Hurstville Interpretive Center, Jackson County
18670 63rd St. Maquoketa IA Sunday, June 12, 2022
Vacations are an opportunity to sleep in for many people. But for three Jackson County residents the rewards for being on the road at 6:30 most mornings on a recent vacation were glorious sunrises, amazing wildlife and even full breakfast served from the hood of a Land Rover.
Join Ann and Kevin Burns and Sandy Walton on Sunday, June 12, at 3:00 PM at the Hurstville Interpretive Center as they share images and stories of their recent safari trip to Kenya. The names Africa and Kenya suggest images of lions and giraffes and the sounds of strange birds to most folks. “We certainly saw lions and giraffes,” commented Kevin Burns. “But there was so much more! Gangly wildebeest calves with their mothers, dancing Widowbirds, and cheeky vervet monkeys,” were part of a lengthy list of memorable wildlife they encountered during their safari.
Their group visited two national parks and two national reserves in Kenya giving them the opportunity to experience distinct ecosystems. Daily safari drives in the mornings and afternoons at the different locales took their group through open plains, acacia woodlands, forested mountains, and semi-arid landscapes.
Kenya is a delight for avid and casual birders. From the iconic ostriches to the colorful Lilac-breasted Roller, the national bird of Kenya, birds abound – even in the semi-arid landscapes. “The beauty and diversity of birds was amazing,” noted Sandy Walton. “We saw a vast concentration of thousands of Flamingoes, the long-legged, snake-hunting Secretary Bird, and brilliant, metallic-plumed birds like the Malachite Kingfisher and the Scarlet-chested Sunbird.” The group documented over 250 birds on their species checklist. Some, such as the Great Egret, are the same large, white wading bird we have here. Others outshine their North American counterparts – as the name, Superb Starling, suggests.
While wildlife was the focus of the safaris, their trip provided the opportunity to spend time with the people of Kenya as well. “Our guides were, of course, well versed in the wildlife we were seeing,” noted Ann Burns. “But they also shared their stories and information about their communities and country with us. Kenya has national elections coming up in August and our guides were very willing to talk politics if asked!”
The group also had the opportunity to visit a Maasai village and learn more about their pastoral way of life. Jambo and Karibu (hello and welcome in Swahili, respectively) were words the travelers heard and experienced repeatedly during their stay. Sandy, Kevin, and Ann say “Karibu” to all who can join them on June 12 at the Hurstville Center.