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Birds > Accipitriformes > Bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus

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Frankly speaking when I was flying to Turkey, I did not believe that I would manage to photograph such a rare bird as the bearded vulture. In the whole world there's unfortunately only a few hundred pairs, but if I was successful with the houbara bustard, of which there are also a few hundred specimen in the world,  I thought maybe I would be successful this time again. When I was preparing for the trip I watched pictures and read about this bird. What is incredible it's the fact that it can feed on bone marrow, and before it swallows a bone, it crashes it throwing it from a huge height. The bird doesn’t care that such broken bones can be very sharp sometimes. There was a lot of emotion during photo shooting of this bird, as on the first day the bird made a raid over the hide, while I was photographing  the eastern imperial eagle, and had taken a lot of its pictures already. After it flew away the silence was deep as death. Being so close and even not to take one documentary photo… Fortunately a young, two-year-old specimen appeared for a longer while the next day, flying in circles over the hide. That was the time the photos presented here were taken. Having taken the above mentioned pictures, we were awaiting an adult specimen, whose plumage  differs a lot from the plumage of a young bird. Here I  refer you to other websites which present this majestic bird in all its splendor. Who knows, maybe someday I will have an opportunity to enrich the modest gallery of this species on my website? The wingspan of the barded vulture reaches up to 2.8 m, with a weight up to 7 kg. It is a huge and majestic bird, with a calm and serious look. Once it landed beyond the scope of the lens, hidden behind a hill and it made 6 cinereous vultures and two griffon vultures fly over the hide and land near it. Apparently not only we got interested in that beautiful, rare bird.
Last minute news - 06/2016 Mongolia
Well, this time I wasn’t lucky with the bearded vulture. Whole days of waiting for this beautiful, majestic bird ended in encountering three other species of vulture, kites and a steppe eagle. An adult bearded vulture and a young specimen of this species appeared above our heads just for a while and not during the time when we were in our hide. Nevertheless, I’ve uploaded some pictures of a growing up bearded vulture as a souvenir of this encounter. I don’t think that I’ll succeed without a trip dedicated exclusively to bearded vultures in order to be able to take some photos of an adult bearded vulture, which I consider the most beautiful representative of Accipitriformes…
Last minute news - 09/2017
There are galleries of documentary value on my website, which I think will remain unchanged. But the bearded vulture‘s gallery could not be one of them. For the first time I tried to photograph the bearded vulture in 2014. I succeeded half-way, because although I took some photos, but not one that would capture all the charm of this bird. In Mongolia, a few random pictures of a passing vulture have been taken. Not to mention that meeting an adult never happened to me. My fascination with this species is not unusual. Many people admire this wonderful glider due to its charm, its behavior different from other birds of prey and the variation of plumage. Within the time until they are 7 years old the bird’s coloration changes practically every year. Efforts are effectively  made to reintroduce this species in Europe, where it  once occurred in almost all the high mountains. When photographing birds of prey in Poland we have to wait for them in the lookouts point all day long, an hour before dawn and an hour after dusk. In the case of the bearded vulture there is no such need, but to a large extent we are dependent on weather conditions. It is hard to encounter a vulture on windless, rainy days. These birds can wait 2-3 hours from sunrise for thermals to rise (columns of rising warm air), that especially on windy days allow them to soar all day in search of food. At the end of the day downshift  of temperature before sunset makes the vultures disappear. Such weather conditions make it difficult to take good pictures. The strong sunshine is conducive to high contrast and overexposed images. There were no clouds that could diminish the strong light and contrast. Birds were actually quite numerous. Sometimes I could see six birds in front of the lens and the same number of them in the air. They were only going to fly down when one of them had landed looking for more delicious bones to eat. Sometimes they performed many laps spending time on watching the place where the bones were laid. They were so focused on the observation that many times they seemed to collide in the air. The ease they soar with is another reason to admire them. I could see them quarrelling  in the air while the birds flew upside down. I posted some pictures of these aerial acrobatics. I have also seen two failed attempts to break bones against rocks. Young individuals tried to do it from relatively small height and the bones fell on the grass. In the gallery of the bearded vulture no trace of the old pictures can be found. This time it was also possible to record the voice of the bearded vulture. This is not a typical sound I guess, but the only animal that gave sounds was a young specimen of this year hatch. He landed among dozens of bones and only when saw any other vulture arrived it gave sounds as if asking for feeding. Birds after picking bones almost always took their wings and flew up in the air with "prey" unless there were other birds nearby, in such case they fed on the spot. Adults when they took flight almost always kept a bone in their claws, while the young at first kept a bone in the beak, and then a few meters above the ground they grabbed it in their claws. Bearded vultures generally raise one offspring. Even if the second egg appears in the nest only one chick grows up to flying age. But before that happens bearded vultures build a large nest or a few nests in inaccessible caves, crevices and rock shelves at a short distance one from another. Once the eggs are laid incubation lasts almost two months. Another 4 months or so the young is fed in the nest. The young become independent at the age of two years and they reach sexual maturity when they are 7 years old. This time a lot of information and quite a lot of pictures, but species exceptional for me should have a special gallery. Finally, I did it. The gallery, in my opinion, has become one of the most interesting on my site and from a documentary  one-star converted into a four-star gallery. Finally, the time has come, the moment I have been waiting for years, and all this happened in Spain. Who knows, maybe once in our Tatra mountains we will find these birds, which, unlike the golden eagles or white-tailed eagles, do not avoid so much people and their homes.
Last minute news – 06/2018 - Spain
Well, I used  to be satisfied with my previous bearded vulture gallery and the species was not the reason for my return to vulture hides in Spain. But my subsequent encounter with these birds has turned out to be more fruitful than the first one and it has far exceeded my expectations. All this thanks to favorable clouds and vultures’ fights. I have already written about air funnels which bearded vultures need to fly. Unfortunately, an intense sunlight caused “overlighting”  of the white vultures’ necks. This time the birds occurred after a warm and cloudless morning, but after a while they covered the sky, or the sun, to be more precise. What is more, the birds fought with each other, which I hadn’t happened to observe before. Numerous photos of better quality were taken and the gallery has been remodeled, so the bearded vulture gets into the news section.

Mongolia - wykaz j.ANGIELSKI

Mongolia - introductory text - Pallas's sandgrouse
Birds-new galleries:
1. Pallas's Sandgrouse (T,V),2.Himalayan Vulture (T)3.Pallas's Sea-Eagle.(T)4.Demoiselle Crane(T).5.Upland Buzzard (T). 6.Siberian Scoter (T).7.Rufous-tailed Rock-Thrush (T).8.Saker falcon.9.Golden Eagle.10.Azure Tit (T,V).11.Horned Lark  (T,V).12.Red-billed Chough (T,V).13.Mongolian Lark (T).14.Mongolian Herring Gull (T,G).15.Bar-headed Goose (T, V).16.Amur Falcon (T,V).17.Rock Sparrow (T,V).18.Pine Bunting (T,V).19.Desert Wheatear (T,V).20. Merlin (T).21.Isabelline Shrike (T).22.White-crowned Penduline-Tit (T,V). 23.Oriental plover (T). 24.Citrine wagtail (T). 25.Greater Sand Plover (T).26.Red-crested pochard (T).27.Daurian redstart (T).28.Eastern marsh harrier (T).29.Swan Goose (T).30.Dusky Warbler.31.Taiga Flycatcher.32.Pacific Swift.33.Thick-billed warbler. 34.Asian brown flycatcher.35.Daurian jackdaw.36. Richard's Pipit.
Mamals-new galleries:
1. Przewalski's Horse (T). 2.Long-tailed ground squirrel (T,V). 3.Mongolian gazelle (T).4. Corsac fox (T).5.Bactrian camel (T).6.Yak (T).7.Bobak Marmot (T).8.Mongolian Pika.
Reptile-new galleries:
1. Variegated toadhead agama. 2. Steppes Ratsnakes (T).
Changes in birds galleries:
1.Cinereous Vulture (T) 2.Black Kite (T,V).3.Buff-browed Warbler(T,G).4.Olive-backed Pipit (T,V).5.Litle Stint (T).6.Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler (T).7.Eurasian Hobby(T).8.Siberian Rubythroat (T,V).9.Carrion Crow (T,V).10.Pallas's Leaf Warbler (T).11.Black-winged Stilt. 12.Ruddy Shelduck (T).13.Kentish Plover (T).14.Grey Heron (T).15.Eurasian Hoopoe(T).16.Griffon vulture (T).17.Arctic Warbler.18.Common swift.19.Common Shelduck.20.Whooper swan.21.Bearded vulture(T).22.Lesser Short-toed Lark.23.Steppe eagle.24. Horned grebe.25.White-winged Tern.26.Pied avocet.27.Isabelline wheatear. 28.Ruddy turnstone.29.Cormorant.30.Northern Wheatear.31.Common goldeneye.32.Common redshank.33.Garganey
Go to the gallery: MONGOLIA - F A U N A      MONGOLIA SLIDESHOW

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