Went back to the Eastern rhodope mountain of Bulgaria for vulture photography in the middle of winter. Sadly no snow and not as much vulture action as one could have hoped.
Vulture photography in Bulgaria
I went to Bulgaria in January with hope of catching Vultures in snow. Sadly, Bulgaria was not snow covered when we got there, and we had no luck with the weather as it remained the same during the stay.
Once again it was the Eastern Rhodope mountains that we visited. A place with lots of wildlife, both predators and prey. There are cities nearby, but they seem to have a more relaxed approach to living with predators than we have in western Europe.
The new hide was now finished, and it can house many photographers at the same time. I like the setting of the hide fairly high up on a mountain side with a great vista that give you the right feeling. At least for me.
On the menu during winter
Winter in Bulgaria means there will be fewer species of birds in front of the hide. For instance, we knew we were not to see the Egyptian Vulture as it is migratory. There are fewer Birds of Prey around, but you will still have corvids around as they are plentiful.
Griffon Vulture and Common Raven
The Griffon vulture are as always, the one you expect of the big vultures. The Cinerous vulture are harder to see as they are fewer and nest in northern Greece. It is not that far away, but still the population is small. Hopefully one might soon even get Bearded vultures in Bulgaria if the population in the Alps start to spread.
A Raven bonanza this time
We did three days in the mountains and had luck with Griffon vultures on two days. The first morning was really promising with many vultures on the ground feeding. Sadly, something scared them and that made most of them go away without coming back. It is always tricky to know what scared them, but my guess is that they are not 100% relaxed around the new hide yet.
Still, we had action around the hide most days as there were hundred of Common ravens on sight. It is interesting to watch the antics of these highly intelligent birds and how they mob vultures. I even saw one Raven hop onto the back of a Vulture sitting miles away from the food. They worked in pair to harass the vultures and that is the clearest memory from this trip.
Griffon Vulture, Common Raven and Hooded Crow
We might not have gotten what we wanted, as nature gave us another card. Still, it will be a memory for life, and I can nourish the idea of vultures in snow.
Would you like to know more about vultures and their hardship? Well, I had the pleasure of having two pictures from my first time in Bulgaria published in an article by Africa Geographic called “Keep calm and carrion.” There is a link in that post to the article that is well worth reading.
Please enjoy this photo album from my fourth visit too Bulgaria.