Yala National Park, Sri Lanka

Yala presents a rich mixture of habitats, with the predominant being coastal dry deciduous forest; there are also very diverse types of ecosystem including scrubland, brackish lagoon, freshwater lagoon and coastal dunes. Due to robust plantlife, the Asiatic elephant is present in surprisingly large numbers, Sri Lanka as a whole having the highest density of this elephant of any world country. Other notable mammals are the Sri Lankan Leopard, Mongoose, Spotted Deer, and a variety of bats. There is an unusually large number of avifauna, includi ng forest birds as well as aquatic species drawn to the water features. Viewing of wildlife is particularly favourable, owing to the healthy wildlife population densities and to the relatively open forests. Birds readily seen during my March visit included: Green bee eater, Crested serpent eagle, White-bellied sea eagle, Yellow wagtail, Indian peafowl, and Chestnut petronia.

Frequent interesting sightings were made of small herds of the Asian elephant or Water buffalo bathing in the watering holes or deep marshy reaches of the river system. This is particularly evident in the hot afternoons, when temperatures could reach thirty degrees Celsius even in March. In the case of the elephants, they often engage in elaborate mud bathing rituals, not only to cool down, but also to carefully apply mud packs to their skin, in order to create a sunblock. The mother elephants can be seen assisting her children and teaching them the full technique.

There are interesting sightings of the Bengal monitor, especially excavating for amphibians in the dry streambeds. The Ruddy mongoose was in evidence, and bunches of Langurs and occasional Muggar crocodile were seen.

The forest architecture is beautiful, although not as diverse as i just saw in India and Nepal. In Yala the dominant canopy top trees are Rosewood and Ceylon oak, although seldom seen as dense stands. Understory elements are dominated by Cassia fistula, with large areas infested by Lantana; the latter invasive woody shrub is attractive, but diminishes habitat value for other organisms in this ecoregion.

The massive coastal boulders, some of which stand 40 metres in height, form a scenic backdrop to the forest, often with horizon views of the Indian Ocean. The most fascinating of these mammoth rocks features a staircase cut by man approimately two thousand years ago. The boulders have picturesque local names such as "Elephant Rock", "Leopard Rock" and "Man Head Rock".

While the National Park rules limit access to dunes and beach areas, there are ample opportunities to beachcomb by selecting a lodge with Indian Ocean frontage. Not only are the dunes magnificent landscape elements, but they provide good habitat for Warthogs, Buffalo and other wildlife, who will escort you across your resort property. There is also a plethora of washed up Mollusk shells and backshore/dunes vegetation to explore and photograph.

Lähettänyt c_michael_hogan c_michael_hogan, 4. toukokuuta 2017 15:46

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Riisikutoja (Ploceus philippinus)

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c_michael_hogan

Päivämäärä

Maaliskuu 26, 2017 12:19 PM PDT

Kuvaus

Amazing detailed weaving architecture of these nests.

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Havainnoija

c_michael_hogan

Päivämäärä

Maaliskuu 2017

Kuvaus

This small herd of wild Asian elephants was seen bathing in a pond in Yala National Park at a range from me of about forty metres. They were quite relaxed and unconcerned by my presence, as i watched their bathing ritual for about twenty minutes

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Jakobiinikäki (Clamator jacobinus)

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 26, 2017 06:45 AM PDT

Kuvat / Äänet

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 25, 2017 04:15 PM PDT

Kuvaus

Seen near a pond in Yala National Park

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Havainnoija

c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 2017

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Mugger napping near a streambed in Yala National Park

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Lippasarvinokka (Anthracoceros coronatus)

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 2017

Kuvaus

Yala National Park near coastal zone

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Havainnoija

c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 2017

Kuvaus

Yala National Park

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Valkoviklo (Tringa nebularia)

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 26, 2017 06:54 AM PDT

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In a wetland part of Yala National Park

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Ruostemungo (Urva smithii)

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 26, 2017 07:47 AM PDT

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Yala National Park

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Safiirimehiläissyöjä (Merops philippinus)

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 26, 2017 08:35 AM PDT

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Yala National Park

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Harjakotka (Spilornis cheela)

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 26, 2017 10:34 AM PDT

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Yala National Park

Kuvat / Äänet

Havainnoija

c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 2017

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Dry deciduous forest of Yala NP

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Riikinkukko (Pavo cristatus)

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 26, 2017 07:53 AM PDT

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Perching and displaying in a tree at a range of five metres from me.

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Ihminen (Homo sapiens)

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c_michael_hogan

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Maaliskuu 26, 2017 03:06 PM PDT

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These steps carved into a massive boulder have been traced to approximately two thousand years before present,, as some of the earliest monumental evidence of humans in Sri Lanka.

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