Amidst the well populated suburbs of Attidiya, just outside Colombo, lie the marshy lands of Attidiya Bird Sanctuary. Bordering the famous Bellanwila Buddhist Temple; the sanctuary has rich and diverse birdlife, despite its comparatively smaller area. The Attidiya Bird Sanctuary is well known for its migratory and endemic water birds; but is also a great place to watch butterflies.
Size: 372 hectares Geological information: Forested wetlands. Includes mangrove and freshwater marshes Number of species of birds discovered: 166 Number of species of butterflies discovered: 71 Number of species of fish discovered: 44 There are also quite a few species of mammals, amphibians and repties found.
Visitors can travel through the sanctuary on foot. The main trail begins next to the information centre at Attidiya and continues through the marsh; passes alongside the Bolgoda canal coming out on the opposite boundary of the park on Attidiya road. The information centre has many leaflets on the wildlife found in the sanctuary.
The viewing tower halfway down the trail provides the perfect location for a short break, or for a longer stop to do some quiet birdwatching. The place also has a good view of Adam’s Peak in the distance. Some of the rarer birds to be observed are the Indian Shag, Wide Winged Purple Heron, Blue Breasted Banded Tail, Ruddy Crake, Spot Billed Pelican, Purple Coot, White Ibis, Painted Stork and the elusive Glossy Ibis. The sanctuary also conceals crocodiles, fishing cats, jackals and many other wildlife. There are quite a few side trails, but they are not based on proper firm land in some places. As such explorers may get drenched in mud quite frequesntly.