Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful

From Española.

This blue-footed booby parent is taking very careful care of its eggs.  They will be incubated for around 41-45 days before hatching.  Both parents take turns incubating, and I can’t tell whether this is mom or dad because I can’t see the eye pupils well enough (pupil size is the best visual indicator of booby sex).

This bird species almost always lays two eggs.  If conditions are good, both will grow up well.  But if resources are scarce, the older chick may harass or even kill the younger one to get rid of the competition.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Careful

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra)ordinary

From Genovesa.

The mangrove is one of the more mundane species seen in the Galápagos; they are ubiquitous and not even endemic to the islands.  But they are a critical part of the islands’ biome, and there’s also just something pretty about the sunlight on the leaves.

Weekly Photo Challenge: (Extra)ordinary

Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

From Fernandina.

Just because some boundaries are invisible doesn’t make them any less real.  This sign asks Galápagos visitors to stop and not go any further so as not to disturb the nesting site of these flightless cormorants (Phalacrocorax harrisi).

These birds are unique to the Galápagos and are classified as Vulnerable by the IUCN.  This is still plenty close enough to get a great view of these fascinating birds and the chicks in their seaweed nests.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Boundaries

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grid

From Santa Cruz.

This Galápagos tortoise (Chelonoidis nigra) shows off the grid-like pattern of his shell.  This is a fairly small tortoise; they frequently get to be 400-600 lbs with a carapace length of around 3-5 ft. We saw many others of varying sizes on Santa Cruz, both in the wild like this one and also at the Charles Darwin Research Station, where certain subspecies are part of a captive breeding program.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grid

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

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From Santiago.

I love the way the orange beak of this American Oystercatcher “pops” in this image.  This bird can actually be found all over both North and South America, but it seems to fit in especially well on the black lava rocks of the shorline of Santiago.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic