Sunday, April 25, 2010

Birds, birds, birds!

Here are some of the birds that we saw. Most of these pictures were taken on Espanola (Hood) Island, which is the most easterly and oldest island in the Galapagos. The trail was a rock strewn trail, very difficult to navigate. I swallowed my pride and took a walking stick (AKA cane!) It saved my life more than once! I'll never hike without one again! Some of these birds are unique to Galapagos, others are similar to ones seen around the world.
Galapagos Hawk, this one is banded. Similar in size to red-tail hawks in the U.S.
Gulls on the wing are sometimes difficult to identify, but this one stood still for me, it is a swallow tail gull, and it is easy to identify on the wing.
The story as we heard it was that the albatross had not yet landed on Espanola Island to start the nesting season. Just as those words came out of the guide's mouth, here comes Mr. Waved Albatross, flying down about 10 feet from our group on the trail. Following him were many more. The males choose a nest site, and later the females come to actually nest and lay eggs. We saw dozens of albatross that day.
The bird most mentioned when talking about Galapagos birds is the blue footed boobie. We saw a pair on the trail actually engaged in the mating dance. Quite interesting, and unfazed by our admiring glances, and many pictures that were being taken. The male does a dance, lifting his beautiful blue feet and showing them to the female to get her interested in mating!
Galapagos dove, somewhat like our mourning dove in size and color.

In addition, we saw Nasca (masked) boobies, oystercatchers, turnstones, mockingbirds, Darwin cactus finches on this island. I'm sure I'm not remembering others that we saw, there was so much to see on this island.

If you go to Galapagos, do not miss visiting Espanola--it is the one to see if you can't do anything else.

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