Report by Cheryl Bevan
23rd – 25th March.
We left for Oribi on Thursday in pouring rain and we looked like drowned rats once we had set up camp in the rain.
The rain never stopped until Saturday morning. John and I were the only ones camping.
On Saturday morning we were joined by the Bartlett family and the Risi family- we set off to meet Andy for the Vulture hide at 8:30am.
Hooray sunshine at last.
What an experience, as we approached the hide we had an amazing view of vultures flying overhead. There are about 250 roosting vultures that stay on the cliffs of the Gorge.
We then walked down to the cliff edge where they were flying overhead and sitting on the cliff edges, this went on for about 45 minutes – we had spectacular close up views.
The whole colony are Cape Vultures and there are a flock of Ravens that co exist with them. Andy had such a lot of information about the Vultures that we could have listened to him for the whole day.
There is a group of students from a German university that come to tag and observe them. One of the very interesting things he told us is that the Ravens open a carcass first, the Vultures sit and watch and then they all tuck in and finish it off.
Another fact that we found very interesting is that the vultures need to bath after eating as their feathers are caked with blood and because they don’t flap their wings (they only glide) they need water to clean themselves.
Andy and the farmer, whose land the hide is on, are doing the most amazing job with these birds. They have now erected a Vulture bath where they go to after eating. Once a week it has to be cleaned out as it is filthy.
We spent 2 hours and could have stayed longer but that is all the time we had.
After that we went down to the picnic site in the Gorge, had something to eat and drink and did a bit of birding for the rest of the afternoon.
It was a very hot day and birding was very quiet nevertheless we identified 36 species (click here to view our list) and among them was African Olive Pidgeon, Cape Rock Trush, Dark Backed Weaver, Tambourine Dove to name a few.
And guess what, Sunday it started raining again.
Thanks to Elton Bartlett for all the photos – you are a star!!