“The natural history of this archipelago is very remarkable: it seems to be a little world within itself.” Charles Darwin
My favourite excursion in the Galapagos Islands was to North Seymour Island, where we spent two hours meandering along a trail spotting wildlife. We had close-up encounters with magnificent frigatebirds, great frigatebirds, blue-footed boobies, lava gulls, swallow-tailed gulls, brown pelicans, sea-lions, seals, marine iguanas, land iguanas, lava lizards and painted locusts.
The highlight was seeing large numbers of the odd-looking blue-footed boobies, as well as some nesting magnificent frigatebirds. North Seymour Island is home to the biggest colony of frigatebirds in the Galapagos archipelago. Apparently, they are lousy predators but they are very adept at stealing fish from the blue-footed boobies. They also like soaring alongside boats, hence the name frigatebird.
The mating ritual of the magnificent frigatebird is a strange display to witness. The males expand the red sack under their throat and fully extend their wings. Females circle overhead and, if interested, swoop down to join the male. We were very lucky because the trail took us close to this group of birds and they weren’t disturbed by our presence at all.
The blue-footed booby is a bird that could’ve been taken straight from the pages of a cartoon with its funny mating dance and bright blue webbed feet, which look like they’ve been dipped in paint. Even its name is comical, derived from the Spanish word ‘bobo’, meaning silly or stupid. They are not afraid of humans so, once again, we were able to get very close to these birds, even the ones with eggs or chicks.
Have you been to the Galapagos Islands? What was your favourite island? Do you have any stories about other great wildlife destinations? Let me know in the comments below.
The Galapagos Islands are incredible, with wonderful wildlife and spectacular landscapes, so it was impossible to include everything in one blog. If you would like to read more, check out my other posts: The dragons of Galapagos and Lonesome George.