These are some photos which Rosemary and I took during a five night cruise around the Galapagos Islands in March 2014. We were on MV ’Santa Cruz’ a 90 passenger expedition type vessel.
1. Galapagos Penguin is the second smallest penguin and stands at 35 cm.
Seen at Punta Vicento Roca on Isabela island.
It is the only one to breed in the tropics and is the only penguin specie in the northern hemisphere.
2. The Swallow-tailed Gull is the only nocturnal gull in the world – as the picture suggests..!
Most of the wing is white, as is the tail.
North Seymour island.
3. A Great Frigatebird seeking a female. The scarlet gular pouch takes thirty minutes to inflate.
The Magnificent Frigatebird has a 245 cm wing span against the 230 cm of the Great. The main identification feature between them is that Great has a green sheen on the black body whilst the Magnificent has a purple sheen.
4. A Blue Footed Booby in a courtship dance.
The male and female are similar. The female is slightly larger, has larger eye pupil and rather darker blue feet. Lots of honking and whistling going on.
5. Blue-footed Booby in classic courtship pose.
7. Ruddy Turnstone and Sally Lightfoot crabs. The crabs can grow up to 20 cm.
Punta Espinosa on Fernandina Island.
In 1994 the whole area was raised by between 50 and 90 cm and the fresh lava can be seen.
8. Marine Iguanas are the world’s only seagoing lizard and with seven different races or subspecies they vary in size and colour from island to island.
They are cold blooded animals and need to warm up and their scales act as solar panels. Then they face into the sun, as here, to avoid overheating. You can also see where the salt that they sneeze out crystallises on the heads.
9. Flightless Cormorant is the only Cormorant in the islands.
10. Closer view of a Sally Lightfoot crab.
11. A Land Iguana in more detail. Urvina Bay,
12. A Galapagos Giant Tortoise. Can be up to 1.5 m over the caraspace and weigh up to 250kg.
13. A Galapagos Giant Tortoise subspecie with a saddleback carapace which has evolved to eat higher level vegetation on a different island from the main species.
This is, however, in captivity for a breeding programme at the Charles Darwin Research Centre on Santa Cruz island.
14. This is one of the thirteen types of the now famous ‘Darwin’s finches’ . We are uncertain which one but possibly a Medium Ground Finch?
15. Lava Gull which is said to be the rarest or least numerous gull in the world.
Richard Brown sent us these pictures in January 2015.
Thank you Richard