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|Year and Month||20 Aug, 2016|
|Number of Days||1|
|Crew||Hasi, Gayan, Kasun and Me|
|Transport||By Car & On Foot.|
|Activities||Trekking, Photography, Sightseeing, Bird Watching, etc…|
|Weather||Excellent except for couple of light rains.|
|Route||Maharagama->Kottawa->E-1->Dodangoda Exit->Matugama->Agalawatta->Baduraliya->Hedigalla->Runakanda and return on the same route. About 85km from Maharagama|
|Tips, Notes and Special remark||
|Comments||Discuss this trip report, provide feedback or make suggestions at Lakdasun Forum on the thread|
Birding is a favorite pastime among people who love watching the behavior of these wonderful creatures of the Mother Nature. However compared to other areas such as hiking, wildlife, etc. this is mainly done by relatively lesser number of people.
Gayan’s has become addicted to birds since recently thus we too have no choice but to follow him at times looking up at trees bending our necks at unusual angles almost dislocating the spinal cord near the neck. It’s a great miracle that these bird lovers manage to walk without tripping themselves as they don’t tend to look at the path or where they step on. If you have seen those pigeon lovers in the urban areas, you would know what I’m talking about. The only difference is that these bird lovers don’t whistle like those pigeon folks do.
Ok, back to Runakanda. This is a part of Sinharaja actually but is now being proposed as a separate Forest Reserve. I hope this will get legalized soon as we’re fast losing our forest areas. Even Runakanda like many wet zone rain forests have been ravaged by the Walla Patta Hunters. According to villagers many outsider had come in gangs and stayed inside the forest living in makeshift shelters or caves chopping down Walla Patta trees and making loads of money. The FD and Police are in high alert even though the damage has already been done thus the reason why you shouldn’t venture into these areas on your own.
We heard that the FD is now distributing Walla Patta plants for commercial planting where they help with the chemicals to produce that specific bit of residue after 5 years. At the age of 8, the tree is good to cut down and harvest. Hopefully these will put a stop to the destruction of our virgin forests.
We were greeted by Chanaka’s father-in-law and he was a very friendly and hospitable gentleman. He’s a retired Grama Sewaka in the same are so has a fair knowledge of the surroundings. Chanaka was away so he’d arranged Chathura who’s originally from the village inside the forest but they’ve moved to the village on this side of the river due to lack of facilities. However his father and grandparents have objected vehemently to the idea and are living inside the forest to date. Maguru Ganga is the border between the forest and the village and she acts like a protective shield for the forest from the evilness. Unfortunately even she’s not been able to defeat the wicked acts inflicted on the forest by those greedy people.
We hadn’t prepared for this journey properly due to the lack of details so this turned out to be a reconnaissance mission which we conducted to get a feel for the place. We’ll be going again for sure armed with the information we obtained and better prepared. So here are the pictures I managed to take in our short stay and hope you’ll enjoy.
Well folks, I hope you got some valuable details about Runakanda in this short story. It really is a bio-diversity hotspot which needs to be protected before it’s too late. Do visit this place by all means but adhere to the laws of the nature and do your utmost to protect it.
This is Sri signing off and would hopefully meet you again with another fairy tale.