At Faia Brava Reserve we keep a photographic hide in the new vulture feeder, within the program of artificial feeding for the endangered Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus).
During Spring and Summer: Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), Griffon (Gyps fulvus) and the occasional Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus). The Black Kite (Milvus migrans) is also present and sometimes the Red Kite (Milvus milvus).
During Autumn and Winter: Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) and occasionally the Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus), also Red Kite (Milvus milvus).
This hide is located in the Côa Valley Special Protected Area, an excellent area for the cliff-breeding birds. It is built on a huge slab of granite, with a wide forested landscape. The hide is oriented to the west, so the best time to use it is during the morning.
Located in the municipality of Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo, it is accessed with a 4×4 vehicle from the village of Algodres, initially on asphalt and the last km on dirt road.
Dimensions and characteristics
This hide has capacity for 4 photographers. It is 4x3m in size and its interior height varies between 1,80m and 1,70m. It is divided into 2 rooms, an entrance hall (with storage space and toilet) and the photo room.
The photography from this hide can be made in two ways. Through a large front window pane with special glass (dimensions 360x45cm), or through the various lower openings for larger lenses. Photographers can bring their own tripod to shoot through the window glass or bring only the tripod head to apply in the prepared base and to photograph through the lower apertures. The photography from the glass window means the loss of 1 exposure point.
Comfort and accessories
Thermal and acoustic insulation, rotating chairs with arm and back support, gas heating, shelves for storage, camping toilet.
In this hide, photographers are expected to unshoe in the first room. In the photo room you should walk barefoot to reduce noise;
It is strictly forbidden to smoke or make noise inside the hide;
Photographers should not leave the hide. They should wait for the guide.
Recommended photographic gear
The distance of the birds to the hide can be adapted by the arrangement of the food. However, the average distance is relatively short, being about 5 to 15m. There are several types of lenses we recommend, but a lens between 600 and 400mm to highlight more distant birds and perching in trees, or to highlight details. In addition, a focal length of 200mm to 300mm may be ideal for flight scenes, group situations or proximity. Converters. It is important to wrap the lens hood with a camouflaged tape cover if the use is through the lower openings.
What to bring
Flashlight, warm clothing (during winter).
All year, but with a lower successful rate during Autumn and Winter.
A percentage of the profits from this activity revert to nature conservation actions in the Faia Brava Reserve.
It was the first time I visited a vulture hide so I didn't know what I could expect. When we arrived we saw the vultures already flying above the hide so that was a good sign. We went into the hide, were we got an introduction. Then Fernando placed the meat and created a waterpool. After a quarter the first Black kites showed up. Wonderful birds and great to watch them flying around and diving with high speed on the meat. Not much later we saw a group of vultures approaching, suddenly the first Griffon vulture landed in front of the hide and after the first one they came down with many others (80+, including Egyptian vultures)! What an incredible moment, and what a spectactular force... the meat dissappeared in a few minutes! Nevertheless enough vultures stayed in front of the hide, including the Egyptian vultures (and the Kites), wich resulted in great photo-opportunities. The hide was very comfortable, much space inside and really comfortable chairs. Also the host, Fernando, was very kind and helped us really well to increase the chance for good photo-opportunities! Thanks a lot and maybe I'll come back for the Black vulture 😉 Kind regards, Thijs Glastra and the rest of the family!
``A day in paradise``.
Having the privilege of enjoying such comfortable space while waiting for the birds to appear is absolutely fantastic. The hide is undoubtedly the best I have ever seen in Portugal and is similar to others we can find in the most iconic places of the planet for wildlife photography.
Fernando is a great professional and prepares each photo session with a great attention to every detail so that nothing fails.
The place is magnificent, with a spectacular view over a Mediterranean landscape where numerous species abound, allowing us to make spectacular photos.
Price per person. Includes:
Guide and technical support
Transportation from Figueira de Castelo Rodrigo or Algodres
Feeding the vultures
Nature conservation fees
Must add 23% VAT.
Wildlife Portugal cannot guarantee 100% that animals can be observed or photographed. This programs are dependent on the behavior of wild animals, for which we cannot control and accept any responsibility. However, the guarantees of success are quite high, so we assume a compensation if vultures do not appear during the session. Anyway, there is always the strong possibility of having to wait several hours in silence inside the hide.