The Small Stuff (Yala 05/06/2010)

The Sri Lankan Big Four. Leopard, bear, elephant, buffalo. Those are generally the animals that are synonymous with Yala. Yet on this trip to Yala I took a few minutes off when we stopped for a rest at the Menik Ganga to take a small break and look out for the small stuff. And the search was surprisingly rewarding, not only in terms of obtaining some pictures of animals you usually don’t associate with Yala but also for getting a couple of more ‘arty’ shots.
The Menik Ganga (River)
(Photo Courtesy of PP)
The first item of interest on the menu was a roiling black mass on the white sands bordering the river. Taking a closer look I was astonished to see hundreds of small beetles engaging in what could be described as an all out orgy. I’m guessing it was a mass breeding of these beetles which happened every now and then and the copulating carabids made for some very interesting macro efforts.
Beetle orgy
Wandering over to where the trees overhung some still water, it was apparent that sex was on everybody’s mind as I stumbled upon two mayflies mating. Unfortunately I’m an insect neophyte so was unable to identify the species. The light was also very dim under the canopy so my shots were more abstract than perhaps I would have liked, but then capturing mating mayflies on the move is dim light is no easy task.
Mayflies mating
Leaving the mayflies to their own devices I wandered over to the river and noted the gorgeous colours of the decaying leaves in the water, chocolate browns, dark red and bright yellow, shimmering in the water. Of course since I’m easily distracted I was promptly distracted by an unidentified butterfly that teased me by not settling down for a clear picture apart from a few brief moments.

Leaves in the Ganga; Unidentified Butterfly
The icing on the cake for the small stuff was the shy frogs inhabiting a little pool of still water near the dried up bank. I played hide and seek with them amongst the fringe of rootlets dropping into the water to get a few interesting pictures of a somewhat common amphibian.
Peek-a-boo Frog; Bolder Frogs

There is of course a moral to this post. The next time you're in Yala, do take a break at the Menik Ganga, do not litter (and pick up what other people have left behind) and take a look around you for the small stuff. Trust me, it's as interesting as any leopard can be.

Note that I haven’t put in the species for the frog and the butterfly in the images simply because I’m lazy to ID them. If anyone does know what they are please let me know! Thank you in advance!


Dee said...

amazing pics! Wow

Darwin said...

gorgeous. so many people completely miss the small stuff and wander towards the traffic-jams at yala for the leopard shots. this is a very cool reminder that theres so much more to yala than that!