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Vulture feeding stations

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Offline John C

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« on: September 22, 2007, 15:47 PM »
Anyone who’s visited or, as in my case, has seen video footage of  Gigrin Farm (Wales) cannot doubt that setting up ‘feeding stations’ for raptors (in this case for Red Kite) not only allows a fantastic opportunity to get good views of  birds of prey, but also generates cash for the landowner, good PR for the birds and greater understanding on the part of the public.   

Are there any similar ventures in Spain?  It seems to me that this would be an ideal way to promote an understanding of raptors and create a small scale tourist attraction.  I’ve seen hundreds of vultures in Spain but I’ve only occasionally seen them ‘on the deck’.   Providing places where not only “ornitho-tourists” but the commoner kind could share the thrill of getting good looks at these birds surely makes sense; it would add a touch of Africa in Spain.   In fact, a useful birdwatching map of the  Alcornocales actually shows ‘vulture feeding stations’,  but, although I’ve looked, I’ve never been able to find anything ‘on the ground’.   Is recent EU legislation concerning the disposal of carrion preventing this or merely lack of imagination and lethargy? 

John

Offline Sue

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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2007, 20:40 PM »
Hi John C,
I can only comment on the one feeding station that we have visited. We struck up a conversation with a fellow who had an adapted Landrover bearing stickers about feeding  raptors. He explained how to reach the site and that he delivered on a fortnightly basis to three in the Cadiz province. (Equine, ie mule, donkey and horse were not banned)

At a later date we managed to find the site having nearly given up as access was very rough. We immediately noticed the lack of cover to approaching visitors. In fact there was no-where to secret ourselves to observe even with a telescope. The area was fenced in preventing the carcase remains from being cleared away by fox etc.

I would completely agree that a well organised site would be an attraction and with the correct installations the birds would not be disturbed.

There was a live feed camera set up over the summer on a Griffon vulture nest near Olvera, this could apparently be viewed at the visitor centre at weekends, we did not visit but it shows that the equipment is around and in use.

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Offline John C

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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2007, 21:10 PM »
Thanks, Sue, for your prompt and interesting response. 

It seems to me that someone is missing a golden opportunity for some marvellous conservation education here.  Is there any good reason why all such feeding stations should be so remote?   The vultures that drift past me don't seem too nervous of people and whilst they may well be rather more nervous on the ground, I'm sure that a well screened approach and suitably positioned hide would permit very good views.  I certainly know a good few of my more twitchy friends who'd visit the area if such a set up increased the chances of seeing Ruppell's Vulture!    A link to a camera set up would be ideal for the less committed birder and would surely reap enormous rewards in terms of public understanding of these wonderful if often misunderstood birds.    I think it's not too fanciful to draw a parallel with the dolphin/whale spotting business not so far away in Tarifa.   With birds of prey so much under threat it isn't enough just to provide food, you really need to actively promote their interests through educational prgrammes and what better way than a well set up feeding station?  (Rant over!)   

John

Offline lisa

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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2007, 22:11 PM »
Hi John C, the only feeding station/comedero/muladero with public viewing that I know of round our way is over in Asturias on the way up to the Covadonga lakes. There's a mirador (de la Reina) with a parking area and as a by the by, if you look over there, there's an area where they feed the big flying "bichos". That seems to be the mentality anyway. No Ruppell's but possibly the odd Lammergeier  ;D
The whole of Spain needs to utilise all its wildlife as a natural resource, I think, one day......
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Offline Technopat

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« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2007, 00:21 AM »
Greetings John C,
Thanx for the rant - one of the unique features of this 'ere great iberianatureforum  :sign: and its great iberianatureforumers :dancing: is its tolerance of ranting.
Keep on rantin' ...
Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline John C

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« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2007, 13:10 PM »
It's a shame that none of us has any 'pull' with the Andalucian authorities (or have we?).   I believe that the mayor of the little village (Alcala de los Gazules) I regularly visit might be receptive to such an idea and he was certainly pleased when I gave him a copy of the 'Crossbill Guide' to the Alcornocales.   If what little I've managed to understand from the local press wants to promote 'green tourism', but as I don't speak Spanish & he doesn't speak English it'd be hard to get the idea across!  However, he is open to suggestions from foriegners to raise the profile of the village - hence the International Music Festival which is in its third year.  Actually, come to think of it, the English chap who established the festival (and who has also got a copy of the above mentioned book) is keen on wildlife and is best buddies with the mayor ..........

One other point, tolerance of ranting isn't unique to this forum, but ,strangely enough, seems to follow me around from forum to forum.

John

Offline Els Frares

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« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2007, 20:46 PM »
Hi John,
A late reply but I have only just joined the forum. We are lucky enough to have a vulture recovery and feeding station near to us in the Alicante mountains . It is called the Canyets project which is located close to Alcoy on the Sierra Mariola. I am lucky enough to visit it most weeks with groups, both walkers and birders. There are about 75 Griffon Vultures resident in these mountains all year round but this number swells to nearly 200 during the winter from mid October until late March. On a recent visit I was lucky enough to see a pair of Eygptian vultures feeding with the Griffon's. I have attached a couple of photo's that managed to take on a recent visit.
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Offline lisa

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« Reply #7 on: October 08, 2007, 07:39 AM »
Here's a link to the Proyecto Canyet - Alcoi, a Fapas initiative.
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Offline John C

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« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2007, 19:14 PM »
Thanks to both .... but I really want one just up the road from the village!

John

Offline Claire

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« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2007, 13:08 PM »
Hi to all!
I know this isn't directly related to the use of vulture feeding stations as a means to promote tourism/conservation but I thought you might be interested in the conclusions of the 3rd Symposium on vultures which took place in July in Plasencia:  http://www.naturalicante.com/mochila/Montejo/Montejo%202007/montejo-2007.htm#10 
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Offline Clive

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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2007, 14:47 PM »
Hi Claire, Welcome to the forum of iberianature,

Thank you very much for posting this and I see it is your name at the bottom of the document translation, thank you for that too...

Some of those points raised are very interesting (both politically and environmentally) so I think we should open a new topic for this and leave this topic for discussion on the feeding stations...

New topic opened at http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,815.0.html

Clive
« Last Edit: October 16, 2007, 14:52 PM by Wildside »
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Offline Ken Montandon

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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2008, 13:33 PM »
Hi John,
A late reply but I have only just joined the forum. We are lucky enough to have a vulture recovery and feeding station near to us in the Alicante mountains . It is called the Canyets project which is located close to Alcoy on the Sierra Mariola. I am lucky enough to visit it most weeks with groups, both walkers and birders. There are about 75 Griffon Vultures resident in these mountains all year round but this number swells to nearly 200 during the winter from mid October until late March. On a recent visit I was lucky enough to see a pair of Eygptian vultures feeding with the Griffon's. I have attached a couple of photo's that managed to take on a recent visit.

Hi,

I see there have been no replies to this thread for 12 months, but I'm hoping to be visiting my wife's sister and her husband near Almansa in the new year. This would make a good stop-over on the way up. Are you able to give me directions coming from the direction of Elche?

Best regards

Ken.

Offline Rob Davies

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« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2008, 16:45 PM »
we were shown a vulture restaurant (3 star) just above Torla at the entrance to Ordessa NP but apparently you need to be taken there by permit in 4x4.  looked great

Rob

Offline Els Frares

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« Reply #13 on: May 09, 2009, 23:02 PM »
The Canyets project in Alcoy is located on the south rim of the Barranco del sinc which is literally just 5 minutes from the Alcoy town centre. You can access the gorge via the GR7 long distance path accessing it from the Carrer de Barranco del Sinc from the centre of Alcoy. This is not sign posted but is located on the road to the Sanatorium St Cristobal. 
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Offline Just Jane

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« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2009, 16:28 PM »
Does anyone know if there is a specific time for feeding at the Mariola site?  We have walked along the Barranc del Cint and seen the vultures, which is impressive, but haven't yet found the feeding station.  We plan to go looking for it next week.

Offline Els Frares

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« Reply #15 on: September 17, 2009, 17:31 PM »
Hi Jane,
          There is no specific feeding times for the Mariola site but I suggest you get in contact with the Canyets project who maintain the site.
Try contacting Alvaro on 669819693.
Good luck
Cheers
Brian
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Offline Just Jane

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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2009, 12:54 PM »
Whilst in Spain last week we 'walked' or should that be scrambled up, via the Preventori, San Cristobal route, to the top of the south side of the Baranco del Cint looking down on the few vultures flying around that day.  The weather had been poor for the previous two weeks so perhaps the majority of the local birds had moved off to the south.  We were surprised to see that those that were in the air were wearing orange arm bands.  We assume this is connected with the Canyets project.  We could see the quarry with aviary and some birds sitting on the wall across the valley but haven't yet found the route to walk up there.  We will be back just after Christmas and give it another go.