Monday 29 January

We left Nuwara Eliya and headed towards the city of Kandy, our route taking us through the hill country. It had rained overnight but this morning was bright and clear, the scenery lovely with clouds hanging over the tea fields. Here and there, the Tamil tea-pickers in bright saris could be seen, dotted over the hillsides.

We stopped at a tea factory for a short tour. The guide escorted us around the old colonial buildings housing dated machinery and explained the process from the picking to the saleable leaves. The tour ended with a serving in their cafeteria.

We arrived at the busy city of Kandy, the hustle and bustle very different to where we had just left. After lunch we visited the botanical gardens of Peradenyia. We found quickly a key bird here, the Lesser Hill-Myna. The walk gave us birds we hadn’t seen for some days, like Ceylon Barbet, Orange Minivet, Ceylon Hanging-Parrot and Ceylon Swallow. The loud rising call of Common Hawk Cuckoo led us to two confiding birds, seen to be feeding on moths.

We returned to the hotel in Kandy, some of the group opting for the visit to the Temple of the Tooth late afternoon. It is an important shrine for Buddhists as it holds the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha, though this is housed in a golden casket and to see the casket a queue of pilgrims had built up – we made a joint decision not to wait, what would have been more than an hour, for this.

Tonight was our farewell dinner. We reminisced about the tour, and chatted about this wonderful country with memorable birds. Whilst enjoying dinner we enjoyed some wine, courtesy of Ornitholidays, and ended the evening with the birdlog.