Turtles Watching Hikkaduwa

Five out of the seven species of sea Turtles come ashore to nest in Sri Lanka , making it an ideal country to go Turtle Watching. Turtles are very nervous when they are looking for a place to nest and can therefore be easily scared. The Turtle can only be approached when she starts laying the eggs because by then she is engaged in a very mechanical, almost trance-like behavior and it is unlikely for her to be frightened by spectators. This activity involves some waiting and some walking on the beach because as with all of nature, it is the Turtle (not us) that sets the time and place of the event! The whole process of a nesting Turtle can take up to 3 hours and can include ‘false crawls' (non-nesting emergence). Of course there is no guarantee that the Turtles come to nest every night, but sitting on a deserted beach under the open starry sky in Sri Lanka is an incredible experience in itself.

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Birds Watching Yala

Yala National Park is the most visited and second largest national park in Sri Lanka. Actually it consists of five blocks, two of which are now open to the public; and also adjoining parks. The blocks have individual names also, like Ruhuna National Park for the (best known) block 1 and Kumana National Park or 'Yala East' for the adjoining area. It is situated in the southeast region of the country, and lies in Southern Province and Uva Province. The park covers 979 square kilometres (378 sq mi) and is located about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Colombo. Yala was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1900, and, along with Wilpattu it was one of the first two national parks in Sri Lanka, having been designated in 1938. The park is best known for its variety of wild animals. It is important for the conservation of Sri Lankan Elephants and aquatic birds. There are six national parks and three wildlife sanctuaries in the vicinity of Yala. The park is situated in the dry semi-arid climatic region and rain is received mainly during the northeast monsoon. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. It is one of the 70 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) in Sri Lanka. Yala harbours 215 bird species including six endemic species of Sri Lanka. The number of mammals that has been recorded from the park is 44, and it has one of the highest leopard densities in the world.

 

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Horton Plains National park

Perched on the very edge of the hill country midway between Nuwara Eliya and Haputale, Horton Plains National Park covers a wild stretch of bleak, high-altitude moorland bounded at its southern edge by the dramatically plunging cliffs that mark the edge of the hill country including the famous World's End, where the escarpment falls sheer for the best part of a kilometer to the lowlands below. Set at an elevation of over two thousand meters, Horton Plains are a world apart from the rest of Sri Lanka: a misty and rain swept landscape dotted with beautiful patches of pristine cloud forest, whose characteristic umbrella-shaped keena trees, covered in a fine cobweb of old man's beard, turn from green to red to orange as the seasons progress. The cool, wet climate has fostered the growth of a distinctive range of flora, including various rhododendrons, bamboos, tree ferns and many endemic species of plant, making the Plains an area of great biological value and fragility, though the stands of cloud forest are now receding, possibly because of acid rain generated by motor traffic across the island.

The Plains’ wildlife attractions are relatively modest. Herds of elephants formerly roamed the area, until they were all shot by colonial hunters, and though few leopards still visit the park, you'll have to be incredibly lucky to see one.The park's most visible residents are its herds of sambar deer, which can often be seen handing companionably around the entrance office waiting for handouts, while you milht see rare bear-faced (also known as purple-faced) monkeys. The P ams are also one of the best places in the island for bird watching, and an excelent place to see montage endemics such as the dull-blue flycatcher Sri Lanka bush warbler Sri Lanka whistling thrush and the pretty yellow-eared bulbul, as well as striking orange minivets.You'll probably also see beautiful lizards, some of them boasting outlandishly fluorescent gree scales, through their numbers are declininig as the result of depredations by crows, attracted to the park by litter left by loutish visitors.

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