Yala National Park is the most famous national park in Sri Lanka.It’s the national park with the highest density of leopards in the world.It’s an excellent park to spot mammals,where they can be found in good numbers, and to see birds as well.
I set up the safari in my guesthouse for early morning, around 6 o’clock.It costed about 70 euros, including car, driver and entrance fees.
I was very excited to see leopard in the wild for the first time of my life.I woke up early and the driver took us to the main entrance in about 30 minutes.
The first mammal that we saw was an Asian Sloth Bear,one of my favourite and most desirable mammals that i wanted to see.The bear appeared on the left side of the car.I got very close views of this magnificent animal,which remained for a few minutes in our range sight.This animal,that is small and very cute,can be quite dangerous although.It has powerful claws that can severly injure and kill a person in a matter of seconds.See picture below.
Indian Peafowls were here in decent numbers.Painted storks were common here as well as other species as Eurasian Spoonbill,Black-headed Ibis,all types of Egrets,Lesser Whistling Ducks,see picture below, and many other waterfowl seen on the many lakes that abound in Yala.
In Yala I could get close views of the magnificent Spot-billed Pelican.See picture below.
Mammals were very abundant.Spotted Deer and Asian Elephants were easily seen grazing on the lush green grass.See picture below.
Wild Boar were on the breeding season and their calves and protective mothers were searching for food around.See picture below.
Mongooses sometimes made their appearance along the dirt track and looked at us with curiosity.See picture below.
Time was running out.We saw many excellent mammals and bird species but no signs of the main attraction of the park,the Asian Leopard.It’s a quite shy animal and difficult to observe due to its eating habits.During the day this animal usually lays on the branches of trees or in some shadow area while it’s active mostly in the first and last hours of the day.
Finally our driver could find an individual hiding among the branches and leaves of a dense tree.It remained there for a long time.We waited almost 20 minutes expecting that he would move and we would have a great view of him.After almost losing our hope to have a good glimpse of the animal,the animal suddenly went down the tree.We could see all his majestuous dotted body under the shadow.This was the time i could take the picture.Then he jumped and went to a narrow trail and disappeared among the bushes in a matter of seconds.See picture below.
I expected to get better views of the animal,but i was very satisfied to be able to watch and photograph him,even just for a few seconds.
Around 12 o’clock we went back.The heat was hard to stand and our driver brought us back to the guesthouse.
Another great day in Sri Lanka,specially for mammal watching and some interesting birds spotted !!!
See you soon my friends.Next stop, Mirissa !!!!!