Bundala National Park is situated at the edge of the country where the land, sea and wetlands meet. It is located 250 km southeast of Colombo in Hambantota District. The park is an important wintering ground for the Migratory birds in Sri Lanka. Being upgraded as a national park in 1993, the park is being recognized as an important nature hotspot by powerful organizations like the United Nations(UN). The 62-sq-km area park was designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 2005. Prior to this feat, Bundala National Park is declared as a Ramsar site in Sri Lanka from Ramsar Convention, which is an international treaty for the conservation and sustainable use of wetlands. The national park is the 4th Biosphere Reserve in Sri Lanka.
The climate of the national park is hot and dry. The annual rainfall varies between 900mm to 1300mm. The dry season is between the months of May and September. The area mainly consists of dry thorny scrublands, marshes and four brackish lagoons. The park stretches for a coastal strip for nearly 20km.
Bundala National Park has a wide biodiversity of flora and fauna with some endemic to the country. The park is an excellent spot for bird watchers and also checking out many species like crocodiles, elephants, mongooses, monitor lizards and much more species. Even the adjacent seashore of Bundala is a safe breeding ground for all the migrating five species of globally endangered Sea Turtles.
Around 200 species of birds have been recorded and 58 of total species are migratory birds. Bird species like Marsh and Curlew Sandpiper, Curlew and Greenshank Golden and Kentish Plover, Large and Lesser Sandplovers can be seen in the park. Although the most popular migratory bird is the Greater Flamingo and they are one the most common sights in the park. Even endemic bird varieties like the Brown-capped Babbler, Ceylon Woodshrike and Ceylon Junglefowl can be seen as well.
The park got hit by Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004. But due to the protection from sand dunes, the park got less damage.
Bundala National Park is a must-visit place in true nature lover’s wishlist, especially if you are someone who loves to bird watching. The best time to visit the park is in the months of September to March. This is the time period when thousands of migratory birds arrive at the park.