Small Pratincole at Yala NP beach/ Sri Lankas

Tiny grains of sand whirl up. The wind on the southern coast of Sri Lanka is very decent again. There is sand and salt in the air. The combination of wind, sand drifts and blazing sun does not allow many visitors to enjoy the beautiful beach just 100 meters from the hotel in the dunes. First, we walk past a few smooth rocks to the south, between limestone boulders, half standing in the sea. Some limicoles can be seen. A narrow, gray bird crouched next to a rock in the sand catches the eye. With its pale, sandy gray overall appearance and it black rump, the bird can hardly be distinguished from its background of stones, rocks and sand. Only the black beak with a hint of red at the base and the white eye ring are noticeable from a closer distance.

It is a single Little Pratincole or Small Pratincole (Glareola lactea). The Pratincole is really beautiful to see and can also be photographed at eye level. I crouch in the sand to photograph the bird at the same level. The Small Pratincole has chosen a place on dry land but not far from the wet beach. What the bird does in the hot wasteland is not clear. There is also a Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos). Some Greater Sand-Plover (Charadrius leschenaultii) can be seen on a dune as well. At first I had seen at least 5 Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres) on one of the rocks, which are occasionally wetted by breakwaters. For such a barren coastal landscape, there is a surprising number of birds. In the end, the Little Pratincole flies up, but only to sit down again after a few meters. This time it is standing on a rounded rock. I continue to walk north. Only a Greater Sand-Plover can be seen here.

Breeding is reported from India and Sri Lanka. But the bird is locally migratory, depending on water levels of rivers, but present in many breeding areas only Apr–Aug, moving to lower elevations in winter. Thus the Sandbrachschwalbe is mainly or exclusively a summer breeding visitor to Bhutan, Pakistan and NE Afghanistan and disappears from Indus River in midwinter. Thus the origin of the birds obverved in southern Sri Lanka in midwinter ist not clear. Elsewhere, probably mostly short-range movements reported in response to changing water levels. The Sandbrachschwalbe is a vagrant or an uncommon winter visitor West to Yemen, Arabian Gulf (Bahrain, Iran and United Arab Emirates) and Oman. An appearance in the western palearctic is not completely impossible.

Others think that the Small Pratincole is of course a beautiful species, but they do not come close to the beauty of the Grey Pratincole (Glareola cinerea). Another favorite among the Pratincoles is the Australian Pratincole (Stiltia isabella), mainly because of its habits and ist shape.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds you can find in the western palearctic.  Trips to remote places like this one to capture images not only of rare birds of western palearctic were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” ( very soon. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.



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