Birds! Crabs! Turtles!

May 10th, 2011 by Eugene in Animals, Galapagos Islands, Travel

A swallow-tailed gull in flight. South Plazas Island. The swallow-tailed gull is the world’s only nocturnal gull. It hunts fish by the light of the moon. I watched them one night following our boat, diving after fish disturbed by our wake. More photos after the jump.

 

Dario radioing for backup. Our snorkeling gear has been taken hostage by an angry pelican.

Flightless cormorants. Notice how short and stunted the wings are. They remind me very much of the late Cretaceous fossil bird Hesperornis:

Below is a closeup of its unearthly turquoise eyes.

I had always thought of sea turtles as creatures of the open sea, but in the Galapagos we frequently encountered them in the shallows near shore. Below is an olive Ridley in the mangroves of Fernandina island.

These brightly colored crabs are everywhere in the Galapagos, startling in their bright colors against the black lava rocks. Called “Sally lightfoot crabs” in English (presumably because they are hard to catch), thier scientific name is Grapsus grapsus.

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