We loaded the luggage after breakfast and set off for the three hour run to the airport at Colombo. The last birds of this tour included many we were now familiar with – the egrets, a few Openbills, Yellow-billed Bulbuls. At one village we passed a massive roost of fruit bats, there must have been more than 10,000 in number, hanging from every branch in a long line of trees.
At the airport we said farewell to Deepal and our driver and assistant. The airline’s check-in desks opened shortly after we arrived though the check-in was slow compounded by many passengers transferring to our flight from an Emirates booking.
We took off on time at 1315, the journey time to London was to take eleven-and-half hours, and we were in London 1950. At the baggage carousel we said our goodbyes to each other, all that remained was the journey to our homes.
Dick and Sally Shaw of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire
Peter and Sandra Munro of Ballyclare, Northern Ireland
Jonty Denton of Four Marks, Hampshire
Serendipity = ‘good luck in making unexpected and fortunate discoveries’. The word comes from the old arabic name for Sri Lanka, Serendib, and is appropriate for our visit to this charming country for we did very well, seeing all the endemic species except one (and we were so close to that!). There were some outstanding birds – remember the pittas, the endemic whistling-thrush, blue magpie and malkoha, and will we ever forget the owls, six species on this tour, including the newly-discovered Serendib Scops-Owl and, the even-rarer, Ceylon Bay Owl.
All these birds were due to the exceptional ability and knowledge of our local guide Deepal – many thanks to him for sharing his experience (and for being a nice guy to travel with). We wish him all the best for his new company that arranged the ground operations for this tour.
Thanks to our driver, Janaka, who was always on time and drove well, and his helper Nilantha for his moving of our luggage and keeping the bus clean!
My thanks to you for coming on this trip to Sri Lanka. I hope you will have many memories of the country and its birds, backed up by the numerous photos that were taken. I look forward to seeing you again soon, on another Ornitholidays adventure!
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