Ian Lockwood

MUSINGS, TRIP ACCOUNTS AND IMAGES FROM SOUTH ASIA

Archive for February 2020

Central Highlands (Northern Route) WWW Experience 2020

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Looking south in the high peaks of the Knuckles (Dumbara) range from the newly flooded Kaluganga reservoir.

This year OSC’s Highlands WWW experience took a different, more northern route to Sri Lanka’s loftiest peaks, offering fresh opportunities to explore themes of ecology, landscape and culture in the mountainous interior of the island. The group included 13 MYP5 and DP1 students from a variety of countries. Desline Attanayake supported me in guiding them as we headed north to Yapahuwa, overnighted in Pidurangala and then headed into the Knuckles for three days. Our final night was at Nuwara Eliya where we enjoyed a final night of frogging.

Amphibians were once again a key point of interest on our daily walks. The lingering North East Monsson brought heavy rains to the Knuckles and provided ideal opportunities to look for frogs and their predators. Our main target species was the point endemic Kirtisinghe’s rock frog or marbled streamlined frog (Nannophrys marmorata). It is restricted to wet rock surfaces at the Pitawala Pantana on the road to Riverston. Our team was assisted by the able and knowledgeable Knuckles-based guide KC. He helped us locate several individuals in an area that Lenny and I had searched in vain for back in June. We were less successful with our planned hike to Manigala where heavy rain and unmarked paths forced us to cut short the walk. Staying at Sir Johns Bungalow was a new part of the experience and it proved to be an ideal base for our Knuckles explorations. Our final 24 hours in Nuwara Eliya were productive with rich frog and bird sightings. We were also happy to enjoy the hill station’s crisp, clear winter weather sans precipitation. As usual, we ended the trip with a visit to Pidurutalagala- something that took an extra effort through Desline and MYP5 student Lithira.

OSC_group_at_Yapahuwa_iP_1(01_20)

OSC Highlands group at Yapahuwa steps. This was the first day of our five day foray into Sri Lanka’s highlands. Yapahuwa is not in the highlands, but it was on our way and offered a worthy first peak to climb and explore.

Yapahuwa_approach_iP_1(MR)(01_20)

Approaching the eastern face of the Yapahuwa rock fortress, a splendid archeological site on the road up to Anuradhapura. Yapahuwa was briefly a capital of the ancient kings and hosted the tooth relic in the 13th Century.

The hunt for….

Kirtisinghe’s rock frog or marbled streamlined frog (Nannophrys marmorata) at the Pitiwala Pantana. This is a Sri Lankan point endemic species located in a very, very narrow geographic area.

First night on the adventures….OSC Highlands group climbs Pidurtalagala for sunset.

 

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PAST WWW TRIPS

FURTHER READING & REFERENCES

Bambaradeniya Channa and S P Ekanayake. A Guide to the Biodiversity of the Knuckles Forest Range. Colombo: IUCN. 2003. Print.

Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF). Western Ghats and Sri Lanka Biodiversity Hotspot. May 2007. Web.

De Silva, Anslem and Kanisha Ukuwela. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Reptiles of Sri Lanka. Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2017. Print.

Rodrigo, Malaka. “Lanka’s central highlands win heritage battle”. The Sunday Times. 8 August 2010. Web.

Senevirathna, Ishanda. The Peeping Frogs of Nuwara Eliya. Colombo: Jetwings, 2018. Print.

Singhalage Darshani, Nadeera Weerasinghe and Gehan de Silva Wijeratne. A Naturalist’s Guide to the Flowers of Sri Lanka. Colombo: Vijitha Yapa Publications, 2018. Print.

Somaweera, Ruchira & Nilusha. Lizards of Sri Lanka: A Colour Guide With Field Keys. Frankfurt: Edition Chimaira 2009. Print.

Werner, Wolfgang. Sri Lanka’s Magnificent Cloud Forests. Colombo: Wildlife Heritage Trust, 2001. Print.

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