Conservation Status: Near ThreatenedBy Ali Bernie Buga-ay / Editor
The Himalayan Griffon Vulture or Gyps himalayensis is also called the Himalayan Vulture is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae. Related to the European griffon vulture (G. fulvus); a species found along the Himalayas and the adjoining Tibetan Plateau. It is one of the two largest Old World vultures and true raptors.
The wingspan is just so massive, fantastic display as they soar way up high using the high wind, they barely flapped their wings; as if they defied gravity and turbulence, flying with stretched wings without spending so much energy.
Booking a flight to Phuket was not in our plans last January, we wanted to see the Pied Avocets and the Black-faced Spoonbill and the rest of the rarities right there. We balanced the our decisions basing on the Conservation Statuses of the species and then the flight was booked. I spent three days in Phuket driving a motorcycle everyday to save and it was also very wise to use in chasing the raptors at Chalong. I needed an open situation in which I can see everything since I ddn’t have Arpha Vida Buga-ay to help me spot whatever. Driving to the location was not quite a chore for me at first and then I got used to it and I also figured out the roads and streets of Phuket.
Everybody wants to go there for the beach, fun, parties, shows, island fun and comfort; I was there for a carrion eater of a massive bird from Himalayas. I found them on the first day on top of the ridge of a small mountain as they were using the thermals to make them stay up high. The second day was also exciting as I found them flying over a mountain side and lucky there was a road going up, so I drove fast and I was able to see four of them. On third day, I was frustrated as I was expecting them to fly lower and I can’t seem to find them anymore, I followed the road going to the elephant trail as instructed to me by Khun Rat Punarak, which I was also there the day before; I saw them being chased by another raptor. I decided to be proactive and really exert more effort in finding them close. I was reward with some fantastic shots and I am so happy that I don’t have to go to Cambodia for this and the Himalayas. Driving with a motorcycle up to the location every morning at 4:00 am was a bit of a stress to me and going back to the city was more stressful as the traffic was scary to navigate around. I had to check my mobile phone for the GPS every now…
"and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky"
Sevendays of Creation would like to thank Ep-ep Montero and his friends for being the best people in the world. Our van can’t make it to the farm of Benjamin Torregosa Maputi Jr. as the road was horribly bad. We met Ep-ep Montero on the road as they were also looking for the way to Maputi Bird Preserve, they went ahead. I paid a motorcycle to go to find Ben so he can pick us up from where we stopped; instead, I found Ep-ep Montero’s truck on the road side. I stopped the motorcycle to chat with them, timely, he was actually writing a note for us with his mobile phone number so they can take us from where we were if needed. Yes! we needed them so badly, they drove back down the hill and loaded our stuff even though they were overloaded already. From the bottom of our hearts Ali Bernie Buga-ay and Harry Miller we thank you so much. It was a fantastic night with you guys around the campfire as we sang song of praise to the Creator, sharing joys of adventures and the love for our Maker. Thank you so much.