I’m struggling to keep up with the blog – too much birding and intermittent internet being the cause. Anyway, yesterday we had another early morning start – up at 4.00 am to be on the bus by 4.45. All in an attempt to beat the crowds at the opening of the gates to Yala National Park. We spent the first hour on the jeeps trying to find Leopard – which we failed to do. After that we could settle down and concentrate on finding a few birds – which we did. It was a rather frustrating process, mind you, because most of the interesting stuff was seen in small open clearings in the bush, and by the time the jeep at the front had had their fill and taken photos, those behind in jeeps 2 and 3 struggled to find the target. It did work in reverse a few times though, with the last jeep sometimes seeing stuff after the others had departed – Striated Heron being a case in point. When we got back from the safari for lunch we and our optics had been powder-coated in fine red dust. It took a shower and a deep clean of the optics to get rid of it. In the afternoon, after a bit of a siesta, we headed off again in pursuit of another particular target – White-naped Woodpecker. We’d been a couple of times to look for this particular bird, in trees by a nearby artificial lake, but to no avail. It looked like the evening would end up the same way as before until our guide came hurrying down the track towards us. The bird had been spotted in trees back the way we’d come and was being ‘minded’ by none other than the ‘owl boys’! I broke into a gallop and arrived at the spot breathless but able to enjoy a brief moment with the bird before it quickly flew off. Good but short views – no photo as my shutter failed to release -grhh. Unfortunately I was the only one of the group to see it.