Thangamale and Attidhiya bird sanctuaries
Sri Lanka’s lesser known bird sanctuaries
Sri Lanka, the resplendent island in the Indian Ocean is one of the important locations in the world map of ornithology due to the abundance of bird life. Hence it has become a popular place for bird watching enthusiasts to indulge in their most interesting hobby. Of the 427 recorded bird species 250 are resident and 23 are endemic to the country which has a variety of ecological areas such as wet to dry zone, forest to jungle and hill country to low lands and the local bird watching enthusiasts and avitourists are able to spot many of these colourful specimans. They also can enjoy the surrounding scenary which has made Sri Lanka famous for its natural beauty.
Although there are many famous natural habitats, such as Sinharaja rainforest, Kumana, Wirawila, Kalametiya, Bundala, where a great numbers of endemic and migratory birds can be found but the popularity of these locations have turned them into places bustling with local and foreign visitors.
If one is interested in watching birds in a peaceful environment while enjoying the breathtaking landscape, Thangamale bird sanctuary in Haputale is the ideal location for it.
The sanctuary is set in Thangamale, the golden mountain, and is part of the Glenmore Tea Estate. The 131 hectares of land was declared as a protected area in 1938. Approximately two kilometres away from Haputale town, the best and most interesting path to approach this sanctuary is a trek down a footpath that is on the left of Adisham
, the well-known retreat of St.Benedictine monks.
The trek has a distance of about five to six kilometres and the route will grant you a breathtaking vista–on the left the Uva basin, the valley of Diyatalawa, the mountain ranges of Thotupola, Hakgala, Pidurutalagala, St.Catherine’s Dambetenna and Namunukula, and on the right the majestic Thangamale Mountain. The climb to the top of the mountain too is an unforgettable experience that involves trekking along natural surroundings.
Although its lesser known than the other bird paradises, Thangamalai too has all the ingredients that will satisfy the interests of bird watching enthusiasts.
It is the home to blue magpies, paradise flycatchers, green barbets, mini-verts hornbills, golden orioles and host of other bird life that include spot winged thrush, black naped monarch, yellow eared bulbul,velvet fronted nutthatch, Malabar trogon, scimitar babbler, black eagle. In addition to the variety of bird population you can also see giant squirrels, porcupines, barking deer as well.
And if you are stuck in Colombo and unable to travel outside, to satisfy the bird watching interest raging inside, the best and the easiest place is the Attidiya bird sanctuary.This wetland which is 372 hectares in extent is protected as a sanctuary and is under the wild life conservation department. Located in the outskirts of Colombo, Boralegamuwa along the Horana- Colombo road–Attidiya bird sanctuary is a small land but able to give refuge to a variety of birds and animals. You can find atleast 15 species of birds such as whistling teal, Asian openbill,Purple heron, Blyth’s reed warbler and many butterflies, reptiles, porcupines. Similar to Thangamale, Attidiya bird sanctuary too will immensely satisfy your bird watching interests.