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Sri Lanka
- World Heritage Sites, ancient temples, a sacred mountain or two - and wildlife! First visit january 2013


World Heritage site: Sigiriya
The Lion Rock was an impressive Castle, palace and fortress - raising majestically to more than 200 meters above the surrounding plains. How on earth was it possible to build something like this more than 1500 years ago?

 

The door-step to a quite small temple or palace - but look at the rich stone carvings still clearly visible - after more than a thousand years! World Heritage site: Polonnaruva
A magnificent site with impressive stone remnants from an ancient culture with sublime understanding of architecture, art and craftmanship!
If model reconstructions of the wooden part of the city are anywhere near the correct one - this must have been one of the most fantastic cities in the world - ever!

Common Myna on the back of a waterbuffalo in Yala National Park.  After a dull day with rain and grey skies, the sun started filtering through over the mountains in the late afternoon.  Adam's Peak - also called Sri Prada - in a truly devine light of the late afternoon, where the clods formed this striking formation of light aound the sacred mountain!  The Slightly Chilled Guesthouse was our base - and they made excellent food. However they don't serve beer or wine - which is a shame for those of us who appreciate such drinks to our food. This is the gate to the trail, right besides the great lying Budda to the left.  One of the many tea-shops along the trail to the top. You don't need to lack foods or drinks on the way.  The ceremony started with me in the right place, right as light started to paint the sky  at 06.04 sharp!  A new day have arrived for the 4 great religions considering this mountain to be sacred!  Back down again - in huge numbers, due to the local moon-day!While we were headding down again, many others of all ages were still headding for the summit.  Here the trail crosses fields with tea-bushes, that we saw nothing of on the way up during the night.  The lying Budda besides the  gate to the trail - I waited for the photograph till a flash was not nescessary, and took this on the way down.  Back in the village again - at the yellow-painted marking of the beginning of the trail to the summit. For us, the devine experience was over.  Common iora - male. The female is greenish yellow.  Common Iora - female. Tissamaharama.  The common kingfisher is alo present here!  White-breasted waterhen - this is from Kandy lake, where it walks the thread-inforced bank protection.  The indian darter - a fish-eating specialist, common everywhere in these wetlands!  This is the "standard" White heron, known from much of the tropics and subtropics.  I'm not sure about this one - as it has blue in the face and not yellow like the species is supposed to be. In the background a purple heron.  The common grey heron.  The purple heron - one of the bigger ones, too.  The indian pond heron. Striped in the coat, while chasing - but bright white wings, when it takes off.  Jerdon's bushlark  Pied Kingfisher.  Whiskered tern.  Wooley-necked stork.  Purple sunbird - male.  Loten's Sunbird - male.  Loten's Sunbird - female.  Purple-rumped sunbird - male.  Purple-rumped sunbird - female.  Oriental magpie-robin - juvenile.  Indian Jungle Crow.  House crow.   Grey-headed Canary flycatcher.   Tickell's Blue flycatcher feeding a young.  Lesser Whisteling duck.  White-bellied drongo - this one not so white-bellied!  I haven't been able to identify this species from the paddy fields of Tissamaharama. Please help!  Spotted axis deer - common in most national parks - and favorite prey for the leopard. Endemic to Sri Lanka.  The Elephant rock of Bundalla Ramsar Wetland Sanctuary - this place is teaming with birds and other wildlife!  This little critter was damaged in some way - found in Kandy Botanical Garden.  I haven't been able to identfy this species either.  Chipmunks are everywhere - often barking very loudly!  These chamelion-like lizzards were also quite common - on the ground and in the trees.  I only saw two skinks - and this was too well hidden for a proper ID.  Geckoes are everywhere in buildings - I never got round to make out distinctive species.  Water-buffaloes are part of the scene everywhere with a pit of water!  I only saw this  Green Imperial Pigeon once, even though the species is quite common.  Little egret is a very common bird - here in Kandy lake - displaying the yellow feet, that are used for luring fish!  The intermediat egret is a bit bigger - and have no yellow feet.  Something wrong with the road-signs here .......  The Great Thick-knee is a rather remarkable bird.  Female Asian Koel can be seen "crawling" through the branches of bushes and trees - almost resembling a squirrel or something like that.  The male Asian Koel is entirely black, with the red eye and a light beak.  We didn't see but a fraction of the amphibians, we could clearly hear everywhere. This green frog species were quite abundant in the lotus pond.  This is probably a Bronze Mabuya or Bronze Grass skink.  Sri Lankan jungle fowl - an iconic national bird of the island. The Small Pratincole sat by the dozens along the dirt tracks in the Bundala wetland.  The White-throated kingfisher were seen everywhere. It feeds on grashoppers as well as on fish - end on everything else, it can catch!  This young White-bellied Sea-eagle has caught a neat meal in the wetlands.  An adult Sea-eagle patrolling the edge of the sea ...  The Brahminy Kite is fairly common - but difficult to to get close for  a prime shot!  Black-winged stilt.  The Pheasant-tailed Jacana.    This Yellow Bittern took refuge high in the reeds, where it hang without a movement.  Purple-rumped sunbird, male.  Purple-rumped sunbird; female.  Blacktailed Godwit.  White-rumped Munia nesting in a lodge lamp - actually almost every single lamp were occupied like this!  Scaley-brested Munia in the fig-tree.  Red-faced monkey - an endemic macaque to Sri Lanka. This was from Polannaruwa.  Well hidden at the other side of a tree - the Yellow-fronted Barbet.  A Brown-headed Barbet from Tissamaharama.  Blue-tailed Bee-eater - the fourth species of bee-eaters, we saw.  Chestnut-headed Bee-eater.  Little -Green Bee-eater was seen on every safari.  European Bee-eater.  Brown-breasted flycatcher, as it is trying to find rest for the night.  The Painted Stork was quite commonly seen in the wetlands of Yala and Bundala.  No, we didn't come across any wild cobras. This one have had it's fangs removeded and was actually quite friendly.  Eurasian Curlew is actually rarely seen in Sri Lanka.  This Black-crowned Night-heron was hard to catch with the camera, as it fled into the thik bushes.  Black-hooded Oriole.  Common tailorbird.  A very relaxed leopard in a Yala tree.  The magnificent display to court the female peacock.  Stork-billed Kingfisher - the lagest species in Sri Lanka.  Spot-billed pelican.  Blue-faced Malkoha is an uncommon sight - but usually in dryland bushes.  Note the white ear-feathers of the Indian Shag - as opposed to other cormorants.  The Little Cormorant has a shorter bill than other cormorants.  Spoonbilled Stork.  The magnificent Purple Swamp Hen in the water-hyacinths.  The rose-ringed Parakeet - one of the many species in the Alexandrine Parakeet family.  Red-vented Bulbul.  The Sambar deer of Horton Plains.    The Sri Lankan subsp. of the grey langur - also called Blackfaced monkey.  A juvenile Crested Serpent-eagle waiting for mummy.  Crested Hawk-eagle.  The Spotted dowe are seen everywhere here.  Sri Lankan wild boars roam the dry parts of the wetland.  Black-headed ibis.  Purple-faced langur is endemic to Sri Lanka.  Orange-breasted green pigeon.  Ceylon Green-pigeon.  Marsh Sandpiber.  Common Redshank.  Yellow-billed babler.  Red-watteled lapwing.  Yellow-wattled lapwing.  Land Monitor lizard - smaller and less agressive than the water monitor.  This Water Monitor lizard is 3 meters+ - and had probably swallowed an entire duck of considerable size!  This is the endemic Ceylon White-eye.  - and this is the Oriental White-eye.  No idea of the ID of this 5 feet snake from Sigiriya.


Please note, that some of these pictures are not available in high resolution.


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