Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Ex- Student: Julian Parson

By: Julian Parson

After completing a year working as an overland guide I decided to further my guiding and complete my FGASA level 1 qualification. Choosing a training institute was really not tough as I have a love for the Kwa-Zulu Natal coastline and had my heart set on moving up to Zululand.

Regrettably I only completed a one month, Level 1, course with Bhejane Nature Training but wish I could have stayed longer. I was really surprised about the amount of knowledge I was able to obtain in such a short period of time and the bonus was that it was not only knowledge of bush that I obtained it was also the knowledge of what to expect, and what is expected from you, once in a working situation, and how to go about your everyday duties.

Picture taken by Julian Parsons of Muzi Pan
Once I had obtained my Level 1 certificate I managed to land a dream job as a tiger fishing guide on Lake Jozini with the help from Ryan Tippett (Bhejane's head instructor), who had worked at that particular lodge as a head guide for many years. I spent a year at Shayamoya Tiger Fishing and Game Lodge before searching for greener pastures a little closer to my friends at Bhejane Nature Training. I now work at Hluhluwe River Lodge as the head guide and I specialize in birding and wildlife photography. When I am not running after my little feathered friends with camera in hand, I conduct big 5 game drives into the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Park where I have seen some spectacular sightings, like kills by lion, wild dog and cheetah. But I think my favourite sighting to date, was on the Hluhluwe River floodplain, whilst out photographing Collard Pratincoles in flight. There was an insect hatch above a small fresh water pan which set the Pratincoles, as well as copious numbers of bats, into a feeding frenzy. They were later joined by a pair of Marsh Owls who began to catch the bats in full flight! This was the first and last time I have seen such a spectacle, and also the first time I had ever seen a Marsh Owl! Within the next year I am planning to complete my bird specialist course followed by my FGASA Level 2. Within the next 5 years I would like to have completed my FGASA Level 3 as well as my SKS birding. I also plan to start up my own photographic safaris so that I can pass on the knowledge and skills that I have obtained as a photographer as well as add to the experience with my knowledge of the bush. 
Creating Awareness Through Wilderness....

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