In the stillness, water splashes against the boat as you drift gently along. A peculiar bird call carries across the breeze, sometimes answered in return by another bird, a unique form of communication that humans are not privy to. Suddenly in your line of sight, you catch a flash of brown; you scan the skies and then you spot it; a majestic Brahminy kite soaring through the air, wings fully expanded, surveying the territory below. The Muthurajawela Wetland offers such outdoor adventures, perfect for bird watching enthusiasts.
A saltwater coastal peat bog which is the largest of its kind in Sri Lanka, the Muthurajawela Wetland is a protected sanctuary and is rich in biodiversity. This wetland is within easy reach of the coastal city of Negombo known for offering both luxury and budget hotels in Sri Lanka. Amongst the budget options, Hotel J Negombo is amongst the choices one can consider and is a little over half an hour drive from the Muthurajawela Visitor Centre.
Located in between the Kelani River and the Negombo Lagoon, Muthurajawela is one of the island’s most important wetlands and is part of a habitat that encompasses more than 6,000 hectares of mangroves and marshland. Within this thriving ecosystem, one can find around 190 plant species and more than 200 animal species, of which bird species number more than a hundred.
One of the best ways to explore and experience the natural heritage of the Muthurajawela Wetland is to take a boat ride along the waters. If you are into bird watching make sure you have a field guide book or a knowledgeable friend or guide who can identify the different birds you may come across. Keep your eyes peeled for varieties such as cormorants, purple swamp hens, common moorhens, common redshanks, lesser whistling-ducks and white-bellied sea eagles. Birds aside, you may also spot toque monkeys, water monitors and saltwater crocodiles, among the other animal residents that call Muthurajawela home.
Roland Lefevre is a travel writer who specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe. Google+