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Griffon Vultures (Vale Gieren) spotted in Exloo

Submitter: Anneke Steenbergen
Description: The nature park around LOFAR, with its distinctive circular "moat" in the centre, attracts lots of exotic birds. But the recent visit of a group of no less than 60 Griffon vultures (Vale Gieren) was very special. Not surprisingly, it caused a flurry of excitement among the local birding community.

Gerard Sterk and Gerard Middelkoop have placed their pictures of these "flying barn doors" on waarneming.nl, the website for the sighting of birds that are rarely seen in the Netherlands.

Griffon vultures normally occur in Southern Europe, North Africa and Asia. But with warm weather and wind from the South, a few of them reach us each year. They effortlessly soar with the help of rising air bubbles (thermals, or thermiek) and can cover hundreds of km per day.

Our visitors were probably young birds, that are not yet breeding but just in search of food. They feed on carrion, i.e. dead sheep, goats or cows. These are not easy to find in our neat little country, so they soon retreat to their usual stomping grounds.

Copyright: Gerard Middelkoop, Dagblad van het Noorden
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