Horton Plains has fascinated me ever since my school days at Gurutalawa. Many were the weekends spent on the plains in the 60’s when we hiked up there from school.
July 13, 2012 was more like a family reunion when we spent the night at the Anderson / Ginihiriya Bungalow in Horton Plains.
We scanned the Ohiya side of the plains from 6.00 a.m in the morning of July14,2012 and decided to walk to the Big Worlds End before returning for home.
The walk was not the best I’ve had…………just at the summit of World’s End heaven came down to greet us in a very liberal way..... Need I say how we looked after that.
While changing into dry clothes we spot a large bird fly low and perch on the Gorse Shrubs The light was very dull after the heavy rain that fell on the planes after 21/2 months they said. Having dried ourselves we venture closer to the bird….. on to the Black Bride on the Ohiya Road.
It was Identified as a Purple Heron [Ardea purpurea.]
The only other close call based on colour would be the Goliath……but it was definitely not …… and not the Grey Heron either.
|The Low Flying Purple Heron in Horton Plains|
Obviously the next question was, if it had been recorded in this location before. This needed time for reference. I have now perused records as appearing in http://www.worldbirds.org/v3/srilanka.php and the entries based on elevation are as below.
Displayed are the highest elevation records.
|Dunuwila / Matale||09-02-2009||Rahula Perera ||561 m|
|Nuwara Eliya |
Victoria Park & Lake Gregory
|13-11-2008||1||Feeding||Birding||S J R N Fernando|
Based on these records it has been in Nuwara Eliya since 2008. A period of four years is sufficient for It to expand up to Horton Plains [Elevation 2112 m] given the amount of clearing of land from Mipilinana / Ambewela / Pattipola for vegitable cultivation. Kande-ela too is found to be highly exploited. Most water ways have gone dry for them having been diverted for agriculture.
However it would be interesting to study its development if it sticks on the plains; for its presence in the plains would impact the amphibian and other invertebrate fauna.