What, more photos from the Galapagos?
Well, in an 8-day tour in a place so loaded with photogenic subjects, there’s much to share. I’ve actually whittled down these blogs to a tiny handful of the photos I took, but yes, the end is in sight. The following are from the last full day of the WINGS tour aboard the M/Y Integrity this past November, and then I’ll have one more post from our post-tour extension to San Cristóbal Island.
We started this morning with a slow walk on North Seymour, just off the northern tip of Baltra (which was formely known as South Seymour). The highlight here was the breeding colony of Galapagos Magnificent Frigatebirds. (Remember that this population has been shown to be genetically quite distinct from others and may be split in the future.) The bottom photo shows a closeup of the green gloss in the mantle feathers that help distinguish this species from Great Frigatebird.
The Yellow Warblers here are interesting. They are a resident (non-migratory) subspecies (Dendroica petechia aureola, also found on Costa Rica’s Cocos Island) and with that chestnut cap look very much like most of the resident island endemic subspecies found in the Caribbean called “Golden Warbler” (there are sixteen of them). It would be quite strange and very unexpected if it had derived from those, as there are much closer resident mainland forms that live in tropical mangroves called “Mangrove Warbler” – though all of them have a solid chestnut head. Well as it turns out, these are genetically quite close to the Mangrove Warbler after all, probably evolving this difference in head color in just a short time.
After some fun snorkeling just off shore of North Seymour (where the Galapagos Garden Eel was a highlight for me), we motored south off of the NE shore of Santa Cruz. Sitting on the bow was the best place to sit. It’s probably not hard to ID this bird from its shadow.
Photo at top: Galapagos Magnificent Frigatebird, Fregata magnificens magnificens by Rich Hoyer.
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