Special Bird Watching Tour - 13 Days / 12 Nights
- You will be met on Arrival at Bandaranaike International Airport by a representative from Traveller Global and transfer to Colombo.
- Afternoon at leisure or an optional city tour of Colombo.
- Over Night in Colombo.
- After breakfast leave for Kithulgala via Avissawella.The trip takes the visitor through interesting wet zone Low- country with luscious tropical vegetation, rubber plantation, rice fields, busy bazaars to the foot of the central mountain massif. Kithulgala is a village in the deep valley in the area of highest rainfall in Srilanka (Over 500 mm per annum).Excellant bird watching can be done in the rain forest which lies in a side valley exactly across from the Rest House. A dug-out passenger ferry boat takes bird watchers to the other side. A pleasant walk through village forest gardens ( listen and look out for green- billed Coucal, one of Srilanka’s rarest endemic species) leads up into the valley, and following a logging track there can be observed a great variety of Srilankan endemic species such as the Ceylon Blue Magpie, The red-faced Malkoha, the Ceylon Spurfowl, Rufous Babbler, Ashy-headed Babbler,Ceylon grackle,white headed Starling, etc and many other birds as well.
- If time and light permit, bird watching around the Rest House and/or river’s edge which can be quite rewarding with at least one endemic species, namely Legge’s Flowerpecker, also the Ceylon Grackle(endemic).
- Dinner & overnight in Kithulgala, known as the location of the famous film ‘Bridge on the River Kwai was filmed.
- After early tea and before Breakfast (6 AM) cross the river by canoe and walk to bird watching area. Srilanka has 29 endemic species of birds.
- Return to Hotel for late Breakfast. Thereafter proceed to Kandy via Ginigathena (about 2000 feet above sea level),Nawalapitya and Gampola in the Mahaweli Valley. The drive takes you first through rubber plantations and as the road climbs towards Ginigathena, the first tea estate appear.
- Light and time permitting , bird watching in the vicinity of the Hotel which lies on the banks of the Mahaweli river, Srilanka’s longest and largest.
- Dinner & overnight in Kandy.
- After early breakfast drive to Udawattekelle forest. This is a small hill top forest situated over the heart of the ancient town of Kandy. It rises just beyond the residence of the Presidential Palace. It is by nature a rain forest , but has mostly been planted up by the Forest department. It is an oasis for a great number of Srikankan resident species and migrants in winter. It contains a few endemics. The rare and most beautiful Three- toed King fisher has been seen here.
- Alternately or additionally the area around the Kandy water reservoir on the opposite hill side could be visited for bird watching. Later in the morning visit the Botanical Gardens in Peradeniya. Many Srilankan birds can be seen here, such as the Ceylon Grackle ,Layard’s Parakeet,Yellow-fronted Barbet, Ceylon Lorikeet (all endemics), Rose – ringed Parakeets, Small Flowerpecker, Paradise and other Flycatchers, Loten’s Purple-rumped Sunbird,Flowerpecker ,etc.
- Afternoon proceed to Nuwara Eliya via Gampola and Ramboda Pass. The drive takes you through Srilanka’s most extensive tea country rising on top the pass to an elevation of over 6000 feet. From there it is only a short descent to Srilanka’s hill resort. The tea country today presents itself almost bare of trees. This was not so 20 years ago when all tea fields carried a light stand of shade trees, mostly Grevilleas and Albizzias, which gave shelter to many interesting species of birds.A misguided policy decision by the Ceylon Tea Research Institute induced planters to remove all the shade trees. As the effects of this measure have proved to be unfavourable in the long run, Tea estates are now beginning to replant shade trees.
- Diiner & overnight in NuwaraEliya.
- After early breakfast visit Victoria Park which affords interesting bird watching , especially along the overgrown and polluted little stream which runs through the park. The pied Ground Thrush, Grey-headed Flycatcher, Scimitar Babbler, Indian Blue Chat etc can be seen here. Later in the morning visit Galway’s land Sanctuary, a piece of hill forest bequeathed to the government by a former British resident, as a sanctuary for animals and birds. Although it has not been well protected , It affords interesting bird watching, and amongst the rare species that can be seen here is the Ceylon Warbler, an endemic. Also can be seen the little and orange Minivet, The velvet- fronted Blue Nuthach, Yelloe-eared Bulbul (endemic) and brown capped Babbler(endemic) , Legge’s Baza, a rare raptor of the hills.
- Afternoon / evening visit Hakgala Botanical Gardens, established in British times for the purpose of testing plants from moderate climes. Interesting fernery, beautiful view in fine weather over Uva basin, and at times good bird watching for hill species, including the spectacular Ceylon Blue Magpie, also the Ceylon Wood Pigion, both endemics. In the nearby stream it is possible to hear and observe at dusk the Ceylon Arrenga, another endemic.
- Dinner & overnight in NuwaraEliya.
- Full day Excursion to Horton Plains, superb area of grassy plains at an elevation of around 7000 ft. , fringed with montane and mist forest, form which emerge Kirigalpotha (7837 ft) and Thotupola ( 7733 ft) peaks. Srilanka’s second and third highest mountain tops. Through the center of the plains runs a clean, clear stream, into which trout have been introduces many decades ago. Proceed to Small and Big World’s Ends, from which a fabulous view can be had extending over the foot hills to the tank dotted low- country; on clear days one can see as far as the Sea in the south.
- Picnic Lunch in the Plains.
- Typical hill species of birds can be seen ,eg; Ceylon White-eye (endemic), Blue Nuthatch, Yellow- eared Bulbul (endemic), Dusky –Blue Flycatcher (endemic), Grey-headed Flycatcher , etc. The area is also good for raptors, migrant Harriers, Desert Buzzard and Peregrine in winter, Mountain Hawk-eagle, Black-winged Kite, and Black Eagle.
- In the afternoon continue bird watching or climb Thotupola peak at the north-eastern end of the plains.(30- 45 minutes).
- Dinner & overnight in NuwaraEliya.
- After breakfast drive to Tissamaharama via Boralanda , Haputale, Wellawaya. The Uva Plateau below Hakgala is today one of the most intensively cultivated agricultural areas in Srilanka, the steep hills being covered with paddy fields and vegetable plots.
- Until about 40 years ago the rolling hills were mostly uninhabited and covered with patna (open grassland). This grass eco system was then the stronghold of the beautiful painted Partridge , which has today totally disappeared from this part of the country; remnant populations are now only found in the area of the Gal oya National Park. Before reaching Haputale the Tangamale Sanctuary may be visited for another hour or two for bird watching. You pass by the stately home called ‘Adisham’ built by a British Knight as his residence and now Benedictine Monastery. At Tangamale you could perhaps see some of the mountain species so far missed , including the rare spotted-winged Thrush. From Haputale the road winds again through extensive Tea Country, passing the Diyaluma Waterfalls, one of the most picturesque in Srilanka, and reaches the bottom of the hills at Wellawaya, where very extensive areas of land are now being opened up for sugar cane.
- Afternoon bird watching at Tissa Tank and particularly at Debarawewa which is a very good place for aquatic birds and many winter migrants.
- Dinner & overnight in Tissamaharama.
- Early morning visit Yala National Park. The national parks of Srilanka are not necessarily the best bird watching areas, although birds can be seen anywhere and everywhere. Birds to be looked out for in Yala are the Black-necked Stork, one of Srilanka’s rarest, the Southern Sirkeer, and Srilanka’s National bird the Ceylon Jungle fowl (endemic).
- If you do not wish to visit Yala, can make an excursion to the Bundala Bird Sanctuary, an extensive area of lagoons and salterns along the coast. The edges of these water surfaces abound with a great variety of waders during the winter time. Often there are thousands of Flamingoes and large assemblies of spotted –billed Pelican, Open-bill Stork, Painted Stork, White Ibis, Spoonbills and Ducks, also Shag, Cormorant, Stone Plover, and various species of Herons, even the rare Avocet.
- Afternoon leave for Ratnapura.
- Dinner & overnight in Ratnapura.
- Early morning leave for Sinharaja rain Forest with a picnic breakfast and lunch. Spend the whole day inside Sinharaja. In 1989 it was recognized by UNESCO as an international Biosphere Reserve and became a world heritage site.Sinharaja’s importance lies not just in its pristine nature , but also in the high degree of endemism of its species. For example ,95% of the endemic birds of Srilanka , and more than half of its mammals and butterflies , have been recorded here. Bird life , as ever is the most rewarding to observe. Rare endemics include red-faced malkoha, Srilanka blue magpie, the white-headed starling and even the green-billed coucal, with plenty of others including Orange Minivets, orioles and babblers.An interesting and colourful spectacle is the presence of mixed flocks, sometimes comprising up to 80 species.
- Dinner & overnight in Ratnapura.
- After breakfast leave to the coastal resort of Bentota /Beruwela.
- Dinner & overnight in Bentota / Beruwela
- After early breakfast do a river cruise in Balapitiya, a bridge fords the Madhu river. The estuary is a major wetlands, famous for its 64 islands. You will also see some wildlife as the estuary is home to over 300 varieties of plants, including 95 families of mangroves, marshes and scrub supporting 17 species of birds., and a wide variety of amphibians and reptiles. Afternoon at leisure.
- Dinner & overnight in Bentota / Beruwela.
- At leisure. Dinner & overnight in Bentota / Beruwela.
- Departure to Airport.