Thursday, July 20, 2017

Capturing nature and birdlife

One of the aspects of life in Sri Lanka that has not changed in the time I have lived on the island has been beauty and proximity of nature. If you follow my social media feeds then you'll have noted my love of all things nature. Proximity plays a key part in all of this. Whether it's around home, along a walking track, or venturing out of the city - it's very much part of everyday life.

Each day I remind myself to take in the sounds around me. There's usually dogs barking, birds chirping, squirrels squeaking and the rustling of branches or leaves. Tropical life is vibrant and thriving all day round. And not a day goes by that I don't see butterflies, birds and some unusual sight. Just the other day I was walking to the train station and I saw a pig or boar foraging through a mound of rubbish on one of the neighborhood side streets. Sure you see cows roaming the Lankan streets like they're part of the everyday scene, but pigs, not so much.

Anyway, I've been thoroughly enjoying this ongoing fascination with native birds, flora and natural settings around Colombo recently and so I thought I'd post some of my photo captures...


Walking tracks around Colombo are a great way to immerse in nature. They are usually set around bird sanctuaries or natural wetlands and canals.


Recently I've been seeing a few storks, painted storks, openbill storks, purple heron, other assorted herons, white ibis, indian pond herons, red-wattled lapwing, purple coots and egrets.





Recently I've been catching glimpses of the Sri Lankan pheasant-tailed jacana, usually found walking on the floating lilypads of a lake.


And occasionally, you see something that makes you want to take a snapshot. Like this cow that's having a bit of a rest beside these pretty water lilies with a cool reflection against the water. The thought that came to my mind was that the cow was "posing" for a picture.


One of the things that you have to watch out for are water monitors (or large lizards).  They're known as karbaragoya in sinhala. More often than not, there aren't any signs warning of their presence so it's best to be mindful of them if you're walking on a track or near a canal or lake. Water monitors do not necessarily harm unless they are provoked, but this is not common. I've found they tend to "sunbath" in a sun salutation yoga-like pose by the banks of the water. And they'll disappear into the water if they think you're going to disturb them. If provoked they will lash out with their tails and may engage with their claws and jaw.


Around my home there are always plenty of birdlife - I have regular visits from a group of common babblers, as well as parrots, wood pigeons, white-throated kingfishers, mynhas, black-headed orioles, re-vented bulbuls,  and more.

One of the most enigmatic visitors has been the black-rumped flameback woodpecker that has been methodically pecking holes in a couple of trees.




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