19 September, 2020

Deep Forest

Incredible biodiversity in a precious rainforest. The Sinharaja national park holds many treasures.

Deep Forest
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

I could not believe my eyes. At a distance of fifteen feet from me sat one of nature’s most gaudily coloured birds, looking like it belonged in the sketchbook of a ten-year-old who had been handed a magical paintbox. The Sri Lanka blue magpie, with startlingly red beak and feet, brownish-red neck and wings, brilliant blue back and bluish belly and tail, yellow tail-ends and a bright red eye-ring making it appear like it was glaring at you, was nonchalantly eating a grasshopper. Several of its flock companions were calling out noisily from nearby trees. The hopper-chewing magpie obligingly allowed me to take several pictures, then flew off to join its flock.

I was at Martin’s Lodge, on the edge of one of Sri Lanka’s richest ecosystems. The Sinharaja Forest Reserve is a 111.87 sq km rainforest teeming with life. Though once subject to logging and forestry operations, it has been protected for sufficiently long to recover as one of the country’s most biologically diverse areas. So much so that it became a Biosphere Reserve in 1978, a National...

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