‘The’ Vulture Hide

18 09 2009

You may have noticed that I have been a little quiet lately.  This is because I have been living it up at one of my favourite places!
The vulture hide, (or Lammegeier hide), is situated in the central Drakensburg mountains, and is operated by Giants Castle.
It is a fabulously designed gem, literally tucked away into the mountain top. It overlooks one of the many ridges, and through years of operation, has attracted every raptor in the region, including the much sought after Bearded Vulture!
I booked the hide for 3 days of photographing fun, and got more than I expected! The weather played on my emotions for the first 2 hours, but cleared enough to let the cameras do what they went there to do! The following 3 hours were non stop action, with 4 different raptors, (Bearded vulture, Jackal buzzard, Yellow-billed kite, Cape vulture), hovering around the hide at the same time! The only problem I had on the first morning, was dumping the images quickly enough to clear space on the cards! Not the worst issue I have ever had to deal with!

The second day was just as productive, with the sun getting a chance to light some of the images. On the first 2 days, I had a total of 14 different Jackal buzzard sightings – which was ample opportunity to snap some goodies! There was an unusual abscence of the Cape vultures, which over the years, have been my staple diet at the hide.
This all got put to rest, when on the third, and final morning, over 30 of these enourmous vultures got in a scrap over the bones that had been left out to attract them! It didn’t take them long to work through all the meat available, and soon took to the skies, kindly offering me the chance to get some in flight shots. At the same time as the Cape cultures took off, 7 bearded vultures, (mostly juviniles), flew into the same thermal, creating a tornado of close to 40 vultures! Keeping in mind that the termal swirls not more than 20 meters from the hide, it was heaven in the hide!

I have had a quick look through the near 4000 images, and chosen some of the best for you to enjoy.

I will certainly be booking trips for next year, and will be taking photographic safaris – so book early to avoid dissapointment!
Keep an eye on the blog for further details!

I am off to the fairest Cape for a week on Monday, and hope to hit some of the regular spots, and snap some shots. I will get the shots posted ASAP!
Untill then, keep well.

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