Friday, 1 May 2015

Galápagos Day 15 - North Seymour

North Seymour (which seems to be always called by its English name unlike the other islands for which I've tried to use their more commonly used Spanish names) is a small, flat island just north of Baltra, out of which we would be flying this afternoon. So, after an early breakfast and a final pack of our bags, we piled aboard the pangas for our last trip ashore.

Arriving at North Seymour, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Joanne Smissen

Within metres of the landing, our first Land Iguana appeared out of the gloom - it was just on sunrise and the sky was heavily overcast (hence the high ISO on this most of the other shots this morning).

Land Iguana, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4.5, 1/250

If you've been tracking our progress through the previous 25 posts, you'll be aware that we have seen Blue-footed Boobies on almost all the islands. The 'booby dance', for which the islands are famous (or infamous if you spend any time in souvenir stores which are packed with 'I Love Boobies' t-shirts), is a courtship display and this is the first location we'd visited with a breeding colony of these ubiquitous birds. We soon found a male booby standing sentinel on a rock, waiting for a female to come by.

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8, ISO 3200, f/4.5, 1/800

As soon as a female flew over, he started with wing extension, sky-pointing

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 115mm, ISO 1600, f/4.5, 1/250

foot waving,

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m f//2.8, @ 140mm, ISO 3200, f/4, 1/500

and more sky-pointing.

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 115mm, ISO 3200, f/4, 1/400

The performance seemed to do the trick as a female soon joined him.

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 107.5mm, ISO 3200, f/4, 1/320

and joined in the dance.

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 107.5mm, ISO 3200, f/4, 1/320

They left the pedestal, moving onto the trail to continue the display.

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 87.5mm, ISO 3200, f/4, 1/800

which now included bill clapping

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 70mm, ISO 3200, f/4, 1/800

and side-by-side dancing.

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 70mm, ISO 3200, f/4, 1/800
However, what started out so promisingly, eventuated in nothing. After 40 minutes of watching him and joining in the performance, she left - maybe to look for bluer feet. The blueness of the feet is apparently a major criterion in mate choice as it seems to be an indicator of general vitality.

We too moved on to find another likely suspect standing in a more open area further along the trail. I stayed and watched him for a while but he didn't even attempt to attract any females that flew past.

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 87.5mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1600

So, I moved a little further along and found other males going through their routines,

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 160mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1000
Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 160mm, ISO 1600, f/5, 1/1600
Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 100mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/2000
Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 70mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/2000

all to no avail...but at least the female in this pair

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 140mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1000

did allow me close enough for a foot shot.

Blue-footed Booby, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 200mm, ISO 1600, f/5, 1/2500

A juvenile gull sat looking bewildered (it was hard to not get anthropomorphic by this time...) on the rocks.

Swallow-tailed Gull (juvenile), North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300mm f/2.8,  ISO 3200, f/4.5, 1/250

Meanwhile, the trail had also lead us to a Magnificent Frigatebird colony, where males were displaying,

Magnificent Frigatebird (male), North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 130mm, ISO 1600, f/4, 1/500
Magnificent Frigatebird (male), North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 70mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/800
Magnificent Frigatebird (male), North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 80-200m  f/2.8, @ 92.5mm, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/500

and both males and females were tending chicks.

Magnificent Frigatebird (male and juvenile), North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Sigma 300m  f/2.8, ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1250
Magnificent Frigatebird (female and juvenile), North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm  f/2.8 @ 87.5mm,  ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/640
Magnificent Frigatebird (juvenile), North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm  f/2.8 @ 200mm,  ISO 1600, f/5.6, 1/1000

The female was on the nest in the above shot but I managed to get this with her out of the frame.

Males were also flying about, displaying their red balloons.

Magnificent Frigatebird (male), North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm  f/2.8 @ 150mm,  ISO 3200, f/4.5, 1/800

On the way back, a large Land Iguana stood in typical pose beside the trail, so I was belly on the ground for one last time to get this shot.

Land Iguana, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm  f/2.8 @ 200mm,  ISO 1600, f/11, 1/250

And (for my Melbourne Birdlife Photography friends) it was probably fitting that the last photographs for the whole trip were of gulls!

Swallow-tailed Gull, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm  f/2.8 @ 200mm,  ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/1250
Swallow-tailed Gull, North Seymour, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm  f/2.8 @ 200mm,  ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/2000

All too quickly it was over and we climbed aboard the pangas...back to the boat and off to the airport on Baltra.

Boarding the panga, North Seymour, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Joanne Smissen

 ...stay tuned for a couple more posts:

2 comments:

  1. Fabulous post. I have just come back from Great Slatee island and I am sure I am sure I have missed some post so will have to go back tofind them. You would love the island I was on. Puffins and Gannets just feed away from you as well as the other Auks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Margaret
      One of my wish list items is to see Puffins in the wild! Very jealous.
      Cheers, Ian

      Delete

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