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 on: May 15, 2017, 08:25:22 am 
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 on: July 21, 2015, 12:26:44 pm 
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Real beauty of nature.

 on: July 07, 2015, 11:38:39 am 
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That was really nice, I like it.

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 on: October 04, 2013, 08:54:52 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil
If one is interested in migrant birds, the ideal time to look for them is during the last two months of the year, by mid-November, the majority of our wintering birds may have arrived in our shores. The migrant birds generally start arriving here late in August and early September. When the cold wind from the Bay of Bengal begin to blow over, heralding the onset of the North-East monsoon. But it will not be until October and November that the main influx takes place. During these two months large number of winter birds arrives from their breeding haunts in the dist and part of Asia and Europe.

There are nearly 427 species and sub-species of birds in Sri Lanka today and of them approximately 176 are migrants. And, except a few species of oceanic birds, all of them fall in to one category - winter visitors.

From which parts of world do these migrants birds come and how? What are there migratory routes? These are but a few of the questions posed by amateur bird watchers. Detailed studies carried out by ornithologists in this country an elsewhere have revealed that majority of migrant birds found in Sri Lanka come from countries situated within the temperature zone.

Almost all migratory waders seen here during the North-East monsoon have breeding grounds in the Steppes and Tundra, north of Asia and Europe. Such birds as the Turnstone, Marsh Sandpiper, Sanderline, Long-tailed Stint and Caspian Plover may Sri Lanka from breeding grounds in Northern and Southern Russia or from places within the Arctic Circle.

The Great brown-headed Gull and the Herring Gull; which occasionally visit our coastal lagoons, definitely come from large lakes in central Asia and from Russia, including Siberia, while their smaller relative, the Whiskered Tern comes here from inland lakes in Kashmir.

The Pintail, Garganey, Shoveller and Gadwall are some of the wild Ducks most of us will know may have seen some time or other. But how many of us actually know the great distance they fly to reach the warmth of our shores? The vast majority of them come from countries far North of Asia and Europe, and a few from Tibet and Mongolia. The commoner snipes - pintail and fantail-hail from places situated thousand miles apart. The first comes here from the East Siberian marshes and other from Northern European countries, Japan and northern China.

The migratory Warblers (as many as eleven are known) almost certainly come from breeding grounds in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia. While a couple of Warblers come from Afghanistan, Kashmir and the Himalayas, the Blue-Chat, Pied Ground Thrush, Northern Orange Headed Ground Thrush and Indian Blue Rock-Thrush come solely from Himalayan foothills.

So do some of the migratory flycatchers, i.e. Blue-throated Flycatchers, Brown Flycatchers and the Layard's flycatcher. It is certainly that the Indian White Wagtail, Eastern Gray wagtail and the yellow-headed Wagtail too come from the Himalayan nesting grounds.

The Indian plaintive Cuckoo and the Asian Common Cuckoo certainly breed in the same localities as the flycatchers, and used the same routes along the west coast to reach Sri Lanka.

The Hawks and Eagles encountered in the island during winter period come from a variety of countries in Asia and Europe. The Siberian Honey Buzzard has its headquarters in Eastern Siberia, while the Desert Buzzard comes from Japan or perhaps from Burma.

The four species of Harriers occur in the island have been traced to breeding grounds in northern parts of Asia and Europe.

The Osprey and the short-eared Owl are birds of the Temperature Regions. The rarer Red-legged Falcon arrives from breeding places in the North East of Asia and the Kestrels fly in to Sri Lanka from Western European countries, Japan and Northern China. The Purple Wood Pigeon obviously comes from Bengal Indo-China and the two migratory Turtle Doves have their nesting haunts from the Himalayas and Central Asia.

The Black-capped Kingfisher and the Tiger or Malay Bittern are considered rare migrants whose nesting grounds have been traced to Western Sumatra, Burma and Malaysia to China.

The bird watchers countrywide looks forward to the arrival of the Eastern Swallow than the other migrant birds. It is one of the first to appear in our shores, scattered flocks having been seen here as early as the third week of August.

The Eastern Gray Wagtail, perhaps the commonest and the most welcome visitor in the Central Hill Zone, may be another forerunner in the long train of winter visitors in our country immediately on arrival in the Island it be takes to the hill country and as a result its first arrival is hardly recorded in the low-lands.

The Sandpipers, Stints, Curlews, Golden Plover, too arrive in the late August or early September. Many of the smaller passerine birds start to arrive in the late September or October.

The Pintail Snipe comes in from September. The ducks, teal and other wild fowl are surely the last to start on their migratory journeys, which can be judged from the vast flocks that appear in Sri Lanka during November and December.

Sunday Observer
by K.G.H. Munidasa

 on: September 10, 2013, 06:15:54 am 
Started by indunil - Last post by indunil
The bellanwila-Attidiya marsh is situated on the south-eastern outskirts of Colombo. The area comprises of shallow freshwater ponds, canals, marshes, scrublands and seasonally flooded grassland, with scattered pockets of shrubs and small trees.

The Bolagoda canal runs through the marsh dividing the area approximately into two equal parts. The area was reportedly used for rice cultivation until 1978. Yet, predominantly due to increasing severity of drainage problems paddy cultivation was abandoned. Now, most lands have been re-colonized by a diverse vegetation that provides habitat for a great variety of wildlife, in particular for insects, fishers, reptiles and birds

The area is particularly rich in waterfowl, including many migratory species. Being in the proximity of the capital city, the marsh is also of great importance for the leisure and nature experience of city dweller, and provides ample opportunity for conservation education, nature study and research activities.

Bellanvila-attidiya sanctuary (BAS) is listed in the directory of Asian Wetland by the IUCN in 1989 and designated as important bird area by Birdlife International. It was declared a Sanctuary under the fauna and flora protection ordinance by gazette extraordinary No 620/9 of 25th July 1990.

Natural habitat
It is one of the last remaining natural habitats for many species of invertebrates and vertebrates displaced by urban and suburban development. It provides valuable resources to migrating birds for them to complete their annual migratory cycle.

The marsh supports a wide variety of water birds in small numbers, and is an important rooting site for herons and egrets. Over 168 species of birds have been recorded from the marsh. Of the diverse array of invertebrates found in the marsh, 77 species of butterflies and 37 species of dragonflies have been recorded.

A thorough study and survey of the invertebrate diversity needs to be initiated, the waters of the marsh is also home to over 44 species of fresh water fish, of which four are endemic to Sri Lanka. Nearly 30 species of amphibians (frogs and Toads) have been observed in the marsh of which 4 are endemic. There are also a considerable number of reptiles and mammals in the marsh. Otters, hard shell sand soft shell terrapins, many species of snakes and lizards, and even the rare and endemic golden palm civet have been spotted in the marsh.

A considerable land area of Bellanvila-Attidiya wetland has been lost. The most obvious and damaging threat to the marsh is the continuing dumping of raw garbage into it. Another serious threat is the effluents and pollutants released from the nearby garments factories into its waterways.

These factory effluents discharge to the local drain flow into the bolaoda canal, and have resulted in major fish kills. These fish kills have decimated the local population of several species of fish, including two species endemic to Sri Lanka.

The economically important freshwater shrimp macro brachium Rosenberger, have almost been exterminated in the marsh. The dumping of domestic waste along the adjacent road has also caused serious pollution problems.

Most of the larger trees have been cut down for firewood resulting in reduced nesting places for the birds and other animals.

There is also a considerable amount of Hunting of large water birds going on, particularly with snares, nets and catapults. Egg-Collecting is also a threat to the bird population in mash. Some of the development projects in surrounding areas also illegally encroach into the marsh from it periphery.

If the Bellanvila- Attidiya marshes are to survive to the new millennium, the garbage problem needs to be resolved immediately. Otherwise the long term repercussions to the ecology of the marsh will be most severe.

Also Habitat fragmentation, and changes in water level that degraded native vegetation habitat and provided access for invasive native and non-native weeds and accelerated the succession decline of Bellanvila-Attidiya Sanctuary habitat, Plant and animal pest invasion, loss of natural character and changers in plant dominance have profound effects on the animals that depend upon aquatic environments as a source of food and refuge and as a nursery for their young, land filling and drainage of wetland for urban or rural development are considerable threats for Bellanvila-Attidiya mash Sanctuary.

When we look at the important of Bellanvila-Attidiya Sanctuary, we can conclude that Bellanvila-Attidiya Sanctuary has particularly productive ecosystems that can provide many benefits such as energy production, research and education, recreation and tourism, water flow regulation, protection against natural processes and calamities, contribution to maintenance of processes in natural systems, biodiversity uniqueness and gene pool, socio-cultural significance and landscape beauty. It is our duty to protect our mother nature for future generation enabling them to live in a sustainable society.

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