This year I thought I will start blogging about my travels. So here goes.
First Saturday of 2018 – 06012018
I have been an avid bird enthusiast, but didn’t make much effort to study more about them, like their proper names and identification (ID) until I met my husband whose serious birding enthusiast from a very young age and knew quite a lot of information and proper ID’s of the birds as opposed to what I knew them to be, taught by adults.
Migratory birds flock throughout Sri Lanka from the months of November and linger on until March. I’ve heard that they travel from afar; some even across the Himalayas.
The spontaneous tour to Anawilundawa required a bit of sacrifice waking up at 0330hrs when you have only gone to sleep past midnight after a long day and night out. We started our exciting journey at 0400hrs with some essentials; Bird books, camera, some goodies, a hot water flask to make black tea, plenty of water and a mat, just in case we decided to just lounge somewhere on bare land and take a nap or rest.
Thank God for the freeway from Peliyagoda to Katunayake; if not leaving home (south of Colombo) at 0400hrs would make no sense to reach our destination in time to catch up with the morning birds.We drove through the Colombo baseline road (a very straightforward one) to reach the starting point of the freeway at Peilyagoda. Next, headed out towards the Negombo road heading North.
The usual self as I am, in my sleepiness mistook the location we intended to visit but thankfully managed to identify the correct location thanks to googlemaps. We reached the turn off point to Anawilundawa Wetland Sanctuary by 0630am. Since the pathway from the main road into the sanctuary is a circular path we decided to take a turn off from the main road earlier than the indicated road pathway on maps.
We drove in our car and it was just a narrow path way with wetland on either side. So, if you plan to drive it’s advisable you take a smaller car just in case another vehicle approaches you; you wouldn’t want to be stuck in a stalemate nor keep reversing on a narrow-elevated path with sharply stooped on both sides into the waterways. Since we are experts having driven around many places including narrow paths in the hill country and sandy off-road paths to beaches in Sri Lanka on our Prius, this was not challenge to us.
However, cycling on these paths would be the most ideal and scenic experience as it’s so quiet and peaceful with hardly any other sounds, but that of nature itself.
Unfortunately for us, the wetlands were completely dried out due to the prevailing drought in the country, giving us very little opportunity to locate the birds which we were expecting to sight at this location. If you are on google maps you would see a few tanks termed as ‘wewa’ – (the Sinhala language term for lake or natural water body and in Tamil language it will be addressed as “Kulam” )However, there were approximately 100 of lesser whistling ducks in some of the wetland where was significant water; it was such a pleasure to watch a juvenile duckling being cared for by the adults.
We also witnessed 02 Brahminy kites dashing after a juvenile white breasted sea eagle who seemed to have nicked their prey. They frightened the little duckling and in a matter of a few seconds most of the adult ducks flocked around the lone duckling; carefully guarding it.
With all the drama ending we decided to have a little picnic break and did enjoy the cool of the morning; it was quite windy. After relaxing for some time, with a hot cup of tea (thanks to our hotwater flask and tea bags) we got back in our car and drove along the pathway spotting more birds. Within the sanctuary we also sighted an Indian Roller, Paradise Flycatcher, Brahminy Kites, Bee Eaters, Juvenile White bellied sea Eagle, White throated Kingfisher etc.
Then around 1145hrs we headed back to the main road and just a few kilometers approached a restaurant Batuluoya Family Restaurant which was excellent for our lunch break; rice and curry and a cool drink and the price was reasonable for Rs.660/-. This location also had very clean washroom. It was clean spacious spot with ample parking and good local food (rice & curry).
Thereafter we moved onto Udappu – a fishing village close to the Mundal lagoon. On the beach where the lagoon meets the ocean,we saw quite a lot of Terns on the beach basking in the hot sun at noon.
Due to the extreme hot weather conditions we couldn’t survive out in the open and parked our car under a tree and tried to nap for about an hour or so.
Around 1500hrs we left Udappu and returned the main road towards the Chilaw town and stopped over at the Chilaw Rest house for a snack and tea. I must say that they serve really good fish sandwiches with a generous spread of butter and a very milky cup of tea. Again, this was quite reasonable for Rs. 682/- (inclusive of service charge) as we had 03 double sided toast sandwiches (cut in half in to 06 mini toast sandwiches) and 02 cups of tea plus a good wash room to use.
To our amusement and adventurous spirit, we decided to drive down the road along the ocean for about a 15Km until the car could not drive through the weather-beaten road which was semi-corroded. Then we inquired from the locals on the road conditions and decided to head back towards the main road. This could be a very promising ‘the great ocean road’ of Sri Lanka, if the authorities only saw what we saw.
Back on the Colombo bound main road, we stopped over at Dinemore in Negombo to grab a bite for dinner. This was around 2000hrs. The place was clean and not as crowded as the ones in Colombo.
It was a long day but very eventful and very rewarding.
More stories from my travel diaries across Sri Lanka – coming soon!
So this is another new year. Good bye 2017 and Hello 2018! I have been thinking of trying to keep up with blogging but haven’t made up my mind on what I plan to write. something blog-worthy.
In 2018, I have decided to share some stories about my travels in and #aroundSriLanka.
Sri Lanka is an island nation in South Asia, geographically located between latitudes 5° and 10°N, and longitudes 79° and 82°E with climate as tropical and warm. We are a multi cultural nation with a majority of Sinhalese as a race and Buddhism as the religion in majority.
As a travel enthusiast whose more of a bird chaser, I enjoy the company of my travel companion whose also my husband and an avid adventurer.
Soon, you will see some interesting stories and pictures here.