Friday, 7 November 2014

Northern Bald Headed Ibis(Geronticus eremita) at Vejer de la Frontera Spain

We arrived at Vejar de la Frontera in the Cadiz province of Andalucia Spain, our journey, to try and photograph the critically endangered Bald Headed Ibis. In Spain there has been a reintroduction programme, as in Turkey and Austria. As for the wild populous, critically endangered, really is awful reading, for the last 300 hundred years they have been in decline. Just look at these numbers in the wild!  Morocco, about 500 birds and in Syria 10 birds, but who knows of their current fate! The decline sadly reads as with other species,  notably to hunters, pesticides and loss of habitat.
Once common but no more! 

Spain set up a reintroduction programme and the first birds were released into a area owned by the ministry of defence at La Janda, close to Barbate. Once again more trouble, this time Seagulls predating on the eggs. This provoked the birds to find their own nesting site at Vejar.

Arriving from Cadiz or Tarifa you turn on to the A-314 road to Barbate, in no distance you come upon restaurants and large gravelled parking area. This also means you have passed the birds, as they are up on the cliff face as you arrive at the parking. They are of huge interest and usually there will be a row of people standing along the carriage way staring upwards.

As usual nothing is easy, the sun would not shine, the birds stopped flying and on our second day the mist came down!

Interestingly they seemed to be nest building, a fallen egg was retrieved by a warden.

We appear to be lucky enough to photograph a new arrival!

Due to the importance of these birds all have multible tags and also electronic trackers.

Nesting material on the way up to the cliff face.

On this arriving bird you can see the tracking device and aerial.

They seem to enjoy the newspapers! Actually, as they collected the discarded papers it became apparently clear it was dangerous for them, the paper folding over their heads in flight! If you visit the site do not drop litter as they love to line their nests with it.

They may be rare, but they know where to find a good deal!

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