Saturday, January 31, 2015

Butler’s Spotted Pierrot (Tarucus callinara)

Locally common butterfly confine to the southern arid zone areas, usually close to the coast from Hambantota to Yala. Also occurs in nearby inland dry zone areas. It flies slowly close to the ground and often settles on flowers. Larva feeds on leaves of Ziziphus mauritiana[දෙබර/මහ දෙබර/මසන්/Indian jujube/Chinese apple] (van Der poorten G. & van Der poorten N., 2013)

References:

van Der poorten G. & van Der poorten N., 2013, New and revised descriptions of the immature stages of some butterflies in
Sri Lanka and their larval food plants (Lepidoptera: Lycaenidae). Part 1:
Polyommatinae and Theclinae, in part. The Journal of Research on the Lepidopters Vol 46: 25-49p.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lindernia rotundifolia

An indigenous herb common in harvested paddy fields in wet lowlands to wet hills up to about 550m altitude. Also along ditches in the hill country up to 1700 m and along borders of tanks in the lowlands. Flowering throughout the year.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

මූකලන් ලේනා[Mookalan Lena ]Sri lanka flame-striped jungle squirrel(Funambulus layardi)

An uncommon endemic squirrel occurs in dense rain forest habitats from lowlands to about 1200m altitude in the south-western wet zone including Knuckles range. It is active during the day time and spends most of its time in the canopy though sometimes encounters near ground level. It use to follow mixed-species bird flocks and feeds mainly on fruits, nuts, lichens, young shoots as well as small insects and grubs. Flame-striped jungle squirrel lives as pairs and breeds during May to July.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

කටු-ඉඹුල්[Katu Imbul]/Cotton Tree (Bombax ceiba)

Common indigenous tree found mainly in wet lowlands to mid-hill forests up to about 1000m. Also occurred in intermediate and dry zone forests. The leaves are shed during December and flowers start blooming in clusters close to the branches. The new leaves appears again in March as the flowering wanes. Wood use to manufacture of safety matches and tea-boxes. Young flowers sometimes eaten as a vegetable and kapok is used for stuffing mattresses and pillows. 

Monday, January 26, 2015

අවිච්චියා/Indian Pitta (Pitta brachyura)

Indian Pitta is a common migrant encountered throughout the island except highest hills. It inhabits forest undergrowth and any such habitat with shade such as dense home gardens, plantations and even urban parks. After arriving each bird demarcates its own territory and remain there for rest of its stay while not letting other Pittas to intrude it. Its territorial call often heard at dawn and dusk. It feeds on the ground skulking in undergrowth and turning over dead leaves in search of insects. Other than insects Indian Pitta also feeds on worms, small snails, etc. It has a habit of slowly lifting tail up and down. It breeds in the Himalayan foothills and Central India.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Blue Sprite (Pseudagrion microcephalum)

Very common damselfly occurs in ponds, tanks, marshlands, lagoons, paddy fields, channels,   brackish water and sometimes even in  polluted water from lowlands to mid-hills.  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

හවරි-නුග\අවරි-නුග[Havari-Nuga\Avari-Nuga] (Alstonia macrophylla)

Native plant of Malay peninsula, Thailand, Indochina, Philippines, Borneo and Celebes. Introduced as a timber tree to Sri Lanka at the beginning of last century. Now it is naturalized in the wet and intermediate zone up to about 1200-1500m, especially in the secondary rain forests.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Common Banded Peacock (Papilio crino)

Common butterfly flies all over the island up to about 1000m asl. It is more common in the dry zone. Common Banded Peacock is a migratory butterfly and Ormiston recorded an interesting observation of large flight of these butterflies continues 3-4 days straight out to the sea at Galle. He believed that enormous numbers of  them must have perished in the sea (Ormiston  W., 1924). Male Common Banded Peacock often settles on mud patches and river beds to absorb minerals. Its larva feeds on Chloroxylon swietenia[Satinwood/බුරුත], Clausena indica [මීගොං කරපිංචා] and Toddalia asiatica[කුඩු මිරිස්] (van der Poorten, G. & van der Poorten N., 2011).

References:
Ormiston  W., 1924 The Butterflies of Ceylon, H.W.Cave & Co., Colombo 1924, AES Reprint New Delhi, 2003
van der Poorten, G. and van der Poorten N., 2011. New and revised descriptions of the immature stages of some butterflies in Sri Lanka and their larval food plants (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera, 44: 111–127.

Friday, January 16, 2015

අලු කෑදැත්තා/Sri Lanka Grey Hornbill (Ocyceros gingalensis)


Common endemic bird found in forests and wooded gardens from lowlands up to mid hills, both wet and dry zones. It lives in pairs or small to larger flocks ( Large gatherings may be seen especially in fruiting trees ).  It feeds on wild berries, lizards, tree frogs and insects. The breeding season is from April to August and the nest is a cavity in the large tree.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

බූ-කොබ්බෑ\කොබ්බෑ[Bu-kobbe\Kobbe] (Allophylus cobbe)

Common indigenous shrub or small tree grows in moist low country and lower montane forest areas. Also occurs in the forests of  the dry region. Flowering from March to May and again September to October.  All parts of the plant are used to prepare medicinal oils for use on fracture. Veddas use wood to make bows.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Vagrant Chats and Old World Flycatchers (family:Muscicapidae) Recorded in Sri lanka

     1) Bluethroat (Luscinia svecica)
      First record of occurrence of this bird in Sri Lanka is by Layard and second was by E.C. Fernando from Boralesgamuwa in November 1955. Third record is from Tharanga Herath with photographic evidence near old campsite of the Bundala National Park on 13th March 2014. (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/the_ceylon_bird_club_news.php)

      2) Rufous-tailed Scrub-robin(Erythropygia galactotes familiaris)
A live specimen collected on 30th September 1964 in a garden at Dehiwela and brought to Thelma Gunawardane by Osmar Ismail is the first and only record of the occurrence of this bird in Sri Lanka. The bird was in exhausted condition and was found dead on following morning. Specimen sent to J.D. Macdonald of the British natural history museum and identification was confirmed by himself. (Gunawardene, W. T. T. P., 1965)

      3) Isabelline Wheatear (Oenanthe isabellina)
W.W.A. Phillips mentioned two sight records of Isabelline Wheatear, one bird close to the 15th mile-post on the Mannar-Pooneryn road, north of the Uyatantundi Aru causeway by K.F. Dallas and a friend on the 4th December 1970 [November 1970 according to the Hoffmann, T. W., 1974] and another one from dry mud-flats about a quarter of a mile from Vankalai on the 14th March 1976 by John and Jude Banks (Phillips 1978: 83, & Hoffmann, T. W., 1977). A sight record of a single bird reported from Bundala on March 1990 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1991) Another sight record is given in the South-east coast (in two seasons) in the Report of the CBC for the 2008-2011 periods (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011)

      4) Blue-throated Flycatcher (Cyornis rubeculoides)
Emerson Tennent first time included it in his list as a Sri lankan bird (Tennent E., 1861: 267). But Legge was in the opinion that Tennent may have been misidentified C. banyumas which is the flycatcher which represented in the south of the peninsula while C. rubeculoides is the North Indian bird. (Legge, W. V. 1870).  His idea is further supported by not having C. banyumas in Tennents list. Legge himself noted that he had met with this bird in various parts of the northern forests, but only from October to April of the year and Layard also obtained few specimens during its migration from the mainland ,first one being on 14th October 1851(Legge 1880:547). Legge mention of seeing a specimen in Lord Tweeddale’s collection [which was probably collected by Chapman] by HoldsworthLegge also had some specimens collected by himself. All of above specimens from Northern forests and Jaffna peninsula till W.W.A. Phillip observed a single bird on Mousakande estate Gammaduwa in the Mathale hills (3300ft a.s.l) (Phillips 1978:75)). In 1997/68 migrate season almost certainly a bird was seen in the northern forest area (Cameron, R.Mcl.L., 1968) and another sight record of a single bird reported on February 1981 at Sigiriya (Hoffmann, T. W., 1982)

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.

      5) Pied Wheatear(Oenanthe pleschanka pleschanka)
G.M. Henry in 16 November 1943 observed an exhausted female bird in its winter plumage in a Colombo garden probably after arriving presumably from India. He has confirmed his identification after comparing his notes and sketches he had taken during many minutes of his observations with specimens at the British Natural History Museum. (Henry G.M. 1998: 380) There is another sight record of Pied Wheatear on passage between Sri Lanka and Maldives islands (Repley S.D. 1982: 471)

      6)Desert Wheatear (Oenanthe deserti)
Single sight record of the Desert wheatear available so far was reported by R.W. Lekkerkerk of Holland from Bundala National Park in February 1986 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1987).

      7) Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)            
Single sight record of it at Sinharaja noted by Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010: 306 Quoting CBCN 1978, July: 41). However it is not available in annual review of CBC notes for 1978 (Hoffmann, T. W., 1979) not in CBC country list (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/sri-lanka-bird-list.php) and two appendixes (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/Appendix-I.pdfhttp://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/Appendix-II.pdf), not even in List of rejections (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/List-of-Rejections.pdf)

      8) Yellow-rumped Flycatcher (Ficedula zanthopygia)
Sight record made by Deepal Warakagoda and Steve Rooke at Yala block IV in March 1999 is the first record of its occurrences in Sri Lanka (Warakagoda, D. 2000). Second sight record of it from Thanamalwila on 3rd January 2012 with photographic evident by Amila Salgado (Samaraweera P., 2013)

      9) Red-breasted Flycatcher (Ficedula parva)
A.J. Vincet has recorded it from Horton plains in March 1994. It is the only record of this bird in Sri Lanka (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010:307)

      10) Slaty-blue Flycatcher (Ficedula tricolr)
Single sight record at Sigiriya in February 1993 by A.J. Vincent is the only record (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010:308)

      11) Black-and-rufous Flycatcher (Ficedula nigrorufa)
E.L. Mitford of the Ceylon civil service said to have procured a specimen of this species from Rathnapura district. Layard identified the species by a drawing of the bird made by Mitford who asserts that it was migratory, appearing in JuneLegge doubted about it since no South-Indian migratory bird visiting Sri Lanka at that season and it can’t be also a local migration since it would not have been observed in other areas of the island (Legge 1880: 548)

      12) White-bellied Blue-flycatcher (Cyornis pallipes)
Sight record of A.J. Vincent at Kitulgala in April 1994 is the only evident for the occurrence of this species in Sri Lanka (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010:309)

      13) Hill Blue-flycatcher (Cyornis banyumas)
Single sight record of this flycatcher reported from Colombo in 1985 (Kotagama S. & Ratnavira G. 2010:309 quoting CBCN 1985, Oct: 53a). However annual review of CBC notes for 1985 lack such a record (Hoffmann, T. W., 1986). It is not available in either CBC country list (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/sri-lanka-bird-list.php) or two Appendixes (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/Appendix-I.pdfhttp://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/Appendix-II.pdf), not even in List of rejections (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/List-of-Rejections.pdf)


14) Common Stonechat (Saxicola torquatus)
First time recorded by Sarath Seneviratna on March 2008 at Walahanduwa (Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011)

15) Whinchat Saxicola rubetra
The sight record of the single bird at t Udawalawe National Park on 8th of February 2015 by Chintaka De Silva, Janith Jayarathna and Clemens Steiof is the first record of it for Sri Lanka. (http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/the_ceylon_bird_club_news.php)

16) Siberian Stonechat (Saxicola maurus)

Single bird observed at Udawalawe National Park on 8th February 2015 by Chintaka de Silva, Janith Jayaratne and Clemens Steiof is probably the second record of it for Sri Lanka.(http://www.ceylonbirdclub.org/the_ceylon_bird_club_news.php)

References: 

Cameron, R.Mcl.L. 1968. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club - 1967/68. Loris. 11(3):153-154.
Gunawardene, W. T. T. P., 1965. A new addition to the avifauna of Ceylon Erythopygia galactodes familiaris. Spolia Zeylanica, 30(2), 247-248.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1974. Notes From The Ceylon Bird Club 1970-1973. Loris, 13(4), 211-214.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1977. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1976. Loris, 14(3), 154-156.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1979. Note from the Ceylon Bird club 1978. Loris, 15(1), p6-8.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1982. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1981. Loris, 16(1), 38-40.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1986. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1985. Loris, 17(3), 99-101.
Hoffmann, T. W., 1987. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club 1986. Loris, 17(5), 209-210
Hoffmann, T. W., 1991. Notes from the Ceylon Bird Club, 1990. Loris, 19(3), 103-105.
Henry G.M., 1998 A Guide to the birds of Sri Lanka 1998. 3rd Edition.
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.
Repley S.D., 1982 A synopsis of the birds of India and Pakistan together with those of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka 1982
Samaraweera P., 2013. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club 2012, Loris 26(5&6), 33-35
Tennent E., 1861. Sketches of the Natural History of Ceylon with narratives and anecdotes. (AES reprint 1999)
Warakagoda, D., 2000. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 1999. Loris, 22(4), 23-25.
Warakagoda D. & Sirivardana U., 2011. Report from the Ceylon Bird Club for 2008-2011, Loris 26 (1&2)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Ceylon Banded Awl/Ceylon Awl (Hasora badra lanka)

An uncommon butterfly occurs in southwestern forests from lowlands to the hills. It has a fast flight and often settle beneath leaves. Larva feeds on දිය කල වැල්/කළු කල වැල් (Derris canarensis) (http://www.slbutterflies.lk/Butterfly.php?cid=205)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

කාමරංගා[Kamaranga]/Carambola apple/Chinese Gooseberry (Averrhoa carambola)

A small tree native to Malayan region. Introduced and widely cultivated in low to mid elevation home gardens. Flowering throughout the year with peaks in April to June. Fruit edible and fruits, leaves, seeds and flowers are used in medicine. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dingy Duskflyer (Zyxomma petiolatum)

An uncommon dragonfly inhabiting ponds, lakes, rivers, tanks and lagoons of lowland areas. It is a crepuscular dragonfly and active only during the dusk, while rest in thick scrub jungles during the day. Dingy Duskflyer is a fast flyer and feeds mainly on mosquitoes looping around over still water. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Kashmir Flycatcher (Ficedula subrubra)

An uncommon winter migrant to the home gardens, cultivation and forest edges of the mid hills and above.  It is usually found feeding on insects as solitary birds on the ground. But also feeds high up in trees. Each bird demarcate its own territory and where it can be found day after day. It is considered as a globally threatened bird nesting in north-western Himalayas of the Kashmir region of India and Pakistan. Probably the majority of the population of Kashmir Flycatcher migrate to the Sri Lankan hills during the winter. 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

විළඳ වැන්න/ගැට-තුඹ[Wiladhawenna/Gata-tumba] (leucas biflora)

Common indigenous herb occurs in waste places, roadsides, patana lands and forests from lowlands to about 2700m elevations. Flowering throughout the year. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Adam's Shadowdamsel (Drepanosticta adami)

Adam's Shadowdamsel is one of the rarest endemic damselfly so far recorded only from few localities of the Knuckles range and its outskirts in the north-central part of the country . It was originally described from specimens collected from Madugoda near Urugalla in 1932 by F.C. Fraser.  After more than seven decades Karen Conniff observed and photographed it in Simpson's forest near Hunnasfalls in April 2006 and again in October 2007 and 2010. Karen Conniff and Matjaz Bedjanic observed a single juvenile female near Urugalla in end of May 2009. Matjaz Bedjanic also reported it from two streams in Simpson's forest in October 2012. Those are the only published sightings of this damselfly up to date( 7 records from 5 sites)

My Observations

* A female was observed and photographed in Udamaliboda trail of Peak Wilderness forest reserve (Sripada FR) close to Kuru river crossing (6°49'36.42"N, 80°28'4.80"E) in February 2014. (See above picture). If my identification is correct it is the first record of it from Central hills and outside the Knuckles range.