Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Galapagos Islands day 3 - San Cristobal

I started so I should finish. So back to the Galapagos diary, and day 3. At first light, we found ourselves anchored in the picturesque bay of Cerro Brujo on San Cristobal. There was the first bit of rain of the trip here, nothing major but enough to mean the ISO had to be increased a bit. First birds when we got ashore were some inquisitive and endemic Chatham Mockingbirds: -
Chatham Mockingbird, San Cristobal August 2015
The lagoon behind the beach held a few Black-necked Stilts but little else, while the beach provided three new waders for the trip - one each of Western and Least Sandpipers and two Semipalmated Plovers.
Western Sandpiper, San Cristobal August 2015
Semipalmated Plover, San Cristobal August 2015
For me though, an obliging Lava Gull stole the show - endemic and vulnerable on a conservation level, this was the first time they showed well and satisfied my photographic needs.

Lava Gull, San Cristobal August 2015
There wasn't too much else bird wise, except a handful of Small Ground Finches and Yellow Warblers, though typically Blue-footed Boobies and Brown Pelicans were offshore. 

One of the main reasons for the visit here was to see the San Cristobal Lava Lizard, which we did, alongside large numbers of Marine Iguanas. However, by late morning it was time to head off along the west side and to the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno. The journey provided immense views of Galapagos Shearwaters but little else; however, while docked in the harbour, the boat was buzzed by storm-petrels - at least 25 Elliot's but also my first two Wedge-rumped Storm-petrels. Great views too!
Elliot's Storm-petrel, San Cristobal August 2015
The afternoon crater walk in the highlands was curtailed by the weather, although a Warbler Finch singing in the gloom was a new bird. Little else was seen until we headed back to town where, along the harbour, a juvenile Yellow-crowned Night Heron rested alongside a Great Blue Heron. The weather here was much better, and the Yellow Warblers glowed in the evening light while the local Galapagos Sea Lions chilled out on the benches along the marina!
Yellow Warbler, San Cristobal August 2015
Another excellent day full of close up nature, with the knowledge that the next day we'd be sailing to Espanola with the prospect of some albatrosses up close and personal...

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