Readers’ wildlife photos

February 5, 2022 • 9:00 am

Today’s photos are of the Galápagos Islands and its wildlife, taken by reader Joe Baldassano. His commentary and IDs are indented, and you can enlarge his photos by clicking on them.

Attached are some photos of my November 27 thru Dec 6, 2021 trip to the Galapagos Islands.

First, you will recognize the Island below (not named in the attachment) as Daphne Major. I want to mention to your readers that this was the site of Peter and Rosemary Grant’s studies of finches which led to the book The Beak of the Finch, a work I highly recommend. This island is off limits to visitors without special permission from the government.

During this trip, I visited the islands of Genovesa, Balta, St. Cruz, Santiago, and Isabella.  Most of the wildlife has no fear of humans and I believe credit for that rests with the government of Ecuador.  All excursions into the islands are closely regulated and visitors are accompanied by a well-trained naturalist. You can get very close to the animals, but no contact is permitted.

Each island offered an opportunity for snorkeling, and I was able to swim with sea lions, fur seals, sea turtles, manta rays, white tip sharks, and penguins. On one particular snorkeling excursion, a large sea gull did not welcome our presence and swam over to me and began pecking at my goggles; he/she was not happy and began pecking at my arm. I just swam backwards and the gull focused attention on my snorkeling buddy by ripping one of the filters off of his underwater camera.  It was very exciting provided and comic relief for all of us.

Seeing the giant tortoises and all of the wildlife found nowhere else was a gift,and I would encourage any follower of your WEIT site to put the Galapagos Islands on their bucket list.

Nazca Booby (chick):  Sula granti:

Blue Footed BoobySula nebouxii:

Galapagos Sea LionZalophus wollebaeki:




Magnificent FrigatebirdFregata magnificens:

Galapagos HawkButeo galapagoensis: 

Galapagos penguinSphensicus mendiculus: 

Galapagos short-eared owlAsio flammeus:

Ground Finch: (I do not know which finch I photographed; there are six different ground finches):

Land Iguana:  Conolophus subcristatus:

Red footed booby: Slua slua websteri:

With egg:

Round Shell Tortoise: Chelonoidis Nigra:

Saddleback Tortoise: Chelonoidis becki:

Sea (Marine iguana): Amblyrhynchus cristatus:

Green Sea TurtleChelonia mydas mydas:

Swallow-tailed gull: Larus furcatus:

Yellow warbler: Dendroica petechia aureola:

Darwin Research Station [b: An especially good photo!]:

13 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. The land and sea iguana look remarkably similar…Great pictures though, definitely rethinking my bucket priorities

  2. The Galapagos Islands were one of the most wonderful places I have ever been. I even got to see Lonesome George before he died. Thank you Darwin.

  3. The “Yellow Warbler” isn’t our American Yellow Warbler, which is completely yellow with reddish brown spots below. In fact I dont recognize this species at all. Does anyone else?

    1. Tho photo is mislabeled. However, regular old Yellow Warblers are in fact common in the Galapagos, where they begave like House Sparrows elsewhere, hopping around and boldly bothering you for crumbs at breakfast.

    1. Nope. Active Adventures, a company based in New Zealand offers land based tours, which they partner with a Galapagos based company called Galakiwi, run by New Zealand expats. You can book directly with Galakiwi, Price is comparable to the company you list. I liked the land based tour as I am not fond of boats. I see that both companies have somewhat similar tours, but Galakiwi also goes to Floreanna Island, which is extremely interesting, Downside of these tours is that you don’t get to some of the islands further out, but you get to stay in comfy hotels, eat at local places, and meet local folks.Our guide, Pablo, was an amazing naturalist and a big fan of Charles Darwin.

      You can go to the islands and book local guides, but that is not the best way as you don’t know in advance how good the guide will be. I understand that there are actually Seventh Day Adventists doing tours complete with the creationist history of the islands.

      I would recommend to anyone to not wait for a bucket list, but head off the Galapagos as soon as you can.

  4. I wasn’t around yesterday, but just wanted to pipe in and say these are excellent photos, esp. the saddleback tortoise. Tired guy. 🙂

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