Thursday, October 30, 2014

නික/නිල්-නික/හෙලරික[Nika/Nil-Nika/Helarika]/Chaste-tree (Vitex negundo)

An indigenous tree found on the banks of rivers, streams and tank edges in the low country, especially in the dry zone and coastal areas up to about 3000ft a.s.l. Also cultivated due to its medicinal value and as an ornamental plant in home gardens. Whole plant medicinal and leaves use as an insect -repellent. 

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Annotated checklist of vagrant Woodpeckers (Family: Picidae) recorded in Sri Lanka

      Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post summarizes up to date published sight records of vagrants of the family Picidae (Woodpeckers) in Sri Lanka.

      Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
First time recorded in Sri Lanka by A.J. Vincent on 7th March 1993 from Sigiriya (Hoffmann, T. W., 1994). However CBC had decided to remove it from Sri Lanka list as having been accepted on misleading data (Warakagoda, D., 1999). But FOGSL members captured a bird on 5th April 2002 at Yala during the bird ringing program of 2002 carried out from 3rd to 8th April (Kaluthota C.D. and Kotagama S.W., 2006). Again Uditha hettige reported a bird at Ruhuna National Park in 2003 (Warakagoda, D., 2004). Another sighting is given in the report of CBC for 2008-2011 near Yala Block 1 (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011) Dulan Ranga Vidanapathirana and M.D. Gehan Rajeev reported a sighting from Kudawa, near Sinharaja on 3rd February 2014 and confirmed with photographs taken on 26th February 2014.2011). (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/the_ceylon_bird_club_news.php)

References:
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994. Ceylon Bird Club Notes, 1993. Loris, 20(3), 107-109.
Kaluthota C.D. and Kotagama S.W., 2006 Banding shorebirds: The sri lankan experience Siyoth Vol 1 :16-21
Warakagoda, D., 1999. Ceylon Bird Club Notes,1998. Loris, 22(2), 33-34.
Warakagoda, D., 2004. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2003 Loris, 23(5&6), 37-41
Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011, Loris 26 (1&2)


Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oberonia wightiana

Locally common epiphyte grows on trees in submontane forests from 548 - 2134m elevations.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

Grass Demon (Udaspes folus)

An uncommon butterfly probably occurs all over the island excluding higher hills where its larval host plants available . Both Ormiston (Ormiston  W., 1924)  and Woodhouse (Woodhouse L.G.O. , 1950) treated it as a very rare insect in Sri Lanka. However now a days it seems to be not such a rarity, probably due to adopting of its larva to feeds on varies exotic plants such as Curcuma longa[කහ/Turmeric], Curcuma zedoaria [හරන් කහ], Hedychium coronarium [එළ මල්], Kaempferia galanga [හිඟුරු පියලි] and Zingiber officinale [ඉඟුරු/Ginger] (Jayasinghe H.D., 2014) some of them are widely cultivated. Curcuma oligantha is the only known larval food plant of it which is not introduced but indigenous (ibid).

References:
Ormiston  W., 1924 The Butterflies of Ceylon, H.W.Cave & Co., Colombo 1924, AES Reprint New Delhi, 2003
Woodhouse L.G.O. , 1950 The Butterfly Fauna of CeylonCeylon Government Press, Colombo, 2nd (Abriged) Edition.  1950.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

මල්-කෑර [Mal-Kera] (Ochna jabotapita)

A shrub or small tree occurs in wet zone forests and grasslands from lowlands to about 600m elevation. Flowering from February to May.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vagrant Quails (Family: Phasianidae) recorded in Sri Lanka

    Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post summarizes up to date published sight records of vagrants of the family Phasianidae (Quails) in Sri Lanka.

 1) Rain Quail [Black-breasted Quail] (Coturnix coromandelica) 
Then director of the Colombo museum Haly had obtained the first specimen of a Rain Quil, a male in January 1883 and again two females in July of the same year. All those were shot at Colombo (Nevill, H., 1887). Hue Nevill also mention of a specimen of a female said to be shot at Dumbara, near Kandy by a local taxidermist which he purchased from him in 1875. But he viewed it with suspicion (Nevill, H., 1887). Wait speaking probably of these three specimens noted that Rain quail has been recorded from the environs of Colombo and three specimens are in museum taken near that town (Wait W.E., 1933: 307Phillips mentioned of a large quail seen at Rugan tank of eastern province on 10th November 1947 probably of a bird of this species and according to him there are several sightings from Ruhuna national park too (Phillips W.W.A., 1978: 21).  Early March 1962 another pair was positively identified by T.E. Tunnard on a road on Vellai oya estate, Hatton and another one was reported by D.V.A Tirimanna from a garden at Kandana on the 20th November 1976 (Phillips W.W.A, 1978: 21 & Hoffmann, T. W. 1977). CBC Notes reported several sightings at Udawalawe National Park in December 2001 (Siriwardana, U., 2002), November 2002 [six birds] (Siriwardana, U., 2003), January 2003 and again two birds in November 2003 (Warakagoda, D., 2004). Sighting of two birds at Udawalawe NP is given in the Report of CBC for the 2008-2011 period (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011)

Unconfirmed vagrants:
Species for which there are only one or two sight records exist categorized here as unconfirmed vagrants. Problematic records without sufficient details are also included.


     2) Common Quail(Coturnix coturnix) 
Only reference available for occurrence of Common Quail in Sri Lanka is Bligh’s record from ‘Yala district’ in January 1879 of a pair of large quails which were flushed from beneath his feet, and flew away strongly, uttering a chirping note similar to the Common quail.(Legge V. 1880: 992)

References:

Hoffmann, T. W., 1977. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1976. Loris, 14(3), 154-156.
Legge V., 1880. A History of the birds of Ceylon  1983 second edition.
Nevill, H. (1887). Ornithological notes (Ceylon). Taprobanian, 2(5), 131-132.
Phillips W.W.A., 1978 Annotated checklist of the Birds of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1978 revised edition.
Siriwardana, U., 2003. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2002. Loris, 23(3&4), 36-39.
Siriwardana, U., 2002. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2001. Loris, 23(1&2), 36-40
Wait W.E., 1931. Manual of the Birds of Ceylon. 2nd edition. Colombo Museum.
Warakagoda, D., 2004. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2003 Loris, 23(5&6), 37-41
Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011, Loris 26 (1&2)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

නැබඩ[Nebada] (Vitex leucoxylon)

Common indigenous tree occurs in dry monsoon and intermediate forest canopy. Especially found near banks of streams, rivers and tank edges. Leaves and roots are medicinal.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Tricolor Pied Flat (Coladenia indrani tissa )

Rather uncommon butterfly occurs all over the island from sea level to about 700m asl . It has a fast flight though often does not fly far when disturbed and settles under side of a leaf with its wings spread out flat. Its larva feeds on leaves of varies plants such as Pterospermum suberifolium [Fishing rod tree/වෙලං], Berrya cordifolia [Trincomalee wood/හල්මිල්ල], Grewia damine[දමිණිය], Grewia helicterifolia [බොරු දමිණිය], Grewia orientalis [වැල් කෑලිය/වැල් මැදිය], Microcos paniculata [කෑලිය/කොහුකිරිල්ල], Streblus asper and Bridelia retusa [කැටකෑල] (Jayasinghe H.D. et. al. 2014)

References:
Jayasinghe H.D., Rajapaksha S.S. & de Alwis C. 2014 A Compilation and Analysis of food plants utilization of Sri Lankan butterfly larva (Papilionoidea) Taprobanica Vol 6(2) 110-131pp.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

කියුබන් මැහෝගනී/මැහෝගනී[Cuban Mahogany/Mahogani] (Swietenia mahagoni)

Native plant of tropical American rain forests. Introduced to Sri Lanka around 1840 as an ornamental and shade tree and has been cultivated  as a woody plant in forest plantations in the intermediate zone. The particular tree of which these pictures were taken at the new court complex premises of Negombo was declared on 28th June, 2011 as a protected monument under the Antiquities Ordinance (http://documents.gov.lk/gazette/2011/PDF/Jul/22Jul2011/I-I(E)2011.07.22.pdf). However it was wrongly identified in it as an Oak tree though it is not so*.

* See post added by Dr. Siril Wijesundara in the Nature Facebook group on 19th February 2013 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/protectnature/permalink/572647876081262/

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Vagrant Swallows and Martins (Family: Hirundinidae) recorded in Sri Lanka

    Birds that appear outside their normal range are known as vagrants. This post summarizes up to date published sight records of vagrants of the family Hirundinidae( Swallows and Martins) in Sri Lanka.

Confirmed vagrants


1) Wire-tailed Swallow (Hirundo smithii filifera)
As per Phillips first sight-record was on 26th February 1966 of a single bird observed by Mrs. R.Wynell-Mayow and Mrs. Nugawela on a telegraph wire on the roadside between Pooneryn and Mannar (Phillips W.W.A, 1978:63). However W.A. Cave stated in 1907 of a possible sight record of it in Colombo.  Here are his words – “I should be glad if any ornithologist can tell me whether the Wire-tailed swallow [Hirundo smithii) has been observed in Ceylon. I am almost certain I saw one hawking over the sides of the Colombo Lake on July 1st of this year. The bird was very much like H. rustica, but the length of the outer tail feathers, white under parts and conspicuous white spots on the rectrices attracted my attention. If it was not H. smithii it must have been a common swallow in full summer plumage, and its presence here on the above-mentioned date is somewhat unusual, and I think worthy of record.”(Cave, W.A., 1907). Kotagama & Ratnavira (2010) has given another sight record in 1979 quoting CBC notes (CBCN 1979 Oct: 35)


Unconfirmed vagrants:

Species for which there are only one or two sight records exist are categorized here as unconfirmed vagrants. Problematic records without sufficient details are also included.


     2) Pale Crag-martin (Hirundo obsoleta pallida)
Bligh has reported an occurrence of a Martin in Kandapolla valley in the Haputhale range during North-east monsoon of 1876 and again in cool season of 1877-78. Legge suggested the possibility of it being the Pale Crag-martin (Legge V. 1880: 774-775). Recent sight record of it on 5th March 1988 at Kotte was reported by Rex I. De Silva (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010: 279 Quoting De Silva R.I., 1989) & (Kaluthota C.D. & Kotagama S.W., 2009)

     3) Dusky Crag-martin (Hirundo concolor)
Single sight-record from the Bellanwila-Attidiya marsh on 21st January 1993 by Jagath Gunawardana is the only record so far available of its occurrence in Sri Lanka. (Hoffmann, T. W., 1994))

     4) Streak-throated Swallow [Indian Cliff Swallow] (Hirundo fluvicola)
Single bird seen on a telegraph wire at Sita Eliya patanas close to Nuweraeliya on 8th February 1948 by W.W.A. Phillips is the first record of this swallow in Sri Lanka (Phillips W.W.A 1978:63 ). Second record is from DebarawewaTissa by Ben King and party on 6th February 1992. They observed two birds (Hoffmann, T. W., 1993). Probably the same species is again recorded as Indian Hill Swallow at Pannegamuwa in the 2008-2011 report of the Ceylon Bird Club, though it is mentioned in it as 2nd record after 25(?) years (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011)

References:

Cave, W.A. 1907- Rare Colombo birds. Spolia Zeylanica. 5(17):65
De Silva, R.I., 1989. New sight record: Pale crag-martin Malkoha Jan:2
Hoffmann, T. W., 1994. Ceylon Bird Club Notes, 1993. Loris, 20(3), 107-109.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1993. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club, 1992. Loris, 20(1), p12-14.
Kaluthota C.D. & Kotagama S.W. 2009. Revised Avifaunal List of Sri Lanka, Occasional Paper No.02, October 2009, Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (Downloaded from  http://www.fogsl.net/Prod/wp-content/uploads/2009/11/Checklist-ver-7.pdf )
Kotagama, S., Ratnavira, G., 2010. An illustrated Guide to the Birds of Sri Lanka. Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka, Colombo.
Legge V., 1880. A History of the birds of Ceylon  1983 second edition.
Phillips W.W.A., 1978 Annotated checklist of the Birds of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) 1978 revised edition.
Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011, Loris 26 (1&2)

Friday, October 10, 2014

බිම්-හක්- ඇඹල[Bim-hakambala] (Begonia tenera)

A rare endemic perennial herb occurs in humid lowland (variety tenera up to about 250m elevations) and lower montane (variety thawaitesii at elevations 600-1200m especially in the valleys of the Knuckles range) forests 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Jewel Four-ring (Ypthima singala)

Rather rare butterfly flies all the year round mainly in the Uva patanas from 500 -1500m elevations. Sightings also available from Galaha, Elpitiya, Haldummulla and Watawala. Larval host plant is not known though egg laying was observed in a unidentified grass species and larva has been successfully reared on Carpet grass/පොටු තණකොළ (Axonopus compressus) (van der Poorten, G. and van der Poorten, N. 2012)

References:
van der Poorten, G. and N. van der Poorten, 2012. New and revised descriptions of the immature stages of some butterflies in Sri Lanka and their larval food plants (Lepidoptera: Nymphalidae). Part 2: Subfamily Satyrinae. Tropical Lepidoptera, 22: 80–92.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Sri Lanka Cruiser (Macromia zeylanica)

Rather rare endemic dragonfly inhabiting streams and rivulets in the forests of southwestern lowlands up to mid hills. It is a fast-flying insect which flies low over pebbles of a stream or rivulet.

Thursday, October 2, 2014