Monday 22 January 2007

Breakfast was at 0600, before daybreak. We had succeeded with all the key species of Sinharaja yesterday and decided that we needn’t travel back there today. Another rainforest could be visited instead, at Gilimale.

The drive took an hour from the hotel. There was a wide track leading from the main road through the forest to a small village. Within moments we had a new bird in view – Brown-capped Babbler. We walked down to the village where we vetoed crossing the river, as we found the large boulders were very slippery and unsteady.

Close to the village a spurfowl began calling and we waited inside the forest for some time, staying still and trying playback to bring the pair into view, but it didn’t work. We had been very close to three pairs now and this was our last chance for this endemic rainforest species. On our return we had tremendous views of a male Malabar Trogon that posed for us for some minutes. The female also appeared but stayed mostly hidden from view.

We drove to our hotel for lunch and had a short siesta in the afternoon, some of the group taking a dip in the swimming pool. At 1800 we met again for an ‘owl prowl’. Deepal took us along a small track skirting the tea plantation. Indian Fruit Bats were flying over, looking large and impressive with their powered flight. Very soon a Jerdon’s Nightjar was flying past us also – it was a good view of this bird as there was still some light, and this crepuscular species was awake early.

Further along the trail we played the tape for Indian Scops Owl and the bird appeared to order, calling back even with the spotlight on it. Two further Jerdon’s called from alongside the road but were further away and didn’t respond to the tape. We tried playback of Brown Hawk Owl also, but there was no response.