Today we had the earliest start of the trip – 0430 hours – which is necessary for the long climb to the Horton Plains. At some 6500 feet, this is one of the highlights of the trip. So often the weather up here can be typical mountain weather of low cloud and even rain, but as dawn broke it was a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky.
The high plateau woodland is home to a number of the endemics. The shy and elusive Sri Lanka Whistling Thrush is the prime target and a fine male responded well to our tape lure, coming to sit in a bush close over our heads. The other local endemics, Sri Lanka Bush Warbler, Sri Lanka White Eye, Dull Blue Flycatcher and Yellow Eared Bulbul all showed well – we saw several of each. One or two more Kashmir Flycatchers including a fine male, several Canary Flycatchers and three Ceylon Scimitar Babblers completed a great mornings birding.
We saw some good mammals too in the shape of Sambar deer and the superb looking highland race of Purple Face Leaf Monkeys known as ‘bear monkeys’ due to their woolly coats.
We returned to Nuwara Eliya for lunch.
The afternoon found us back in Victoria Park for a leisurely afternoon’s birding. A few Indian Pittas, a couple of Pied Thrushes and Kashmir Flycachers were easily seen and then a lot of effort was made to see a very shy and secretive Slaty Legged Crake which appeared fleetingly right on dusk.
The evening concluded with a snooker contest which Uditha won!