Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

March 20, 2017

Another River Boat Ride

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 12:21 pm

Bentota River , Sri Lanka.

I had organised with the boat people the previous afternoon for 3500 rupees for a 3 hour boat ride. I thought that was a reasonable bargain. I arrived at 8.30am and they got the boat ready, full of petrol and off we went.

Shikra (Accipiter badius)

For starters we cruised along the waterfront properties and spied quite a few nice birds on the river-side. Wait a minute, I gotta go inside because I cannot see a thing on my monitor. Now I am kneeling down under the fan typing on my bed. It is way hotter inside but at least I can see the screen. Back to my processing.

Red-wattled Lapwing
Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)

These Red-wattled Lapwings were scabbing around in a dump by the river.

Sanderling (Calidris alba) wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola)

This Sanderling wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola) was stuck on a rock out in the middle of the river. edit: thanks pete for the id.

Indian Pond Heron
Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)

I have been wanting to find and photograph these birds for ages. Finally my dream has been realised!

Common Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis)

The Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) is also known as the Eurasian Kingfisher, but I have no idea who would call them this?

Green imperial pigeon
Green imperial pigeon (Ducula aenea)

It is a shame I was so far away but it is a record shot.

purple-faced langur
purple-faced langur (Trachypithecus vetulus)

These monkeys were in the mangroves and were very skittish when we approached them in the boat. It was very difficult to get a shot of them and this is all I could manage. doh!

Water Monitor
Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)

There were lots of these on the river banks and hiding out in the mangroves.

Bentota bird list

Gull-billed Tern
Little Black Cormorant
Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
Common Myna
Indian Pond Heron (Ardeola grayii)
White-bellied Drongo
Brahminy Kite
White-bellied Sea-eagle
White-throated Kingfisher
Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) aka Eurasian Kingfisher
Green imperial pigeon (Ducula aenea)
Shikra (Accipiter badius)
Stork-billed Kingfisher
Sanderling (Calidris alba) wood sandpiper (Tringa glareola)
Little Black Cormorant

Water Monitor (Varanus salvator)
purple-faced langur (Trachypithecus vetulus),
Saltwater or Mugger Crocodle

March 19, 2017

A Terrible Journey

Filed under: General — Tags: — admin @ 5:54 am

Sri Lanka.

The beginning and ends of this story are fine. It is just the getting from one place to the other that was a nightmare. First off, here is a glorious shot of the fishing fleet at Negombo Lagoon.

Fishing Fleet Negombo
Fishing fleet

Me and my mate Vikas went to visit the fish market. They dried all the fish out on the beach. Most of these ones were the little ones.

drying fish
drying fish

There were heaps of fishermen netting on the beach. They would bring the nets in and throw the nets around to get the fish out of the nets.

Beach fishermen

This is the boat ride on the Negombo Lagoon. 2500 rupees for an hour boat ride. Well worth it. Here we are going along showing Vikas and the boat driver. You can see the bird photos on the previous post.

Negombo Lagoon
Negombo Lagoon boat ride

Negombo Beach
Negombo Beach

I am sitting in my hotel room in Bentota, which is sixty kilometers south of Colombo. It has been a relentless mission just to get less than a hundred kilometers. We started off in Negombo not knowing when the trains were leaving. Our hotel owner gave us all the wrong information. So we walked down to the bus station and get the bus to Colombo just as it was leaving. It was one of those old rickety ones. A local bus that stopped at just about every hillbilly joint along the way.

When we got to Colombo the traffic started to get really bad. It was bumper to bumper and the bus seemed to stop every half a kilometer as well. I was getting a bit aerated at this point, wishing I had never got on this stinking heap of crap. The closer to the inner city we got, the worse the traffic was. As we were approaching the bus terminal it was gridlock. We just got off and haggled with this tuk tuk driver to take us to the train station.

The train station was worse. Nobody knew which train we had to catch and we ended up waiting 2 hours for the train to arrive. When it finally did, it was standing room only and packed in like sardines. Argh… An hour and a half later and we finally made the sixty kilometers to Bentoto. It was worth it. The town is surrounded by jungle and the beach is clean white sand. Our villa is very nice – $25 for Air Conditioning, private bathroom, and breakfast.

Bentota Beach
Vikas at Bentota Beach

That was the bad part in the middle. This morning I took some photos of birds around the hotel and then went for a swim at the beach. The water is really warm. Travelling is not all beer and skittles, you know.

Bentota – Sri Lanka

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 5:40 am

Bentota Birding.

I took these photos from the roof of my hotel at Bentota, Western Sri Lanka. It is pretty close to the beach and there is also lots of jungle type vegetation with coconut trees and gardens.

Oriental Magpie-Robin
Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)

The ubiquitous Oriental Magpie-Robin. They are everywhere I go.

BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus)

I am pretty sure I have not photographed these before. Maybe I have in Vietnam. Not sure.

WHITE-BELLIED DRONGO (Dicrurus caerulescens)

A new bird for me.

ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri)

This is a really bad shot. Just a record shot for the time being until I get a better one. They are fairly common I think, so I am sure I will see them again.

Red-vented Bulbul
Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)

Plain Prinia ??
White-browed Bulbul

I am pretty sure this is not a Plain Prinia but maybe some type of babbler or thrush. Do not know??

Indian Palm Squirrel
Indian Palm Squirrel (Funambulus palmarum)

These cute squirrels were running around on the roof of the hotel next door.

Bentota Bird List

Oriental Magpie-Robin (Copsychus saularis)
BLACK-HOODED ORIOLE (Oriolus xanthornus)
WHITE-BELLIED DRONGO (Dicrurus caerulescens)
Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)
ROSE-RINGED PARAKEET (Psittacula krameri)
white-browed bulbul

Indian Palm Squirrel (Funambulus palmarum)

March 17, 2017

Day One Sri Lanka

Filed under: Birds — Tags: — admin @ 3:40 pm

Negombo Lagoon, Sri Lanka.

It is a long way from Japan to Sri Lanka. I have gone from snow and -5 degrees Celsius to a humid 30 degrees. It has taken a few days to adjust to the heat, but I still haven’t. I slept most of yesterday and only venture out in the mornings and late afternoon. The middle of the day is for siesta.

House Crow
House Crow, (corvus splendens)

I am staying at Randi Homestay, close to the lagoon and the town. This morning I took a boat ride through the lagoon for an hour. It cost about $20. I really enjoyed it.

BLACK-CAPPED KINGFISHER (Halcyon pileata)?? White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)

I am not too sure about this kingfisher. I will get a better ID later. It is a White-throated Kingfisher or White-breasted Kingfisher. Also known as Smyrna kingfisher, is a tree kingfisher, widely distributed in Asia from Turkey east through the Indian subcontinent to the Philippines. I got a note from Sean who says that it is White-Throated Kingfisher, (Halcyon smyrnensis fusca). Thank you Sean for the clarification and the race.. I have much to learn, grasshopper. 🙂

Juvenile Striated Heron ? or Yellow Bittern ?
Indian Pond Heron

Edit: I missed all the ID options for that one. Now i know better. doh!

ASIAN OPENBILL (Anastomus oscitans)

Ha ha I am very certain about this one.

BROWN-HEADED GULL (Larus brunnicephalus)

Doh!, not sure about this one either.

Gull-billed Tern
Gull-billed Tern

fruit bat
Fruit Bat

This is the first time I have seen one of these flying around in broad daylight.

Purple Heron
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)

Monkey in the mangroves

Negombo bird list

Indian Cormorant no.
LITTLE CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax niger)yes
Great Cormorant maybe.
White-winged Tern ?? (Chlidonias leucopterus)
GULL-BILLED TERN (Gelochelidon nilotica)
House Crow (corvus splendens)
BROWN-HEADED GULL (Larus brunnicephalus)
LESSER CRESTED TERN (Sterna bengalensis) or GREAT CRESTED TERN (Sterna bergii) ??
PURPLE HERON (Ardea purpurea)
Grey Heron
Indian Pond Heron
Yellow Bittern (Ixobrychus sinensis)??
ASIAN OPENBILL (Anastomus oscitans)
White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
COMMON MYNA (Acridotheres tristis)

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