Birds: other than boobies and albatross

The frigate bird was a very common sight.  These birds have a reputation as robbers, stealing from other smaller birds (the big bullies!) or other frigates. This picture was taken from the ship, which was moving smack into the wind; four frigates were coming along for the ride, and coasted along with the ship, never needing to flap their wings, just gliding. It was a lot of fun to watch and an impressive display of flight skill.


Of course these birds are well known for their huge red pouches which they puff up for a mating display. It takes about 20 minutes to inflate the pouch and about 20 minutes to deflate it too. Their nests are very rough creations, on very rough snarls of branches.


Did you know that in the Galapagos there are penguins? Indeed there are - the only penguins that live near the equator. Although it is a distant photo (through a life preserver, on one of our dinghy trips to shore) you may be able to make out the penguin shape.


In this picture you can clearly see that this is a penguin - there are four of them in fact. Roger had a lot of fun snorkelling with some penguins, too. They raced by (underwater of course) like little torpedos, just a few feet away, and zoomed back and forth like that for quite a while.


And pelicans are also a common sight, sometimes alighting on the small boats.


Here is one of the famous Darwin Finches.


An oystercatcher (thanks, Ed!)


If you use your imagination you can see that this is a flock of pink flamingos. They move around from one inland pool to another so we were lucky to spot them, in this extremely shallow pool. The hill in the background displays a "forest" of trees.  Notice how spaced-out they are, a result of having almost no rainfall. It's a miracle that any trees can stay alive there with the desert conditions that prevail, and in fact we saw a lot of trees and cactus that had given up the ghost.


This gull is a night-feeder, as the spot on her beak illustrates. It is white rather than red as is the case for day-feeding gulls; white so that it is more visible in the dark to her chicks.


Here is a little dove.


This is officially a mockingbird, but it doesn't mock though it does make a lot of noisy song. Very tame, though, and had no fear in coming up to us on the trail - not seeking food, but water.  With so little water on the islands (in many islands, no fresh water at all) the birds have to use special coping strategies to get water.


We watched this great blue heron for some time, and saw him snatch up an infant tortoise who was desperately trying to make it to the safety of the ocean. No luck for that one!