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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

North Seymour Island and Islote Mosquera

August 22nd, 2012 · 1 Comment

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Our second day in the Galapagos got off to a strong start and stayed that way. Just as the sun came up I looked out of my cabin on the yacht and saw first light hitting this islet.

Daphne Minor in the Galapagos Archipelago at First Light (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 210mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800)

Daphne Minor in the Galapagos Archipelago at First Light (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 210mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Then we took a dinghy from the yacht to North Seymour Island. The light had faded as we maneuvered along a cliff where we saw a Lava Heron perched appropriately on a lava outcropping. It was so dark and shooting from the little wave-tossed dinghy was so unsteady that I was lucky to get this shot.

A Lava (or Galapagos) Heron (Butorides sundevalli) is an Endemic Species Here (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO 3200)

A Lava (or Galapagos) Heron (Butorides sundevalli) is an Endemic Species Here (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO 3200)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

On North Seymour Island birds — particularly large colonies of sea birds — as well as reptiles and mammals, were everywhere. On this small, uninhabited island it seemed that everywhere I looked I found something more that I wanted to photograph.

We saw many of one endemic species that many people especially like, the Blue-footed Booby. But most people seem to think the term means something different than what it actually does. “The name booby comes from the Spanish term bobo (which means ’stupid’ or ‘fool’ or ‘clown’) because the Blue-footed Booby is (like other seabirds) clumsy on land,” according to Wikipedia.

I Like a Nice Pair of Boobies (Sula nebouxii) (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 100mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 1600)

I Like a Nice Pair of Boobies (Sula nebouxii) (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 100mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 1600)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Magnificent Frigatebirds were another species of sea birds that we saw in large numbers. But these were close and approachable, unlike those that I saw in Belize last year on my previous Wildside Nature Tour and earlier in Dry Tortugas National Park.

A Male Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Displays to Attract a Mate (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 260mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800)

A Male Magnificent Frigatebird (Fregata magnificens) Displays to Attract a Mate (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 260mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800)

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Then, I saw the most colorful dove I have ever seen in my life.

A Galapagos Dove (Zenaida galapagoensis) Sits in a Tree (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 210mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 1600)

A Galapagos Dove (Zenaida galapagoensis) Sits in a Tree (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 210mm, f/8, 1/1000, ISO 1600)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

To most people the dove above and the gull below are just members of a common family. But both of them are attractive birds that are endemic to these islands, and this gull is the only onethat feeds exclusively at night. With night-adapted eyes that allow it to feed miles from shore, it is the only nocturnal gull in the world.

A Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus) Flies By (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO 800)

A Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus) Flies By (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/2000, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

I never saw so many reptiles before. They were all around us and were all endemic species here.

This Land Iguana (Conolophus subscristatus) Is on the Move (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 150mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800)

This Land Iguana (Conolophus subscristatus) Is on the Move (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 150mm, f/8, 1/750, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

Even stranger is the Marine Iguana, which comes ashore only in the Galapagos. It has the unique ability among modern lizards to live and forage in the sea. The white on the face of Marine Iguanas, like the one below, is salt, not coloration. They have a gland connected to their nostrils that removes salt from their bodies, which they then expel by sneezing.

A Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) Rests on Land (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800)

A Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) Rests on Land (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/500, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

We also saw many Sally Lightfoot Crabs near the water just above the limit of the sea spray. Not endemic to the Galapagos, they are one of the most common crabs along the west coast of the Americas. I wondered which woman gave this colorful crab its name. One website says that according to seamen’s lore, Sally Lightfoot was a night club dancer in the Caribbean. “Although wearing hardly anything to cover her divine body, her dress is brought and colorful.”

We Saw Sally Lightfoot Crabs (Grapsus grapsus) on Six of the Galapagos Islands (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO 800)

We Saw Sally Lightfoot Crabs (Grapsus grapsus) on Six of the Galapagos Islands (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at 400mm, f/8, 1/250, ISO 800)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

In the morning we saw all that and much more than I don’t have room to show. In the afternoon we took a ride in one of the dinghies along the shores of North Seymour and Mosquera, another paradise of nature.

A Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) on the Mosquera Beach (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at f/8, 1/1000, ISO 1600)

A Galapagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus) on the Mosquera Beach (Canon 7D with 100-400mm lens at f/8, 1/1000, ISO 1600)

Click on the picture above to enlarge

This shot says to me that here is serenity for sea lions. I felt it too.

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Posted in: Galapagos

1 response so far ↓

  • 1 Fran Stearns // Sep 2, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Curious about the boobies…their head color is a dulled manganese blue while their feet are a brilliant turquoise. The same turquoise as your dove’s eye, whose feathers are the color of pipestone. Captivating!

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