Saturday, November 30, 2013

Photo of the Day #43: Soaring in the Jetstream

I think I have to reconsider my statement of not being a bird photographer. Again I have chosen a bird as a photo of the day.

In November 2011 we look at the map of the Pyrenees and considered all the places we'd already been to and where we would like to go. We had seen most of the popular destination within a short drive away from Pau, so we chose a smaller smaller route, close to the village of Eaux Bonnes.

We packed a sturdy snack of power bars, fruits and coffee and off we set. We drove an hour up increasingly more winding roads, until we were ascending as if in tours de France, which is a rather close analogy, as the route has actually been used as a mountain track for the competition.

At the highest most point reachable by car we had to choose the route we would travel: there were several footpaths, but in the end we chose to walk across the shrub free slope of the mountain. The feeling of freedom was so tangible: there was a clear destination of the peak, but really no defined path to it: we were free to walk as we pleased.

At some point we noticed that there were large birds on the sky: enormous vultures were gliding in the updrafts created by the winds hitting the mountains. I guess the birds were looking for smaller birds or mammals, but by the look of them they could have just as well been waiting for us to fall off and die, so they could take advantage of our misery.

Of course we weren't really afraid of being eaten, but the thought did cross our minds. I managed to grab some marvelous photos of the birds, such as this one, where the vulture seems to be competing with a passenger jet.

I'm quite sure I'll be posting more photos of the trip here in the future.

P.S. The bird might just be the same species of bearded vultures from photo of the day #33, taken in a Finnish zoo.
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