wilderness digest cover

Volume 22 - September 2021


Dear Colleague

As part of our efforts to provide an enriched experience to our loyal partners and guests, we are happy to present the humorous and information-packed Volume 22 of the Ceylon Wilderness Digest. 

Happy reading! 

Eco Team - Sri Lanka

Your Sri Lankan wilderness specialist


No Junior, you can’t eat only the green ones!

A young Tufted Gray Langur gets a lesson in nutrition


“Red, Green, Orange and Purple. That’s what a good diet looks like, Junior. We may be Old World monkeys, but that doesn’t mean that we stay stuck in the old ways. Otherwise we would have been extinct by now. Although I wouldn’t mind some of your dad’s relatives going extinct. Don’t tell him I said that. But getting back to the subject, you have to start eating more fruits and seeds. Even though our stomachs are adapted to ferment and dissolve leaves, it makes our stomach bloat. Do you like being bloated all the time? No? Good. Now let’s go to the lake for your last lesson.”


Fun Facts

“Your dad should be teaching you this secret, but he is probably busy fighting another male who’s challenging him for leadership of the tribe. Now, you see those beautiful Lotus flowers in the water? The seeds are delicious! Here’s the thing, you could reach down from a tree and grab the flower, but there’s almost always a nasty old croc lurking underneath. The smarter way to get them is to head over to one of those human temples. The humans leave loads of these there and they don’t even eat them. What idiots! If only they knew how good these are to eat. So now you know the secret to getting lotus seeds!”


Story of the photo

This cute picture of a mum and son expanding their palate was captured by Dilum, at the Sithulpawwa Raja Maha Viharaya. Built in the 2nd century B.C by King Kavantissa, this ancient Buddhist monastery is one of the attractions in the Yala-Kataragama area, and is easily accessible from the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Yala.


Racing around the Island

A conversation between a couple of Bottlenose Dolphins


“Horace, how many laps have we done now?”
Let me see, hmmm that’s Alankuda we just passed isn’t it? Well then my dear Chauncey, I’d say that it put us at 453 laps around the Island.
“That’s a good practice session for the Dolphin Olympics! But now I’m feeling a spot peckish, shall we stop for lunch?”
Well, I do prefer Alankuda to Mirissa for lunch. Those lumbering whales that gobble everything don’t seem to show up here and it does have a nice selection of squid and fish.
“The only downside is that those lunatic Spinner dolphins are likely to show up at any given moment.”
You have a point, but let’s chance it my dear Chauncey! Also, we might meet that saucy little Striped dolphin you fancy… what was her name? Cairistiona? Clementine?


Fun Facts

“It’s Seraphina. Now shush. There are too many different dolphins around in Alankuda. Someone is going to hear and tell her.”
Chauncey, you are so smitten that ALL the dolphins around Sri Lanka - us Bottlenoses, the Humpbacks, the Risso’s, the Fraser’s, the Striped, and the Spinners - know that you like her! Even the Orcas, Pilot Whales and those super-introverted Dugongs know.
“Ah, well then. I suppose I should talk to her then?”
Yes, I think that would be a good place to start. Now enough chit-chat… last one to catch a squid is a big fat Sea Cucumber!


Story of the photo

Pods of resident and migratory dolphins are a common sight around Sri Lanka’s North Western and Southern coast. The Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Wilpattu and any of the Southern Mahoora Tented Safari Camps are ideal launching grounds for dolphin and whale watching tours. This pair of dolphins was captured by photographer Dilum whilst on a family tour in the seas off of Kalpitiya.


Optimisation is the key!

Learn the way of the Grey Headed Fish Eagle to find your optimal self



Behold, me, the Grey-Headed Fish Eagle! A perfect specimen of design and energy consumption optimisation. Sporting features such as:

  • Spending copious amounts of time just perching on tree tops
  • Flying as little as possible
  • Pooh-poohing any thoughts of migration and
  • Not-doing-any-aerial-stunts-like-other-loser-birds!

I masterfully avoid drawing attention to myself and enduring energy sapping interactions with other creatures by having:

  • Simply Grey as head feather colouring
  • Common White for my belly and tail
  • Basic Brown for my neck and breast
  • Extra Dark Basic Brown for my wings and
  • A fearsome wailing screech that’s a cross between a laugh and a scream, which would scare the bejeezus out of any creature!

 Fun Facts

I, the amazing Grey Headed Fish Eagle, have even super-optimised my hunting technique by:

  • Eating only fish
  • Eating only fish that swim close to the surface
  • Living next to reservoirs, lakes, marshes and swamps to eat only fish that swim close to the surface
  • Not being choosy at all if the fish is dead-and-washed-up-on-shore-or-floating-on-the-surface and
  • Pretending that small lizards and birds are fish when I can’t be bothered hunting for fish! 

Story of the photo

Jokes aside, this fearsome raptor actually is an excellent example of dominating the space it lives in. Dilum was able to capture this predator tucking into his lunch, when he was on safari at the Wilpattu National Park. These raptors can often be spotted from the comfort of the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Wilpattu as the camp is situated near a lake.


Sitting in one place? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

The always-on-the-go Ceylon White-eye



“What? Who? You want to talk? Keep up man. We’ve got places to go and things to do. Why are you alone by the way? Don’t you know it’s more fun to be in a flock? Look at us. We have so much fun as a flock hunting for insects, caterpillars, nibbling on fruit and drinking copious amounts of nectar. You’re missing out, this is the life! Which one am I? Oh I’m the real deal, the endemic Ceylon White-eye. Can’t you tell? Of course you can’t, you’re a silly human. I know the Oriental White-eye looks like us, but we’re bigger and have more yellow on our breast area and we have these nice dark patches between our eyes and our bills - it highlights the white ring around our eyes and makes us look more mysterious!”


Fun Facts

“We love woody areas. So we don’t care if it’s a garden or a forest, if it’s lowland or highland… life’s too short man. We go where the food is and we like to make a lot of noise too. Can I get a chirp-chirp my peeps? Now, my man, enough chit chat, I have to go. Mating season is about to start and I have to feed to be fit enough for that, if you know what I mean *wink wink*. Also, constructing a nest and looking after two eggs is not as easy as people think, even with a mate to help you!”

Story of the photo

This family of White-eyes was captured by Dilum at the Mahoora Tented Safari Camp in Wilpattu in July this year. The birds are a common sight at the camp and often liven up a still day with their antics and cheerful chirping.


Our Photographer :

Dilum Madushanka (@safari_sailor) a Marine engineer by profession. Following his motto : Six months in the Sea and Six months in the Jungle, a great nature enthusiast with an uncanny ability to capture the best moments of the wild.His passion is to bring awareness to everyone about the fascinating great outdoors through his photos and videos.