Kenya Part 2

Follow the link for Kenya Part 1.

The Kenya adventure continues...

While staying in Nanyuki we accompanied a group of graduate students to the Daraja Academy. We arrived in two vehicles.


I found it hot, and really felt that I was truly at the equator. (Of course, I was told several times that this time of year (Late May/ early June) is NOT the hot season.)


The photo above was the entrance to Daraja. The day we visited was a national holiday, so no classes. But we went to the veggie garden to help the girls. I use "we" under advisement. I have never been at the best of times very good at weeding (see my back yard) and I felt keenly my lack! I felt as though I was on Survivor - the one person most likely to be voted off the Island (or as someone commented, I would not be any threat to anyone, so would not want to be voted off the island.)


The students jumped right in, helping the girls, and practicing (or learning) their Swahili.

Afterwards, we joined the girls for lunch.


And after lunch we had a tour of the school.


 And this is a lab...


I loved the message on this wall...


After a tour, we ended up witnessing a school debate!


 The next day we headed off to Archers Post, Samburu to join up with our group of undergraduates. I noticed as we drove north that the surroundings got noticeably dryer, and the trees thornier.


 We spent one night at the Umoja Women's Village Camp site. I had a hut with electricity, a toilet and a shower. This is the interior of my hut...


Here are some other photo's of the camp site...


The photo above is a photo facing east overlooking the river, and the dining/ bar area.



 This is a photo of my hut.

After we got settled, we went to the Umoja's Women's village to visit. We were welcomed with song and dancing.


and we had a tour...


We went into the beading hut to be taught how to bead, and watch the women beading.


I found another thing that I was not very good at... another thing to be voted off the Island for (or not, depending on your point of view...)


I bought some curios made by the women, including a beautiful neck piece.

We were lucky enough to go on a game drive in the Samburu Nature Reserve. We stopped at the Women's Village to collect some of the children. They were so excited. 


They took it in turns to pose with our sunglasses. It was great to be in the bush and to see the animals.



I was so excited to see this Gerenuk (the first time I had ever seen one in the wild.)


They are beautiful!!! What a lovely long neck.



Look at these amazing giraffes. I also saw a Grevy's zebra - my first one.


From a distance they look like grey donkeys, the stripes are so thin and close together.

Then we saw a mother cheetah and two cubs, posing for us on an anthill. A real National Geographic moment.


I wanted to capture the surroundings. This is very like South Africa.


And then we saw this beautiful leopard up a tree.


 Absolutely stunning...


Heaven on earth...

See Kenya Part 1.

Protect Critical Bird Habitat

As soon as September 27, a very special bird habitat could be sold to the oil and gas industry – unless we act now!

The Teshekpuk Lake region, one of the most important and remarkable wetlands on the planet, provides essential molting-season habitat for nearly a third of all the brant in the Pacific Flyway. Millions of waterfowl, shorebirds and songbirds nest in the area. It is also a stunning sweep of landscape, remarkable even in Alaska where a grand scale is the only scale.

Together, we can protect this critical bird habitat by urging the government to cancel the September 27 sale of this precious public land.

The sale is imminent! Act quickly before it’s too late!

Go here for more information.

Please join the campaign!

Saturday Lazy Birdwatching

Ah yes, Spring! Today we had glorious weather. The kind of weather that you just have to get outside. Kevin and I began our lazy birdwatching with a short drive to the St. Vrains State Park where we wanted to buy state park passes. There were loads of people there - fishing, barbeque-ing, and hanging out. We didn't expect to see many birds as there was so much activity. Last year we had a really good sightings of a bald eagle. We saw mostly goosies (yes I know the plural for goose is geese, but these are Canadian geese - there is just something goosy about them.)
Then we drove to Barr Lake for a nice walk. I love the visitors center and the bird feeding station - I always get some good ideas for my garden. I am thinking of ordering plants that are hummingbird & butterfly friendly. Then Kevin and I went for a short walk, slowly watching for birds. There were a number of ducks - gadwells, mallards, a redhead duck, and a coot. We watched a Northern Harrier ride the wind in a dizzying display. I do like the way they soar over the golden fields.
Again lots of goosies, and a sleepy greater horned owl was disturbed from its hiding place. It perched in the sun and blinked sleepily at us.
Kevin had read that a burrowing owl had been seen at the colony nesting site for the first time this season. So off we drove to see whether we could spot it. We didn't. We did see a number of bunnies, and some very fat looking prairie dogs. We listened to the music of the meadowlarks and watched great metal birds land at Denver International Airport.

Bobcat Spotted!

Kevin recently went on a photo shoot to SW Colorado to record the changing aspen. H051005_crw_9001bobcate came across these little fellas crossing the road in front of him. He said there were four cats, and this one appeared to be a juvenile. The cat was curious and showed no fear of Kevin as he parked in the middle of the dirt road to take this photo.

051005_crw_9000bobcat Doesn't he look cuddly?

Burrowing Owls

Since my last post we have been busy - busy with gardening, and general spring orientated activities. I've ordered my plants from High Country Gardens and they should be arriving during the week of May 16. This is also the time of year for Burrowing Owls.  Kevin visits Rich Stevens' website for interesting tips on bird watching. We used this site to find the little screech owl that I blogged about here.

We found a very informative Burrowing Owl "Owl Loop" that practically guaranteed us a good sighting of some burrowing owls.

And sure enough we spotted them. So we have been regular visitors and watching these cute cuddly owls as the stand on their holes and watch us! We have been taking pictures, but none have come out good enough to post on this site. These owls are kind of skittish, and do not like to be approached.

The best time to see Burrowing Owls is during the day when they are quite active. Watch out for prairie dog colonies and do a careful scan of the mounds as they sometimes peep out at you. Typically they stand on top of the mound in a very erect way.

Here is a more informative site about Burrowing Owls. It includes pictures and sounds.

Eastern Screech Owl

I meant to add this photo of our little Eastern Screech Owl after the last post. Jeanne reminded me of it. Thanks Jeanne!

So here is the little guy. Colorado has an overlap of both Eastern and Western Screech owls. They are nearly indistinguishable, except by voice and by the subtle coloring of the bill - in the Eastern the bill is a greenish gray, and in the Western it is darker - a more blackish color. (To be honest you can't tell the difference by looking at him - you need a good photograph to go back and compare.)

Screech_owl_8907_1 The Owl is perched in a hole in a tree trunk. He is quite tiny no more than about 8 inches or 20cm high. 

You can see how well he is camoflaged.