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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Galapagos Islands: North Seymour Island – Frigatebirds and Boobies

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THE BOAT SAILED FROM BALTRA TO NORTH SEYMOUR

Our first stop on our Galapagos tour was North Seymour a small island located near Baltra Island where our plane landed. We took out the small zodiac boats. Each boat carried a naturalist and 14 of the ships guests.

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NORTH SEYMORE ISLAND

No one is allowed on land without a certified naturalist guide. We all piled off the boat and I took a deep breath… I was finally HERE!

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RED ICE PLANTS AND TURBULENT SKIES MADE FOR A GORGEOUS LANDSCAPE

This island is most known for its bird populations and after a short hike into the inland of the island we were literally tripping over them. The first territory we walked through were the frigatebirds.

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MALE FRIGATEBIRD WITH THREE JUVENILES

The frigatebirds feed on fish taken from the ocean’s surface which in the Galapagos mainly consists of flying fish. They have the highest ratio of wing area to body mass than any other bird and are superb gliders.

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FROM THE GROUND THESE BIRDS LOOK LIKE LARGE PREHISTORIC PTERODACTYL

They are not birds that are built to plunge or even get wet. Frigatebirds that do connect with the water are usually incapable of taking off again.

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The species chooses a mate and remains monogamous for about two years. Frigatebirds nest in bushes in large colonies. This island hosts the largest population of nesting frigatebirds; we got to see about a million of them here and we got to get so close, they were fearless.

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THIS BABY FRIGATEBIRD HAD NO FEAR OF US AT ALL

Males have a striking red gular sac which they can inflate like a balloon to attract females.

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Flegling chicks receive care from both parents for 150-428 days which is the longest length of care of any bird. The length of time depends on sea conditions and availability of food. In bad times parents care for their young longer.

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It is extremely difficult to tell the difference between Magnificent Frigatebirds and Great Frigatebirds in flight. The easiest way to tell them apart is that the Magnificent Frigatebird has a purple iridescent patch of feathers on the back of the neck where the Great Frigatebird has a green patch of feathers. To see these feathers the bird needs to be landed which is rarely the case.

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GREAT FRIGATEBIRD – REMEMBER GREEN FOR GREAT

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MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD – REMEMBER PURPLE FOR MAGNIFICENT ROYALTY

Once we passed the Frigatebird colonies the path started winding toward the water again.

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The waves were really pounding now and the sun was casting some color in the sky.

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BEAUTIFUL WAVES WERE KICKING SO HIGH MIST WAS THROWN OFF

The naturalist guides on this trip were fantastic. Not only did they keep us all safe they are mostly here to keep the island as untouched as when we came.

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HE IS MAKING SURE WE KEEP OUR EYES OPEN

They were full of information and knew most of the answers to my questions. Some were better than others but you could tell all of them just loved their jobs. This guy was one of my favorites, he was so animated when he talked and really got into his lectures. His passion made our trip that much more incredible.

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SUPER ANIMATED THIS MAN SURE DOES LOVE HIS WORK

The other bird that is all over the place on this island is the blue footed booby. The name booby derives from the Spanish term bobo which means stupid. They were named this way because they are super clumsy on land. On numerous occasions, after I got over the awe of seeing a blue footed booby, I caught myself giggling at their undignified waddle.

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GOOFY LOOKING BIRDS

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Blue footed boobies have permanently closed nostrils which is perfect for their diving. They breathe through the corners of their mouths.

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LOOK MOM NO NOSTRILS

Sadly it was not the season for the famous courtship dances of the boobies so we didn’t get to see them dance. Still just seeing them was awesome, I mean look their feet are BLUE.

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BRIGHT BLUE FEET

Their feet range from a pale blue to a bright blue and we still are not quite sure how their coloring came to be about. We do know however that the bluer the better, females really dig those blue feet.

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BRIGHT BLUE FEET

Blue footed boobies are built for catching fish. They coast along with their eyes constantly on the water looking for schools of fish.

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THEY GOTTA BE DOWN THERE SOMEWHERE

Once they spot their prey they dive bomb the water traveling at speeds up to 30 miles per hour.

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AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE SHOT THIS IS THE ONLY ONE OUT OF A FEW HUNDRED THAT CAME OUT

Once they rocket underwater they can swim for a short distance until they snagged their fish. Then they simply bob to the top of the water, shake off and take off into the air.

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BUILT TO FISH

Mr. Rogue and I were both is photographer heaven, this place is incredible. You can get incredibly close to the wildlife, they do not run away or spook easily, they just sit there like well mannered subjects and let you take one fabulous photo after another.

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MR. ROGUE SNAPPED A PHOTO OF ME TAKING A PHOTO OF A BABY MASKED BOOBY

A few masked boobies were scattered in the crowd of blue footed boobies. They are striking birds with their black and white plumage but without those blue feet they simply got less attention.

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SO WHAT IF MY FEET ARE NOT BLUE THEY ARE STILL BEAUTIFUL

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A MASKED BOOBY STARING OFF INTO HIS GREAT BIG BACKYARD

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BABY MASKED BOOBY WITH HIS COOL LOS ANGELES MOHAWK

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COME ON IN FOR YOUR CLOSEUP… JUST STRIKING

At the end of the day Mr. Rogue got a photo of me with both a blue footed booby baby and a masked booby baby… I am in the most incredibly place on earth!

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2 comments:

paul peggy zeus said...

AMAZING!! Love the Figit's red throat, but those blue feet of the booby. Must be where Elvis got the idea for Blue Suede Shoes. lol. They are SO blue too!

lilmansworld said...

hands down the BEST nerdy birdy post. i bet you went home and dreamt about them.

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