Le gypaète barbu du Quié

At the top of a long and bumpy track there is a wonderful view of the Ariège valley; the sounds of the traffic travel up from the village in the morning air. Soon they are drowned out by cowbells as a herd of cows and calves comes over the ridge; they graze for an hour on the fresh grass and then promptly turn around a go back, the sounds disappearing with them.

Ar around mid-morning, an adult lammergeier comes across on his usual track from Le Quie and has to work hard in the warm, still air to traverse the escarpment. The bird is an adult and thus probably over seven years old as it has beautiful slate blue plumage with white shafts on the primary and secondary wing feathers and with an orange yellow head; it is entirely silent and enormous. Again, it seems not to care that I am only a stone’s throw away.

The bird flies close to the escarpment and flaps slowly past on long, elegant wings and only starts to glide after the land drops away.

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