Tag Archives: Galápagos

Pinnacle Rock – Bartolome Island

The iconic and vulcanic formation, with the equally unique Gray matplant (Tiquilia nesiotica) in the foreground – the much larger Santiago Island in the background

Pinnacle Rock – Bartolome Island

Perhaps one of the most peculiar formations on the Galapagos. From afar it looks just like a pinnacle rock, but closing in you’ll see strange formations created by sun, wind and water. This erosion is continous, and sometime in the future the pinnacle will be nothing more than a photographic memory.

Gray matplant (Tiquilia nesiotica)

The only plant species growing on these sandy volcanic slopes. When I asked for the name of this species I was very puzzled! I wondered how this plant could be used in the production of the alcoholic drink – but when you see the name in writing you quickly realize it’s nothing to do with […]

Santiago Island lavaflow

An island in a sea of hardened lavaflow on an island in a sea of water! This is on the south east side of the island, close to the Pinnacle Rock.

Pinnacle Rock – Bartolome Island

The iconic and volcanic formation from a different angle and Santiago Island in the background.

Bartolome Island

Bartolome Island

Despite being a rather new island, with very little vegetation, it has a great diversity in volcanic formations, rock and sand. Some areas looks Martian – like the foreground – red sand and rock. No vegetation at all.

Santiago Island lavaflow

What a sight this must have been, when the lava was flowing here a few years ago, and surrounded this outcrop! This is on the north west side of the island.

Mangrove Warbler (Dendroica petechia aureola)

The only yellow bird in Galapagos. Here it’s foraging for food very close to a sea lion and the waves inside a wide crevice. It had to jump out of the way and back to whatever temptations were there. As this location was constantly being drenched by the sea, it’s apparently eating tiny crustaceans. It […]

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

This individual was fast asleep, and just occasionally opened its eyelids to check us out. It sounds like this:

Galápagos field cricket (Gryllus abditus)

A large and colorful cricket, and quite difficult to spot unless you catch it moving.

Morning glory (Ipomoea linearifolia)

An unusual flower, resembling a Petunia. I only encountered this species on Santiago. Perhaps it’s endemic to Santiago?

Galápagos plant 01 (Cordia sp)

Please help me classify it – leave a comment 🙂

Galápagos plant 01 (Cordia sp)

Looks similar to Cordia verbenacea, but the latter has ruffled betals. Please help me classify it – leave a comment 🙂

Fernandina lavaflow

Looks like cow manure or perhaps chocolate mousse?

Flightless Cormorant (Phalacrocorax harrisi)

The population is limited to Fernandina and portions of Isabela, and is as a species vulnerable. It’s an agile swimmer and and expert of catching fish – on land it is a different matter. Perfectly camouflaged against the black lava rocks. Where is evolution going? Will the wings be nothing more than a Penguin’s in […]

American Oystercatcher (Haematopus palliatus galapagensis)

What a difference in behavior to the European Oystercatcher! The European Oystercatcher is extraordinarily vocal and territorial. Here they are heard now and then, and their “song contests” are short lived, even though they are nesting. I assume this is due to few individuals in the vicinity, and that a denser population would call for […]

Galápagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki)

The landing on Punta Espinoza is a wide open sandy beach amidst young lavarock, that looks like solidified manure. I saw many sea lion pups here, and this one was the cutest – curious, but mostly into observing. Others were extremely playful and inquisitive, and I felt I had to move out of the way, […]

Marine Iguana (Amblyrhynchus cristatus)

Yet another life form unique to the Galapagos. They look so prehistoric and alien, but when you observe them a bit closer you’ll see a rather peaceful being. Only the males are territorial and become aggressive when challenged by other males.

Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)

Out on sea the temperature is balmy, but on land it’s a different matter. Close to noon, it must have been close to 40 celsius here on the slopes down to the brine water of Darwin’s Lake – scorchingly hot, despite a partly cloudy sky. Without frequent rain, the water will quickly evaporate and thus […]

Darwin Lake

What a wonderful sight – a large body of fresh water. Not! It’s brine – much saltier than the ocean due to continuous evaporation. Imagine the disappointment for the first humans that found it.

Galápagos Penguin (Spheniscus mendiculus)

Very strange to see penguins in the tropics! They were not abundant and I saw no real colonies, but like here on the west side of Isabela I saw some clusters of individuals. This one appears to be the parent of a near fully grown chick. They are on a ledge with sheer cliffs above […]

Brown Noddy (Anous stolidus galapagensis)

This is at the opening of a large cave pounded by the waves. It’s quite dark, and against the lava rock the Noddy is not so easy to see, and even more problematic to photograph as I’m sitting in a Zodiak on a choppy sea. It sounds like this:

Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii excisa)

This booby is resting on a sheer cliff right outside a big cave, where waves are constantly pounding the walls and the cave. It sounds like this:

Isabela Island lava

Some lava flows resemble manure and others look like layer upon layer of sediments as seen here. All attributed to the type of eruption. The sun, rain and wind continuously remodel the landscape until the island is no more.

Genovesa sunset

The sheer cliffs of Genovesa are insurmountable to all except humans – here bathed in the the last rays of the sun as I walk down the Prince Philip’s Steps. Everything about Genovesa is simply amazing – be it in the light of a setting sun, at night or any time of the year. This […]

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor ridgwayi)

The juvenile of the Great Frigatebird has a certain “naughtiness” and even a bit spookiness to it, and yes that is definitely what is to become of this juvie. As adults they are masters of treachery and theft. The know when a boobie is returing home to feed its chick, and times its interception masterly […]

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor ridgwayi)

For once I think the female is more beautiful – at least in this posture and light! It difficult to tell the the Great and Magnificent Frigatebird apart except on close range. The Great Frigatebird has a green iridescense in the back feathers, while the Magnificent has a purple. The Great Frigatebird also has a […]

Great Frigatebird (Fregata minor ridgwayi)

The male is less extravagant outside the breeding season when the red pouch is deflated. It’s difficult to tell the the Great and Magnificent Frigatebird apart except on close range. The Great Frigatebird has a green iridescense in the back feathers, while the Magnificent has a purple. The Great Frigatebird also has a brown color […]

Galápagos Dove (Zenaida galapagoensis)

I’m used to wary and nervous doves, but as this is Galapagos, it barely made any change in behavior due to the human visitors – which is endless walking and and picking whatever is edible off the ground.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus galapagoensis)

I had high expectations going to the south end of the island – only accessible by boat and a man made “staircase” (Prince Philip’s Steps) to the flat top of the island. I was told a healthy population of this specialized owl resides here. It started very well, by an exciting “look – the owl” […]

Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus)

Gulls were in various stages of breeding and it ranged from incubating eggs to roaming chicks. It sounds like this:

Galápagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki)

The only beach on Genovesa was crowded with sea lions resting in the sun. The fur seal is smaller with a shorter snout and bigger front flippers – which make them much better rock climbers than the sea lions. The fur seal prefers rocky coastline and cliffs with easy access to the deeper ocean and […]

Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus)

A large wader, and even though it does not breed here it is most definitely behaving like a permanent resident as it’s not at all afraid of human presence. I’m used to very wary waders that will take off if I get any closer than 100-200 metres. It sounds like this:

Lava Heron (Butorides sundevalli)

The color of the Lava Heron looks rather dull and grey, until you get close up like this. In certain angles to the light you can see some iridescence. Like the other herons in Galapagos you won’t see it unless you know what to look for, or it moves. The plumage is a perfect camouflage […]

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)

The juvenile looks very different from the adult but is recognized by its larger size compared to the other herons, in addition to the lack of yellow between the eye and bill (the lore) and legs. It sounds like this:

Yellow-crowned Night Heron (Nyctanassa violacea)

Being used to the extremely shy European Grey Heron it was somewhat hard to know they were there! Their plumage closely match the color of lava rocks on which they rest during the day. This one barely opened one eyelid to see what changed the audio-landscape (my body changing the way the sound is absorbed […]

Red-footed Booby (Sula sula)

Genovesa has a large population of boobies, and the mangrove-clad beach is no different. This is the “brown” plumage phase of the species. During the other phase it’s white – and closely resembles the Nasca Booby. What tells them apart is the blue bill and the pink skin. It sounds like this:

Red-footed Booby (Sula sula)

Hmm Red-footed Booby, you say…? These feet belong to a juvenile, which will have to wait for them to turn red. The adult. It looks a bit out of place – webbed feet trying to hold around a branch of a mangrove tree, but they seem to handle it just as well as those without […]

Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus)

As with the other birds on the beach of Genovesa, the gulls are not at all disturbed by the humans visiting – it seems we are regarded as part of the “background noise” – a normal part of the wildlife. This call is therefore to other fellow gulls and not a distress call. It’s plumage […]

Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus)

The only beach on Genovesa has quite a few Swallow-tailed gulls among the Boobies and Fregate birds. The striking red eye-ring is hyptnotizing and the gulls are just beautiful to watch as they gracefully and rather slowly move around – if at all. Several individuals seem hung up on heir feet as they repeatedly look […]

Galápagos passion flower (Passiflora foetida galapagensis)

I wonder what insects are able to digest or damage this plant which has covered itself in dense hairs and sticky ones in strategic locations and during the vulnerable growth periods.

Galápagos passion flower (Passiflora foetida galapagensis)

The sticky petals will make a very unpleasant trip for any insects wanting to eat or lay eggs on the ripening fruit.

Galápagos passion flower (Passiflora foetida galapagensis)

What an incredible shape of the sepals! It seems like a stupendous form of art – but this one is alive and stays so well into the ripening of the fruit, which is kind of unusual. For once I didn’t touch the plant, so I don’t know what the sticky substance smells like or feels […]

Galápagos Mockingbird (Mimus parvulus)

One very peculiar individual that decided to defecate in the middle of the path. First I wondered if there was something wrong with it, as it got a slightly strange gait and then to a halt with wings slightly hanging. Then something slowly started to come out – a slimy substance that seemed to hang […]

Galápagos Acacia (Acacia rorudiana)

This looks almost like a different species, as the thorns are longer, and the new growth is red opposed to light green on the other photo. I don’t remember if I shot the same tree or not, but perhaps the red is due to direct exposure to the sun, while the other is in dappled […]

Galapagos Acacia (Acacia rorudiana)

One of several subscpecies of Acacia on Galapagos.