When traveling through Catalonia (Catalunya) last May, I learned there was more to the region than just Barcelona and pretty beaches. Every visit I’ve ever taken to Spain has been about the beach, but this one was a little different. From hiking in the Pyrenees mountains to visiting rice fields and a marsh in the Delta de l’Ebre, Catalonia was not what I expected.
One of the more interesting travel experiences I had in Catalonia was visiting the Photo Logistics wildlife photography center in Tremp, Spain. Photo Logistics is a company of photographers that collaborate with conservation projects on threatened species in Southern Europe.
We collaborate with conservation projects for threatened species from the mountains to the steppe lands, wetlands and wherever the conservation could be helped with our work.
At this particular location, Photo Logistics works with the Ajuntament of Tremp to provide a “hide” (basically a wooden box to hide the photographer) for professional photographers to capture images of the native birds of the region. From this hide it’s possible to photograph the following birds: Lammergeier, griffon vulture, Egyptian vulture (spring-summer), black kite (spring-summer), red kite, common raven and other carrion-eating birds that visit less frequently, such as the Eurasian black vulture or the Golden Eagle.
Usually the process is that you book a night (or a package) with Photo Logistics which gives you access to the hide for 24-72 hours. They provide the food for the birds so that you can get some really dynamic photographs from up-close. As part of the #CatalunyaExperience, we had the opportunity to photograph a vulture feeding (which normally would take place in the early morning).
This is the “hide” overlooking the Ajuntament of Tremp, Catalonia.
Preparing the food for the vultures…
The calm before the storm
I’m not sure I can describe what it was like seeing all these vultures swarm to the food. The food was sitting there for a few minutes, but the vultures—uncomfortable with interacting with humans—circled the sky above until they thought it was safe. The first birds to land on the ground and start at the food didn’t have much of a head start. Almost as soon as the first bird touched the meat, hundreds if not thousands more landed and swarmed the meat.
It didn’t take long for the meat to disappear but the vultures stayed nearby.
The wings on these vultures were just incredible!
Inside the hide the windows act as a one-way mirror. This keeps the birds from seeing that there are people inside. It can be pretty terrifying knowing that there are thousands of meat-eating birds circling around you outside. The noises they make aren’t exactly welcoming!
Packages with Photo Logistics are anywhere from 120 €/person to 500€+ for a multi-day nature photography booking across several of their regional hides. View more information on their website.
My visit to Catalonia was in partnership with Travel Dudes and the Catalunya tourism board.
Love this project and would love to see the vultures. Sounds like an incredible experience!
It’s really a very interesting organization. I love that their focus is on photography but for a good purpose: conservation. If you’re ever in Catalonia again and want to take some amazing photos, it’s highly recommended!
Vultures get a bad rap, beautiful creatures!
Definitely have to agree – thanks Ryan!
Vultures creep me the hell out. Minions of the underworld if ever I did see them – hyenas with wings. Still, this does sound pretty cool and like it would be an awesome experience. I’d just personally prefer it with prettier winged creatures, like flamingos or butterflies.
Big birds are incredible species…never had much of a fear of vultures but I won’t lie that watching them circle above was more than a little nerve-wracking. And knowing there were hundreds (if not thousands??) of them within a meter or two of where I was standing was really quite an experience!
I love vultures and I am from Catalonia! Next time I am back home, I should definitely visit Tremp again and see the vultures. I am fascinated by their interactions.
We observed a huge number of them in Namibia and were pretty happy to sit with them for hours.
Wow – really interesting to hear about your experience in Namibia, Cristina. Definitely give Tremp a visit on your next trip home – beautiful country!
A vulture feast! haven’t seen these species up close, only in TV. Good thing this people are feeding this scavengers, and in return they get amazing photos!
Yep. seems to be a good organization with benefits for everyone involved. Thanks for sharing your comment George.
Lucky they didn’t turn on you guys! Looks like fun though and cool that you got up so close to them.
I won’t lie that it was a tiny bit scary in that wooden shack. Apparently sometimes the vultures even land on top of the hut and I can’t imagine the sound they make walking above your heads. Terrifying!
But also incredible…
Fantastic pictures! I can feel the magic of nature from these pictures.
“the magic of nature”
Well said! You really get this feeling as soon as you leave Barcelona and drive through the hills and mountains of Catalonia – such a beautiful region!
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