaged, with poisoned water and polluted air. We waste energy, water and other essential natural resources; dump mountains of non-degradable waste and spew out vast quantities of carbon dioxide into the air – so excessive that we have managed to change the earth’s climate as a result of our actions.
We have wreaked havoc on the earth and continue to do so. At Christmastime, our destruction peaks. We buy quantities of gifts housed in packaging (plastic bags, boxes, rigifoam packing) and deck the halls with mounds of plastic and tinsel that add to our mountainous solid waste; we purchase wrapping paper in which to wrap our gifts and contribute to the decimation of forests; we race here and there to pick up something we’ve forgotten to buy, belching carbon dioxide from our vehicles and make our contribution to climate change; we string up lights that twinkle round the clock and waste electricity; we cook vast quantities of food, often leaving boiling pots open and waste even more energy; we clean and polish till everything sparkles and spray more chemicals that pollute the air and poison the waters.
Enjoy yourself this Christmas but take time to stop and think about the damage that you may cause the environment as you do so. Take time to read the following questions and see how environmentally conscious you are this Yuletide.
Ten questions to ask yourself about the environment at Christmastime.
1. Am I wasting paper this Christmas season?
a) Am I sending unnecessary Christmas cards? Can I not send e-cards to people who have email?
b) Instead of buying cards, can I not encourage children to be creative and make Christmas cards out of old Christmas cards and scraps of material or paper that are lying around in my home?
c) Am I buying unnecessary wrapping paper? Can I not re-use old wrapping paper or buy recycled wrapping paper (available now at ODEL, House of Fashion and Uthum pathum outlets). Can I not make fancy wrapping paper from old newspapers by stencilling colourful designs or pasting colourful cut outs (such as old Christmas cards)?
d) If I do want fancy wrapping, can I not use gift tote bags that can be reused?
e) Am I buying unnecessary gifts tags instead of using old Christmas cards to make gift tags?
Every year, more than 1.1 billion trees are cut down for office use alone. Each tree on average produces 173 reams of paper. Each ream of paper is equal to roughly 12 pounds of carbon dioxide not removed from the atmosphere, adding to climate change. Each tree cut down reduces the basic food produced on earth and increases floods and erosion.
Source: http:// greenpdf.com
2. Am I reducing the use of plastic and other non-degradable items this Christmas season?
a) When I buy gifts, am I also collecting unnecessary plastic bags?
b) When I buy gifts, can I consciously choose gifts that are degradable – for example, can I buy cloth dolls instead of plastic dolls?
c) When I decorate my house, am I using tinsel and plastic to do so? (Both of these are not degradable.) Instead, can I not use seeds, dried branches and used paper for my decorations?
d) Am I buying mega plastic bottles of soft drinks, plastic paper plates and cups for various parties that I will have this season? (Glass bottles can be recycled and ceramic plates can be used again.)
e) Am I reusing plastic when I can’t avoid buying it?
It takes only 2-3 weeks for a banana skin to decompose, but 100-1,000 years for a plastic bag to do so. Plastic not only causes waste management problems (non-degradable waste will pile up) but also ecological disasters. It is reported that, every year, plastic bags kill about 100,000 whales, sea turtles, and other marine animals (many of which are endangered), often by choking them. Plastic bags resemble edible squid and jellyfish.
In Dhaka, Bangladesh, irresponsibly disposed of plastic bags clogged up town drains and were blamed for exacerbating floods at the turn of this century.
Source: World Resources Institute 2000
3. Am I wasting energy this Christmas season?
a) When I decorate my house, am I stringing up an excessive number of lights all of which use up energy?
b) Am I conscious about reducing energy use – do I put out lights, fans and air conditioners when I am not in the room?
c) Do I use energy (and cost) saving bulbs?
d) When I cook my Christmas meal, do I boil food in a large volume of water in open saucepans or do I use the minimum quantity of water and a closed pan?
As a result of excessive use of fossil fuels (petrol, gas, oil), during the last century, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose by twelvefold. Increased concentrations of carbon dioxide have resulted in global warming and climate change – which has long-lasting and overarching effects on the environment and human well-being, including an increased frequency of natural disasters as well as sea level rise which will flood some coastal areas.
In Sri Lanka, the net consumption of electricity doubled between 1992 and 2002.
4. Am I disposing of waste in an environmentally conscious way?
a) Am I minimising the amount of waste I put back into the environment? (see question 2a)
b) Am I composting my garden waste and other degradable waste such as eggshells (from making my Christmas cake), vegetable refuse, coconut refuse coffee grinds and tea leaves?
c) What do I do with glass, plastic, aluminum, newspaper and paper that collect in my house over the Christmas season? (Note that there is a Recycle Kiosk at Dharmapla Mawatha.)
Urban and developed areas can generate an enormous amount of solid waste. In Asia, it is estimated that urban areas generate 760,000
tonnes of waste daily, and this is predicted to increase by 2025 to 1.8 million tonnes per day. Sri Lanka is estimated to generate 0.89kg
per capita per day of municipal solid waste (which, on an average day, decorates our roads, when our municipality does not collect it). Apart from looking unseemly, solid waste increases the breeding spots of many disease carriers – such as mosquitoes and rats –
and therefore, increases the spread of disease. Solid waste can also wash into waterways, causing water pollution or leach into and contaminate ground water. It also generates methane, a gas which like carbon dioxide, contributes to global warming.
The USA generates an extra million tons of trash each week from Thanksgiving to New Year’s day.
5. Am I unnecessarily cutting down trees this Christmas?
a) Do I really need to use a Christmas tree that has been cut down merely for decoration?
b) Can I not plant a coniferous horticultural tree in a large pot, nurture it through the year, and use this potted tree as my Christmas tree each year?
c) Alternatively, can I not use a dried branch creatively decorated to make a Christmas tree?
d) When I buy a plastic Christmas tree, am I thinking of the solid waste I will generate in about six years’ time when I have to throw it away, and the carbon dioxide that was emitted in bringing it to Sri Lanka?
e) In general, am I conscious about not cutting trees? If I have to cut a tree, do I make an effort to plant another?
In the USA, there are more than 21, 000 Christmas tree growers and 100,000 people employed in the Christmas tree industry. Most of the urban councils in western countries have programmes to collect used Christmas trees and to compost them.
In these circumstances, it is the lesser of the two evils to use fresh Christmas trees than artificial ones, which will eventually end up in land fills. In Sri Lanka, the situation is different. We do not have a Christmas tree industry. We do have Pinus plantations, but they usually grow in the hill country, where, each time they are cut, erosion to and damage of the soil worsens. Every mature tree in the tropics absorbs 22kg of carbon dioxide every year, naturally mitigating the effects of climate change. Each tree cut is a loss of that mitigation.Besides which, as a people, we should move away from the ethos of cutting trees and instead move to planting them.
Source: http://www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/trees/ treefacts.html
6. Am I buying locally this Christmas season?
a) When I buy gifts, do I make an effort to buy local gifts? With clothes, our garment industries flood the market with local products but what about crafts and other gifts?
b) When I buy food for Christmas, do I look for local products instead of imported products? (Most of the ingredients for Christmas cake are locally produced.)
c) Do I really need an imported turkey from Keells or Cargills for Christmas lunch or can I not manage with chickens that are raised in Sri Lanka?
d) When I buy local products, do I check whether it is legal to do so? For example, do I buy turtle shell ornaments, coral jewellery and shells – some of which may be threatened and protected?
Asia is home to over 70% of the world’s poor, most of whom live in rural areas and many on small-scale livelihoods for their survival.
It is important to support local livelihoods, particularly in the spirit of Christmas, rather than spend money on a corporate chain of stores in order that each of us does our little bit to alleviate poverty.
Source: Emerton, 2006
In addition, each imported item carries with it the cost of air miles – i.e., an amount of carbon dioxide emitted to bring the item to your doorstep.
In recent years, Indian and other Asian crafts are coming into our local markets, undermining the efforts and livelihoods of our local craftsmen.
7. What am I cleaning my house with this Christmas season?
a) When I want to freshen the air in toilets or closed spaces, do I reach for a chemical aerosol, or do I use natural ventilation or natural air fresheners such as flowers or aromatic oils?
b) When I clean surfaces and launder my clothes, am I using chlorine bleach – which is a hazardous chemical?
c) Do I check the labels of cleaning fluids to find out whether they are environmentally friendly?
d) When I use dishwashing liquids and other cleaning fluids such as disinfectant, do I use them at full strength or do I dilute them before use? (This is just as effective and saves money too.)
Household cleaning agents that allow us to clean and polish our houses during Christmastime also contain substances harmful both to our health and the environment. Many cleaners can cause dizziness, nausea, allergic reactions, eye, skin, and respiratory infections as well as asthma; some can even cause cancer. When these poisons reach waterways and soil, they poison aquatic and soil organisms, damaging the environment.
Source http:// www.healthline.com
8. What am I eating this Christmas season?
a) Do I eat too much at Christmastime? Can I be conscious of the damage that I doing to the environment that is my own body and reduce just a little of everything?
b) Do I know what I can legally buy and eat during Christmastime? (See box)
c) Do I choose food that is legal but so exotic that it had to be flown many thousands of miles to my dining table?
d) When I buy food, am I trying to buy organically grown products or products without preservatives?
Christmas is a time of excesses but never more so than in the food department: Christmas cake and pudding, breudher, milk wine – the list is long and special.
Currently, in Sri Lanka the so-called ‘diseases of affluence’ – cancer, diabetes and heart disease – are on the increase.
In addition, people also crave luxury foods that are rare and exotic. In addition to being grossly expensive, the increased demand for these foods has led to over-exploitation of many species. When species become threatened, often their international trade is either prohibited or regulated strictly and national laws prevent their harvest.
Caviar is the unfertilised eggs of female sturgeons (and recently also of salmon and paddlefish) – a large fish that is found in mainly in the Caspian sea. Over-harvesting has resulted in a drastic decline in the number of sturgeons and all species of sturgeon are threatened. Americans alone import 40% of the global supply of caviar, paying 2,000 US$ per kg.
Consuming venison is prohibited in Sri Lanka, as is eating turtle and dolphin flesh.
Lobsters can only be harvested out of their breeding season (not in February and October), and only if their head and body length is 7 cm and they are not females carrying eggs.
Quail eggs should be from farms.
Source: Flora and Fauna Protection Ordinance No. 2 of 1937 and its amendments
Gazette notification- No: 1123/2 dated 13 November 2000.
9. Am I stocking unnecessary things this Christmas?
a) Am I buying wastefully – i.e., just because it is on sale?
b) Am I buying things just because everybody else has them and it is the ‘in’ thing to do?
c) Or am I buying things because I need them?
d) Is my cupboard full of clothes that I don’t use and can’t use because I am overweight? Am I storing them for years in the hope that I will fit into them, or can I not give them away this season?
10. Am I sufficiently conscious about those less fortunate than me at this Christmas season?
a) Am I giving gifts only to my friends and relatives or am I consciously making an effort to give to those less fortunate than I?
b) Am I chucking the odd Rs. 500/- note at a beggar and feeling happy that my charity quota is okay or am I making the effort to make someone’s life better in the long term?
Over five million Sri Lankans (about 25% the population) live below the national poverty line. (i.e., Rs. 1,423 per person per month).
Nearly 28% of children below the age of 5 are malnourished both acutely and chronically.
Thirty six percent of women are anaemic.
Over 40% of the unemployed are aged 20-24.
Nearly 209,000 people are internally displaced because of the civil war.
Source: Sri Lanka Development Forum 2005.
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 stag2.mydemoview.com/jetwingeco.
BirdGuides Ltd., Britsh Birds. British Birds interactive on 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 stag2.mydemoview.com/jetwingeco.
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 stag2.mydemoview.com/jetwingeco.
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.
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.
Naoroji, R. (2006). Birds of Prey of the Indian Subcontinent. Helm Identification Guides, A&C Black: London. 704 pages. Hardback. 240×170 mm. ISBN 978 0713663242. £40.00
A complete guide to the raptors of the Indian subcontinent. Lavishly illustrated with 24 new plates and around 600 photos, each species is shown in all usual plumage forms, in flight and at rest. The species accounts cover all aspects of field identification, and also include sections on distribution, behaviour, status and population. The Indian subcontinent comprises the countries of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Maldives. This region encompasses a great diversity of habitat types and a full range of altitudinal variation, and has a correspondingly large avifauna. The diurnal birds of prey are well represented – 70 species of hawk, buzzard, kite, harrier, eagle, vulture, falcon and falconet are found in the region. Anyone birding in the Indian subcontinent will find this book an invaluable aid to identifying and understanding the region’s diverse raptor avifauna.
Rajapakse, R., Kamalgoda, N., Unamboowe, S. & Antony, P. (2007). Enchanted – A Journey through the wild. Zero 3 Images : Sri Lanka. 210 pages. 310 x 200 mm. ISBN 978 955 1115 01 2. Rs. 3,250 pre publication offer. Rs 4, 500 after 18th November.
A collection of photographs capturing the breathtaking moments experienced by the photographers in their travels to the jungles and rural areas of Sri Lanka. This book is a compilation of more than 200 photographs taken in the company of Leopards in Yala, Wilpattu and Kumana; with the elusive Arrenga in Horton Plains, the Spurfowl in Galle, the Bay Owl in Sinharaja and with many little creatures in Bundala, Sinharaja and Morapitiya. The book depicts the fascination that the photographers have with the smaller and often unnoticed subjects that lend such rich diversity to nature. Also included are many pictures that have been taken in more urban areas and in their homes here in Colombo such as little mushrooms, wild flowers, butterflies and multi colored insects.
“A delightful book to ‘read’ with brilliant images of exceptional quality; truly a feast for one’s eyes. Enjoy the great vistas and nature stories told through the images of ‘Enchanted”’.
Michael van der Poorten
Zeylanica. (October 2007). Volume 7, No 1. WHT Publications (Pvt) Ltd. Colombo. 124 pages. ISSN 1391-6270. Rs 1,000.
1. Poster – Mammals of Sri Lanka
The Sri Lanka Wildlife Conservation Society (SLWCS) in collaboration with the Zoologists Association of the University of Peradeniya has launched a series of posters on the wildlife of Sri Lanka.
The first in the series is a set of posters on the MAMMALS of SRI LANKA. Each poster has information on the behavior, distribution and characteristics of each species, along with the common and scientific names in Sinhalese and English. Additionally the Society’s website contains detailed information about the fauna and flora of Sri Lanka for use by students and other interested individuals and organizations.
The Posters are available for sale at a pre-launch price of Rs. 200 each and Rs. 350 for a set of 2 posters at the SLWCS Colombo HQ, at 38 Auburn Side, Dehiwala (opposite Arpico on the sea side and open 24h). For those who are interested they can also browse an extensive library on Sri Lankan related natural history and scientific publications. The posters will also be available at the Zoologists’ Association office in the Dept. of Zoology, Faculty of Science, University of Peradeniya. The posters will be available for sale at leading bookshops shortly. A number of poster sets will also be donated to a few selected organizations and schools.
Posters can be sent internationally and ordered by credit card. Email email@example.com for details. For more information on the SLWCS visit the Society s website at:
2. Primate Conservation Society of Sri Lanka
We would like to inform you that we (the young researchers who are working with primates) have created an organization called the Primates Conservation Society of Sri Lanka.
It was created to achieve the following objectives.
– To promote conservation of non human primates and nature
– To promote conservation oriented research activities in Sri Lanka
– To act as a forum for people interested in those fields by holding regular meetings,
providing an information service and publishing of relevant materials
– To work with other organizations with similar aims within the country and globally
Our official web site (www.pcssl.org) is under construction; it will provide latest information about the Sri Lankan primates soon.
For more information contact, Saman Gamage B.Sc. (Agric), M.Phil. (Biodiversity), President (Primate Conservation Society of Sri Lanka & Land Owners Restore Rainforests in Sri Lanka). 30A, Maddumagewatta, Gangodavila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka. +94+11 2852409, Mobile +94+ 773 554 230.
3.Photo Booklet on the Butterflies of Sri Lanka & Southern India:
Jetwing Eco Holidays, well known for its expertise in nature tourism has launched a new series of natural history publications. The newest addition to its portfolio of books is the “Gehan’s Photo Booklet” series. This series of booklets includes photographic identification guides to the fauna and flora of Sri Lanka.
The first booklet of this series is the Butterflies of Sri Lanka and Southern India. Photographs of 96 of the 242 species of butterflies and skippers found in Sri Lanka are included in the booklet. Many of the species have two images each, depicting both the underwing and upperwing of the butterfly. For some of the species where sexual dimorphism is present, images of both sexes are included. Images of Sri Lanka’s largest species of Butterflies such as the Blue Mormon, Common Birdwing and the endemic Ceylon Tree Nymph are included in the booklet. All the photographs in this booklet have been taken by Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne, CEO of Jetwing Eco Holidays.
To encourage and facilitate a wide a audience, especially school children to learn and identify the butterflies they encounter, the species names have been given in three languages (English, Sinhala and Tamil). The booklet can also be used in Southern India as Sri Lanka shares many of the butterfly species with Southern India.
This series is an initiative by wildlife populariser Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne who together with Jetwing and the tourism industry is on a mission to create a million wildlife enthusiasts in Sri Lanka. Hiran Cooray, Director Jetwing Eco Holidays and Managing Director Jetwing Hotels, believes that education & awareness is the key to conservation, and hopes this booklet series will not only help the younger generation but also adults to appreciate the biodiversity around them.
This booklet can be carried easily in one’s backpack or even in a handbag with its handy A5 size (20.8 x14.8 cm). It includes six images per page and comes with a stiff, laminated cover. The butterflies are laid out in the order of their taxonomy.
Advanced users may also find the colour plates convenient in the field to complement the more advanced books, which are sometimes cumbersome to be carried in the field.
The GPB – Butterflies of Sri Lanka & Southern India retails for Rs. 300 and can be purchased at all leading bookshops and from Jetwing Eco Holidays at Jetwing House, 6th Floor, 46/26, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02, during regular office hours. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. Photo Booklet of the Birds of Sri Lanka & Southern India:
This book contains photographs of 263 of the 444 species of birds recorded in Sri Lanka. It has photographs of 25 of the 33 endemic birds of Sri Lanka and includes many of the common migrant waders and seabirds. Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne the CEO Jetwing Eco Holidays, has taken nearly all of the images in this booklet.
This is one of the first photographic guides to birds which has the species names in three languages (English, Sinhala and Tamil). The booklet can also be used in Southern India as Sri Lanka shares many of the birds with Southern India. One of the features in the book is the inclusion of flight shots of some of the waders, waterfowl and most importantly the raptors, which are usually difficult to identify. This booklet is aimed at both young school children as well as the casual birdwatcher. This series is an initiative by wildlife populariser Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne who together with Jetwing and the tourism industry is on a mission to create a million wildlife enthusiasts in Sri Lanka by the year 2025.
According to Gehan de Silva Wijeyeratne “Most people now understand the importance of conserving eco-systems. School children at a relatively early age are taught the importance of the environment and how people should aim to minimize their impact. However in the developed world, the conservation lobby is more successful at a local level because people can connect with the environment more intimately. This is because they can put a name to species they see in their home garden or local wild patch. Conserving the environment should not be something conceptual. In Europe for example, they will fight to preserve habitats where on their walks they see chaffinches, greenfinches, speckled woods, tortoise shells, emperor dragonflies, etc. In Sri Lanka in the local languages we have only one word for butterfly despite having 243 species of butterflies and skippers. We have only one word for dragonfly despite having 118 species. So conservation of wildlife remains a somewhat abstract concept.
The idea behind this book is that even an urban dweller in a city will realise how many species of birds can be seen in a large city. Knowledge transforms a back garden into an urban nature reserve. These booklets are intended to awaken people to the richness of Sri Lankan wildlife and to create a personal connection. When that happens, Sri Lanka will have a stronger lobby for conservation of wildlife and people will understand that even a small back garden planted with a few fruit trees nurture biodiversity. Even urban gardens attract colourful Brown-headed and Ceylon Small Barbets, Black-headed Orioles, Purple-rumped and Loten’s Sunbirds, etc. Urban wetlands adjoining Colombo such as the Kotte Marshes and the Talangama Wetland are very rich in birds. The Talangama Wetland has over a hundred species recorded from it, including migratory birds such as Brown Shrike, Indian Pitta and waders such as Common and Wood Sandpiper, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Golden Plover and other migrants such as Yellow and Forest Wagtails. These simple photo booklets will help children and adults to put a name to birds they see and create a more intimate connection with the environment”.
This booklet can be carried easily in one’s day-pack or even in a handbag with its handy A5 size (20.8 x14.8 cm). It includes nine images per page in the 42 colour plates. The book has a stiff, laminated cover which is spiral bound for ease of use in the field. The birds are laid out in the traditional taxonomic order. Advanced users may also find the colour plates convenient in the field to complement the more advanced books, which are sometimes too cumbersome to be carried in the field.
The Birds of Sri Lanka & Southern India retails for Rs. 500 and can be purchased at all leading bookshops including Sarasavi Bookshop, Vijitha Yapa, ODEL, Barefoot, Lake House Bookshop (Hyde Park Corner), etc. It is also available from Jetwing Eco Holidays at Jetwing House, 6th Floor, 46/26, Nawam Mawatha, Colombo 02, during regular office hours. Those wishing to preview the book can download the pdf file of the book from stag2.mydemoview.com/jetwingeco. There is no charge for downloading the electronic copy.
SRI LANKA WILDLIFE NEWS is a monthly e-mail of birding and wildlife events, sightings and short notes of interest to birders, photographers, conservationists etc. To receive a copy, please e-mail email@example.com with “Subscribe Wildlife News” in the subject header. SLWN values your privacy, to be removed, e-mail with “Unsubscribe Wildlife News” in the header. Please e-mail your sightings, events etc to firstname.lastname@example.org. The media are welcome to extract details, but please attribute the source. Past issues are on stag2.mydemoview.com/jetwingeco