Talented learners from the Ba-Phalaborwa area were invited by the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) and the Kruger to Canyons Birding Route to visit the vulture restaurant on Grietjie. On Saturday, September 5, entrance was free of charge to create publicity for the International Vultures Awareness Day.On arrival at the vulture restaurant at 09h00 the fresh carcasses that had been put out early that morning had not attracted any vultures yet.
There was nonetheless great birding around the bird-hide where many species were spotted by the excited learners. After several hours of birding with the help of Birdlife SA, SAEON and SANParks staff, no vultures had arrived yet and Brenden Pienaar, manager of the Kruger to Canyons Birding Route, took everyone down to the picnic site where he taught learners about the role and the importance of vultures in the ecosystem. While the learners asked interested questions, 30 to 40 vultures came soaring overhead towards the vulture restaurant.
Everyone quickly went back into the hide, but unfortunately most of the vultures disappeared again while some waited in the trees around the carcasses. After waiting for another hour there was no sign of the vultures starting to feed, and everyone went home. Another joint effort between SAEON and Kruger to Canyons Birding Route on the environmental education front was completed successfully. The vulture restaurant can be visited by the public on Saturdays and by larger groups on appointment. It is advisable to contact Ian Owtram on 0832868281 before visiting.