Sunday, May 1, 2011

Little Gem of the Ingiriya Forest Reserve.

Kingfishers are one of our favorite photographic subjects. Rarer the better. The Oriental Dwaft Kingfisher is on the top of the list. It is the smallest Kingfisher found in Sri Lanka. Though it had been recorded from all around the country, it is considered as a rare bird species. Fast flight, size and the habitat of the bird had made it difficult to spot. It has a flight call much similar to the Common Kingfisher and it is a good way to track down the fellow.

The closest sight record  of the bird was from the Ingiriya Forest Reserve. NamalK (Namal Kamalgoda) had seen and photographed it at the reserve. I have been there for several times but had no luck of spotting it. Ingiriya Forest Reserve can be categorize as a rain forest located on both sides of the river Kalu. Because of the dense forest canopy  does not allow lost of light to get on to the the forest floor, it has made a low light situation inside the forest. Low light is not good for photography, specially for fast moving subjects such as a bird.

A team of photographers from Photo Lanka flickr group were planning to go on a photographic journey to Ingiriya Forest Reserve on a Thursday (17th Feb. 2011). Since it was a holiday I could join them. I wanted  at least to see the Oriental Dwaft Kingfisher. So I listen to it's call from the bird call CD by Uditha Hettige to get familiar with it.

It was about 6.30 AM when we reached there. It was a foggy morning. We climbed up the steps, it was really hard to see birds or any kind of wildlife. Later when the light is good, we were managed to see Brown Flycatchers, Tickell's Blue Flycatchers, few Yellow-fronted Barbets, Paradise Flycatchers and few other bird species. We decided  to comedown and hang around the "Dhana Shalawa" area. Lighting in this area was quite good and there were birds came to eat left over from the "Dhana Shalawa". I thought of stay closer to the stream there, having thoughts of Oriental Dwaft Kingfisher in my mind. It was around 9.00 and with a sharp call I saw a small bird flying along the stream uphills. I recognized the fellow at once. It was an Oriental Dwaft Kingfisher. I informed others and waited there for fifteen minutes and only I saw it flying over our heads again. There was no time for a click. I m not sure whether any of the others believed me on that day. But I saw it.

It was only after two weeks time I got a chance to think about it again. I gave a call to Lasantha and asked him to join me. Next day morning we were on our way to the reserve. Since the sight on the previous week was at about 9.00, we decided to go up hills and come back later around that time. Closer to the image house we were managed to capture a Grey Hornbill. It was my first good sighting and capturing of the endemic bird.

Grey Hornbill
It was closing 9.00, we came down to position ourselves closer to the place I have seen it on previous week. Suddenly I heard the call of the fellow. I searched all around, but I couldn't locate it. It was Lasantha who spot the bird this time, yet it was not is a position to be photographed. We took a record shot. In case if we couldn't shoot it later we still have a record shot now.

We positioned ourselves closer to the stream, there were many sightings but none of them were good enough for a photograph. Then we got lucky, it came and landed on a bamboo trunk about 8-10 ft from us. That was the best shot I could get on that day.

Oriental Dwaft Kingfisher

There were few more shots better shot. It landed on shades almost all the time and out lenses were not fast enough to capture it in those low light conditions. With happy thoughts in our mind we returned home. We'll be back again for the little gem later.

In a place with much better light but was bit too far.
Inside thick bamboo bushes


Iresha Dias said...

wild life photography is amazing,every 1 haven't the opportunity and the feels like we also been there,really great to hear the experience.tnx for share.all the best with the future work...!!!

Danushka Senadheera said...

Thanks Iresha, There will be more of those experience coming up later. Keep in touch :)

Iresha Dias said...

of course we will... :)

Tara Wikramanayake said...

Superb images of the Indian Three-toed Kingfisher. The light falling on it makes its glow like a gem.

Pubudu said...

Hi Dhanushka, Could you kindly let me know what is the lens used for these nice pics...