The big carrion eaters of Boumort National Reserve

15 February 2019|

At 1600 metres above sea level, in a remote area in Boumort National Reserve, there is an exceptional place where it is possible to observe the four-native species of vultures existing in Europe: the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), the cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus), the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus). This unrivalled setting is the only spot in Europe where all four species breed. Getting there is not an easy job. This place is only accessible by 4x4 vehicle and with a special permission given by the reserve, which makes it even more unique. Out of inhabited areas and far away from any touristic routes, the reserve ensures the protection of the wildlife living in it and the conservation of its environment. Therefore, the opportunity of visiting the reserve is such a privilege, as well as an exciting experience. We meet our guide in La Pobla de Segur to get a 4x4 taxi and start the great adventure.   After a 1-hour drive, we reach a remote point at the heart of the reserve: el Canyet, an area of supplementary feeding for the carrion eaters. We found ourselves in an authentic environment, surrounded by arid and unexplored landscapes, as well as a strong smell of animal remains from the last feast. We settle in the hide, a comfortable facility with WC and electricity built in an ideal situation inside the feeding area, to spend a moment full of discovery and surprise. We wait for a while and the action starts: the reserve keepers throw some carrion on the ground and, suddenly, we found ourselves within an enormous show. We can see how the first griffon vultures arrive, followed by some cinereous vultures. We remain amazed watching how they finally descend after going round and round anxiously attracted by the uproar of birds. Inside the hide, there is a perfect perspective to not lose any detail and to be able to photograph the incredible moment when the starving vultures devour the carrion, as well as everything that occurs around them, just a few metres away from where we are hidden. Once the vultures have eaten the meat, it is time for the bearded vulture to appear, an endangered species that has chosen the Boumort Reserve as one of the best places in the Iberian Peninsula to live and breed. It is possible to see around ten specimens [...]