Frigatebird, Barbuda

On Location: Avian Activity & Frolicsome Fur Seals

Zegrahm Contributor|July 8, 2009|Blog Post

Our visit to Genovesa Island this morning couldn't have been better. The avian activities on this island were in full swing with magnificent seabirds displaying their exquisite colors; red-footed boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, and great frigatebirds. While red-footed boobies were brooding their fluffy offspring the male frigatebirds were trying to attract mates with their bright red inflated gular pouches or chasing boobies to steal food and nesting material. These kleptoparasitic, pirouetting pirates of the air easily justified why they are considered the best fliers of all the birds in the Galapagos.

After the show on shore we proceeded to snorkel in Darwin Bay where colorful Moorish idols, parrotfish, and king angelfish were unable to compete with the frolicsome fur seals showing off their agility in the water. Streams of glistening bubbles could be seen emanating from their two layers of fur as they spiraled through the water and looked at us upside-down with their huge inquisitive eyes.

In the afternoon we had a challenge; to find a short-eared owl. As we scanned the barren lava flow at Prince Philip's Steps we were mesmerized by the sheer numbers of Galapagos storm petrels. There were literally thousands of them flitting back and forth across the moon-like landscape. It turned out we were not the only ones keeping a watchful eye on the storm petrels. Soon came the shout of OWL! We then witnessed an unforgettable sight; a short-eared owl snatched an unlucky storm petrel as it swooped low over the lava. After returning to the Isabela II we reflected on another unforgettable day with the wonderful wildlife of these timeless isles.

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