More Galapagos wildlife
23 May 2012
Had an amazing day yesterday; we walked along to a beach called 'La Loberia'- ie 'Sealion Beach'. I've got a 'Guide to Galapagos Wildlife' card with pictures of the birds,fishes and animals one is likely to see here, its got tick boxes for when you spot them- bit like the 'I-Spy' books from my past-I was in a frenzy of 'ticking'!
As we were walking along the trail to the beach, there was a sign saying' spot the tracks in the sand- it's the marine iguanas going to and from the rocks'- and sure enough we followed some tracks and there were 2 huge iguanas stomping off towards the bushes. At the beach itself there was the usual collection of sealions, but it seemed to be a nursery because there were more than the usual number of very small pups and nursing mothers. Into the sea for a snorkel- just the most amazing amount of fish including: grouper, Streamer Hogfish (huge!), Blue-chin parrotfish, sergeant majors, white and yellow tailed damselfish, grunts, razor surgeonfish, moorish idols, King Angelfish, Hawkfis, Blennys, and huge shoals of both big fish and tiny little ones- so many you could hardly see where you were going. Most special of all was an enormous turtle about 4-5 foot in length- fantastic.
The sealions were pretty laidback here- at a different place called Cerro Tijeretas the young sealions seemed to like playing 'tag' with you- they would swim right up to you so you could almost touch them- then just as you reached out a hand they would wheel away but never too far, looking back the whole time as if to say 'can't catch me- your'e 'IT'.... great fun.
After our swim I went for a walk further up the beach and onto a footpath through the rocks and bushes- I had bare feet, but none of the sticks seemed too prickly- in fact I was just admiring the smooth curviness of one stick I was about to tread on when it wriggled and slithered away- tick the box for 'galapagos snake'! (luckily not venomous). There was the usual collection of lava lizards, carpenter bees, (all black, no yellow), Sulphur butterflies, crabs- both 'Sally Lightfoot' and land hermit crabs; dragonflies, painted locusts, many finches and Yellow warblers. New bird 'spots' were a male frigate bird showing his bright red throat, an American oystercatcheer and a striated heron. There were a fair number of Boobies as well; the blue-footed boobies really do have the most brilliant big startlingly blue feet, they make you laugh out loud- they're a bit like clowns with oversized bright blue shoes on. There were more iguanas on the rocks- including one I got very close too to get some photos- until it spat loudly and violently in 3 directions- it's only salt water but quite an effective deterrent! They really are stunningly ugly, I think I read Darwin called them 'imps from hell'- anyway they resemble bad-tempered punks with mohican haircuts. I think they're great!