|Tuesday, 10 July 2007|
23rd August 2006
After an amazing season last year, I left Nepal on a high and couldn't wait to return to see where I could take Parahawking next. Then the country decended into chaos with it's political instablity reaching an all time high. The government was sacked the king was being ousted, there was riots and chaos in Kathmandu and all this left the future of Parahawking in the balance.
As a project, it's pretty much all self funded, whilst my meagre living expenses are covered from the profits of our small Lakeside restuarant, the costs for the upkeap and mainainance of the birds, accomodation, equipment, travel etc etc all have to be met. Last year, after a lot of interest from pilots who had maybe seen our film - Parahawking - I decided to run a limited number of Parahawking courses for pilots who were interested in learning about the complexities of training birds of prey to fly with Paragliders and to experience whats it's like to be in the air with a trained bird as your personal flying companion.
It was a learning curve all round, I've been a falconer for over 20 years and have been a professional falconry instructor at the world renound British School of Falconry, but passing my knowledge of Parahawking was a new challenge. But it was worth it, the courses were a huge success and it was totally magic to be able to fly alongside my students and the birds in the later half of the course. Needless to say I had planned to double the amount of courses for the next season.
Because of the political situation, I was unsure of the level of interest I would receive but Paragliding pilots are an adventurous bunch and I received far more Parahawking enquiries than I had expected; so thank you for all those that have shown an interest. Then I was presented with an opportunity that was too good to turn down. British film makers Steve Robinson and Martin Cray, also a longstanding falconer, approached me about making a follow up to their BAFTA award winning film - Flying With Kites - where Lolo Williams, a welsh bird of prey enthusiast and conservationist take on the challenge to learn to Paraglide and eventually to fly with trained birds of prey.
To guarantee the success of this film project I will need to dedicate the entire season to training new and existing birds for the filming for the three weeks filming at the end of January beginning of February 2007 so unfortunately I will be postponing all week long Falconry and Parahawking adventures for this coming season. I will still be able to offer half day Falconry tuition and Parahawking flights for pilots and non pilots so if you are still coming to Nepal this season and fancy a taste of the action, contact me in advance or come and see me at my residence, Maya Devi Village Restaurant.
So I applogise to all those who have enquired about coming out to Nepal this year to take part in the Parahawking adventure and I would like to thank you all for your interest.
In the meantime, I am now preparing for the coming season where the pressure is on and I intend to take Parahawking to new...erm... heights.
I have a new bird too, a young Egyptian Vulture so check back here in a few months for news on how that's going.
Happy flying and I hope to see you in Nepal.
31st March 2006
It's the end of the season now for me and my four black Kites, Brad, Goggles, Sapana and Dave and what an amazing season it's been.
But it wasn't looking too promising back in October when the season started. Nepal's dry monsoon meant that the rice harvest was delayed by at least 2 months, this made it very difficult to train the birds and with the worlds first Parahawking adventure fast approaching things were touch and go.
By early November the rice was finally cut and it was all systems go. Brad picked things up pretty quickly from last year and was flying free with the gliders by early December, Goggles and Sapana were not far behind.
Les Snyder a paragliding pilot from the USA was first to take the Parahawking course/adventure in early December making him the first in the world to complete such a course.
As the season progressed the birds got fitter and were performing better and better, unfortunately for Goggles however progress was slow, he'd had a few too many near tangles with the Paraglider lines and lost his confidence to which he never really fully recovered. I believe, with a bit of patience, he'll regain his confidence for next season as he has real potential and a beautiful flying style.
Throughout the season many birds are brought to us that are either sick or injured. This year was no exception with several owls and kites needing our expert help. One such bird was a small juvenile male Black Kite that needed serious medical attention. Looking battered and exhausted the prognosis was not good, being a possible victim from poisoning he was dehydrated and emaciated and really only had hours to live. But he was a fighter and miraculously managed to pull through. Within days he was gaining weight and fighting fit. It was decided however that he wasn't fit enough to return to the wild so "Dave" as he was now named became the 4 member of the Parahawking team.
By the end of the season, Brad the oldest of the Male black kites was becoming the star of the show. I had clocked up over 30 hours of flying time with him alone and experienced some of the best flying I've had with the birds since we started this project 5 years ago. In fact I lost count the amount of times I landed and shouted "That's the best flight i've ever had"
So while the birds rest, planning the 2006/7 Parahawking season has begun, and I think it's going to be a special one. There will be more Parahawking courses available for pilots plus the possibility of an exciting new film project - watch this space for details.
If you would like to know more or want some information on the courses please contact us.
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