Since 2010 a census of summering griffon vultures has been carried out, covering mainly the western Alps (France and Italy), through cooperation with national and natural parks, ornithological associations and some other partners. The census takes part in the second part of August, when summering griffons are more stabilized – before one can still observe some erratic spring dispersion, while in September the griffons start going back to their perennial ranges.
This year the organizer would very much like to have better coverage in the eastern Alps (Austria and Italy) and to cover the Gorges des Causses too: the French Massif Central, can be considered a western part of the Alpine Region sensu lato. In its easten part the census has been done already the département de l’Ardèche in previous years.
Griffon observations in Switzerland suggest a recent extension of the summering area, from western Swiss Alps towards east mainly along the northern margin of the chain (see map below).
Nethertheless the country until now has not been covered, because summering falls to low level before the end of July. The situation is the same in Auvergne (northern Massif Central). But no one can predict what will happen in August 2015.
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Summering griffon vulture in the Alps – asummary of a late August 2014 count
A collaborative, simultaneous census was organised by Jean Pierre Choisy aiming to count griffon vultures summering in the Alps. Here is a summary of results
EASTERN ALPS: ≥ 200
On the day of the count there was very bad weather. Through usual monitoring ≥ 200 individuals are summering in Austria and mainly Italy (pers, comm. Fulvio Genero (Riserva Naturale Regional del Lago di Cornino) & Michael Knollseisen, (Nationalpark Hohe Tauern)).
WESTERN ALPS: 1640 counted on the roosting places at the end of the day, of which
Within the griffon vulture range in the Alps: ≥ 763
Prealps of southern Dauphiné (one Black Vulture Aegypius monachus and at least one Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus there too);
Prealps of Haute Provence: 350 (two Black Vultures too).
Within the Summering range: ≥ 911 (six Bearded Vultures Gypaetus barbatus and one Black Vulture too)
This is an increase of 1% to the 2013 count. In 2013 there was a 10% increase and in 2012 a 27% increase on previous year´s census. The 2011 increase is not significant because the 2010 first count was rather basic.
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