Wednesday, 9 May 2012
Bulgaria days one and two
Day one started at 0330 when I got up to get to Heathrow and finished after a four hour drive across Bulgaria to get to our Hotel in the early evening. Harry, Paul and I met our fellow photographers both named John at Sophia airport together with Janos and Mladen our guides for the week, Mladen also did all the driving and interpreting, and then after a meal, off to bed for an 0445 start to be in the vulture hide on a nearby mountain top prior to dawn. Quite a lot of intestines and other such delicacies arrived at the hide at the same time as us and whilst we got set up in the dark the feast was laid out for our guests. The Ravens were the first to arrive and we had been warned to make no noise until the Griffon vultures were all eating as they are easily scared off. The vultures soon started arriving first the Egyptians quickly followed by the Griffons and after a short time they were all arguing and eating.
I took over 500 photographs over the next few hours but the best was still to come. A black vulture arrived to join the melee, a sub adult bird, very smart, and clearly not a welcome addition for the Griffons. It was only there for a short period however before it flew away with a large piece of offal in it's beak. The only other visitors (apart from hundreds of flies) were a pair of hooded crows and local dog that trotted up a couple of times and left with a large supper in its jaws. This was a faily unique opportunity to get close to some of Europes vultures for a long period.