Steve Happ Photography Ramblings and dissertations

August 27, 2021

Pottuvil Birding 210827

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 9:48 am

Panama Road Lagoons

This morning I went and looked at the surf at sunrise, but decided to give it a miss and go birding along the Panama Road between the two lagoons south of Arugam Bay town. I was hoping for a few waders but ended up with a couple of ticks from bush birds.

Sri Lanka Woodshrike
Sri Lanka Woodshrike (Tephrodornis affinis)

“Small gray songbird with heavy bill, dark mask, and white eyebrow. Underparts pale whitish; in flight note white rump. Inhabits wooded areas and scrub in lowland and lower hills, mostly in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka; avoids dense, wet forests. Arboreal species usually encountered in pairs or small groups. Pale eyebrow and plain underparts aid identification from similarly heavy-billed (but larger) Large Woodshrike. ” (ebird)

Black Eagle
Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis)

Record shot.

Eurasian Spoonbill
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)

“Distinctive, large white wading bird with a spatula for a bill. Adult has short crest, yellowish breast patch. First year has paler bill, with fine black wingtips visible in flight… Found in wetlands with shallow water (including tidal flats), where feeds by sweeping its bill side-to-side for crustaceans and small fish. ” (ebird)

Great Thick-knee
Great Thick-knee (Esacus recurvirostris)

Plain Prinia
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)

Little Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)

Common Redshank
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)

Painted Stork
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)

Arugam Bay bird list

Sri Lanka Woodshrike (Tephrodornis affinis)
Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis)
Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia)
Grey-headed Swamphen
Indian Cormorant
Red-wattled Lapwing
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)
Indian Pond-heron
Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
Black-winged Stilt
House Crow
Indian Robin
Great Thick-knee (Esacus recurvirostris)
Scaly-breasted Munia
White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius)
Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans) – juvenile
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis)
Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)
Common Redshank (Tringa totanus)
Marsh Sandpiper
Black Eagle (Ictinaetus malaiensis)

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August 19, 2021

Attacked by Elephant

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:59 am

Panama Road – Arugam Bay 19th September 2021

This morning the surf was totally flat, so I went up the Panama Road a bit and found a side road into the bush. I found an elephant in a field, then took some photos of him and walked along the side of the fields looking for birds. Then, when I started back, he started coming out of the field towards me and charged towards me, coming a few meters away from me and trumpeting loudly and aggressively. I thought I was a goner and gonna get trampled. He stormed off into the bushes, luckily. I got out of there as fast as I could. Oh man I was so scared, I had to change my pants!

Sri Lankan Elephant
Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus)

The Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus) is a sub-species of the Asian Elephant.

So I high-tailed it out of there and found some bush near a waterhole. There were a few birds around so I had time to get distracted and calm down a bit.

White-browed Bulbul
White-browed Bulbul (Pycnonotus luteolus)
I thought this White-browed Bulbul might be a new one, but I have seen them before in Hampi, India, and Goa.

Alexandrine Parakeet
Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria )
This one is a tick, I had seen one previously in a cage in Himachal Pradesh, India.

Rose-ringed Parakeet  - male
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri) – male

Asian Green Bee-eater
Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)

There is quite a bit of difference in these Asian Green Bee-eaters. I think this one is a juvenile. He has a lot of green in him.

Asian Green Bee-eater
Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)

Whereas this one has lots of blue under the chin and a bit of rufous on top of the head.

Baya Weaver  - male
Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus) – male

Common Iora
Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)

White-rumped Munia
White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)

Pottuvil Bird List

White-browed Bulbul (Pycnonotus luteolus)
Indian Robin (Copsychus fulicatus)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)
Alexandrine Parakeet (Psittacula eupatria )
Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus)
Jerdon’s Bushlark (Mirafra affinis)
Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
Purple-rumped Sunbird (Leptocoma zeylonica )
White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
Baya Weaver (Ploceus philippinus)
Oriental Magpie-robin
Red-vented Bulbul
Sri Lanka Jungle-fowl
Common Iora (Aegithina tiphia)
Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)

Ampara mammals

Sri Lankan Elephant (Elephas maximus maximus)
Long-tailed Macaque
Purple-faced Langur (Semnopithecus vetulus)

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July 20, 2021

Arugam Bay Birding 210720

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 2:17 pm

Backyard Birding at Arugam Bay

Just some photos from my front yard of my guest house in Arugam Bay, Sri Lanka. There is a fruiting tree in the front yard and it attracts the birds as well as the monkeys and a few squirrels.

Pale-billed Flowerpecker
Pale-billed Flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos ceylonense)

“The Pale-billed Flowerpecker or Tickell’s flowerpecker (Dicaeum erythrorhynchos) is a tiny bird that feeds on nectar and berries, found in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and western Myanmar. The bird is common especially in urban gardens with berry bearing trees. They have a rapid chipping call and the pinkish curved beak separates it from other species in the region …. The Sri Lankan race ceylonense (Babault, 1920) – is greyer and smaller than the nominate race of peninsular India.” (wiki)

Purple-faced Langur
Purple-faced Langur (Semnopithecus vetulus)

“The Purple-faced Langur (Semnopithecus vetulus), also known as the purple-faced leaf monkey, is a species of Old World monkey that is endemic to Sri Lanka. The animal is a long-tailed arboreal species, identified by a mostly brown appearance, dark face (with paler lower face) and a very shy nature.” (wiki)

Purple-faced Langur
Purple-faced Langur (Semnopithecus vetulus)

This mob were across the road, eating the fruit of this palm tree.

Purple-faced Langur
Purple-faced Langur (Semnopithecus vetulus)

Asian Koel  - female
Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) – female

The Asian Koels are there every day, screaming their heads off and eating the fruit.

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July 13, 2021

Pottuvil Birding 210713

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:03 am

Road to Panama 2

This morning I got up early, had my coffee and headed up the road towards Panama, in Eastern Sri Lanka. I got a lot of very nice photos and I think I got a tick, the Sri Lanka Swallow.

Sri Lanka Swallow
Sri Lanka Swallow (Cecropis hyperythra)

Not to be confused with the Red-rumped Swallow which has a whitish breast. And yes it is a tick. They are getting very scarce nowadays.

Little Ringed Plover  - breeding adult
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) – breeding adult

“Delicately built small plover with bright yellow eyerings. Note dull pinkish legs and large white forehead patch (in adults). Plumage much like bulkier Ringed Plover, but white eyebrow continues unbroken across forehead. In flight shows narrow, indistinct whitish wing stripe. Breeds on stony substrates around lakes, gravel pits, and along rivers; migrants occur in wide variety of fresh and brackish wetland habitats, but rarely out on open tidal areas. Clipped “peu” call quite distinct from call of similar Common Ringed Plover.” (ebird).

Plain Prinia
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)

Proudly showing me his breakfast.

Purple Sunbird  - eclipse male
Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus) – eclipse male

Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark
Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix griseus)

“The ashy-crowned sparrow-lark (Eremopterix griseus) is a small sparrow-sized member of the lark family. It is found in the plains in open land with bare ground, grass and scrub across South Asia. The males are well marked with a contrasting black-and-white face pattern, while females are sandy brown, looking similar to a female sparrow. Males are easily detected during the breeding season by the long descending whistle that accompanies their undulating and dive-bombing flight displays.” (wiki)

Grey-headed Swamphen
Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus)

You really can see the grey head on this Porphyrio.

Lesser Whistling-duck
Lesser Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna javanica)

Black-headed Ibis
Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)

Painted Stork
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)

Ampara birds list

Sri Lanka Swallow (Cecropis hyperythra)
Brown-headed Barbet (Psilopogon zeylanicus)
Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)
Grey-headed Swamphen (Porphyrio poliocephalus)
Jerdon’s Bushlark (Mirafra affinis)
Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
Ashy-crowned Sparrow-lark (Eremopterix griseus)
Paddyfield Pipit (Anthus rufulus)
Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)
White-throated Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis)
Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger)
Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Asian Openbill (Anastomus oscitans)
Lesser Whistling-duck (Dendrocygna javanica)
Brahminy Kite (Haliastur indus)
White-bellied Sea-Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster)
Purple Sunbird (Cinnyris asiaticus)
Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
Zitting Cisticola (Cisticola juncidis)
Spot-billed Pelican (Pelecanus philippensis)
Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
Sri Lanka Green-Pigeon (Treron pompadora)
Oriental darter (Anhinga melanogaster)
Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
Indian Robin (Copsychus fulicatus)
Little Ringed Plover (Charadrius dubius) – breeding adult
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)

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July 5, 2021

Road to Panama

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 10:26 am

Panama Road, Arugam Bay, 5th July

This morning I went out along the road to take some photos of the birds on the wires. I was mainly after the Indian Roller that I had been seeing but I got a tick with a Jerdon’s Bushlark. Check out the back spike in the foot, it’s massive.

Jerdon's Bush Lark
Jerdon’s Bush Lark (Mirafra affinis)

Indian Roller
Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)

Pied Kingfisher
Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)

Painted Stork
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)

Red-rumped Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)

Arugam Bay Bird List

Jerdon’s Bush Lark (Mirafra affinis)
Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis)
Little Cormorant (Microcarbo niger)
Indian Roller (Coracias benghalensis)
Pied Kingfisher (Ceryle rudis)
Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri)
Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala)
Purple Heron (Ardea purpurea)
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
Common Myna (Acridotheres tristis)
White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)
Red-rumped Swallow (Hirundo daurica)
Streaked Weaver or Baya ???

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June 28, 2021

Pottuvil Lagoon June 28

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 3:33 pm

Arugam Bay Birding #1

The surf was flat today, so I thought I might wander around the lagoon just near my hotel. There was nothing new but I got some nice photos anyway. Some old favourites.

Plain Prinia
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)

Black-winged Stilt
Black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)

Indian Cormorant  - immature
Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis) – immature

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

Asian Koel   - male
Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus) – male

Grey Heron
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

House Crow  with fush
House Crow (Corvus splendens)

Pottuvil bird list

black-winged Stilt (Himantopus himantopus)
White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
Indian Cormorant (Phalacrocorax fuscicollis)
Eurasian Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)
White-throated Kingfisher
Spotted Dove
House Crow (Corvus splendens)
Indian Pond-heron (Ardeola grayii)
Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)
Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus)
Little Egret
Great Egret
Common Myna
Asian Koel (Eudynamys scolopaceus)
Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus)
Red-vented Bulbul
Pied Kingfisher

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June 24, 2021

Phone photos again

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 11:17 am

Southern Sri Lanka in June

Well here I am right at the bottom of Sri Lanka. I have been in lockdown almost a month. Hopefully I shall soon be free to escape to the east. I have been surfing heaps and losing lots of weight, so it has not been totally a waste.

Weligama Beach
Weligama Beach

I was at Weligama for more than a month. I wish I had left a lot sooner, but it is what it is, hey? I have done lots of surfing and now can stand up and paddle without feeling totally knackered. My fitness level has improved heaps.

Getting a coconut
Getting a coconut

This nice villager climbed up the coconut tree to get some King Coconuts for us. I drank one then and there. Delicious.

Pumpkin soup
Pumpkin Soup

I have been cooking lots. I usually have vegetable stews. I am on a low-carb diet and no sugar. I am quite used to it now. Pumpkin soup is still my favourite..

Spiny-tailed Gecko
Spiny-tailed Gecko

I had lots of geckos in my room. Catching all the mosquitoes. This maybe a Sri Lankan House Gecko (aka: “Spotted House Gecko”), Scientific name: Hemidactylus parvimaculatus.

Hiriketiya Beach
Hiriketiya Beach

I have been at Hiriketiya Beach for about four days now. The surf is much better here. We had two days free from lockdown and now we are back into it. We cannot go out.

No undies!
No undies!

White-browed Fantail
White-browed Fantail (Rhipidura aureola)

In the backyard of my hotel just as I was making lunch. He was about a meter away from me on the clothes line.

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May 27, 2021

Green Bee-eater Splits

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 4:48 am

Green Bee-eater Splits , May 2021.

This is the latest splits from some fancy taxonomy doods. “Accept split of Ethiopian Bee-eater from Blue-breasted Bee-eater.

Accept splits of African Green Bee-eater Merops viridissimus and Arabian Green Bee-eater Merops cyanophrys from Asian Green Bee-eater Merops orientalis.”

So, I had a look at my Green Bee-eater photos again to see what I had.

Green Bee-eater
African Green Bee-eater(Merops virdissimus)

This one was taken at Gebel Shisha, Aswan, in Egypt. It is possible it is a Merops orientalis cleopatra, but I am not sure. Also possible, ssp. viridissimus, new species – African Green Bee-eater. December 11th, 2017. “Yes, African Green Bee-eater (Merops viridissimus), I think ssp. M. v. cleopatra. Lack blue on cheek and throat rules out Arabian Green Bee-eater (Merops cyanophrys), location rules out Asian Green Bee-eater (Merops orientalis).” (from Nikolas Haass).

Green Bee-eater
Arabian Green Bee-eater (Merops cyanophrys)

Seen at Khatt, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), on the way to Wadi Masafi. November 20th, 2017. “It is usually found in dry, open country with scattered trees and in wadis, gardens and farmland…. (split) on the basis of its shorter central tail feathers, its blue forehead, supercilium and throat and its broader black breast band. ” (http://www.arthurgrosset.com/mebirds/littlegreenbee-eater.html)

Arabian Green Bee-eater
Arabian Green Bee-eater (Merops cyanophrys)

Seen at Al Ain, UAE on November 13th, 2017. Another Arabian Green Bee-eater, I reckon. I could be wrong of course, as I am so often, doh! Thanks to Gustav and Nikolas for help with ID. 🙂

As for the Asian Green Bee-eater(Merops orientalis), the range goes from South-East Asia, Indian subcontinent into coastal Iran. I have seen them in Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Sri Lanka – Bundala National Park, Vietnam – Mui Ne, and Cambodia – Stung Treng.

April 17, 2021

Rumassala Sanctuary Sri Lanka

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 1:53 pm

Jungle Beach , Galle

Rumassala Sanctuary, Jungle Beach, Galle – Southern Province, Sri Lanka. 16th April 2021.

Spotted Dove (Western)
Spotted Dove (Western) (Streptopelia chinensis suratensis)

This is subspecies suratensis according to Ebird. Birdlife has it a separate species. Western Spotted Dove (Spilopelia suratensis).
“The population in India suratensis (type locality Surat) and Sri Lanka have fine rufous or buff spots on the back. There is a size reduction trend with specimens from southern India being smaller. The lesser and median wing-coverts are also spotted at the tip in buff” (wiki).

Sri Lanka Green-Pigeon - male
Sri Lanka Green-Pigeon (Treron pompadora) – male

He is looking very yellow. ???

Green Imperial-Pigeon
Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea)

Black-hooded Oriole
Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus)

My mate Pete reckons : “These buggers predate other species’s nests. And look very good while they’re doing it.”

Crimson-fronted Barbet
Crimson-fronted Barbet (Psilopogon rubricapillus)

Crimson-fronted Barbet
Crimson-fronted Barbet (Psilopogon rubricapillus)

Brown-headed Barbet
Brown-headed Barbet (Psilopogon zeylanicus)

Sri Lanka Bird List

Spotted Dove (Western) (Streptopelia chinensis suratensis)
Brown-headed Barbet (Psilopogon zeylanicus)
Crimson-fronted Barbet (Psilopogon rubricapillus)
Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea)
Sri Lanka Green-Pigeon (Treron pompadora)
Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)
Yellow-billed Babbler (Argya affinis)
Common Tailorbird ( Orthotomus sutorius)
House Crow
Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus)

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April 12, 2021

Birding in Hikkaduwa 210411

Filed under: Birds — admin @ 9:19 am

Hikkaduwa Birding – Sri Lanka

Late yesterday afternoon, I went out the back of Hikkaduwa to try and find some birds. All in all it was pretty successful, with a few good birds and some great photos.

Loten’s Sunbird  - male
Loten’s Sunbird (Cinnyris lotenius) – male

Or is it Nectarinia lotenia ?

Loten’s Sunbird - female
Loten’s Sunbird (Cinnyris lotenius) – female

Red-backed Flameback  - female
Red-backed Flameback (Dinopium psarodes) – female

I think they have been split and the old name was Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense psarodes).

Red-backed Flameback - female
Red-backed Flameback (Dinopium psarodes)

Get that into ya!

Red-backed Flameback - female
Red-backed Flameback (Dinopium psarodes)

That’s all. No more.

Red-backed Flameback
Red-backed Flameback (Dinopium psarodes)

My turn!

Indian Paradise-Flycatcher
Indian Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphon paradisi)

Another crappy photo. They are so damned difficult to photograph. They never sit still and as soon as they see you, they are off.

White-rumped Munia
White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)

Ashy Woodswallow
Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus)

I am not really sure about this. My internet is down so I cannot check, doh! Edit: yes, this is correct. It seems it is the only one(Woodswallow) in the Southern District.

Indian Pond-heron
Indian Pond-heron (Ardeola grayii)

Sri Lanka Bird List

Loten’s Sunbird (Cinnyris lotenius)
Indian Paradise-Flycatcher (Terpsiphone paradisi)
Red-backed Flameback (Dinopium psarodes) or Black-rumped Flameback (Dinopium benghalense psarodes)
White-rumped Munia (Lonchura striata)
Scaly-breasted Munia (Lonchura punctulata)
Ashy Woodswallow (Artamus fuscus)
White-throated Kingfisher
Spotted Dove (Streptopelia chinensis)
Common Tailorbird (Orthotomus sutorius)
Indian Pond-heron
Green Imperial-Pigeon (Ducula aenea)
Cattle Egret
Common Myna
Indian Peafowl (Pavo cristatus)
Black-hooded Oriole (Oriolus xanthornus)
White-bellied Drongo (Dicrurus caerulescens)
Yellow-billed Babbler (Argya affinis)
Red-vented Bulbul (Pycnonotus cafer)
Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis)
Oriental Magpie-robin (Copsychus saularis)
Brown-headed Barbet (Megalaima zeylanica)
White-breasted Waterhen (Amaurornis phoenicurus)
Red-wattled Lapwing (Vanellus indicus) – ssp lankae
Plain Prinia (Prinia inornata)

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