One more time!
As you can see by the map above, we had another long navigation north to Isla Genovesa, our second time visiting here. We arrived in Darwin Bay around midnight, with the plan to be up early for our landing at Prince Phillip’s Steps. The first time we visited here, it was an afternoon landing, this time, first thing in the morning. So, what’s the significance in the timing? A lot depends on where the sun rises and or sets, along with the prevailing winds. Since we don’t really want to photograph into the sun, which would be a backlit subject, the time of day becomes relevant. For birds in flight, with prevailing winds “against” the sun, we would again be shooting into the sun, not good! Many of our landings were set up with this in mind, however, it’s nature photography so there’s no sure thing!
I’ve been putting a lot of images up over the last couple weeks but since most are quite isolated, I’m not giving you any idea of the surroundings. This booby looks great just sitting at the top of the bushes but what’s it like all around?
Well, something like this. He looks so big in the first photo, not so much when you see him in his natural environment. Especially with a bunch of photographers around! He was quite patient with us though, as were those in the three nests just below where he sat.
When we moved onto the eastern coastal area, we lucked out finding this sleepy head in one of the big crevices. We had seen an owl on our first visit, but not this close.
From the website Galapagos ConservationTrust –
“The Galapagos short-eared owl has developed a unique hunting behaviour on Genovesa island, at a colony of storm petrels. The petrels nest deep in tunnels in the lava rock, usually out of reach of the owls. However the owls have learnt to stalk nearby, watching the petrels as they enter and leave the tunnels. The owls then wait close by for the petrel to leave the tunnel and catch them unawares. Another technique they use is to hide in the entrance of the tunnel to grab a petrel as it flies in.”
This is why we were able to get as close as we were as he was down in one of the crevices waiting for breakfast.
An interesting note here, preparing these posts is really the first time I’ve looked at the images since I left the islands. Once back on the boat after a shoot, I would do a first edit eliminating all the stinkers but spent very little time processing any. In going through the images for today’s post I counted the shots of the owl I had saved. 97!!! That’s just nuts! One with the head angle this way, one with it that way, vertical, horizontal, include this, then that, crazy! So you see, I could have put up a ton more but settled on just this one, which makes everybody happy. And if you think that’s bad, I didn’t even try to count all the tropic bird shots from yesterday!
Since we had been here once before, pretty much seeing some of the same things, I decided to try a different tact with my images this time, concentrating on closeups and small details. The combination of a fairly long lens and the wildlife willing to put up with our close proximity allowed for some interesting shots.
The Nazca Boobies were most cooperative.
I had mentioned way back about the difference in feathers of the Great and Magnificent Frigate-birds. This is a good example of the green on the back of a Great Frigate-bird.
We had planned to visit the beach on Darwin Bay after lunch so Juan made a scouting trip over to see what it looked like. It was always going to be challenging because of the afternoon sun. Juan found very little activity, so it was decided to hoist anchor and head to our next stop, Isla Santiago. It’s a seven hour navigation so we should arrive around dinner time. We will make two landings on Santiago, our last full day in the Galapagos!