TRAVELLING NATURALIST TRIP REPORT
28th October 7th November 2004
Juan Tapia Vera
Thursday 28th October Arrival
Cloudy, rain & c.14°C
We made an early start from Heathrow to Madrid to pick up our direct flight on to Quito, arriving at dusk. Night fell characteristically quickly here in the tropics and it was dark by the time we had collected baggage and exited the airport. Having transferred to the hotel, we had a light dinner before retiring after a long day's travel.
Friday 29th October Transfer to Galápagos, then North Seymour (pm)
Fairly cloudy with strengthening wind from SE.
We had finished breakfast and were ready for our pickup by 6:15am. Whilst waiting, there were quite a few Eared Doves picking up scraps on the road outside the hotel, and at one point, a male Black-tailed Trainbearer hummingbird inspected some flowering shrubs by the front door.
We were guided through the security and ticketing procedures, meeting our fellow passengers travelling with us on Beluga. An hours flight to Guayaquil, then an hour and a half on to Baltra where we were met by Juan, our naturalist-guide, and Eduardo, one of Beluga's engineers, and were on board by lunchtime. There were Large and Small Ground-finches around the airport, and lots of Magnificent Frigatebirds, Common Noddies and Blue-footed Boobies in the harbour.
After lunch, we navigated to North Seymour, watching many Elliot's Storm-petrels and Audubon's Shearwaters accompanying us, and enjoying excellent views of the frigatebirds overhead, effortlessly keeping pace with us on our 'bow-wave'. Several storm-petrels flying close by us proved to be Madeiran Storm-petrels, and there were fly-by views of Red-billed Tropicbird and Nazca Booby. We spent two and a half hours on North Seymour, having to be careful not to trip over the loafing Galápagos Sealions and juvenile Blue-footed Boobies. Several groups of nesting Magnificent Frigatebirds allowed very close approaches, giving us excellent views of displaying males showing off their inflated balloons and good numbers of downy chicks. Several juveniles showed the ginger-coloured heads indicating Greater Frigatebirds. The female Galápagos Lava Lizards here showed off their red throats, the males being spotted and rather more sombre. There were small numbers of Marine Iguanas on the rocks and a single large yellow-headed Land Iguana. A single Yellow Warbler showed rather briefly, but as this species was to be found each day on every island, I wasnt particularly disappointed. There were also further views of Small Ground-finches and brief views of Common Cactus-finch.
Back to Beluga for dinner.
Saturday 30th October Española
Mixed sunshine & drizzle.
After an overnight voyage southward to Española, we awoke to find ourselves anchored in Gardner Bay off the north coast. We took the pangas on to the sandy beach and spent an hour or so watching the sealions. Small Ground-finch, Large Cactus-finch and Warbler Finch all showed very well, as did the ever-present Yellow Warblers. We were watching several Barn Swallows hawking insects low over the sand when a much larger & stockier hirundine drew our attention. Its very dark overall plumage suggested a Galápagos Martin; however, very pale, almost whitish, underparts with faint streaks indicated a female or immature Purple Martin, a migrant from North America. The Española Lava Lizards were very distinct with the females showing completely brick-red heads. Then, a Semipalmated Plover flew along the beach and in the bay, there were both Elliot's and Madeiran Storm-petrels.
We returned to Beluga and changed ready for snorkelling around an islet called Tortoise Rock, so called due to its shape like a giant tortoise. Most of us gave this a go and were rewarded with an excellent array of brightly coloured reef fishes.
Returning to Beluga, we moved a short distance to the western end of the island, anchoring off Point Suarez. We had a siesta after lunch, watching Waved Albatrosses flying past in the distance. Several Nazca Boobies were also identified. We then took the pangas to shore at mid-afternoon, having to land directly on to the rocks as our normal landing stage was taken over by sealions. Two American Oystercatchers were loitering at the far end of the beach, and a Whimbrel was spotted flying along the shore. This latter bird, colloquially called Hudsonian Whimbrel, though currently the same species as our Whimbrel in Europe, was very distinct having much browner plumage tones and lacking the white rump of our birds. Walking slowly around the circular path, we found many nesting Nazca Boobies, some incubating one or two eggs. One adult stood up exposing a newly hatched chick and part of the hatched eggshell. A Galápagos Hawk was loitering in the area, presumably hoping for an inattentive adult to become careless! Despite being near the end of the breeding season, there were about 15 Waved Albatross adults on shore and several well-grown youngsters. Juan thought these adults were still quite young, mere teenagers he said, and we enjoyed watching pairs and small groups displaying and bill clapping & fencing with each other just practising!
Time was getting on and we headed back to the beach and Beluga.
Sunday 31st October Floreana, Champion & north to Santa Cruz
Sunshine & showers.
An overnight voyage to Floreana and we awoke overlooking the Devil's Crown rocks. Breakfast was interrupted by large numbers of Bottle-nosed Dolphins numbering several hundreds. Some came really close, passing behind us just beyond the pangas. We landed on shore, immediately finding Lava Heron and Wandering Tattler. After some explanations from Juan, we walked over a small ridge to the lagoon shore. Here were the brightly coloured Galápagos race of Greater Flamingo, several White-cheeked Pintails and a couple of Black-necked Stilts. Smaller shorebirds included Least & Western Sandpipers and a couple of Sanderlings. A lone Lesser Yellowlegs was a surprise. We then returned to the beach and walked another trail to a high viewpoint overlooking the lagoon. The flamingos had four downy chicks, and at least one nest-mound contained one egg. The endemic Floreana Lava Lizard was quite minute, compared with the species we'd seen on the previous islands. We walked down to the next beach, disturbing another Wandering Tattler and finding good numbers of Sting Rays in the shallows near the sea's edge. We retraced our steps and returned to the pangas.
Back on Beluga, we prepared to have a brief snorkelling trip around the Devil's Crown. Although the water was choppy to start with, we drifted with the current into the lea of the rocks, finding the water much calmer and clearer. There were masses of fish below us and around each rocky outcrop, whilst above us, masses of Audubon's Shearwaters circled and called as they explored the crevices in the pinnacles themselves.
Returning again to Beluga, we moved the short distance to overlook Champion Island. This small island, together with its neighbour, is home to the Charles or Floreana Mockingbird - in fact the only home, since the species no longer occurs on Floreana itself. With Beluga keeping station just offshore, we scanned the slopes and vegetation, eventually finding our target bird conveniently sitting out in the open on a dead fallen branch. Whilst we were having lunch, Beluga made the short voyage back round the headland to moor in Post Office Bay. Here we again went ashore, to check the post and leave our own. We were back on board by mid-afternoon and we began the northward voyage to Santa Cruz. Whilst some of us relaxed on the sun deck, others took station on the upper deck to watch for birds and whales. Many hundreds of Red-necked Phalaropes were found in mid-channel, several Galápagos Petrels flew past us, as did, of course, the ever-present boobies, shearwaters and storm-petrels.
As we entered Puerto Ayora Harbour at dusk, many Cattle Egrets were flying to roost. After dinner, some then went ashore for an hour or so in the evening.
Monday 1st November Santa Cruz
Damp in highlands, humid on coast.
Overnight in harbour. After breakfast we landed at the quay and headed north to the highlands by bus. Juan stopped at various places en route, explaining the gradual change from the coastal area up to the higher, humid zone, and pointing out various endemic and introduced plants. In Bellavista itself, we stopped to look into some gardens and noticed a swift circling the nearby houses. This was certainly a Chaetura species and we assume a Chimney Swift, although other species occur on the mainland. As we arrived at Rancho Primera, there were several Giant Tortoises alongside the road. A Whimbrel flew off as we commenced our short walk round a trail through the forest. Here we found both Vegetarian Finch and Woodpecker Finch, together with good views of a Large Tree-finch. A short distance down the road and we made a brief stop at a huge sink hole. Walking a short distance along a wooded trail, we had another excellent view of Woodpecker Finch. We then returned back downhill, heading for lunch. As we approached the restaurant, a small crake was alongside a large puddle, in the middle of the road! Although rather dark in plumage, the bright red legs and red bill with a yellow tip indicated Paint-billed Crake. To find this shy and elusive species standing right out in the open was incredibly lucky! Understandably, we were slightly late arriving at the restaurant, but a superb lunch was ready and we quickly introduced ourselves to the six new passengers who were to be with us for the rest of the week.
We spent the afternoon at the Charles Darwin Research Centre, seeing all three species of Ground-finch, Common Cactus-finch and having excellent views of a superb male Yellow Warbler. We then ambled back through the town to return to Beluga at around 5pm.
Overnight voyage to Isabela.
Tuesday 2nd November Isabela
Mixed sunshine & cloud.
After a long overnight voyage, we approached Punta Moreno before breakfast. There were one or two distant sightings of whales, and a pod of Common Dolphins went past us. After breakfast, we landed on Punta Moreno itself and explored the marked trail over the ah-ah lava. This amazingly desolate lava-scape was just being colonised by cactus and other plants. Some of the larger sink holes contained brackish water and were surrounded by rushes and other more verdant vegetation. Even here, Ground-finches and Yellow Warblers were present. Large Painted Locusts were seemingly everywhere. As we approached the largest of the ponds, we found two Greater Flamingos and several Moorhens with chicks (exactly the same species as our Moorhen in Europe). As we left, a pair of Cinnamon Teal landed in the middle of the pond. The male was particularly splendid with his deep maroon plumage and bright sky-blue wing patches. Unfortunately, the Moorhens took exception and chased them about. They swam quickly out of sight behind the small island so only a few of the group managed to see these birds, which are probably a first for the Galápagos! They disappeared under some overhanging trees and we could not relocate them.
The next pool contained a shoal of Yellow-tailed Mullet and four Black-headed Stilts. Finally, we came to a pool with direct access to the sea. Here several large Porcupinefish were loitering, and eight White-tipped Reef Sharks were patrolling the pool's edge. Whilst waiting for the pangas, we watched a really close Flightless Cormorant and one of the biggest Marine Iguana males we had yet come across. Back to Beluga for a swim and lunch, before moving the short distance to Elizabeth Bay.
After a siesta, we tried snorkelling around the rocks but the underwater visibility was just about nil. The Galápagos Penguins however allowed exceptionally close approaches - I wonder what or who they thought these strange creatures were, emerging from the sea with funny tubes sticking out the tops of their heads! We then all boarded the pangas, returned briefly to the rocks so everyone could photograph the penguins and boobies, and then explored the mangroves. By quietly paddling into the lagoon and creeks, we found a good number of Green Turtles and were rewarded by several sealions playing around one of the pangas. There were many Lava Herons here and a single Great White Egret.
The return trip to Beluga was exactly at sunset - just wonderful with the sun dropping below the horizon as we approached!
Wednesday 3rd November Isabela & Fernandina
Generally hot & sunny, fresh westerly breeze.
We spent most of the night at anchor, then undertook a short northward voyage to Urbina Bay around dawn. This uplifted area of seabed used to be lagoon and mangroves less than one hundred years ago, but was now dry sand and shell. The vegetation, though initially devastated by the uplifting movement and again by huge numbers of feral goats, is at last regenerating since the population of goats is being controlled. Large numbers of birds were immediately obvious and we had good views of Small & Medium Ground-finches, Small Tree-finch, Galápagos Mockingbirds, Galápagos Flycatcher and our second Vermillion Flycatcher. The Land Iguanas here were bright yellow and we found several rather smaller Giant Tortoises. Returning to the beach, the first panga had already left and was returning to Beluga when a Galápagos Hawk landed on the beach within a few feet of the remaining people. Ten minutes later, and probably just as many rolls of film, the second panga loaded and also returned.
During our next short voyage along the Sound and across to Fernandina, there were many Audubon's Shearwaters, Elliot's & Madeiran Storm-petrels and a single Galápagos Petrel. We moored off Punta Espinosa for lunch, after which some of us went snorkelling, prior to a short walk on the island. The snorkellers had close views of a Flightless Cormorant struggling to swallow an octopus, and close views of Sealions playing around them and grazing Green Turtles below them. The landing cove was patrolled by an adolescent male sealion, barking continuously but with not quite as deep a voice as a mature adult. On landing, we immediately found many Marine Iguanas piled up on the lava shore. Shorebirds included Wandering Tattler, Ruddy Turnstone, American Oystercatcher and two Whimbrels. We watched a couple of baby sealions trying to chew the back flippers of a turtle coming ashore. This went on for a bit before the turtle got fed up and went back into the water! Several other turtles were close inshore. We found two nests of Flightless Cormorants, each containing one chick closely guarded by an adult. This was definitely necessary since both Frigatebirds and a Galápagos Hawk were in close attendance!
We returned to Beluga and immediately set off across Banks Bay. Several Dolphins were breaching ahead of us and we saw several whale blows. We virtually ran over a whale which surfaced right beside the bow and had to dive below the ship this was probably a Bryde's or Minke Whale. Excellent numbers of Audubon's Shear-waters, probably more than the rest of the trip put together, vied for our attention with good numbers of Galápagos Petrels, and several Wedge-rumped Storm-petrels also flew past. There was a distant Waved Albatross in the Bay. The rollers were coming in from the ocean as we passed Punta Vicente Roca and Cape Berkeley, and as we approached the equator right on sunset, with cocktails in hand, we crowded on to the bridge to watch the latitude reach 0°00.00'.
Dinner en route as we passed round the northern tip of Isabela.
Thursday 4th November Santiago & Bartolomé
The ever-present Sealions welcomed us on the beach. As we explored along the rocky shoreline, we found Semipalmated Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, a Whimbrel and a pair of very confiding American Oystercatchers. A small sandpiper flew off unexpectedly, but we never found it again so must remain unidentified. A Common Tern landed on the shore near to us and we saw it several times fishing just offshore. It was amongst the low cliffs and rocky ledges that we found the Galápagos Fur-seals strictly, these are sealions rather than true seals. Two Yellow-crowned Night-herons also allowed exceptionally close views. Heading back to the landing beach, a Galápagos Dove was resting beside the path, and two finches searching for seeds under a tree proved to be a Large Ground-finch and Small Ground-finch - good comparative views. Swimming and snorkelling off the beach was accompanied by Sealions and Turtles and the usual array of reef fishes, then back to Beluga for lunch.
During lunch, we moved the relatively short distance to Bartolomé. By mid-afternoon we were again on the beach and swimming or snorkelling. Another confiding American Oystercatcher provided good photo opportunities, particularly when it caught a baby flatfish, proceeding to tear it apart to eat it. Later, we returned to Beluga, changed and made ready to climb the peak. We saw the various lava formations, including good examples of lava tubes, and on reaching the peak we could see the most recent lava field on the nearby island of Santiago. This had enveloped various small islets and had almost blocked the channel between Santiago and Bartolomé.
As the sun was setting, we descended once again for dinner on Beluga, after which we moved across the sound to anchor off Black Turtle Cove on the north side of Santa Cruz.
Friday 5th November Black Turtle Cove, fly to Quito
Sunny in the Galápagos, warm but thundery in Quito.
An early call and we managed to explore some of the mangroves at Black Turtle Cove before breakfast. A Great Blue Heron was standing sentinal on the rocks as we approached, and we had brief views of a Striated Heron and a Galápagos Martin, unfortunately both fly-by views! There were a few White-tipped Sharks and several Green Turtles in the lagoon. Back onboard for breakfast and we were back at Baltra before we knew it! Saying our farewells to the crew, Juan joined us on our flight, saying goodbye at Guayaquil.
Returning to Quito, we were met by Ivan and Gloria from Enchanted Expeditions. Our short tour of the old part of Quito was marred somewhat by a heavy rainstorm but as the rain eased, we did manage a short walk. We then checked in to our hotel and met up for dinner at an excellent restaurant, La Ronda.
Saturday 6th November Quito & departure
Sunshine & cloud, warm.
Free time in Quito allowed shopping and exploring the immediate vicinity around the hotel, until our transfer to the airport mid-afternoon. Having negotiated the various procedures at the airport, we joined a slightly delayed overnight flight to Madrid, arriving on Sunday 7th, then on to Heathrow.
In general, the various species lists below use the following references:
Birds: We use the suggested world-wide English names and systematic order as found in World Bird Species Checklist: with alternate English & scientific names (Wells, M.G., 1998).
Mammals: Mammals of the World, A Checklist (Duff, A. & Lawson, A., 2004).
Specifically for this trip, we also use: The Ecotravellers Wildlife Guide, Ecuador and its Galápagos Islands (Pearson, D.L. & Beletsky, L., 2000).
Galápagos: Birds, Mammals & Reptiles of the Galápagos Islands (Swash, A. & Still, R., 2000).
Reef Fish Identification Galápagos, 2nd edition (Humann, P. & Deloach, N., 2003).
Field Guide to Fishes of Galápagos (Merlen G., 1988).
Flowering Plants of the Galápagos (McMullen, C.K.)
Ecuador: Helm Field Guide to The Birds of Ecuador (Ridgely, R.S. & Greenfield, P.J., 2001).
Galápagos Penguin: Noted on 3 days; Isabela on 2nd & 3rd, Santiago & Bartolomé on 4th.
Waved Albatross: Noted on 3 days; Española on 30th, en route on 31st, 2 Isabela on 3rd.
Dark-rumped/Galápagos Petrel: Noted on 4 days; 5 en route on 31st, several Elizabeth Bay on 2nd, c.6 en route on 3rd, 1 en route on 4th.
Audubon's Shearwater: Noted most days.
Elliot's/White-vented Storm-petrel: Noted each day.
Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel: Noted on 4 days; several Española on 30th, 2 en route on 3rd, 2 on 4th, 1 near Black Turtle Cove on 5th.
Madeiran/Band-rumped Storm-petrel: Several noted on 3 days; on 29th, 31st, 3rd.
Red-billed Tropicbird: Noted on 5 days; North Seymour on 29th, Española on 30th, Floreana on 31st, Isabela on 2nd, Bartolomé on 4th.
Blue-footed Booby: Noted each day.
Nazca Booby: Noted on 5 days; several North Seymour on 29th, breeding colony Española on 30th, many on 31st, Isabela on 3rd, Santiago & Bartolomé on 4th.
Galápagos/Flightless Cormorant: Noted on 2 days; Isabela on 2nd, Isabela & Fernandina on 3rd.
Brown Pelican: Noted each day.
Magnificent Frigatebird: Noted each day.
Greater Frigatebird: Noted only as chicks in nests on North Seymour on 29th.
Great Blue Heron: Noted on 3 days; 1 Floreana on 31st, Fernandina on 3rd, 1 Black Turtle Cove on 5th.
Snowy Egret: Three alongside Guayaquil Airport runway on 5th.
Cattle Egret: Noted on 2 days; lots Santa Cruz on 31st, lots Santa Cruz on 1st.
Great [White] Egret: Noted on 4 days; Guayaquil airport on 29th, 1 after dark at quay on 31st, 2 Isabela on 2nd, 1 Black Turtle Cove & 2 Guayaquil airport on 5th.
Striated Heron: Noted only on 1 day, 2 Black Turtle Cove on 5th.
Galápagos/Lava Heron: Noted most days.
Yellow-crowned Night-heron: Noted on 2 days; a juv on Española on 30th, 2 adults on Santiago on 4th.
Greater Flamingo: Noted on 2 days; c.20 plus 4 chicks Floreana on 31st, 2 Isabela on 2nd.
White-cheeked Pintail: Noted only on 1 day, c.10 Floreana on 31st.
Cinnamon Teal: Noted only on 1 day, a pair at Punta Moreno, Isabela, on 2nd.
Galápagos Hawk: Noted on 3 days; 3 Española on 30th, 4 Isabela 1 Fernandina on 3rd, Santiago & Bartolomé on 4th.
Savannah Hawk: One alongside runway at Guayaquil Airport on 29th.
Paint-billed Crake: One on Santa Cruz on 1st.
Common Moorhen: Noted only on Isabela on 2nd.
American Oystercatcher: Noted on 3 days; a pair distantly Española on 30th, 1 Fernandina on 3rd, 4 Santiago & 1 Bartolomé on 4th.
Black-necked/South American Stilt: Noted on 2 days; 4 Floreana on 31st, 4 Isabela on 2nd.
Semipalmated Plover: Noted on 5 days; 1 Española on 30th, 1 Floreana on 31st, 2 Santa Cruz on 1st, 1 Isabela on 2nd, 2 Santiago & 1 Bartolomé on 4th.
[Hudsonian] Whimbrel: Noted on 6 days; 1 briefly Española on 30th, 1 Floreana on 31st, 1 Santa Cruz on 1st, 1 Isabela on 2nd, 2 Fernandina on 3rd, 2 Santiago on 4th.
Wandering Tattler: Noted on 5 days; 1 near blowhole Española on 30th, 2 - 3 Floreana on 31st, 1 Isabela on 2nd, 1 Fernandina on 3rd, 2 Santiago on 4th.
Ruddy Turnstone: Noted on 5 days; 5 North Seymour on 29th, 1 Floreana on 31st, 2 Santa Cruz on 1st, 1 Fernandina on 3rd, 8 Santiago on 4th.
Red-necked Phalarope: Noted on 2 days; hundreds during crossing on 31st, many again en route on 3rd.
Sanderling: Noted on 2 days; 1 North Seymour on 29th, 2 Floreana on 31st.
Western Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, 3 Floreana on 31st.
Least Sandpiper: Noted only on 1 day, c.6 Floreana on 31st.
Lesser Yellowlegs: Noted only on 1 day, 1 Floreana on 31st.
Lava Gull: Noted on 6 days; singles at North Seymour & Baltra on 29th, Floreana on 31st, Santa Cruz on 1st, Isabela on 2nd, sitting on panga on 3rd, around boat on 4th.
Swallow-tailed Gull: Noted on 5 days; North Seymour on 29th, Española on 30th, Floreana on 31st, 4 on water off N Isabela on 3rd, c.10 en route on 4th.
Common Tern: Noted only on 1 day, 3 Santiago on 4th.
Brown/Common Noddy: Noted most days.
Rock Dove / Feral Pigeon: Noted only in Quito.
Eared Dove: Many outside hotel in Quito on 29th, & again in Quito on 5th 6th.
Galápagos Dove: Noted on 4 days; North Seymour on 29th, Española on 30th, Isabela on 3rd, Santiago & Bartolomé on 4th.
Smooth-billed Ani: Noted on 2 days; lots Santa Cruz on 1st, heard on 2nd.
Chimney Swift: Noted only on 1 day, 1 over Bellavista on 1st was presumed this species (certainly a Chaetura species).
Black-tailed Trainbearer: A male briefly outside hotel in Quito on 29th.
Vermilion Flycatcher: Noted on 2 days; a superb male Santa Cruz on 1st, another superb male Isabela on 3rd.
Galápagos Flycatcher: Noted on 4 days; 1 Floreana on 31st, several Santa Cruz on 1st, 1 Isabela on 3rd, Santiago on 4th.
Southern/Galápagos Martin: Noted only on 1 day, 1 Black Turtle Cove on 5th.
Purple Martin: Noted only on 1 day, 1 f/juv Española on 30th.
Barn Swallow: Noted only on 1 day, c.12 Española on 30th.
Galápagos Mockingbird: Noted on 5 days; Santa Cruz on 1st, Isabela on 2nd & 3rd, Santiago on 4th, Black Turtle Cove on 5th.
Charles/Floreana Mockingbird: One seen on Champion on 31st.
Hood Mockingbird: Noted only on 1 day, many confiding birds on Española on 30th.
Great Thrush: Noted only in Quito.
Large Ground-finch: Noted on 4 days; Baltra on 29th, Santa Cruz on 1st, Isabela on 3rd, Santiago on 4th.
Medium Ground-finch: Noted on 4 days; Santa Cruz on 1st, Isabela on 2nd & 3rd, Baltra on 5th.
Small Ground-finch: Noted most days.
Small Cactus-finch: Noted on 2 days; North Seymour on 29th, Santa Cruz on 1st.
Large Cactus-finch: Noted only on Española on 30th.
Vegetarian Finch: Noted only on Santa Cruz on 1st.
Large Tree-finch: Noted only on Santa Cruz on 1st.
Small Tree-finch: Noted only on 1 day, 3 Isabela on 3rd.
Woodpecker Finch: Noted only on Santa Cruz on 1st.
Warbler Finch: Noted on 3 days; Española on 30th, Santa Cruz on 1st, Isabela on 3rd.
Yellow Warbler: Noted each day.
Galápagos Fur Seal[ion]: Noted only on Santiago on 4th.
Galápagos [Californian] Sealion: Noted most days.
[Short-beaked] Common Dolphin: Several seen distantly off Isabela on 2nd.
[Common] Bottle-nosed Dolphin: Several hundreds off Floreana on 31st; also several unidentified Dolphins seen distantly on 3rd.
Northern Minke or Brydes Whale: Two off Isabela on 2nd and one virtually run over on 3rd may have been either of these species.
Galápagos Lava Lizard: Noted on 5 days; North Seymour on 29th, Santa Cruz on 1st, Isabela on 2nd, Isabela & Fernandina on 3rd, Santiago & Bartolomé on 4th.
Española Lava Lizard: Noted only on Española on 30th.
Floreana Lava Lizard: Noted only on Floreana on 31st.
Marine Iguana: Noted most days.
Galápagos Land Iguana: Noted on 2 days; North Seymour on 29th, 4 Isabela on 3rd.
Galápagos Giant TortoIse: Noted on 2 days; Santa Cruz on 1st, 1 small individual on Isabela on 3rd.
[Pacific] Green Turtle: Noted most days.
FISH: (page ref - Humann & Deloach, 2003)
King Angelfish: p.24
Razor Surgeonfish: (originally identified as Yellow-tailed Surgeonfish, which does not occur in Galápagos) p.30
Moorish Idol: p.34
Yellow-tailed/Striped Mullet: Several in pool on Isabela on 2nd. p.60
Brown-striped Snapper / Black-striped Salema: p.66
Galápagos Ringtail Damselfish: (formally classed as a subspecies of White-tailed Damselfish) p.78
Yellow-tailed Damselfish: p.80
Panamic Sergeant-major: p.80
Pacific Creolefish: p.94
Bumphead Parrotfish: p.100
Bluechin Parrotfish: p100
Bicolored/Red-lipped Parrotfish: p.102
Cortez Rainbow Wrasse: p.114
Mexican/Streamer Hogfish: p.120
Large-banded/Panamic Fanged Blenny: p.136
Bullseye/Concentric Pufferfish: p.168
[Spotted] Porcupinefish: p.174
Orangeside/Yellow-bellied Triggerfish: p.178
Scrawled Filefish: p.182
Tiger Snake Eel: p.196
Scalloped Hammerhead Shark: Noted on 2 days; 1 North Seymour on 29th, 1 beside Beluga on 3rd. p.210
White-tipped Reef Shark: Noted on 3 days; 8 in lagoon on Isabela on 2nd, Bartolomé on 4th, Black Turtle Cove on 5th. p.215
Diamond Stingray: p.216
Spotted Eagle Ray: p.218
Galápagos Sulphur: Noted on 2 days; Santa Cruz on 1st, Isabela on 3rd.
Galápagos Blue: Noted only on Santa Cruz on 1st.
Queen butterfly Danaus gilippus: Noted only on Santa Cruz on 1st.
Large-tailed Skipper Urbanus galapagensis: Noted only on Santa Cruz on 1st.
DRAGONFLIES & other insects:
Spot-winged Glider: Noted on 4 days; Floreana on 31st, Isabela on 2nd, Isabela & Fernandina on 3rd, Santiago on 4th.
Large Painted Locust: Noted on 4 days; Santa Cruz on 1st, many Isabela on 2nd, Isabela on 3rd, Santiago on 4th.
Galápagos Carpenter Bee: Noted on 4 days; Floreana on 31st, Isabela on 2nd, Isabela on 3rd, Santiago on 4th.
Spotless Ladybug: Noted on 2 days; Floreana on 31st, Isabela on 3rd.
VARIOUS OTHER TAXA:
Star Spider Gasteracantha servillei: Noted only at Floreana on 31st.
Chocolate-chip Sea-star Nidorellia armata: Noted on 2 days; Fernandina on 3rd, Santiago & Bartolomé on 4th.
Slate-pencil Urchin Eucidaris thouarsii: Noted on 2 days; Fernandina plus other snorkelling on 3rd, Santiago & Bartolomé on 4th.
Galápagos Sand Dollar Encope galapagensis: Noted only at Isabela on 3rd.
Sea-biscuit species Clypeaster sp.: Noted only at Isabela on 3rd.
Sally Lightfoot Crab: Noted each day.
Semi-terrestrial Hermit Crab: Noted only on Isabela on 3rd.
Ghost Crab: Noted only on Bartolomé on 4th.
PLANTS (compiled by Nuala Simpson):
Scientific name English name Page ref B NS E Fl SC I Fe S B unrec
Acacia nilotica Nile acacia 67 *
Acacia rorudiana Galapagos acacia 68 *
Ageratum conyzoides Ageratum 271 *
Astrephia chaerophylloides White Valerian (Fitter etc)186 *
Avicennia germinans Black Mangrove 80 *
Batis maritima Saltwort 171 *
Bougainvillea spectabilis Bougainvillea 299 *
Brachycereus nesioticus Lava cactus 321 * *
Brugmansia candida Angel's Trumpet 119 *
Bursera graveolens Incense tree / palo santo 48 * *
Bursera malacophylla Galapagos Incense tree 50 *
Cascabela thevetia Yellow oleander 60 *
Castela galapageia Castela 138 *
Catharanthus roseus Madagascar Periwinkle 270 *
Cedrela odorata Spanish Cedar 65 *
Chloris virgata Finger grass 240 *
Citrus limetta Sweet Lime 57 *
Citrus sinensis Sweet Orange 57 *
Cocos nucifera Coconut palm 97 *
Codiaeum variegatum Garden croton 54 *
Coffea arabica Coffee 153 *
Conocarpus erectus Button Mangrove 78 *
Cordia lutea Yellow cordia /muyuyo 61 * *
Cordia revoluta Revolute-leafed cordia 111 *
Croton scouleri Galapagos croton 53 * * *
Cryptocarpus pyriformis Saltbush 115 * * * *
Cyathea weatherbyana Galapagos tree fern (Fitter etc)198 *
Cyperus ligularis/anderssonii Galapagos sedge 237/8 *
Darwiniothamnus tenuifolius Thinleafed Darwin's shrub 102 *
Erythrina velutina Flame tree 74 *
Gossypium darwinii Darwin's Cotton 127 *
Heliotropium curassavicum Scorpion Weed 181 * *
Heliotropium indicum Indian Heliotrope 219 *
Hibiscus rosa-sinensis Chinese Hibiscus 135 *
Hippomane mancinella Poison apple 79 *
Ipomoea pes-caprae Beach morning-glory 312 *
Jasminocereus thouarsii Candlelabra Cactus 323 * *
Justicia galapagana Galapagos justicia 268 *
Laguncularia racemosa White mangrove 81 *
Lantana camara Multicolored lantana 164 *
Lecocarpus pinnatifidus Floreana daisy 162 *
Lycopersicon cheesmanii Galapagos tomato 213 *
Lycium minimum Desert thorn/Galapagos lycium 177 *
Musa x paradisiaca Banana/ plantain 187 *
Nerium oleander Common oleander 175 *
Ochroma pyramidale Balsa 47 *
Opuntia echios Prickly Pear cactus 325 * * *
Opuntia insularis Prickly Pear cactus 330 * *
Parkinsonia aculeata Jerusalem Thorn 62 * *
Pectis ?subsquarrosa/tenuifolia Pectis 261/262 *
Pennisetum purpureum Elephant grass 242 *
Phaseolus major/vulgaris kidney,green,snap/wax bean 314 *
Plantago major Common plantain 293 *
Polypody phyllitidis Hart's-tongue Polypody (Fitter etc)198 *
Prosopis juliflora Mesquite 69 * *
Psidium guajava Guava 84 *
Psychotria rufipes Wild white coffee 155 *
Pteridium aquilinum Bracken (Fitter etc)198 *
Rhizophora mangle Red mangrove 86 *
Ricinus communis Castor bean 141 *
Russelia equisetiformis Coral plant 176 *
Sarcostemma angustissimum Galapagos sarcolemma 319 *
Scalesia affinis Radiate-headed scalesia 103 *
Scutia spicata Thorn shrub / spiny bush 129 *
Sesuvium edmonstonei Galapagos carpetweed 245 * * * * *
Sesuvium portulacastrum Common carpetweed/sea purslane 269 *
Sonchus oleraceus Sow thistle 197 *
Sporobolus virginicus Beach Dropseed / Sea Grass 244 * *
Syzygium jambos Rose apple 85 *
Teucrium vesicarium Germander 273 *
Tiquilia galapagoa Gray matplant 182 * *
Tiquilia nesiotica Gray matplant 183 *
Trianthema portulacastrum Tranthema 246 *
Tribulus cistoides Puncture weed / Goat's head 265 *
Verbena litoralis Verbena/vervain 276 *
Waltheria ovata Velvet bush 130 *
Bryphytes, mosses, liverworts on trees (Fitter etc)198
What an excellent trip and that is even without the luck which seemed to be with us wherever we went. The whole array of seabirds, sealions and sea-life generally was superb, as were the plants on each island and those sunsets! If I had to pick a birding highlight, Id pick two and these must be the pair of Cinnamon Teal on Floreana which disappeared oh-so-quickly and the Paint-billed Crake on Santa Cruz which stood in the road for several minutes! We must thank Juan for his seemingly unlimited knowledge and willingness to share this with us. Our thanks must also go to the captain and crew of Beluga, to Gloria who imparted such interesting stories during our tour of old Quito, to Ivan who drove us to and fro, and the staff at Enchanted Expeditions for putting together such an excellent trip.
And, of course, many thanks to Nuala for compiling the plant list and to all of you who made this trip the success it was. I hope that I see you all on another trip, sometime in the not-too-distant future.