Galapagos Highlights – Ecuador Trip 2015

Seeing sea turtles in Galapagos was a common sight from the boat and on occasion swimming with us when we were snorkelling, but one of my turtle highlights came on the way back from an island trek. Lagging behind the group with the guide and one other member of the group, we noticed the sand moving at the top of a sand dune. Over the next few minutes we saw one after another sea turtle hatchings popping out of the sand to make their way to the sea.

Another one of my highlights of the trip was the Galapagos Flycatchers. They appeared like just a plain coloured bird to most of our group but I loved these little guys. They had a great character that I’ve not witnessed before in birds.  The first Galapagos flycatcher found me. I was taking photos of something about 100m away when all of a sudden I kept seeing a brown out of focus shape dancing around the viewfinder.   I looked up and saw the little bird trying to look through the lens and trying to land on my lens hood. After slipping off the lens hood he landed on the ground and looked right back up at me.

Galapagos Flycatcher

I fired a couple of photos off then he flew up again and tried to inspect my camera. Not long after, he flew over to another member of the group taking photos and did exactly the same thing.

Galapagos Flycatchers

We experienced a similar situation on another island a few days later, proving how these inquisitive little birds are almost social with humans and might be partial to a shiny camera lens too.

Seeing the Lava Herons fishing in rock pools and under the harbour lights at night was amazing. They allowed you to get quite close to them to appreciate the colour in their feathers, not to mention their fantastic fishing skills.

Lava Heron

Seeing land iguanas in the wild was another mind-blowing experience. We were lucky enough to see a good number of them basking in the morning sun on one of the islands – where the barren landscape with these mini dinosaurs roaming around felt like a scene from Jurassic Park.

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Due to a unfortunate beer shortage on our boat, we had to resort to cocktails. (Poor us!!!) One evening, while sipping on our Caprianas on the top deck, as we sailed through the darkness, we were accompanied by the most spectacular birds flying alongside the boat. These two Swallow tailed gulls flew with us for a few miles, coasting high and darting down to the water, clicking like bats as they went. We’d heard about these characters from our guide but nothing beats seeing and hearing them in person. Apparently they’re the only fully nocturnal gull and seabird in the world; who find food through echolocation with the help of a clicking call. We didn’t get any photos of these guys; just an experience we’ll never forget!

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