Thursday, 23 April 2015

Galápagos Day 7 (afternoon) - Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela

Our last site visit on Isla Isabela was Punta Moreno, a trail across a vast lava flow from Sierra Negra volcano. The main attraction at this site is the possibility of seeing flamingos. They are most often seen at a large lagoon about 800m walk across the rough lava.

Sierra Negra volcano and lava flow, Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8mm @ 39mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/500

There are very few plants that have managed to colonise and survive in this environment. The most obvious is the Candelabra Cactus

Candelabra Cactus, Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 200, f/16, 1/50

and, astonishingly, small ferns can be found in crevices in the lava.

Ladder Fern, Punta Moreno, Isla Isable, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Joanne Smissen

As hoped (and hyped), there were flamingos at the large lagoon! So, we settled in to photograph these gorgeous birds, which, like almost all the other wildlife on the islands, seemed oblivious to the crowd of photographers.

Photographing flamingos, Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Joanne Smissen
American Flamingo, Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200mm f/2.8 @ 100mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/400
American Flamingo, Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200mm f/2.8 @ 87.5mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/400
American Flamingo, Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200mm f/2.8 @ 170mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/320

American Flamingo, Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8 (x2 adapter), ISO 200, f/7.1, 1/320
American Flamingo, Punta Moreno, Isla Isabela, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200mm f/2.8 @ 160mm, ISO 200, f/8, 1/125

There are six species of flamingos recognised worldwide. The one that occurs in the Galápagos is the American Flamingo (sometimes called Caribbean Flamingo), Phoenicopterus ruber. The Galápagos birds are sometimes classified into a separate race, glyphorhynchus, as they are isolated from the Caribbean population.

Once we'd had our fill of flamingos, we headed back across the lava and took the short panga ride back to the boat for a long overnight cruise to Isla Santa Cruz.

2 comments:

  1. WOW! You got rally close to these beautiful birds. Fantastic images.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you get close to everything! It's an incredible experience for someone who's spent a lifetime stalking wildlife in the hope of getting close enough for a half decent shot with 600mm of lens - here you can shoot most things with a medium tele zoom and sometimes even that's too much!

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