Sheau Torng Lim's Trip Report

Trip Report Title: 
Sheau Torng Lim and Carine Nah's Birding tour in Sri Lanka 2015
Tour Start: 
Friday, December 5, 2014
Tour End: 
Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trip Report Year:

Sheau Torng Lim and Carine Nah
Sheau Torng Lim and Carine Nah
visited Sri Lanka in 2014 with Walk With Jith. His photos were uploaded to Facebook with comments. This report is created from that information.

You can see all his photos with species name, location, EXIF info, etc here:

Kitugala 6 Dec 2014

Updated about 5 months ago · Taken in Kitulgala

Took off at 00:30 reached Colombo at 01:40 roughly a 4 hours flight. Met the owner Jith and the guide Hetti at the airport. Headed straight to Kitugala for another 3 hours journey. Tried to catch a short nap before day break to no avail. Birds were already calling incessantly, but still too dark to get any meaningful shots. The tree outside our room was busy with activity. First bird spotted was the ubiquitous red-vented bulbul followed by a female Jerdon leafbird, the friendliest one I ever come across. Other species seen includes pale-billed flowerpecker, purple-rumped sunbird, oriental white-eye, yellow-fronted barbet, black bulbul, lesser yellownape, white-bellied drongo.
We headed to the Kitugala village where the Indian Pitta and Spot-winged thrush can be found. We quickly located the thrush jumping on the ground within the tea trees. Light was weak, but luckily It came up to a branch and perched for sometime. Another endemic done with a good tick.
After lunch we had a good two hours nap, I ko immediately after lying down.
Afternoon we headed back for the pitta. Enroute, we had good views of Sri Lanka hanging parrot, Sri Lanka Layard's parakeet, Black-hooded oriole. Another two endemics recorded.
It started to rain and gotten quite dark before we decided to leave. We were lucky, as a Crested serpent eagle flew into view and perched quite close. A nice conclusion for the day.

Kitugala 6 Dec 2014 photos

Kitugala 7 Dec 2014

Updated about 5 months ago · Taken in Kitulgala

We started at six-thirty on day 2. Took some easy shots of the Yellow-billed babbler before heading off to look for the Pitta. While looking for the pitta, Hetti heard the Sri Lanka Chestnut backed owlet and located It shortly. We had good views of It. We finally sighted the Indian Pitta just when were about to leave the vicinity. The rest of the morning was spent around the resort grounds getting some common birds. Afternoon, we went across the river, getting good shots of Yellow-fronted barbet, Yellow-browed bulbul, Grey hornbill, Common emerald pigeon, Lesser crimson flameback and others.

Kitugala 7 Dec 2014.jpg

Kitugala to Udawatta Kele, 8 Dec 2014

Updated about 5 months ago · Taken in Kitulgala

Day 3 was travel day, did some birding within the resort compound. Had better shots of Jerdon's leafbird, Pale-billed flowerpecker and another feeding Yellow-fronted barbet.
Reach Kandy noon time and headed to Udawatta Kele. Got a poor record of Asian paradise flycatcher. Forest was dense, we tried hard to lure woodpecker but to no avail. It simply refused to come low. Luckily, there was at least a single success for Brown fish owl.

Kitugala to Udawatta Kele, 8 Dec 2014.jpg

Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, 9 Dec 2014

Updated about 5 months ago · Taken at Nature Walk Resort, Kandy, Sri Lanka

Breakfast was on fourth storey of Nature Walk Resort. Shots of Yellow-billed babbler, Red-vented Bulbul, Brown Shrike, White-rumped Munia and Great Tit were taken from the nearby trees. Took a walk in the area after breakfast and recorded two more endemics. A Black-capped Bulbul and Crimson-fronted Barbet. A male Scarlet Minivet, Yellow-fronted Barbet and Brown-headed Barbet were also recorded.
Three hours drive to Nuwara Eliya, reached Leisure Village Hotel at noon time. We stayed at second storey overlooking the garden. Two House Sparrow's nest were in the balcony and parents were busy bringing food back. A wire connected to the roof was one of the favorite perch for many birds such as, Pied Bush Chat, Loten's Sunbird, Scaly-breasted Munia and Great Tit. In the garden, there were Blyth's Reed Warbler and Common Tailorbird.
We headed for Victoria Park around two pm. First looking for the Indian Pitta to no avail. We then headed to another site for the flycatchers. Kashmir Flycatchers were shy but after much patience, was awarded with reasonable results. Brown-breasted Flycatcher was much more obliging. Forest wagtail was also recorded at this site.

Kandy to Nuwara Eliya, 9 Dec 2014.jpg

Horton Plains, 10 Dec 2014

Updated about 5 months ago · Taken at Horton Plains National Park

A foggy morning at Horton Plains with intermittent but light showers. Needless to say condition for photography was tough. I had to work real hard to get a decent photo of another endemic, the Sri Lanka White-eye but at the same time was lucky to get the Sri Lanka Bush Warbler. Unfortunately, the Yellow-eared Bulbul was not in the mood to pose and the irony was that the best pose I saw for the day was when I went into the vegetation to take a leak. All I can do is watch and admire. Hill Swallow, Loten's Sunbird and Pied Bushchat were taken at carpark area. On the way down got a Himalayan Buzzard. We also went back to search for Sri Lanka Wood Pigeon but to no avail, so I have to live with a poor record shot taken earlier in the misty morning.
Afternoon search for the Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush and Sri Lanka Dull Blue Flycatcher was a no show. It started pouring and we decide to head back to hotel. More common birds in the hotel. House Sparrow, Blyth's Reed Warbler, Common Tailorbird,
Pied Bushchat and Oriental Magpie Robin were all soaking wet. Four endemics added.

Horton Plains, 10 Dec 2014.jpg

Victoria Park, Hakgala Botanical Garden to Tissamaharama, 11 Dec 2014

Updated about 5 months ago · Taken at Hakgala Botanical Garden

Today we travel to Tissamaharama. We headed again to Victoria park, last chance for some endemic. No Pied Thrush, Sri Lanka Dull Blue Flycatcher or Indian Pitta, but at last a good record of Yellow-eared bulbul. After breakfast Hetti suggested we have one more try at Hakgala botanical garden. Once there, we went straight to the rubbish heap and It turns out to be one of the most memorable spots. All thanks to Hetti for the unscheduled stop. A pair of Grey-headed Canary Flycatchers were the most friendly Flycatchers I ever encountered. Even more so compared with the Asian Brown Flycatcher. Finally, I got the two endemics, Sri Lanka Scimitar Babbler and Sri Lanka Dull Blue Flycatcher. There was also Kashmir Flycatcher, Great Tit, Bar-winged Flycatcher Shrike, Yellow-eared Bulbul and Sri Lanka White-eye. On the way out, an Oriental Honey Buzzard was shot from far. Eventually, I was forced to leave, as time was getting tight.
After a few more hours, we stopped for lunch at a scenic location in Ella, the Great Ella Motel. Got a female Loten's sunbird on flower before a sumptuous lunch of curry fish and chicken. The rest of the day were spent travelin

Victoria Park, Hakgala Botanical Garden to Tissamaharama, 11 Dec 2014.jpg

Yala, 12 Dec 2014

Updated about 4 months ago · Taken at Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Out at 5:30 am, first of two great days at Yala national park. It started out auspiciously before reaching the gate. A magnificent looking Crested Hawk Eagle posed in the soft morning light, giving me a full frame record. Many birds and mammals followed. Mammals included Ruddy Mongoose, Golden Jackal, Buffalos, Spotted and Sambar Deer, Black-naped Hare, Elephant and Leopard. Three endemic birds added, Sri Lanka Swallow, Sri Lanka Woodshrike and Sri Lanka Junglefowl. An excellent day for Safari.

Yala, 12 Dec 2014.jpg

Yala, 13 Dec 2014

Updated about 4 months ago · Taken at Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Another great day at Yala started again with the Crested Hawk Eagle. I spent a large part of the morning trying to get some nice flight shots of the Green Bee-eater. At the same site, we had another displaying Indian Peacock. Later part of the morning was spent waiting for the Leopard to wake up. The great thing was that we had the whole day and our patience finally paid off after a long wait when many had already left. Other birds saw included some lifers, such as, Richard's and Blyth's Pippit, White-browed Bulbul, Sri Lanka Woodshrike, Indian Robin, Great Thick-knee, Sri Lanka Junglefowl, Grey-bellied Cuckoo, Brahminy Starling. Our last bird before getting out of Yala was again another great looking Crested Hawk Eagle. A great way to end this excursion.

Ps: A record number of photos on the day which coincides with my birthday. I swear I didn't do it on purpose, it just happened.

Yala, 13 Dec 2014.jpg

Bundala & Tissamaharama, 14 Dec 2014

Contributors: Sheau Torng Lim (owner), You, Supurna Hettiarachchi and Carine Nah

Updated about 4 months ago · Taken at Bundala National Park

This morning session was spent at another birding wonderland, Bundala National Park. Many common but still spectacular species recorded. New species include Black-headed Ibis, Tri-color Munia, Jacobin Cuckoo, Little Stint, Clamorous Reed Warbler, Watercock and Red-necked Phalarope.
Lunch was back at Hibiscus Garden hotel. Many flowerpeckers in the garden. Mainly Pale-billed flowerpeckers also a new bird Thick-billed flowerpecker.
Late afternoon was spent in Tissamaharama wetlands. Nothing new here, just better shots of the Pheasant-tailed Jacana compared to the ones taken in Thailand.

Bundala & Tissamaharama, 14 Dec 2014.jpg

Tissamaharama to Sinharaja, 15 Dec 2014

Updated about 4 months ago · Taken at Hibiscus Garden Hotel

Another travel day, spent the morning getting some proper shots of the Imperial Green Pigeon, which were plenty in the hotel compound. Also managed improvement shots of the Thick-billed flowerpeckers. Four hours drive to Rock View Motel. First excursion to Sinharaja was greeted by a Brown-breasted Flycatcher. Recorded another endemic, the Sri Lanka Crested Drongo. Saw both Orange-billed Babbler and Green-billed Coucal but not able to shoot them. However, recorded the Malabar Trogon, my target bird.

Tissamaharama to Sinharaja, 15 Dec 2014.jpg

Sinharaja, 16 Dec 2014

Updated about 4 months ago · Taken at Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Started the day having tea at 6 am in the diner overlooking the tea plantation and the picturesque valley. Suddenly an Asian paradise Flycatcher flew into view. I have been attempting to shoot a long tail white morph in the past few days but was not able to nail a single shot. It was to be my lucky day, as I have the even rarer brown turning into white bird. What a great way to start the day. We were up to the Sinharaja trail shortly, making an attempt at the Sri Lanka Spurfowl. This is not an easy bird to shoot. All I had was a.poor record, given time I should do better, but It is still a legitimate record. Later, we encounter a bird wave of mix flock. More endemics recorded, including Orange-billed Babbler, Red-faced Malkoha, Ashy-headed Thrush, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling. Later part of the morning and early afternoon recorded tough shots of Serendib Scops Owl and Sri Lanka Frogmouth with many bite marks from leeches to prove.

Sinharaja, 16 Dec 2014.jpg

Sinharaja, 17 Dec 2014

Updated about 4 months ago · Taken at Sinharaja Forest Reserve

Second day at Singharaja proved to be tough. We went in search of two more endemics, the Sri Lankan Thrush and Legg's flowerpecker. We got a whiff of the Scaly Thrush but I couldn't see it, taking photo is out of the question. The Legg's flowerpecker is usually an easy bird but proved to be quite hard for the day. Eventually, I got a record shot on a far far away tree. Sri Lanka Blue Magpie was very friendly at a hill station, so I had quite a few good shots. I was just thinking that I only had a couple of poor shots of the Orange-billed Babbler, a rather common bird and on the way back to the hotel we encountered a bird wave of Orange-billed Babbler. I was happy that I not only have a good static shot but a feeding one.

Sinharaja, 17 Dec 2014.jpg

Sinharaja to Weligama, 18 Dec 2014

Updated about 4 months ago · Taken at Rock View Motel

Travel day to Weligama for whale watching. No real birding today, only some shots taken from the diner of the motel. The Asian Paradise Flycatcher visited again to say his farewell. 69 lifers and 30 endemics recorded, dipped out on four endemics, well, that is for the future... A wonderful bird trip that won't be quickly forgotten.

Sinharaja to Weligama, 18 Dec 2014.jpg

Mirissa, 19 Dec 2014

Updated about 4 months ago · Taken in Mirissa, Sri Lanka

A 6 hours trip to and fro looking for the Blue Whale, fighting sea sickness all the way. After going through the shots, 90% were culled. Left with some barely make it shots. Some shots of the dolphins, no idea spinner or bottled nose. Only got a brief glimpse of the back of the blue whale, not even the fluke or tail. I suppose, I won't be in a hurry to do this any time soon.

Mirissa, 19 Dec 2014.jpg

Author/s of the report: 
Sheau Torng Lim


Group size: 
Members of the group (clients): 
Sheau Torng Lim
Carine Nah
Tour Guide: 
Supurna Hettiarachchi