Stymied in Serendib

We’ve just returned from three wonderful weeks in Sri Lanka – beautiful country, beautiful people, beautiful food, fantastic wildlife. And nicely hot too: 30 degrees Celsius is a lot more attractive than 30 degrees Fahrenheit in the middle of a British winter.

One of the highlights of the trip was to be a visit to the Sinharaja National Park, a remnant area of rainforest well known for its high concentration of endemic bird species. There I had planned to do some recording – perhaps catch the chattering of the Sri Lanka Blue Magpie, the White-faced Starling, the Sri Lanka Thrush, the Purple-faced Leaf Monkey, etc, etc.

We arrived as planned, and in the afternoon I did indeed record a good number of endemic species around our not-so-luxurious cabin. Next day, eagerly up at 5.30am, I headed off in the humid mist with my guide to the nearby park entrance. But if we had travelled uphill so far, things started to descend rather abruptly. The little man at the entrance desk took one look at my recording gear and declared that I would not be able to do any sound recording “without a permit in advance from Head Office”.

I asked him to show me the said regulations, but he could not. None of my arguments could sway him. In spite of being surrounded by photographers dragging L-series lenses as big as a Saturn V, who were allowed in without question, it appeared that my little MKH416 and an LS-10 were strictly verboten. So I left my gear in his little office, which was all very frustrating, since on my return I found loads of recordings from Sinharaja on the interweb.

Luckily I had the presence of mind to remember the mobile phone in my pocket, so here are the calls from a pair of endemic and elusive Sri Lank Spurfowl Galloperdix bicalcarata, sadly recorded on a handheld Samsung Galaxy S2.

Sri Lanka Spurfowl:

Just think how good the other recordings could have been without Mr Jobsworth.


Leave a Reply