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Sapphire Flutterer.SRI LANKA
With Dennis Paulson!
                             November 10 - 20, 2017

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To date, there have been 124 species of dragonfly identified on the lush island of Sri Lanka and nearly half of these are  endemic. Such a high level of endemism makes this a wonderful country to visit for anyone interested in these fascinating and beautiful insects. Our trip is led by a local expert on Sri Lanka's dragonflies as well Dennis Paulson, a leading authority on Northwest and Neotropical dragonflies and author of numerous natural history books as well as field guides to dragonflies.  Our itinerary has been designed in order to see a good variety of these wonderful creatures as well as birds and other nature in Sri Lanka. Visiting many well-known areas such as Sinharaja, Kithugala, Newara Eliya and Sigiriya, we will search ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands for our target species. The island of Sri Lanka holds more for the general naturalist than just dragonflies although this will be the main focus of this tour. Because we are in good habitats, we will also look for many of the special endemic bird species, plus butterflies and reptiles making this a very interesting and exciting tour to an absolutely fascinating and beautiful country. 

Photo: Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis)


Day 1 - Arrive Colombo - Talangama - 10th Nov
Pied Parasol (Neurothemis tulia)Please plan on a morning arrival in Colombo, the capitol of Sri Lanka (please try to arrive no later than 09.00am.) If not, arrive the day before and we can arrange a night in a hotel just 15 minutes from the airport (at additional cost). After breakfast, we will drive to Talangama on the outskirts of this vast city. This are of ponds and streams with marshy edges will be our first introduction to the dragonflies of Sri Lanka. Here we should start seeing our first tropical species such as Wandering Wisp (Agriocnemis pygmaea), Painted Waxtail (Ceriagrion cerinorubellum), Yellow Waxtail (Ceriagrion coromandelianum), Stripe-headed Threadtail (Prodasineura sita), Asian Groundling (Brachythemis contaminata), Pied Parasol (Neurothemis tulia) and Variegated Flutterer (Rhyothemis variegata) and with luck we could find the sought after Elusive Adjutant (Aethriamanta brevipennis). We will then continue our journey to Sinharaja the most biodiverse hotspot on the entire island. After settling into our lodge we can take a look at the nearby river and marshes where we could hopefully find Green’s Gem (Libellago greeni), and Shining Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens). We will be staying at this wonderful location for the next 3 nights.  Night Blue Magpie Lodge.


Day 2 - Sinharaja - 11th Nov
Ebony Gem†(Libellago corbeti)Our stay here will undoubtedly be the major highlight of the tour, as Sinharaja Forest is the single most important site in Sri Lanka in terms of endemic species, and represents the largest tract of lowland rainforest in the country. All but a few of the island's 34 endemic bird species occur here (although several are very difficult to see0. Some of the dragonfly species in Sinharaja are also difficult to find but the rewards are high as some of these species have only been seen by a handful of people. In particular we will try and find Ebony Gem (Libellago corbeti) a species only discovered in 2007 and only seen on one tiny stream in Sinharaja. There are of course many more excellent dragonflies here and possible species include Furhstorfer’s Jungle Watcher Purple-faced Leaf Monkey (Hylaeothemis fruhstorferi) a Sinharaja specialty, Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis), Restless Demon (Indothemis limbata sita), Rapacious Langetail (Ictinogomphus rapax), Malay Lilysquatter (Paracercion malayanum), Yellow Waxtails (Ceriagrion coromandelianum), Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina), Asian Pintail (Acisoma panorpoides), Asian Groundling (Brachythemis contaminata), Oriental Scarlet (Crocothemis servilia), Dark Glittering Threadtail (Elattoneura centralis) and Wandering Glider (Pantala flavescens).

Sinharaja has long been famous for its endemic birds and in between our search for dragonflies we will no doubt come across some of these special birds which may include Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and with luck a day roosting Sri Lanka Frogmouth or Serendib Scops-Owl (photo below) . Amazing large Water Monitors can be seen and the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey will delight us.
Night in Blue Magpie Lodge Sinharaja.


Day 3 - Sinharaja - 12th Nov 
Serendib Scops-Owl We will have another full day to explore this fabulous area including walking several trails in this wonderful rainforest. Early morning around the lodge and late afternoons when the dragonflies quiet down, we have a chance to search out some more of the birds and other wildlife. Green Forest Lizards pose for us in the gardens which can also produce great views of Legge's Flowerpecker, Layard's Parakeet, Ceylon Hill-Myna, and we have also seen Green-billed Coucal here.

Once in the forest we will walk along the old logging tracks, where we should encounter spectacular mixed flocks of birds. Among these feeding flocks we can find Crimson-backed Flameback, Red-faced Malkoha, Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Ceylon Scimitar-Babbler, Ceylon Crested Drongo, Ceylon Blue Magpie, White-faced Starling, and noisy parties of Ashy-headed Laughingthrushes. Other species present in these bird waves include Lesser Yellownape, Black-rumped Flameback, Malabar Trogon, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Green Warbler and Square-tailed Black Bulbul, Ceylon Spurfowl and Sri Lanka Junglefowl, while overhead Brown-backed Needletails are sometimes found. 

Dragonflies here are plentiful and we will be looking for possible species such as the rare Furhstorfer’s Jungle Watcher (Hylaeothemis fruhstorferi), Fiery Emperors (Anax immaculifrons), Spine-tufted Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysis), Indigo Dropwings (Trithemis festiva), and Sri Lanka Cascaders (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus),  Asian Pintail (Acisoma panorpoides), Green Skimmer (Orthetrum Sabina), Crimson Dropwings (Trithemis aurora), Oriental Green-wing (Neurobasis chinensis), Black-tipped Flashwing (Vestalis apicalis nigrescens), Amber-winged Glider (Hydrobasileus croceus), Shining Gossamerwing (Euphaea splendens) and Jungle Threadtail (Elattoneura caesia). Small ponds may hold other species such as Malabar Sprite (Pseudagrion malabaricum) and Blue Sprite (Psuedagrion microcephalum), Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora), Common Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis) and the handsome and fabulously named Rapacious Flangetail (Ictinogomphus rapax).
Night in Blue Magpie Lodge Sinharaja.


Day 4 - Sinharaja - Kithulgala - 13th Nov
Green's GemAfter breakfast, we will drive to Kitulgala via Kelani Valley Forest Reserve. Possible species here include Adam's Gem (Libellago adami), Fiery Emperors (Anax immaculifrons), Spine-tufted Skimmers (Orthetrum chrysis), Indigo Dropwings (Trithemis festiva), and Sri Lanka Cascaders (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus). If we have time in the afternoon we should see a few more birds including Green-billed Coucal, Chestnut-backed Owlet, Ceylon Junglefowl, Ceylon Green-Pigeon, Ceylon Hanging-Parrot, Ceylon Grey Hornbill, Black-capped Bulbul, and Yellow-fronted Barbets. Down beside the river we could again find both Green's Gem (Libellago greeni), Adam's Gem (Libellago adami) or Wandering Wisp (Agriocnemis pygmaea).  Night in Kithulgala Rest House, Kithulgala.


Day 5 - Kithugala - 14th Nov
After breakfast we will have full day excursion around the rivers and streams in the Kithulgala area. One superb area holds a great variety of species and we can hope to find such delightful species as Dark-glittering and Red-striped Threadtails (Elattoneura centralis, E. tenax), Ultima Gem (Libellago finalis), Rivulet Tiger (Gomphidia pearsoni) and Brook Hooktail (Paragomphus henryi). Among the fast flowing water we will search for Sri Lanka Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus) whose larvae cling to stones in the waterfalls. This area is another top site for birds and we may well encounter Black and Rufous-bellied Eagles, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Stork-billed Kingfisher, Green Imperial-Pigeon, Emerald Dove, Asian Palm Swift, Orange Minivet, Indian Pitta, Chestnut-headed Bee-Eater, Yellow-browed Bulbul, Asian Brown Flycatcher, Dark-fronted Babbler, Indian Blue Robin, Asian Paradise-Flycatcher, Black-naped Monarch and Large-billed Leaf-Warbler. There is a good chance of finding the diminutive Oriental Dwarf Kingfisher beside a small forest stream. Night in Kithulgala Rest House Kithulgala.

Rivulet Tiger (Gomphidia pearsoni)


Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare)Day 6 - Kithugala - Nuwara Eliya - 15th Nov
After breakfast we set off on the drive to Nuwara Eliya, on the lookout for some more endemic species. A walk around nearby wetlands and nature trails for new sightings of different forest species and a visit to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens located about 7 miles outside Nuwara Eliya, should give us the chance for noteworthy species such as Mountain Reedlings (Indolestes gracilis) Malay Lilysquatter (Paracercion malayanum), Common Bluetails (Ischnura senegalensis), Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare), Fiery Emperors (Anax immaculifrons), Sociable Glider (Tramea limbata) and Red-veined Darter (Sympetrum fonscolombii). This area is also good for Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, plus bird species that include Pied Thrush, Indian Pitta and Kashmir Flycatcher. Night in Leisure Village Hotel, Nuwara Eliya.


Day 7 - Nuwara Eliya - 16th Nov
After breakfast we will have a full day excursion in Nuwara Eliya where we will check out two different botanical gardens and their small ponds. Here we could see Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare), plus Elephant Emperor (Anax indicus) and Mountain Reedling (Indolestes gracilis). There are a few special birds in this area including the very shy Ceylon Whistling-Thrush in one of the few spots that it can be found. We may also see Ceylon Woodpigeon, Dusky-blue Flycatcher, Yellow-eared Bulbul, Ceylon Bush-Warbler, Mountain Hawk-Eagle, Pied Bushchat, Grey Tit, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and Indian Scimitar-Babbler.
Night in Leisure Village Hotel, Nuwara Eliya.

Day 8 - Nuwara Eliya - Sigiriya - 17th Nov
After breakfast we drive through the city of Kandy and head for our last destination at Sigiriya. Stops along the way could produce such species as Adam's Gem (Libellago adami), Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista asiatica), Closed-wing Reedlings (Indolestes divisus), while some nearby rice paddies could find us Blue Persuer (Potamarcha congener) and Blue Percher (Diplacodes trivialis), plus White-tipped Spreadwing (Lestes elatus) and Sociable Glider (Tramea limmbata). Night in Kassappa Lion Rock Hotel, Sigiriya.


Burmeisterís Glider (Tramea basilaris burmeisteri) Day 9 - Sigiriya - 18th Nov
Today we will check moats and ponds in the vicinity of the famous Lion Rock. Here we will be on the lookout for more exotic species of dragonfly and damselfly such as Elephant Emperor (Anax indicus), Foggy-winged Twisters (Tholymis tillarga), Blue-eyed Pondcruiser (Epophthalmia vittata cyanocephala), Paddyfield Parasol (Neurothemis intermedia), Blue Pursuer (Potamarcha congener), Blue Percher (Diplacodes trivialis) and Scalloped Spreadwing (Lestes praemorsus decipiens). Depending on time we may be able to stop at another reservoir with the chance of species such as Somber Lieutenant (Brachydiplax sobrina), Amber-winged Glider (Hydrobasileus croceus), Spine-legged Redbolt (Rhodothemis rufa), the rare Restless Demon (Indothemis limbata sita), Burmeister’s Glider (Tramea basilaris burmeisteri) and Pruinosed Bloodtail (Lathrecista  asiatica). Sigiriya Sanctuary is fantastic for dry zone dragonflies that inhabit the ancient water gardens at Sigiriya Sanctuary and the surrounding reservoirs. We will once again look for Elephant Emperor (Anax indicus) and Scalloped Spreadwings (Lestes praemorsus decipiens), plus White-tipped Spreadwings (Lestes elatus) and the elusive Asian Slim (Aciagrion occidentale). Night in Kassappa Lion Rock Hotel Sigiriya.


Light-tipped Demon†(Indothemis carnatica)Day 10 - Sigiriya - Katunayaka - 19th Nov
Leaving Sigiriya today we will check out an archeological site where we hope to find the very rare and elusive Light-tipped Demon (Indothemis carnatica). After which we will proceed to a hotel near the Airport via Kurunegala (Arankele) looking for the Indian Rockdweller or Granite Ghost (Bradinophyga geminata) and a fitting way to end this fabulous tour.


Day 11 - Departure - 20th Nov
After breakfast we will transfer to the Airport in time for your international departing flight.

Leaders:  Wicky Wickramasekara with Dennis Paulson and Tom Bird.

Sri Lanka Blue Magpie.SRI LANKA
Birds & Dragonflies

November 10 - 20, 2017
Contact Steve "at" to reserve your space!    Registration Form>

TOUR PRICE: $2650.00 per person/double occupancy from Colombo, Sri Lanka (Airport code: CMB).

Deposit: $500 per person. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal.  Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise when you have made payment. 

Single Supplement: $395.00 per person (subject to availability)

Included in cost: Group airport transfers, all accommodations in twin rooms en-suite, all meals from lunch on 10th to breakfast on 20th, includes picnic lunches where necessary, all entrance fees to National Parks, transport throughout in air-conditioned coach, and services of leaders.

Not included: Cost does not include roundtrip airfare to and from Colombo, Sri Lanka, passport/visa fees, insurance, departure taxes, items of a personal nature such as: laundry, telephone, beverages, or gratuities for porterage or personal services.

Transportation/Travel Planning: You will be responsible for making your travel plans to Colombo. We have a flight agent who can help. Information will be forthcoming about timings for arrivals and departures.

RESERVATIONS: To reserve your place on this tour, complete the Registration & Release Form and mail it with your deposit of $500.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC.  Instructions are on the form. Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.   >Download & print the Registration Form 

Final payment is due by July 10, 2017 and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Check or bank transfer are preferred but credit card payments are possible (surcharges of up to 5% are added depending on amount to cover credit card company fees).

**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Accommodation: All accommodations are of a good standard and offer en-suite rooms. 

Tour Code: This tour is focused on looking for dragonflies, but because we are all-round naturalists we will also take time to look for endemic and interesting bird species, plus butterflies, mammals, and reptiles. The weather is unpredictable and we may well encounter rain that prevents us from finding dragonfly species. In these instances we will either rest or go looking for other forms of nature. 

Cancellations and Refunds:  All cancellations must be made in writing.  In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. Please ensure that you take out adequate insurance to cover this and any other eventuality as early as possible. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur.

There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. 

Insurance:  The purchase of trip cancellation insurance to cover any eventuality is strongly recommended.  Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour. 


Contact Steve Bird at Steve "at"
Phone: 203.453.6724