Birding

A venue rather than a kettle

An unexpected delight on Tuesday's 12km hike

It was happenstance we saw the venue as we hadn’t intended to do this walk, but the first quarter went so well and the water levels looked low that we decided to take the longer path which involves crossing the Riberia do Foupana twice. It is quite a hike from the peak to the upper crossing and so it is probably not one to attempt in February or March after heavy rains as you may need to turn back, but at this time of year it is perfect. And we are so glad we did as it meant we saw a venue of Eurasian Griffon Vultures. Can you see the dots in the sky in the header shot or if you are after a real challenge there are at least five in the photograph below?!

A venue of Eurasian Griffon Vultures

A ‘venue’ by the way is the collection noun for vultures, unless they are circling in which case they are a ‘kettle’! And these were definitely not circling, instead they were demonstrating their incredible ability to use the currents to travel. Not easy to keep our eyes on them especially with the rapidly moving cloud cover too. However as you can see I did manage to capture a few other shots which were not dots.

Eurasian Griffon Vultures are an old world vulture, and use sight rather than smell to find their food. They can spot a carcass from 4km away! Despite this ability the biggest risk to them in Portugal, apart from collisions with power lines and other large infrastructure, is lack of food. Apparently the Portuguese government still requires farmers to remove dead cattle rather than leaving them to decay or eaten by vultures, which has had a huge impact on vulture populations. Twelve rehabilitated Grifos were released in this area in January having been found the previous year malnourished. Maybe it is time for the Portuguese government to follow the Spanish example and leave carcasses. As you can see from these maps most of the 26,000 (approx) breeding pairs in the Iberian peninsula are in Spain.

However numbers are increasing throughout the peninsula which is probably why we were so fortunate to see a venue this week in the east Algarve. We think there were around 20 so quite a small group compared to the group we saw in Alentejo last year, but I didn’t care. If you follow my other blog then you will know vultures are a passion of mine, and so I was on a high on Tuesday when we spotted them. So much so I even took a video of one!

 

Amongst the vultures we also spotted what we think were Hen Harriers however they could have been Booted Eagles. Too high for us to properly identify, and I only managed to take the one photograph. What do you think it is?

Hen Harrier, we think.

And these birds of prey were not the only excitement on Tuesday, as there was an abundance of other bird life in the hills above Foz de Odeleite. However I’ll keep those photographs for another day as this was meant to be a Six Word Saturday!

28 comments on “A venue rather than a kettle

  1. Any chance it’s an osprey?

    Like

  2. How exciting to see all these birds of prey. I had no idea of the collective terms for vultures – every day is an education as they say. 🙂 I will squirrel those words away and hope that they come up in a quiz one day.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the often interesting names for groups of animals and even did a post on some of them once. What fun spotting all these birds and thanks for sharing some with us today. If not for birds and animals that eat carrion, the earth would be inundated with rotting dead things!

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like the way you’re teaching us the collective nouns for different birds. Interesting that there are two depending on the movement of the vultures. We saw our first vulture in Canada – he wasn’t pretty but it was great to meet him.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you 😀 I found collective nouns so interesting. E en have a couple of books on them!!

      Vultures I agree are not the prettiest of birds but they have such characters 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  5. PS I counted around 8 Vultures in the sky but some may have been spots on the screen lol

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful. Sometimes Govt are asses. Food for the wild id paramount. I love the english language and the words for groups of things. I am impressed you knew the Vultures names. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have to thank the bird sites for the venue, I’d only heard of kettle before. Our language is fascinating isn’t it.

      Apparently the carcass issue is due to a EU directive to manage mad cow disease. However the Spanish have decided to ignore the directive, or maybe it’s no longer one. Just wish the Portuguese would catch up. They are creating feeding platforms for other Vultures.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Feeding platforms are fab. Now all they have to do is allow sky burials. I guess the mad cow thing still is in the EU. Haven’t heard anything about it for years down here

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        • As long as I don’t have to watch the sky burials!

          And apparently yes although I’ve not heard of any reports on mad cow disease for years.

          Liked by 1 person

  7. Venues and kettles!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I came across some Griffon Vultures in Spain. Couldn’t help thinking how ugly they were on the ground but how graceful in flight!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What excitement for you! And who knew about kettles and comings and goings? 🙂 🙂 Happy Saturday! After a damp, dreary start in Leeds yesterday I was rewarded with a fabulous sunrise here this morning, and Autumn glow right outside my window. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  10. julieinthesky1971

    Just proves what you can find when you walk just a little bit further…

    Liked by 1 person

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