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Griffon vultures along the Camino

pepi

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
Vulture Pict..jpg One of the highlights of walking in northern Spain, - especially in the first etapas of the Camino Frances over the Pyrenees and in the Picos de Europa –, is the sight of the majestic Vultures. One of the reasons why 90 percent of all European griffon vultures live in Spain is the behavior of the country's livestock farmers: Finca owners simply deposit dead animals in a remote corner of their land. In many places, "vulture restaurants" have also been set up, where the carcasses of dead cattle and horses are regularly deposited. For vultures, this is a found food, which they like to share with their mates: In the face of such a feast, griffon vultures let themselves be carried upward by updrafts in a helical path with almost no effort, like a glider, and use this "vulture spiral" to signal to even distant conspecifics that there is something to be had here.
Pilgrims halting once in a while to examine the sky above are often rewarded with the sight of this spectacular show.
(Source: Sonntagszeitung)

Buen Camino
 
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2014, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19
Various routes...
Thank you @pepi !
Here's a show that I immensely enjoyed: on the Via de Bayona before you get to Pancorbo, the camino goes through a gorge overlooked by a ridge of rocky pinnacles. Many of these spires had a perched vulture (or two), and there were more birds soaring in a loose kettle overhead. It was quite a sight. My walking companion generously forgave the repeated slack-jawed exclamations about this.
IMG_1193.JPG
 
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Pangloss

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Via de la Plata (2015)
Crossing the Pyrenees I stopped for lunch and dozed off in the warmth, on awakening there were about a dozen lazily circling above me.
I walked the VdLP where one is a lot more isolated than on the Frances. On a particularly remote stretch in Galicia I noticed the vultures circulating progressively lower above me. I waved my poles in the air to let them that I wasn't ready for lunch yet.

Earlier, in Extremadura, I came across a cow's carcass just off the track. It had been thoroughly eviscerated by scavengers and was just a hide and bone. Quite a shock coming from a country where fallen livestock has to be incinerated very promptly.
 

Rebekah Scott

Camino Busybody
Past OR future Camino
Many, various, and continuing.
If you walk the Camino Aragonese from France via the Somport Pass, you will see hundreds of Griffon Vultures, as well as a few Imperial Eagles! The Foz de Lumbier is a waymarked variant of the Aragonese (along the north side of the Pantano de Yesa), it is a hidden gorge with an abandoned railway line and tunnel (now a park) that takes you deep into vulture country and back out the other side. Stupendous.
 

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