'As darkness fell on the Kirtik River, on the Russian side of the Caucasus mountains, my torch illuminated a pair of eyes. Just metres away was a griffon vulture. I was shocked - and impressed by how striking the bird was close up. I quickly shot two portraits before it hissed loudly and launched off into the night.' The griffon vulture is not the prettiest of birds: bald head, dull white ruff feathers, dark flight feathers and a piercing gaze. Like most vultures, it scavenges flesh from animal carcasses. Its beak is too weak to rip open fresh hides so it relies on mammal predators to do that for it.
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