Fauna & Flora
The five acre forest garden surrounding the Far Cry bungalow is home to myriad species of fauna and flora. This enchanting place is the outcome of the painstaking transformation back to nature of an abandoned chena covered in thorny scrub. A creatively designed network of trails give guests access to hundreds of trees and plants that are now carefully nurtured, and kept free of weeds and creepers which threaten to stunt their growth, allowing the keen nature lover ample opportunities to study and research the anatomy of a near perfect miniature dry zone eco-system. Two sizeable rainy-weather ponds within the property complemented by the appropriate fruit bearing shrubs have restored the food cycles long lost to this patch of land. To prove it, one has only to look down at the lawn from that fine vantage point of the upper deck of the bungalow at midnight for a simple head-count of black nape hares happily nibbling below though their feast lasts only till a fish owl shows up on the nearby “palu” tree! Mongoose, bandicoot, giant squirrels and somewhat rarely some spotted deer are other small fauna you may encounter at Far Cry.
Attracted by the lush forest cover, and the closeness to water, the forest abounds with endemic and migrant birds. If it is the migratory season you will not be surprised to account for over a hundred species of birds in one go within an hour. Several rare species such as of the northern orange headed ground thrush and the red wing crested cuckoo have been sighted by visitors over the last year. The wewa is home to many types of raptors, and you may witness the drama as a grey headed fish eagle, perched on a dead stump scores off a betraying movement in the clear water beneath. We even have a resident Barn Owl who hunts every night from the vantage point of the roof and in dry weather on moonlit nights.
Of course as resident-explorers at Far Cry you will not do anything so rash as penetrating into the deeper thickets of the dense forests adjoining the property, however inviting they may be, for the chances of crossing the path of a wild elephant or two are not rare at all in that isolation. The Grey Ones do sometimes honour us with a visit at dusk, so do take care when you are out and about.
For the avid nature lover, a checklist of birds and trees can be provided.
We encourage guests to respect the fragile nature of the traditional rural environment that they are privileged to enjoy. The presence of wildlife on the land, be it the higher forms such as birds and mammals, or the less salubrious ones such as insects and reptiles, is an indication that Mother Nature is alive and well, a cause for celebration. We are the intruders in her domain…..so tread lightly.
There is a traditional Sinhala catchphrase-“Wewai, Dagabai, Gamai, Pansalai” – which is to say that the tank, the stupa, the village and the temple are inextricably and interdependently linked together. This adage is amply demonstrated in the environs of the Kumbukkali Wewa, which for centuries has nurtured Galkadawela Village, situated below its sturdy bund, its ancient budu-madura (relic house) resplendent in its shimmering white glory, and its attendant bodhi tree. This idyllic and enchanting rural landscape is constantly changing. When the rains come, the lake brims and the forest puts on a green mantle, studded with the jewel like colours of bird life. In the dry months, the elephant herd makes the landscape their own, emerging from the sanctuary to dip into the much depleted waters. For us at any time, a constant source of delight.