Great Blue Heron and his potential
dinner at the canal. A ferry just like the one we took to
cross to Santa Cruz island. The first Galapagos Finch we saw. One of 14 or 15 species endemic to
the islands. This is probably a large or medium
tree finch, it its hard for me to
tell them apart.
If you can help me identify any of the ones on this site please send me email.
Giant tortoises We saw the first of these immense
creatures as we were driving along. They resembled rocks in the middle of
an overgrown field until one
moved or raised it's head. We soon stopped where several of them
were near a swampy pond. I had imagined that they lived in
much more desert like locations. Tortoise poop, 4 to 5 inches
(10-12 cm) long. We were really there with them.
Not very fast but you probably couldn't stop them if you tried.
We continued on to Rancho Primicias,
a privately owned reserve for the
tortoises. It reaches from the ocean to the
highlands so they have a natural
migration corridor. Lots more of the giants there.
This one has a mockingbird as a
Galapagos Mockingbirds, called that
because of their appearance not
This is typical of the habitat. Some Galapagos finches, probably
Medium Ground Finches. A different species of finch. (Sharp
Beaked Ground Finch??) An empty shell gave me the chance to
show how big these tortoises are.
Lunch with our crew.
Our local guide pointed out these
very long pods on a tree, picked one
and offered it. Inside were "beans" covered with a
white pulp. You eat the pulp not the bean, not
bad. Next stop the lava tube. You can see the size. It was formed when lava flowed here,
the surface hardened and the still
molten rock flowed out from under the crust. Tables constructed from chunks of
lava, not natural formations. Exit.
Down to the seashore where we saw
Sally Lightfoot crabs. They are born black but each molt
shows a little more color, finally
turning a brilliant red. Here is one feeding. The Angermeyer Inn where stayed on
this island. Very nice, highly recommended. A Lava Lizard catching some rays.
We traveled by small boat through
some interesting surf as we passed a
breakwater on our way out of the harbor.
To a beach area for snorkeling and a
walk along a lava beach.
My first encounter with sharks. These were White Tip Reef Sharks. I'll attribute the unsteady aim to
learning to use a new camera not my
concern for their intent. One of the creatures that was found
while snorkeling, a sea cucumber. A lot less imposing than the sharks
and a lot more like leather than we
The Lava Gull (Leucophaeus
fuliginosus) is one of the rarest
gulls in the world, the entire population lives on the Galapagos Islands and is estimated at 400 pairs We must have seen a large fraction of
them during our visit. They are quite a bit bigger than this
accidental juxtaposition makes
this one appear. Our guide wasn't trying to capture
one he just happened to move his
hand into the frame as the picture was snapped.
A Frigate bird soared overhead
And much closer
Marine iguanas were everywhere. These were sunning themselves right
next to our picnic site. Iguana for lunch. No we didn't eat one he just stopped
by. We were getting ready for lunch when
an iguana wandered through. You
can see about how big he is by comparing him to the feet and trash can
as he passes.
Part of the beach consisted of a mix
of sea urchin spines and small
shells with almost no sand.
A tiny Hermit Crab one of our group
found there. The lava beach had many cactus. My guess is that this is a Cactus
And further along we came on many
more iguanas. And saw a battle between two males
for the beautiful maiden who shows
at the end of the video. OK, only beautiful if you are an
iguana. She is rather aloof as you can see in
the final frame. No problem getting a close look. They weren't all on the rocks.
Here is one in the undergrowth.
And another one swimming. They are Marine Iguanas after all.
The surf was washing over this iguana.
He had probably just come in from having a seaweed dinner.
Marine iguanas have a unique method
for eliminating the excess salt
they ingest when feeding underwater. They have glands in their nose that
excrete it then they more or less
sneeze to eject it. I happened to be panning past these
when one chose to demonstrate. The video has two sequences at normal
speed followed by two that have
been slowed by a factor of five. A sea lion was lazing on the rocks. And the first Blue Footed Boobies we
saw. More Sally Lightfoot crabs.
When we returned to where we had our
picnic lunch we found these sea
lions had moved in.
As well as this guy.
On a walk near the inn where we
stayed we saw yet another kind of finch. Probably a Large Ground Finch.
And there is no mistaking the Great
Blue Heron in the pond nearby. During a little exploration outside Puerto Ayora we
found this lava tube. Smaller but much rougher
than the one we had visited
earlier. The ceiling had collapsed
at one point leading to this
bit of greenery. Iguanas get big but this is a bit of
Two boats that hark back to the
islands early history of piracy and