Completely out of the blue and at the very last minute, I found myself on a plane to Guayaquil, Ecuador, finally heading to a place I’ve wanted to visit for years – the Galapagos islands! A very good friend and “world famous bird photographer”, Arthur Morris has been leading a trip to the Galapagos for many years and with a last minute cancellation, I was able to slide in for what turned out to be a trip of a lifetime!
On Tuesday July 23, we flew from Guayaquil to the airport on the island of Baltra, in the Galapagos. An old U.S. airbase, the new airport is the only “green” ecological airport in the world. From there it was only a short bus ride to the harbor where we boarded our transportation and accommodations for the next two weeks, the Samba.
Once aboard the Samba, it was a short navigation to our first landing at North Seymour island, where we got our first taste of the amazing and abundent wildlife found in the islands.
It’s fitting that the sea lion would be our welcoming commitee since they are everywhere.
Of course, there are any number of birds that are ever present, whether following us on the boat or on land.
Of course, everyone has heard tell of the blue footed booby, a marine bird that dives and swims to catch its prey. Their only need for land is for breeding and raising their young. We will have many chances to visit with them over the next two weeks.
What you see above is the progression from chick to adult in the frigate bird. Two species in the Galapagos, the Great Frigatebird and the Magnificent Frigatebird. The female in flight and the male above are both Magnificent Frigatebirds. The female has a blue eye ring while the Great female a red eye ring. The male above has a purple cast to his shoulder feathers where the Great has a green cast. As with the boobys we will see much more of these very large prehistoric looking birds in the days to come.
And lest you think all the wildlife is either air or sea borne, we have several species of Land Iguanas throughout the islands. We will see them sporting different colors, sizes and shapes as well as Marine Iguanas – swimmers!
So our first day in the Galapagos comes to an end with many more incredible sights and experiences to follow.
I hope you’ll follow along over the next couple weeks as I explore one of the most unique and beautiful places on the planet!