To be honest, I’m not really much of a twitcher. Try to get me into bird watching in the UK and you’ll receive a worryingly unenthusiastic response. In the Galapagos, however, it’s all a bit different. Maybe it’s the relaxed pace of life; maybe it’s the guide’s excited if slightly broken englished-whisper as some super rare species emerges from the undergrowth. I think though that it’s just the birds themselves – very beautiful, and often in striking colours, with completely unique behavioural patterns that one can’t help but feel would only be witnessed by David Attenborough anywhere other than these islands.
We were also extremely lucky on the birding front. Completely outside of the usual mating season, blue footed boobies obligingly danced for us (yep, we copied them later) whilst the magnificent frigate birds gave a highly visual demonstration of the origins of their name, puffing out their bright red chests and looking thoroughly pleased with themselves. I nearly spat my snorkel out when I spotted a flightless cormorant calmly fishing beside me, whilst penguins zipped by at the speed of light (unfortunately we only have land photos of these two birds, where they look a little less graceful!!). We saw flamingos at BOTH the lagoons where they sometimes hang out. We saw nesting Nazca and red footed boobies complete with tiny, fluffy chicks. And, last but not least, on our last day on Genovesa Island we saw a short eared owl – pretty unexciting in its own right (small, brown, slightly bedraggled from the recent rain), but very rare – it’s been 5 months since our guide last saw one.
The only thing, frankly, that we didn’t manage to see is all 14 species of endemic finch. The 4 or 5 we saw all looked pretty similar to me so I guess I can let this one go.
Did I mention I wasn’t really a twitcher?