Ulovane Update: Field Guides Week 6
Having had a relaxing beach day at Kenton on Sunday, all of us were ready for week 6. Our main focus for this week was birds and reptiles but also included our mock tracking assessments as well as a wine tasting evening.
For all of us week 6 was definitely a wake-up call. The reality of our assessments being just around the corner is setting in and added an extra bit of pressure to this week’s activities. Never the less it was a week filled with much laughter and fun. Candice’s wine tasting evening was a lot of fun and definitely proved we all have very different taste buds!
Out on one of our drives we spotted a pair of lanner falcons sitting on a telephone pole. This was the absolute highlight of my week. Apart from them being stunning birds to look at and observe, it was a privilege to see them as they haven’t been spotted in a long time on Amakhala and it was my first time seeing them. Reptile sightings were minimal because as always when you are looking for something it’s not there and for the first time in a while it rained for the majority of the week, which is not ideal for any reptiles at all. However, we had two incredible sightings of Nile monitor lizards and Boomslang’s.
I found birds particularly interesting this week, I love bird watching but didn’t know much about them so it was awesome to be able to gain some knowledge. It was eye opening to find out the evolutionary beliefs surrounding birds and reptiles – birds being a more evolved reptile is something I can’t wrap my mind around.
Developing my tracking was amazing. It blew my mind as to how much you can pick up on from your surroundings about what has happened in the area, what has been there and even estimate a time it all took place, all from just a single set of tracks left in the sand! Tracking has always been an interest of mine which made it very fun and grew my knowledge regarding tracks and other signs a lot.
Week 6 definitely taught us a lot in many aspects and bought us all closer as a team. We can’t wait for a busy week 7 ahead!
The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share. – Lady Bird Johnson
Ulovane Update: Backup Trails Guides Week 6
It’s hard to believe that this week marked our second last week of the Trails Guide course. It felt like only yesterday that we were arriving to begin the course and yet it feels like we have been here for an eternity.
During our second last week we focused mainly on tracks, having our assessment on the last few days of the week. We started off just learning the different shapes of the tracks and their unique aspects. Little did we know that there was a much bigger picture busy unfolding. As we started learning more about the tracks and signs left by an individual, we discovered how animal behaviour plays a very important role in determining the animal. It gave us a sense of being in their shoes and going through their daily activities.
We identified the animals, not only by the tracks left behind, but also by the different signs that were around the track such as scrapings or foot placement. This helped us envision what the animal was doing and what made it react the way it did or step in the direction it did.
We learned how different habitats and weather conditions influence the tracks and why certain animals go in a particular direction, also what time of the day they will pursue different activities such as feed, drink, etc. Our instructors taught us to the best of their abilities, giving us tips and pointers on how to identify certain types of tracks. They are both very enthusiastic about tracking which really made it easy to understand them and also made us excited to learn more about the tracks. Every week our respect towards them grows and grows because of the way they go the extra mile for us while making is fun and memorable. Their knowledge and experience are without a doubt exceptional. They were able to find the smallest of tracks in the smallest of places while identifying them without a sweat.
There were quite a few tracks that became easier to identify as the week went on, but there were also many mind teasers that were a challenge – specifically the antelope!
I know that I speak on behalf of all the Trails Guides when I say that we all gained a lot of knowledge this week and definitely grew even more as individuals and also as a team.
Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, you have to love it and be able to make sacrifices for it. Maya Angelou