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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Galapagos Islands: Bartolmoe Island & Shore Birds

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BARTOLOME ISLAND

I mentioned before that in the evening the ship holds a short ‘this is what you will see and your options for the excursions the next day meeting’ and normally Mr. Rogue and I choose the long hike so we could have the most time on the island. For this excursion however we sat in our seats after the lecture, instead of rushing to sign up, trying to decide which to do. For this island one was a hike up to the top of a dormant volcano for one of the most beautiful panoramas of the island, the other was a long zodiac boat ride to see shorebirds… so we decided to split up. I went to photo the birds and Mr. Rogue went to photo the scenery. Although I did want to see the view from the top of the hill I wanted to get bird photos more and I knew I would get to at least see the photo of the view.

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MR. ROGUE SHARES HIS PHOTO OF THE VIEW FROM THE TOP OF THE VOLCANO

I brought the big lens on the zodiac and had to work out a position where I could get the most stability so I wouldn’t drop the lens in the water. At this point on the trip a few of the tourists had lost their camera to water damage and I was nervous. Using my leg as a tripod, although not the most attractive ladylike position, was the best for keeping my camera equipment secure and dry.

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MY MAKESHIFT TRIPOD ON THE ZODIAC TOUR

With the bouncing boat in the water, the limited space to move and the other people on the boat it was super difficult to get the photos I wanted. Getting good photography in a boat is just plain difficult and out of the thousands of photos I took on this trip I was happy to get the photos I did.

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AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER’S IN FLIGHT

Some of the birds, like the American Oystercatchers above, I have seen before. The one time I had seen this bird it was right when I started to get into bird photography on a trip to Mexico. The photo I have is of a fuzzy bird standing uninterestingly on the shore.

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AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER TAKEN IN AUGUST OF 2009

These new oystercatcher photos, 17 months later, are so incredibly superior. Comparing these shots I can really see how far I have come in my photography in such a short time.

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AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER

American Oystercatchers are tied closely to their coastal habitats. Their large and heavy bill is designed to pry open muscles, oysters and clams.

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AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS BRIGHT ORANGE BILL IS THE PERFECT TOOL TO GET TO THOSE OYSTERS

Parents stay together to raise their young but instead of bringing back food for their chicks like most birds the American Oystercatchers young can stand up immediately and within 24 hours can run to keep up with its parents. These young birds start walking the coasts right away and although their beaks are not strong enough for 60 days to open clams themselves they learn the ropes of life on the move.

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CHICKS ARE LESS BRIGHTLY COLORED THAN THEIR STRIKING PARENTS

Both parents are extremely protective of their young and can sometimes give such extensive care to their young that the parents starve.

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AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHERS WILL DIE FOR THEIR YOUNG

Populations of the American Oystercatcher are sadly very low and is listed as a species of concern because loss of costal habitats and beach nesting sites.

The Lava Heron, which is endemic to the Galapagos, is sometimes known as the Galapagos Heron. It is a bird that is pretty difficult to spot.

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LAVA HERON BLENDS IN WITH THE BLACK ROCK

They stay super still, move with slow careful precision and blend in perfectly with the coastal lava rock. I was excited when I spotted a few on the shoreline.

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LAVA HERONS ARE PRETTY BIRDS

This sanderling is a tiny wader that breeds in the Arctic. They are a long distance migrant wintering in widespread locations all over the world. Usually found forming small flocks I was laughing at their constant jogging along with the surf, down when a wave retracted then back up the beach when a wave crashed onto the shore. Over and over again they repeated their run up and down the beach.

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SANDERLING

I spotted a small bird on the coast that I learned was a new bird that I could cross off of my Nerdy Birdy List http://www.theroguewoman.com/2009/07/bird-brain-list.html. Number 167, the Wandering tattler, was exhibiting the standard bob and teeter pattern while feeding. It gets its name from the shrill call it gives when it senses danger thereby alerting other birds in the area, aka tattling.

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167.WANDERING TATTLER

I live in Los Angeles and because of my access to the coast and a similar warm climate to the Galapagos I was not surprised that many of the birds I saw today I have already seen at home. That didn’t stop me from getting some great shots of these farmiliar birds.

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RUDDY TURNSTONE EATTING A CRAB CLAW

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RUDDY TURNSTONE

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SEMI PALMATED PLOVER

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WHIMBREL

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WHIMBREL

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WILLET

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