Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Large-billed Leaf Warbler (Phylloscopus magnirostris)

Common migrant to forests and well wooded gardens of both wet and dry zone from lowlands to higher hills.  It feeds in canopy usually as solitary birds or as scattered individuals in the same area. Large-billed Warbler breeds in the Himalayas.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

වල් කපුරු[Wal-Kapuru] (Gaultheria leschenaultii)

An indigenous and endangered shrub common in montane forests. Flowering from April to May (Flora of Ceylon Vol 13). 

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cornelian (Deudorix epijarbas epijarbus)

A rare butterfly found in jungles and open areas of the low country up to elevations of about 1000m. It take part in migrations. It seems that this butterfly was much more abundant in Ormiston's and Woodhouse's time than today. Ormiston noted of a large flight of them in August, 1915 at Haldummulla travelling west and again exceptionally large flight at Pattipola in November, 1917 flying south. (Ormiston W., 1924).Woodhouse in 1950 also mentioned it as a 'Not rare' butterfly (Woodhouse L.G.O., 1950). Larva feeds on Pomergranate/දෙලුම්[Delum] (Punica granatum) fruits.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

යෝධ බෝවිටියා[Yodha Bowitiya]Cancer vert/Purple plague,Velvet tree/Bush current(Miconia calvescens)

Small tree introduced as an ornamental plant due to its large attractive leaves. Native to central and south America from Mexico to Argentina. Now become naturalized in disturbed forest areas of montane zone. Listed as an invasive plant to the country. Common in Ginigathhena area. 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea)

Very common winter migrant inhabiting saltarns, estuaries, lagoons, mud-flats and marshes of dry zone coastal areas and occasionally in wet zone. It occurs as large to small flocks, sometime associating with other waders and feeds busily on numerous small organisms, worms, molluscs etc. exposed in mud-flats when tide is running out.  It breeds in tundras in arctic eastern Asia.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Robiquetia brevifolia

An endemic orchid species found in montane and sub-montane forests. Flowering from February to April and again on Sepetember (Flora of Ceylon Vol 2). However flowers are not uncommon even during mid-November in Horton Plain National Park (Personal observation, 2013)

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Yellow-eared Bulbul(Pycnonotus penicillatus)

An endemic bird common in forests, well wooded home gardens and such habitats from mid to higher hills. Yellow-eared Bulbul usually lives as pairs or as small flocks and feeds on fruits and insects in bushes and low trees, moving from tree to tree, usually uttering its flight call. The breeding season last from March to April and probably again from August to September. It build a cup shape nest with green moss, rootlets, etc. placed in a fork of low tree or on a hanging branch.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

නෙලු[Nelu] (Strobilanthes pulcherrima)

Locally common endemic shrub of open hill forest undergrowth, scrub lands and roadsides from 1000 to 2000m altitude. Flowers in 12 years cycles. The plant die after the seeds ripen.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

කට කලු කටුස්සා/Black-cheek Lizard/Dark-lipped Lizard(Calotes nigrilabris)

An endemic lizard confine to submontane and montane areas of elevation 1000m and above. It is common in Horton plains national parkHakgalaNuwaraeliya and Peak wildernessBlack-cheek Lizard is an arboreal species and during the day time it feeds on insects, millipedes and also sometime on other smaller agamides like juvenile Rhino-horn Lizard and Pygmy Lizard (Somaweera R. & Somaweera N., 2009). As also seen in above picture, in Horton Plan National Park it is usually observed staying on Rhodondron arboreum zeylanicum [මහ රත් මල්] and Gorse[Ulex europaeus] flowers, which attract insects.  Anslem de Silva  noted that during the night they descend from trees and sleeping is done on grass blades (de Silva A., 2007)

de Silva A., 2007 - The diversity of Horton plains national park (with specieal reference to its herpetofauna)

Friday, December 13, 2013

මා රත්මල්[Ma Rathmal]/Rhododendron (Rhododendron arboreum zeylanicum)

Small tree usually with twisted trunk found in forests and patana grasslands in the upper montane areas. Common about 1400m above sea level. The subspecies zeylanicum is endemic to the Sri Lanka. Flowering from February to July.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

One-spot Grass Yellow (Eurema ormistoni)

Rare endemic butterfly found in wet zone forests up to elevation of about 3500ft. As per Woodhouse "it can be taken in numbers at the right time-April and July to September..." (Woodhouse L.G.O.,1950). d'Abrera also noted that it has only been sighted at certain times of the year from April sporadically to September (d' Abrera Bernard, 1998). Above specimen was photographed at Ingiriya forest reserve (Dombagaskandha) in mid February. Its larval host plant is යකඩ වැල් [Yakada-wel] (Ventilago madraspatana) (Gamage R., 2013) and also Ventilago gamblei (http://www.slbutterflies.lk/Butterfly.php?cid=43)

Monday, December 9, 2013

නෙළු [Nelu] (Strobilanthes viscosa)

An endemic shrub found in forests and secondary scrub lands of montane areas in the central highlands. Flowering from November to March and unlike other Strobilanthes species this species appeared to be found in flower every year. Two varieties occurs in Sri Lanka and variety digitalis found only in knuckles range while variety viscosa restricted to central highlands around Adam's peak and Nuwaraeliya district.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

මයිලගොයා[Mayilagoya]/Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon (Columba torringtoniae)

Sri Lankan Wood Pigeon is a rare hill country bird inhabiting forests and well wooded places. It also visits  some low country rain forests especially during fruiting season.  It lives as solitary birds, as pairs or as small flocks and feeds on fruits. The breeding season last from February to May and again from August to October. The nest is a platform of twigs on the canopy of forest tree, where it lays single white egg.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

වල් උඳු[Wal Undu] (Flemingia macrophylla)

Wal Undu is a very rare shrub and according to the 2012 National Red List a plant which is possibly extinct from Sri Lanka. It is found in the low country and flowering January through march (Flora of Ceylon Vol 7). If my identification of above plant as Wal Undu  is correct, it is not uncommon in rubber plantations and adjoining home gardens of කැටේපොල [Katepola] village in Sabaragamuwa district. It is known as පෝර වැල් [Pora Wel] among villagers. We were able to found that it is also the food plant of one of another critically endangered butterfly Silver-Forget-Me. Flowers were not uncommon even during mid November.

Special thanks goes to Ishara Harshajith Wijewardhane - who discovered both plant and butterfly - for guiding us to above location.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Silver Forget-me-not (Catochrysops panormus)

Silver Forget-me-not is a very rare butterfly found in moist parts of the country though there are earlier records from Haldummulla and Wellawaya (Ormistom W., 1924). Males do mud puddling. No records available on its food plant or on early stages.

* Egg laying and larval feeding has been observed on  වල් උඳු[Wal Undu] (Flemingia macrophylla) plants (Ishara Harshajith WijewardhanePersonnal communication, November 24, 2013)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Gorse/Furze/Whin (Ulex europaeus)

An introduced spiny shrub naturalized in forest edges, along roadsides and other open areas of montane zone. Native plant of western Europe.