Every day was a great day on our tour of the Galápagos! Española was one of the last islands we visited and there was so much to see. Lots of interesting bird species, beautiful scenery, and some time on the beach.
This blue-footed booby male (left) is about to express his interest in this female through a cool courtship ritual known as “sky pointing.” The males have slightly smaller pupils and slightly larger feet.
Here’s a video I took of the courtship dance; although the quality is terrible, you can see the sky pointing and display of feet and hear the distinctive whistling noise. (Our park guide is speaking at the beginning.)
This cool blowhole (“El Soplador”) is created when waves crash into the lava fissures of the cliffs of Española, one of the oldest of the Galápagos islands. To get here, it’s a little hike from the Punta Suarez landing site, along which you can also see colonies of blue footed boobies and waved albatrosses, among other things. These islands have so many fascinating sights, even in addition to the unique animals!
Two marine iguanas bask in the midday sun. Nothing better than lying around with a friend on a summer’s day.
But attractive sunbathers these guys are not. Marine iguanas feed in the ocean, drinking salt water and eating saltwater algae, so to help keep their bodily salt concentrations in balance they sneeze out salt, which crusts on their faces. Their bodies are mostly dark grey, to blend with the rocks and absorb heat quickly, but do exhibit a wide range of coloration, with some variation between the groups on different islands. These guys have red patches, common on Española. They also shed their skin in patches, adding to their mottled appearance.