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Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis)In association with Steve Bird's Wildlife
With Dennis Paulson

November 24 - December 4, 2018
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Experience the beautiful teardrop of India!  To date there have been 124 species of dragonfly identified on the lush island of Sri Lanka with almost half of these endemic. Such a high level of endemism makes this a wonderful country to visit for those interested in these fascinating and beautiful insects. Our trip is led by an expert on Sri Lanka's dragonflies and our itinerary has been designed in order to see a good variety of them.

Velvet-fronted NuthatchVisiting many well-known areas such as Sinharaja, Kitulgala, Newara Eliya and Sigiriya, we will search ponds, streams, rivers, wetlands and any area that will produce our target species. The island of Sri Lanka obviously 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 and spotting butterflies and mammals and reptiles of Sri Lanka, making it an all around interesting and exciting tour to an absolutely fascinating and beautiful country.

Photos: Above, Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis)
Right, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch.

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Elusive Adjutant Day 1 - Arrive Colombo - Talangama - 24th Nov
Please plan on a morning arrival in Colombo, the capitol of Sri Lanka (please try to arrive no later than 09.00 am.) We can arrange a night in a hotel near the airport the night before at an additional cost if necessary.

As our tour begins, we will drive to Talangama on the outskirts of this vast city. 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 where we stay for the next 3 nights.

Day 2 - Sinharaja - 25th Nov
Ebony GemOur 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 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 see. Many of the dragonfly species in Sinharaja are very 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 to find Ebony Gem (Libellago corbeti), a species only discovered in 2007 and only on one tiny stream in Sinharaja.

There are of course many more exciting dragonflies here, possible species including Fruhstorfer’s Jungle Watcher (Hylaeothemis Purple-faced Leaf Monkey fruhstorferi) a Sinharaja specialty, Sapphire Flutterer (Rhyothemis triangularis), Restless Demon (Indothemis limbata sita), Rapacious Flangetail (Ictinogomphus rapax), Malay Lilysquatter (Paracercion malayanum), Yellow Waxtail (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 during our search for dragonflies we will no doubt come across some of them, including Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, Yellow-fronted Barbet, Velvet-fronted Nuthatch and with luck a day- roosting Sri Lanka Frogmouth or Serendib Scops-Owl. Amazing large Water Monitors can be seen, and the endemic Purple-faced Leaf Monkey will delight us.


Day 3 - Sinharaja - 26th Nov
Serendib Scops-owlWe will have another full day to explore this fabulous area, including walking several trails in majestic rainforest. Early morning around the lodge and late afternoons when the dragonflies quiet down, we have a chance to search for 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 even Green-billed Coucal.

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, White-faced Starling, and noisy parties of Ashy- headed Laughingthrushes. Other species present may include Lesser Yellownape, Black-rumped Flameback, Malabar Trogon, Chestnut-winged Cuckoo, Tickell's Blue Flycatcher, Green Warbler, Square-tailed Black Bulbul, Ceylon Spurfowl and Sri Lanka Junglefowl, whilst Brown-backed Needletails may be overhead. We also have chances for the endemic Serendib Scops-owl and Sri Lanka Frogmouth.

Dragonflies here are plentiful, and we will be looking for species such as the rare Fruhstorfer’s Jungle Watcher (Hylaeothemis fruhstorferi), Fiery Emperor (Anax immaculifrons), Spine-tufted Rapacious Flangetail Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysis), Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva), and Sri Lanka Cascader (Zygonyx iris ceylonicus), Asian Pintail (Acisoma panorpoides), Green Skimmer (Orthetrum sabina), Crimson Dropwing (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 (Pseudagrion microcephalum), Crimson Dropwing (Trithemis aurora), Common Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis) and the handsome and fabulously named Rapacious Flangetail (Ictinogomphus rapax).


Day 4 - Sinharaja - Kithulgala - 27th 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 Emperor (Anax immaculifrons), Spine- tufted Skimmer (Orthetrum chrysis), Indigo Dropwing (Trithemis festiva), and Sri Lanka Cascader (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 Barbet. Beside the river we could again find both Green's Gem (Libellago greeni) and Adam's Gem (Libellago adami) ad well as one of the world's smallest damselflies, Wandering Wisp (Agriocnemis pygmaea).


Day 5 - Kithugala - 28th Nov
Rivulet TigerAfter breakfast we will have a full day around the rivers and streams in the Kitulgala area. One superb area holds a great variety of species, and we can hope to find such delightful ones as Dark-glittering and Red-striped Threadtails (Elattoneura centralis, E. tenax), Ultima Gem (Libellago finalis), Rivulet Tiger (Gomphidia pearsoni) and Brook Hooktail (Paragomphus henryi). Over 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.

Triangle SkimmerDay 6 -Kithugala - Nuwara Eliya - 29th 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 forest species and a visit to the Hakgala Botanical Gardens located about 7 miles outside Nuwara Eliya should give us the chance for species such as Mountain Reedling (Indolestes gracilis) Malay Lilysquatter (Paracercion malayanum), Common Bluetail (Ischnura senegalensis), Triangle Skimmer (Orthetrum triangulare), Fiery Emperor (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.

Day 7 - Nuwara Eliya - 30th Nov
After breakfast we will have a full day excursion in Nuwara Eliya where we will check out two 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.

Day 8 -Nuwara Eliya - Sigiriya – 01st Dec
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 limbata).


Day 9 - Sigiriya - 02nd Dec
Burmeisterís GliderToday 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 dragonflies such as Elephant Emperor (Anax indicus), Foggy-winged Twister (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). 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 Spreadwing (Lestes praemorsus decipiens), plus White-tipped Spreadwing (Lestes elatus) and the elusive Asian Slim (Aciagrion occidentale).


Light-tipped DemonDay 10 - Sigiriya - Katunayaka – 03rd Dec
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 - 04th Dec
After breakfast we will transfer to the Airport in time for your international departing flight.

Leaders: Tom Bird and local guide Wicky with Dennis Paulson.

Dennis Paulson
Dennis PaulsonDennis Paulson grew up in Miami, exposed to subtropical nature in all its glory while southern Florida was still largely unspoiled. He received his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Miami in 1966 with a study of the dragonflies of southern Florida, and shortly thereafter he moved to Seattle, where he has lived ever since. He retired as the Director of the Slater Museum of Natural History at the University of Puget Sound, where he also taught in the Biology Department. Dennis has taught at three universities and continues to teach adult-education courses in many venues. He has also led nature tours and traveled on his own to all continents, and he has studied and photographed dragonflies and birds worldwide and published over 75 scientific papers on his favorite animals. He is an avid nature photographer, with many photos published in magazines, books and interpretive displays.

Dennis's published books include Dragonflies and Damselflies of The West; Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East; Shorebirds of North America:The Photographic Guide; Shorebirds of the Pacific Northwest; Exotic Birds; and Alaska: The Ecotravellers' Wildlife Guide. Beyond these interests, he is a well-rounded naturalist with a broad knowledge of plants and animals of the world.

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Pied Parasol.SRI LANKA Dragonflies!
November 24 - December 4, 2018
With Dennis Paulson
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TOUR PRICE: $2650.00 per person, double occupancy from Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Single supplement: $395.00

$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.

Included in cost: All accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals from lunch on 24th Nov to breakfast on 4th Dec, 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 from your home airport, passport/visa fees, insurance, departure taxes, items of a personal nature such as: laundry, telephone, beverages, or gratuities for porterage or personal services.

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.

This tour is being run through - Steve’s Birds Wildlife – Birding & Wildlife Tours, 5 Quarry Cottages, Plymouth, Devon, UK. Contact Steve Bird for more information.

Please note if booking from the US, registration and payments can be made through Sunrise Birding LLC.
Sunrise Birding LLC, PO Box 274, Cos Cob, CT 06807 US.  Contact

RESERVATIONS: Contact either or to reserve your space! Then, 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 

Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run. Final payment is due August 24, 2018 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).

Transportation/Travel Planning: You will be responsible for making your travel plans to Colombo, Sri Lanka. Information will be forthcoming about timings for arrivals and departures. Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights. We have a flight agent who can help. Please do not book flights until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run.

Note: This tour is being run through Steve’s Birds Wildlife – Birding & Wildlife Tours, 5 Quarry Cottages, Plymouth, Devon, UK. Contact Steve Bird for more information.
If booking from the US then payments can be made through Sunrise Birding LLC.

**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.

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. 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. 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.

Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

This tour is being run through Steve Bird's Wildlife
Steve’s Birds Wildlife – Birding & Wildlife Tours
5 Quarry Cottages, Plymouth, Devon, UK. PL5 3PF
Contact Steve Bird for more information.