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    • Galana
      Could it get better? You met 'stripes' within 20 minutes which is enviable indeed. Kanha is one of my favourites as I have had some outstanding encounters without crowds.
    • kittykat23uk
      Day 9 Kitulgala to Nuwara Eliya Around the lodge first thing, we did a bit of birding spotting Alexandrine and Layard’s Parakeets and a Crested Serpent Eagle. We headed off towards Nuwara Eliya.     P2113854_01 Crested Serpent Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113868_01 Crested Serpent Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113873_01 Crested Serpent Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113980_01  Crested Serpent Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113912 Crested Serpent Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113924 Alexandrine Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114032 Layard's Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114086 Layard's Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114090 Magpie-robin by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114099 Alexandrine Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   We stopped first at a viewpoint where we were able to photograph the impressive waterfalls. This gave me a chance to try out the ND filter function of my camera to try and blur the water. I think it was quite successful. A Crested Honey Buzzard soared overhead. We visited a tea plantation and had some tasty cake as well as a nice cup of tea.    IMG_20240211_101452 Nuwara elyia by Jo Dale, on Flickr   IMG_20240211_101507 Nuwara elyia by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114136 Crested Honey Buzzard by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114207 Waterfall by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114209 Waterfall by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114215 Waterfall by Jo Dale, on Flickr   IMG_20240211_123051 Tea Purchases by Jo Dale, on Flickr   We checked in at Hotel Blackpool in time for lunch and then had a bit of a rest for the early part of the afternoon. A new bird around the pool was a Grey Tit.    IMG_20240211_122048 Hotel Blackpool by Jo Dale, on Flickr   IMG_20240211_122103 Hotel Blackpool by Jo Dale, on Flickr   IMG_20240211_122936 chill time at the hotel by Jo Dale, on Flickr   IMG_20240211_143314 View from Hotel Blackpool pool by Jo Dale, on Flickr   Chin took us to a site for Sri Lankan Blue Whistling Thrush, which unfortunately failed to appear that time, but we were treated to fantastic views of a Black Eagle. Also present in and round the stream were Grey Wagtails, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Sri Lankan White-eye and Ashy Prinia.   P2114272 Black Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114473 Black Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114574_01_01 Black Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114647_01 Black Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114666 Black Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114693_01 Black Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114695_01  Black Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114697_01 Black Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr       P2114758 Grey Wagtail by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114765 Grey Wagtail by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114872 Dusky-blue Flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114886 Sri Lankan White-eye by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114887 Sri Lankan White-eye by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114898 Sri Lankan White-eye by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114908 Ashy Prinia by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2114923 Ashy Prinia by Jo Dale, on Flickr   We then carried on to Victoria Park where we came across Common Sandpiper, Forest Wagtail, the much sought-after Pied Ground Thrush and Kashmir Flycatcher.    P2114944 Common Sandpiper by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115000 Common Mynah by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115013 Forest Wagtail by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115036 Indian Pond Heron by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115042 rat sp by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115047 rat sp by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115049 Palm Squirrel by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115070 White-breasted Kingfisher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115090 White-breasted Kingfisher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115096_01 Pied ground thrush by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115108_02 Pied ground thrush by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115124 Magpie-robin by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115170_01 Kashmir Flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115176_01 Kashmir Flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2115181 temple by Jo Dale, on Flickr
    • kittykat23uk
      After lunch back at the lodge we took a walk over a very rickety looking rope bridge over the river to the village. Here we found Ceylon Lorikeet (Sri Lankan Hanging Parrot), Red-backed Woodpecker, Black-hooded Oriole, White-rumped Munia, Chestnut-headed and Blue-tailed Bee-eaters, Indian Paradise Flycatcher, Common Hill Mynah and Common Mynah, and Common Iora. Other birds seen included White-bellied sea Eagle, Shikra, Indian Peafowl, the pigeons/doves and bulbuls that we’d seen before, Yellow-fronted Barbet, whilst Barn and Ceylon Swallows, Edible-nest Swiftlets and Palm Swifts whizzed overhead.     P2103380 Green Garden Lizard by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103448 Common Rose butterfly by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103466 Orb web spider by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103667 Orb web spider by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103475 Green Garden Lizard by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103502  Green Garden Lizard by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103582 Black-headed Oriole by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113674 Common Iora by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113733 Common Iora by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113738_01 Common Iora by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2113783_01 red-backed woodpecker by Jo Dale, on Flickr  
    • kittykat23uk
      Day 8 Kitulgala   A White-breasted Kingfisher and White-bellied Drongo welcomed us over breakfast and a Stork-billed Kingfisher shot up the river. We returned to the activity camp and this time we were successful in finding both Indian Pitta and Chestnut-backed Owlet, phew! My T-shirt didn’t scupper our chances after all. The owlet seemed to be feeding on an unfortunate lizard!  Chin also spotted an Indian Brown Mongoose foraging around the camp. Tickell’s Blue Flycatcher, Golden-fronted Chloropsis (leafbird), added some further colour to the birdlife as we sat and had tea and a party of Yellow-billed Babblers (southern common babbler) chattered noisily as they patrolled the undergrowth.    P2102485 White-breasted Kingfisher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102507_02  White-bellied drongo by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102551 Orange Minivet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102606_01_01 Indian Pitta by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102631_01 Indian Pitta by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102641_01 Chestnut-backed Owlet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102648_01 Chestnut-backed Owlet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102714_01 Chestnut-backed Owlet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102916_01 Chestnut-backed Owlet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2102968 Chestnut-backed Owlet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103030_01 Chestnut-backed Owlet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103110 Indian Brown Mongoose by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103135 Indian Brown Mongoose by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103172 Tickell's Blue Flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103215 Tickell's Blue Flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103219_01 Tickell's Blue Flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103253_01 Golden-fronted Chloropsis (leafbird) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103262_01 Golden-fronted Chloropsis (leafbird) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103287_01 yellow-billed babbler (southern common babbler) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103307 yellow-billed babbler (southern common babbler) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2103323_01 yellow-billed babbler (southern common babbler) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   While we were there, Chin got a call from a farmer friend of his who had caught a pangolin in a trap set for porcupines. He was willing to hold it for us before releasing it if we wanted to take a 9 hour round trip to go and see it. We politely declined, not least because we both felt it would be unnecessarily cruel to hold a pangolin for hours simply so that a couple of tourists could go and tick. Chin also felt our hopes of finding one in the wild were still pretty good, and he added that there was a place he was hoping to take us to where, if he got a few friends together we could scour the area and have a chance of finding one in the daytime. Well this sounded really promising so I didn’t feel too bad about missing this chance.     
    • kittykat23uk
      The hotel was a sprawling complex and we arrived in time for lunch. The restaurant overlooks the Kelani Ganga river which looked rather inviting after a tiring drive. So after lunch I headed down to have a little dip. The river is slow running there and has a gravelly bottom with some deeper pools that are perfect for cooling off during the heat of the day.     IMG_20240210_065723  Kithungala by Jo Dale, on Flickr   IMG_20240210_065730 Kithungala by Jo Dale, on Flickr   IMG_20240210_065740 Kithungala by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091613  Palm Squirrel by Jo Dale, on Flickr   Late afternoon Chin took us to a local activity place (I assume run by a friend of his) where he hoped to find us some special birds and mammals. We first spotted a dapper Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel (intermediate race) that was racing through the trees.   P2091920 Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel (intermediate race) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   [/url] P2091939 Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel (intermediate race) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091951 Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel (intermediate race) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091973 Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel (intermediate race) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2092102 Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel (intermediate race) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2092111 Sri Lankan Giant Squirrel (intermediate race) by Jo Dale, on Flickr   After a bit of searching we came across another highly sought-after bird, the  Indian Pitta. The bird was so accommodating, posing as it did for a good amount of time. The light wasn’t the best, but who could complain at that view! The second of our targets, the owl, failed to show up that evening but Chin promised that we would have time to come back the following day to find it.    P2092215_01 Indian Pitta by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2092241_01 Indian Pitta by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2092270_01 Indian Pitta by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2092380 Common Tailorbird by Jo Dale, on Flickr   Back at the lodge we found some Alexandrine Parakeets feeding in the palm trees.    P2092443 Alexandrine Parakeet by Jo Dale, on Flickr Over the course of the day we also added Ceylon Hill Mynah as well as Common Hill Myna and Common Mynah and Ceyon Hanging Parrots to the trip list. After a buffet style dinner and a bit of a rest we left again for another night walk.    We headed down to the river to be boated across to the forest on the other side. Here we searched for many hours over the course of our two nights here with limited success. Our best sightings were a Eurasian Otter in the river (barely visible), Brown Bats and Indian Flying Fox, Common Palm Civet, Golden Palm Civet (but high up in the trees so views were really quite obscured) and two tiny little red pin pricks for eyes that could only have belonged to a Red Slender Loris. The path was rather rocky and uneven, which made it really painful to walk on for any given length of time.    P2102466 Golden Palm civet by Jo Dale, on Flickr   There was also a section that required the navigation of some rather wide gaps between some big rocks and I really didn’t fancy trying to do that in the dark. I don’t know if that really negatively impacted on our chances to find some more mammals but knowing how clumsy I can be (ref, “Japan in Winter, a Photographic Odyssey” where I somehow put my foot down a hole in a harbour wall, with my lens neatly falling into the corresponding hole, snapping off the camera in the process) I really didn’t want to risk an injury. Besides we knew that there were definitely loris and civets in the part of the forest that was accessible anyway.    It wasn’t until later in the trip that Chin mentioned to us that Red Slender Lorises were really hard to see well on account of their habit of immediately turning away from any light source and speeding off like little rocket ships. Well I can’t say that I found that information particularly encouraging to be honest! But he did say that the grey loris was a lot more accommodating and we should see those later in the trip.    Given how little we were seeing at night Eric and I were finding it really difficult to remain motivated on these long spotlighting sessions and I think we put in less time than Chin was expecting us to, but we felt we needed to pace ourselves to get the best out of the daytime as well as the nocturnal wildlife and given how little we were seeing at night and our interest in birds as well as mammals, the daytime needed to be given priority.   
    • kittykat23uk
      Day 7 Sinharaja to Kitulgala   Chin suggested we do a night walk as a pre-dawn walk from 3 am. I think he felt that the chances of finding a pangolin might be higher. However, this approach wasn’t successful, despite trying the same areas again. Our night walk was long, tiring and disappointing with very little seen other than some brown bats, despite our best efforts.  Continuing after dawn and into the morning we saw much the same as the previous day, with the addition of a Spot-winged thrush around the lodge. We went back to the same place for the spurfowl and it was a lot busier with daytrippers. At one point everyone started snapping away, but it was not a spurfowl but a junglefowl female that had their attention and we wondered if people were aware, or if it were a case of mistaken identity? Either way we left them to it and headed back to the lodge for breakfast and to pack. Around the lodge itself I did get another sighting of the real deal, a pair of spurfowl scratching around below me. As nice as they were, it was the Sri Lankan Blue Magpies that drew most of my attention, such stunning birds!    P2091241 by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091294 Ceylon Junglefowl female & chicks by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091319 Brown-breasted flycatcher by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091346 Spotted-winged thrush by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091375 Ceylon Suprfowl by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091511 Sri Lanka blue magpie by Jo Dale, on Flickr   P2091527 Sri Lanka blue magpie by Jo Dale, on Flickr   It was soon time to make the rough, bumpy ride back down to the village. We passed a Crested-hawk Eagle on the way down. I had asked Chin if he knew of anywhere that sold wildlife-themed local arts and crafts and he took us to a local lady who hand paints birds on t-shirts. She didn’t have a large selection of green t-shirts, mostly they were black and I prefer a neutral colour for safaris so I looked through her green ones and pulled out one of an owl species that Chin promised we’d see at our next stop. I hoped that I wasn’t going to jinx our luck by going in too early with this memento…    With that purchase we boarded the minibus and headed off to Kitulgala.   P2091571 Crested Hawk Eagle by Jo Dale, on Flickr
    • kittykat23uk
      Thank you @TonyQglad you are enjoying the report! 
    • gatoratlarge
      Thank you @KaliCAI agree---underestimated parks --- I hope to be back! 
    • SharonD
      Thank you for sharing your report. We are scheduled to go on our first safari next June. One of our camps will be Enaidura with Ping as our guide. Would be very happy to get photos like you have shared ❤️
    • Tom Kellie
      Near     Taken on 2 July, 2023 at 4:20 pm in Manyeleti Game Reserve, Ndzhaka Camp, using an EOS 1D X camera with an EF 200mm f/2.8L telephoto lens   ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/1250 sec., handheld Manual shooting mode in a safari vehicle in afternoon light   **********************************************************************************************************************************************************   ~ Parked to watch elephants, one pachyderm decided to browse immediately adjacent to the safari vehicle.   The only motion was breathing and the fingertip on the shutter button — such proximity is a rare gift.  
    • KaliCA
      @gatoratlargeJust fantastic photos of your sightings in Amboseli and Tsavo West. Well done! I'm a fan of both parks and have been only once in August 21 and we were camping...oh the dust... but I loved both parks. In Amboseli, the flamingoes were a bonus and in Tsavo west, the landscape and Mzima Springs were great! Thanks for sharing! Greetings from the west coast of Fla, where the gators are currently making mating calls...
    • KaliCA
      Here are some more sightings from this first game drive in Kanha:   Barasingha Deer       Juvenile Gaur         We got to this Dam and enjoyed the peace and beauty around us.                  I would say this was a very nice beginning to our time in Kanha National Park.
    • KaliCA
      The journey continues and we are off on our transfer to Kanha NP, driving through rural, central India. As we get closer, we notice that the style of houses has changed. We see dwellings with blue stucco walls and red tile roofs. CB is telling us that different tribes inhabit the area, many of whom had to relocate after the National Park was founded on their land. One can scarcely imagine such a fate, and indeed, there is a well left inside the park that testifies to human presence in the park long ago.  We check into the Kanha Jungle resort, which is neither in the jungle, nor a resort! But it has a row of simple bungalows, a Lappa, and a pool. Our bungalow is quite basic, but I like it right away since the bathroom is nice, it has Aircon, and a fridge. The weather is getting warmer and especially in the afternoon, it's wonderful to relax with the AC going. The only draw-back are the paper-thin walls and we can hear every footstep and word from outside. This will be a problem later on...   After an Indian-Chinese lunch, we embark on our first game drive. Our driver is a young man, and he will be driving us for all five game drives. We drive for about 10 minutes through the village to check in at the Mukki Gate.   I'm getting a little nervous with FOMO, since we are the last ones in line and all the other Gypsies have already entered the park across the road.   This is where the forest guides assemble.   Finally, we enter full of hope. What is waiting for us around the bend? Well, nothing too exciting at first, but I thought this termite mound deserved a picture since it looks quite different from the ones we know from Africa.      After driving through the forest, we reach an area with small lakes. Very pretty here. A few Barasingha and Spotted Deer deer are grazing near there. All of a sudden: Alarm calls sound loud and clear. The deer stop feeding and lift their heads.       CB is certain the calls originated in the back of us, and so we back up and wait. Not two minutes later, I detect orange and black stripes in the tall grass... and it has a head to go with it! It is such a thrill to be sure, that, yes, it's a tiger.   He keeps walking parallel to our road and steps into lower grass, a fire break.     Then he looks curiously in our direction. What a cooperative boy! And how handsome is he?     Then he contiues with his walk, enters taller grass again and sniffs something on the ground.     We are of course hoping for him to come to the lake to drink, but no, he continues walking behind the berm to where the guide says, there is another water source.    We try so see it from different vantage spots, but the berm is just too high. But wow! After 20 minutes inside the park and we spot our first tiger. Hey, sometimes it pays to be late! Who knew? I give CB one hundred percent credit for finding this tiger. The forest guide? He probably was checking his phone... worth 0.0 Every time we pass this spot on our future game drives, we smile and I call it "our happy place."   In the meantime, the deer around the lake have no idea that there is mortal danger behind the berm...  
    • pomkiwi
      Hi Janet. Yes I did bring a tripod for night photography alone. It might also be useful for landscapes but I don’t use them myself.
    • KaliCA
      @janzin So happy for both of us that “the tigress with the four cubs” mystery was solved by you! And both managers were correct. Yay! Can’t wait to see your shots of the babies. As you saw, my sighting of the cubs was just short glimpses.   
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