Among the many things Sri Lanka is known for, the local wildlife is a special attraction. There are a number of national parks and reserves scattered around the island that are home to several indigenous species. Travelling north of Colombo, the country’s capital, along the coast you will arrive at a small up and coming resort town. With a new expressway providing convenient access, a handful of charming little family run restaurants and more than one high end hotel, Negombo is gaining much popularity. There is a famous fish market on Negombo Beach and as a result, some fine seafood to be savoured. If you are looking for a hotel in the area, Club Hotel Dolphin is family friendly property, only minutes away from Bandaranaike International Airport.
Further north in Chilaw, you will find the one thousand four hundred hectare Anawilundawa Sanctuary that must be on the itinerary of every bird watcher. The wetland, which is sustained by seven man-made irrigation tanks, was declared a Ramsar site by the Ramsar Convention. The landscape is a unique mix of paddy fields, marshland, sand dunes, canals, mangroves and grasslands that flood during the monsoon. Sightings of more than one hundred and fifty species of birds have been recorded in the area, including migrant species. Openbill, Purple Coot, Common Moorhen, Lesser Whistling Teal, Purple Heron, Grey Heron are a few of the interesting birds one can expect to see along with many varieties of butterflies and dragonflies. The best time to visit is between November and January when migratory water birds like the Garganey and Pintail Duck are present.
The Nawadankulama Tank is about half and hour’s drive from the Anawilundawa Sanctuary. It is barren and dry when there is no rainfall. The tank is frequented by large flocks of migrant ducks. Collared dove and Indian grey partridge are present year round along with several species of eagle.
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.