Some of my original Zebra Finches from years past (the cleaner pot rack alone dates the photo)
I’m almost totally over the rhino-plus virus, well enough to get through what seemed like endless commitments. Now as my mind clears along with my sinuses, I am feeling remiss in keeping up with this commitment, so when I remembered this morning there is always an opportunity to fall back on those “Unattached” photographs that clog up my media library, I decided to select a few at random just for fun. A couple from the Galapagos, not so long ago, which reminds me I still have a couple days left from my trip I never covered…
Yellow Warbler – Galapagos – July 2016
Magnificent Frigatebird, Galapagos, July 2016
The three below are from a trip to East Africa in 2013.
Gray-Crowned Cranes, November, 2013, Tanzaniya
Burchell’s Zebra, November 2013
Pearl-Spotted Owlet, November 2013
The sunset below probably happened in Belize at Crooked Tree in March of 2014…I’ll be back with more recent endeavors soon.. Thanks for following my meanderings. I hope you enjoyed this little blast from the past.
I am happy to be recovering from the cold from hell, so it’s time for a long-overdue post and luckily I still have pictures left from the Galapagos. Either I am getting old, not getting enough sleep or going through crow withdrawal – likely a combination of all three – but my resistance to these rhino-inconveniences seems to be less strong than usual. I have made it my New Year’s Resolution to go out more often during the work week and Find Crows. Crows will protect me against the ongoing assault to my spirit.
Below, a few pictures of a Blue-Footed Booby flying and diving.
These pictures are likely out of order, but our landing on San Cristobal was dry, meaning we could climb out of the panga onto steps at a dock. Needless to say we avoided the steps where the sea lions were sleeping (see farther below in the post). We then took a bus ride out to our hike.
A glimpse of the rugged lava-rock terrain.
The iguanas on this island are Galapagos Land Iguanas. They don’t swim. They are the color of the beach sand instead of wet rocks.
Below is a San Cristobal Lava Lizard. Found on this island only.
San Cristobal has its own mockingbird species. As far as I could tell, the “mocking” for all the species here applies more to their attitude than mimicry of other birds’ calls…
Galapagos Striated Heron doing its heron thing.
Why can’t all flycatchers be as cooperative as the Galapagos Flycatcher?
Flying over the beach, a Galapagos Hawk.
I felt very lucky to get a couple pictures of the Dark-Billed Cuckoo. Even here Cuckoos are not gregarious.
Our sought-after finch on San Cristobal was the Woodpecker Finch below.
More pictures of the Woodpecker Finch in action.
After lunch we sailed to Santa Fe island for the Vegetarian Finch.
Vegetarian Finch, Santa Fe Island
Back on San Cristobal, the Gray Warbler Finches are flower piercers and eaters.
The sea lions were everywhere.
The sea lion below left is covered in sand.
I have included a video below for some sea lion action and barking.
Somewhere coming or going we saw Manta Rays close to the surface. Our ship and the dinner sculpture are inset.
As San Cristobal has its own mockingbird, it’s only fair to give it more attention.
San Cristobal Mockingbird
I have a couple more posts to come from the Galapagos. It’s been challenging to spread it out over such a long period of time, but fun too. I never thought I’d say it — I wish I could go back!
The thought crossed my mind recently that visiting the Galapagos was a trip of a lifetime – but I did not expect it would take me another lifetime to get through all the pictures.
The Paint-Billed Crake above and below has got to be the most cooperative crake I have ever tried to photograph, let alone see.
These pictures are in no particular order. In fact I think they’re nearly in the order I uploaded them. They are all from Floreana Island and environs.
Always looking for a cooperative Blue-Footed Booby, but sometimes they move too fast.
The Nazca Boobies, on the other hand, are always available for pictures.
Below, a Brown Noddy on the left, and on the right and below, the ubiquitous Elliott’s Storm-Petrel. I got spoiled seeing these birds off the bough of the boat every day. Guess I’ll need to take more pelagic trips if I want more of this sort of thing.
Floreana Island has its own subspecies of Galapagos Mockingbird.
I think we saw at least one Galapagos Flycatcher every day.
This island also has a budding tortoise population.
The hard-to-capture bird below is a Galapagos Shearwater. They were rarely seen except for one early evening when a group of them was following the boat, walking on water.
Adding another Darwin’s Finch to the list, below is the Medium Tree Finch, I believe a male on the left and a female on the right.
Medium Tree Finch
Medium Tree Finch
And below, two individuals from the Small Ground Finch clan. We may have seen them every day too.
Small Ground Finch
Small Ground Finch
The Red-Billed Tropicbird below was my ongoing challenge. Although we saw plenty of them they were either too far away or too fast to capture perfectly. But I kept trying.
I will never tire of Sally Lightfoot Crabs. Who is Sally Lightfoot? Apparently no one in particular, but one website says they get their name from being nimble on their feet. That’s a Marine Iguana with and below the crab.
The Galapagos Sea Lions we saw nearly every day, too. No complaints.
Below, a juvenile Swallow-Tailed Gull and two flight shots. You can actually see the swallow-tail in the top right flight picture. Click on it for enlargement.
Below, a Wedge-Rumped Storm-Petrel and me, likely trying to get pictures of it.
Those Galapagos Yellow Warblers always seemed happy to see us.
I hope you are enjoying the holiday season, wherever you are. We are currently toughening up to withstand the Polar Vortex which shows no signs of going anywhere anytime soon. Snow is predicted this weekend. That’s Snow with a Capital S.
Small Tree Finch
I’m doing well after my second cataract surgery and looking forward to a new prescription in a few weeks.
I’m not happy with working late, Friday night. End of Complaining. Hope to be back to this page soon.
There are plenty of places to see Vermilion Flycatchers and they’re probably not the first bird to come to mind when one visits the Galapagos, but did that stop me from taking way too many pictures of this one? Of course not!
My desire to escape is likely a shared sentiment, so I invite you to Day 4 of the Galapagos adventure. We spent the day at Isabela Island. In the morning we were at Volcan Sierra Negra and in the afternoon, at Punta Moreno.
Some birds we had seen before, others not.
Nice look at a lone Whimbrel.
The cutie pie below is a Warbler Finch.
Small Ground Finches…
The best opportunity for a picture of Lava Gulls was here.
Green Warbler Finch…
We got our first looks at Galapagos Giant Tortoises, for which the islands are named. Galapagos was a Spanish word for “saddle” which describes the shape of the tortoise shells.
At Sierra Negra the subspecies is guntheri.
Below is a video of an interaction between two of these magnificent creatures, which might give you more of an idea.
We were also fortunate to get good looks at the Galapagos Hawk.
At Villamil, Punta Moreno, there was a nice colony of Greater Flamingos.
The dinner sculpture and the next day’s plans…
Three more days’ worth of photos to go. I’m off to a choir rehearsal this evening which should help distract me long enough from the incomprehensible reality to feel empowered by making a little noise.
I never thought going through pictures I took two months ago would be so therapeutic, but it turns out after being away from them and the pressure hanging over my head to get through them when life got too much in the way, it’s feeling pretty good to go back to the Galapagos through these memories. These pictures are all from Day One.
Our first morning we flew from Quito to Guayaquil and then to Baltra Island. While waiting at the dock to be transported to the catamaran sailing vessel where we would spend 9 days visiting as many of the islands as possible, it became apparent that we might be seeing sea lions and marine iguanas virtually everywhere.
My entertainment included watching Brown Noddys following a Brown Pelican (Southern) who was trying to fish.
The predominant species of crab is the Sally Lightfoot Crab which delights me by its name almost as much as its appearance. The photograph on the right has a Galapagos Striated Heron in it, an endemic also referred to as the “Lava Heron.”
Magnificent Frigatebirds were so abundant I nearly forgot to pay attention to them later in the trip so I’m glad I managed to get some photographs the first day.
Great Blue Herons were seen on several of the islands.
We got on and off the catamaran using a vessel I’m pretty sure was referred to as a “panga” and was designed with seating on the sides so you could throw your gear in the middle of the boat. I seem to have only this picture of the boat from a few days later, but I think the islet pictures must have been taken from it. Below the picture of the panga is a Whimbrel on the shore of an islet.
Also on the same little islet, the first and farthest views I would have of a Galapagos Mockingbird.
Our first island stop on the afternoon of our arrival to the catamaran was at Santa Cruz Island. The catamaran sailed from island to island, set anchor and we were transported to the island in the panga. A word about our itinerary: the islands we would visit and when were determined by the authority of the Galapagos National Park to insure that not too many people were on any island at any one time. Some islands were off-limits altogether, but there was plenty left to see.
The Black-Necked Stilt above and the White-Cheeked Pintails below are not native to the Galapagos but still very nice to see.
The Marine Iguanas were irresistible.
Below, Blue-Footed Boobies in a flight pattern and a view of the beach where we landed to explore.
The Yellow Warbler below is a subspecies found in the Galapagos. This turned out to be a very common bird and easy to photograph.
Yellow Warbler – Galapagos – July 2016
The two finches below would be seen almost every day, but these were my introductory looks at them.
Small Ground Finch
Darwin’s Finches all evolved with different adaptations to their environment. For whatever reason these finches were named “ground” finches, I must admit that for the most part we did see them on the ground and not in trees or bushes.
Medium Ground Finch
I have dreamed for years of getting decent looks at American Oystercatchers. They’re not rare or native to the Galapagos but it was such a delight to be able to get close enough to this pair.
Off the stern of the catamaran we often had seabirds following us. Elliott’s Storm-Petrels were the most common. The challenge was to sit and try to capture them as the boat swayed.
Back on board the Nemo III every evening for dinner, our chef prepared great food and a different fruit-and-vegetable sculpture. I may have to do a separate post featuring all of these.
One more look at an oystercatcher…
I’ll be back with so very much more, this trip was amazing. Although I can’t imagine going back and doing it all over again, in a way I wish I could. I guess that’s the reason for taking pictures. This time I’m really reliving an entire experience, not “just” the birds.
Right now I have to go clean up the tree mess in the alley. The Horse Chestnut is dying and losing its leaves early. I hope I won’t have to cut it down.