Close Encounters of the bird kind

It was one of those crystal clear days in the Alps when you can see all the way to Mont Blanc, and Cicerone author Gillian Price and her partner Nicola were entranced by the magic as they explored Monte Scorluzzo in the Stelvio National Park for a forthcoming guidebook.

Stelvio National ParkA Tamina Stelvio National Park

It was one of those crystal clear days in the Alps when you can see all the way to Mont Blanc, and Cicerone author Gillian Price and her partner Nicola were entranced by the magic as they explored Monte Scorluzzo in the Stelvio National Park for a forthcoming guidebook.

They were making their way along the Fil dei Mot ridge at 3000 metres altitude, when a massive shadow darkened the sky and below them landed the biggest bird they'd ever seen.

With a wingspan of two and a half metres, there was no doubt about it, it was the legendary lammergeier or bearded vulture, and it spent most of the day coming and going, swooping low (as it has bad eyesight).

Many photos and hours and metres in descent later, Gillian and Nicola dropped into the Park HQ at Bormio and were thrilled to meet ornithologist Enrico Bassi who identified the bird as Tamina, a young female released two years previously in Switzerland.

Due to the successful reintroduction programme across the Alps, other lammergeiers already nest permanently in the Stelvio and a webcam has even been placed in a nest - go to www.gipetostelvio.it for reality TV like you've never seen before.

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Price

Gillian Price

Gillian Price was born in England but has lived in Venice for many years. Gillian has steadily explored the mountain ranges of Italy, and Corsica, and brought them to life for visitors in a series of outstanding guides for Cicerone. She is an active member of the Italian Alpine Club (CAI) and Mountain Wilderness.

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