Saturday, February 20, 2016

Sri Lanka - Part 17 - Yala National Park

Early this morning we had a game drive (“safari”) in the Yala National Park.

We entered the park about 6:15 AM -- a good 15 minutes before sunrise.
We ate our boxed breakfast near the beach around 8:30. About 300 jeeps enter the park every morning, and all of them seemed to come to this spot for breakfast. Which jeep is yours? The green one under a tree, parked next to a green jeep!


It’s difficult to believe that an animal as large as an elephant can hide so well in the jungle, but it’s true! We only saw two elephants. One was closer, but too well-hidden in greenery to get a photo. This one obliged a bit better.
Spotted deer were quite common.
We saw a group of male spotted deer. Some had very nice “racks”. Here two young bucks are practicing their fighting technique.
Water buffalo were probably the most commonly seen mammals. Lots of times only their horns and nose were visible above the water.
Water buffalo.
Wild boar -- we saw far more boars roaming our hotel complex than in the park!
Mongoose (mongoose? Google says that word is not in the dictionary.)


We saw a few crocodiles in the water.
And a baby croc. This one was probably about 18 inches long.


Without a doubt, birds steal the show at Yala.

Storks are hard to miss!
And photogenic
Silhouetted against the early morning sunlight.
Lots of little birds like these bee-eaters flitted around.
And seemed to enjoy posing for a portrait.
I don’t have an ID for this bird.
The brilliantly colored jungle fowl is the national bird of Sri Lanka.
Peacocks (and peahens) were abundant. It was easy to overlook them because they can look like a bush from a distance.
The peahen lacks the male’s spectacular plumage.
When displaying the peacock likes to ruffle his tail feather and shake his rear end.
Front view of a male displaying his plumage.

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