Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic


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

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up


From Santiago.

The Galápagos fur seal (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) is one of two pinniped species native to the islands.  But unlike the Galápagos sea lion, which is plentiful on the islands today, the fur seal was hunted extensively by the sailors that came to the islands and are still a rare sight today.  They are currently listed as Endangered.

Fur seals are not true seals, but are instead placed in the family Otariidae (eared seals) with sea lions and walruses.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Close Up

Weekly Photo Challenge: On the Move


Marine Iguana on the MoveFrom Santiago.

Marine iguanas go out in the midday to forage on exposed algae at low tide.  They scrape the algae from the rocks with their teeth.  They then return to raise their body temperature by basking in the sun.

Larger iguanas actually dive underwater to forage.  Their greater surface area-to-volume ratio allows them to lose body heat more slowly in the cold Galápagos waters.

Charles Darwin called them “disgusting, clumsy Lizards” and “imps of darkness,” but these reptiles are fascinating despite their rough appearance.


Weekly Photo Challenge: Threshold

Turtle grottoFrom Santiago.

The turtle’s nose breaks the threshold of the water’s surface: a brief pause before he begins his dive back into his cold, quiet pool.

Santiago has many rocky pools that are the favorite haunts of sea lions, marine iguanas, sea turtles, and fishing birds.  I can’t tell what type of turtle this is, but there are several species that call the waters around the Galápagos home.  If you go snorkeling, you will probably swim with some!

The Galápagos are more famous for their tortoises, which live on land and are completely different from the aquatic sea turtles.