Sunday, November 28, 2010

නියගලා[Niyagala]/Glory lily/Flame lily(Gloriosa superba)

Common climber in lowland forest boundaries and waste lands. Flowering in throughout the year in wet zone and September to January in other areas.  Powdered plant is used in indigenous medicine but rhizomes are poisonous. 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sanderling (Calidris alba)

Uncommon winter visitor to North-Western and south-eastern coastal areas during migrate season and usually found in flocks during its stay here till end of winter in Northern half of the world.  It breeds in tundras in the far North. Its usual habitats are sandy beaches where it follows the waves as they advance and recede, while picking up small invertebrates exposing to view at each ebb.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres)

This common winter visitor arrives in the island from northern lands of Artic circle and occupies coastal areas, lagoons and estuaries mainly of the dry zone. Turnstone got that interesting name due to its habit of flipping over seaweeds, pebbles and shells in search of its prey which mostly consist of small invertebrates hide beneath them. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista asiatica asiatica)

A dragonfly of lowlands and mid hills. Often found in coastal areas. Uncommon. Females are similar to males (Shown above) but have yellowish green strips on mid dorsal area of the body. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Blue dawn glory (Ipomoea indica)

Native vine of tropical America, introduced and later on naturalized in disturbed sites of villages and towns particularly of wet zone and hills. Very common and flowering during August to November.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Barn Swallow/Atu Wahilihiniya (Hirunda rustica)

Barn swallow is a very common winter visitor of all zones of the island, arriving at the beginning of the North-East monsoons and stay till end of April.  It has a very fast flight and much of its time while in Sri Lanka spends on the wing capturing small flying insects. They are very gregarious and often found as flocks of 10-30 or more birds perching on telegraph wires. There is a famous night time ‘roosting street’ in Rathnapra town of this bird consisting of thousands of birds during migration season.  

Monday, November 8, 2010

කන කොකා [Kana Koka]/Indian Pond Heron ( Ardeola grayii)

Very common bird usually found in paddy fields throughout the island. It also lives close to tanks, lagoons and marshlands. Eventhough it is solitary in habit during day time feedings , flocks can be seen flying to its night time communal roosting trees at dusk. Breeding season is from December to May and nests can be observed in regular heronries sometime with other species of herons, cormorants.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Black-crowned night heron/ Raa Koka (Nycticorax nycticrax)

Common resident bird of marshes, mangroves, rivers, tanks and lagoons of low country both wet and dry zone and foot hills.  Nocturnal in habit and spending the day time roosting communally in trees.  Its food consists mainly of fish, frogs and some water insects.

Blue Daze (Evolvulus glomeratus)

Blue Daze is an ornamental plant introduced from tropical America and now widely cultivate in hill country gardens. Flowering probably throughout the year. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Coppersmith Barbet (Megalaima haemacephala)

Coppersmith Barbet is a very common bird of forests and gardens of low country dry zone and lower hills. However occasional sightings of it in some wet zone areas are recorded and scattered colonies are reported from places like Kandy and Avissawella (A Guide to the bird of Sri Lanka – G.M. Henry 3rd Edition).  It has a very unique note a slow wonk, wonk, wonk….like a hammer on a copper pan. Hence the name Coppersmith barbet. Its breeding season is from November to May and again from July to Sepetember. Lay 2-3 dull white eggs in a hole cut in a dead branch of a tree or an upright post.  It keeps solitary or in pairs and parties of few birds. Food mainly consist of berries and occasionally insects like moths and plying termites.  

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

White-tipped Spreadwing (Lestes elatus)

Terrence de Fonseka wrote in 2000(The Dragonflies of Sri Lanka – WHT publications) “Apart from recorded locations nothings is known about this species in Sri Lanka”. Aluthnuwara, Kandy Mankulam Pundaluoya, Puttalam, Ramboda Trincomalee and Marichchkkaddi are mentioned as recorded locations.  However it is a locally common damselfly of low lands both in dry and wet zones and lower hills (Dragonflies of Sri Lanka – Gehan’s photo guide and personal observations)