When birding there are good days and there are great days of memorable significance…

Bearded Vulture

Bearded Vulture

One of these is spending a day in the Giants Castle mountain reserve vulture hide set high up in the mountains on the edge of a cliff with a scenically spectacular backdrop of the Drakensberg mountains known as the ‘barrier of spears’ to the local Zulu people.

Vulture Hide

Vulture Hide

Vulture Hide

Inside the Vulture Hide

Supplied by the conservation authorities with a generous supply of pre-cut shin bones one sets off from the rest camp at first light in a four-wheel drive vehicle for the well camouflaged and photographer ‘friendly’ hide overlooking the established feeding area frequented by jackal buzzard, white-necked raven and two species of vulture.

 

Jackal Buzzard

Jackal Buzzard

White-necked Raven

White-necked Raven

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the supply of bones has been scattered about on the forecourt, one settles into the comfortable hide with a heightened sense of anticipation to await the arrival of the first Bearded Vulture, an endangered species in South Africa confined to the highlands of KZN and Lesotho, to appear and hopefully alight close to the hide in good photographic light.

Bearded Vulture

Bearded Vulture Sub-adult

Bearded Vulture

Bearded Vulture Adult

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In this we were not to be disappointed as the first of several Bearded Vultures in varying plumage stages sailed past gracefully in effortless flight on fully extended wings, with up to four at one stage spiralling about on the updraft with a lone Cape vulture for company.

Cape Vulture

Cape Vulture

Bearded Vulture

Bearded Vulture – Adult – in flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Needless to say, photo opportunities were endless with close on 1000 images taken between us to make for a most memorable birding experience in the company of these majestic icons  of the mountain kingdom…

For more information on how to see this exquisitely beautiful vulture, contact us enquiries@avianleisure.com