The Vultures in Bulgaria was a success
I want to write a few words about the Vultures workshop in Bulgaria and show a couple pictures from the three days there. The workshop was held in the East Rhodope Mountains, a really spectacular surrounding for a workshop like this. We lived just outside of Madzharovo, situated on the banks of river Arda.
I have been fascinated by Vultures for some time and I think they are really misunderstood. They are an integral part in keeping nature clean from carcasses that otherwise could spread diseases. Sadly people just seem to focus on their looks and that they don’t hunt themselves.
Did I look forward to this workshop? Yes of course, I had looked on going there myself for quite some time. When I got the possibility to do the Bear photography in Romania I checked the possibility to visit Bulgaria. I asked Arne Bivrin and Frode Wendelbo if they where interested and gladly they said yes. I wasn’t sure they knew what to expect, but I feel they both had a great time in the Vulture hide.
We where picked up by our guide Simeon Gigov, and his girlfriend, at the airport in Sofia. The drove us to the Vulture center with a few photo stops on the way. Our first short excursion gave us a good idea what to expect for the coming days. We had many different raptors soaring the sky, as well as lizards and a male Spur-thighed Tortoise, also called Greek Tortoise, on the ground. I got a couple of great backlight shots of a Long-legged Buzzard that I really like.
The first Vultures
There were also different Vultures in the air and some flew past like this Egyptian Vulture.
At the Vulture hide
Next day we rose just after 4 a.m. to travel for an hour to reach the Vulture hide, a stone fortress. It was a spacious stone construction with a concrete roof. When they built the construction the thought was to give the Vultures their own feeding place. The idea was that the roof of the hide should be the table for the Vultures, in that way no mammals could steal their food. A good idea, but they soon realized that it wasn´t working as the Vultures rejected the food on the roof. Instead they built the hide under the concreate roof and placed the Vulture goodies out on the ground where they normally find food. We had lots of space inside and there where photo holes for four photographers with different backgrounds. The hide even had a “proper” toilet which is a luxury, even if you had to flush it with a water bucket.
I took this photo the first day as the Red Fox appeared in front of the hide. It singlehandedly chased the Vultures from the meat, quite a feat I must say.
At times we had between 50-60 griffon Vultures on the ground. They really fight inbetween for the best pieces of meat and that often makes for spectacular scenes. I can assure you they will capture your interest if you ever attend a Vulture workshop.
Please enjoy these first images as more will come during next week.