Posted by: ktzefr | September 7, 2012

Favorite Foto Friday: Galapagos Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl, Isla Genovesa, Galapagos;Photo:MFawcett

 

Isla Genovesa or Tower Island in the Galapagos Islands can take a while to get to from the other islands and it can be a bumpy ride.  We left Isla San Cristobal after dinner and made the trip overnight.  Those among our group who were vulnerable to motion sickness took pills or wore patches or did whatever they needed to do to avoid it.  It was difficult to sleep on the boat while holding onto the side of the bed to keep from falling out as we rolled with the waves.  Still…when the sun came up we were sitting offshore at Darwin Bay on clear waters under a perfect blue sky.  And there were birds everywhere! 
Genovesa is a flat, low-lying island that can be totally obscured when it’s raining or misty.   Darwin Bay, the flooded caldera of an extinct volcano, is a naturally-protected harbor.  There is no dock, of course, so we had to board pangas to go ashore.   Though Genovesa is an “uninhabited” island, in terms of a human population, the animals are plentiful.  For example, more than 200,000 Galapagos Petrels have their nests in cracks across the old lava flow.  There are gulls and frigate birds and red-footed boobies.  Fur seals and marine iguanas go in and out of the water where we swam with a family of eagle rays. 

This short-eared owl is the most commonly seen owl in the Galapagos.   We were hiking along a trail looking for birds in the palo santo trees when we discovered this little guy in the middle of our path.  The owl didn’t budge so we took a detour. 

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More info?

Wildlife of the Galapagos by Julian Fitter, Daniel Fitter, and David Hosking is an excellent guide to the islands’ wildlife.
Though the following video is narrated in Spanish, you don’t need to know the language to appreciate the breath-taking photography of amazing animal life.

 

 

Eagle Rays are such graceful creatures.  Check out this video by dive guide Peter Freire

 

 

 

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