Monday, 19 August 2019

Genovesa Island (Galapagos and Ecuador) - 19th August (Day 6)

After a rough night steaming from North Seymour Island to Genovesa Island we arrived at around 02:00 to the calm of Darwin’s Bay on the south side of the island. As dawn broke, we enjoyed the sight of many Nazca Booby, Red-billed Tropicbird, Magnificent Frigatebird and Swallow-tailed Gull from the boat as we ate breakfast. After breakfast we took a short rib ride to Prince Philip's Steps to the east side of the Darwin's Bay, after a short but steep set of steps we arrived on the top of the cliffs and into booby colony with numerous Red-footed Booby nesting in the trees and Nazca Booby nesting on the ground. Here too were our first really good views of Galapagos Dove as well as Galapagos Mockingbird, Grey Warbler-finch, Genovesa Ground-finch and Large Ground-finch. Walking on through the dense scrub of the island we soon found a Genovesa Cactus-finch as it grubbed around in the leaves at the base of a shrub. We emerged from the scrub to a barren lava dominated field with thousands of Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel flying over the landscape, on the ground were perched Short-eared Owl which prey primarily on the Storm-petrel. On the lava fields were good numbers of Genovesa Ground-finch and with them a few Large Ground-finch with rather impossible and grotesquely large bills. Basking on the rocks and at least two hundred metres from the sea were numerous Marine Iguana which apparently need to scramble down the near shear cliffs to get to the sea to feed. All too soon it was time to head back to the boat where some snorkelling along the west shore of Darwin Bay was rather disappointing due to the poor visibility – we could have potentially seen Hammerhead Shark here.

Red-footed Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Red-footed Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Red-footed Booby, sadly the chick did not make it but the parent continued to tend the corpse - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Red-footed Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Blue-footed Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Nasca Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Nazca Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Nazca Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Nazca Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Nazca Booby - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Red-billed Tropicbird - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

The site of 1000's of Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel over their breeding colony on the larvae fields - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

First year Lava Gull - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Yellow-crowned Night-heron - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Short-eared Owl, the distinctive subspecies galapagoensis preys mainly on White-rumped Storm-petrel on the island - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Short-eared Owl mobbed by White-rumped Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Dove - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Genovesa Ground-finch - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Genovesa Ground-finch - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Genovesa Ground-finch - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Grey Warbler-finch - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Grey Warbler-finch - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Large Ground-finch - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Large Ground-finch to right and Genovesa Ground-finch to left - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Genovesa Cactus-finch - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Genovesa Cactus-finch - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Mockingbird - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Mockingbird - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Mockingbird - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Galapagos Mockingbird - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Marine Iguana - Genovesa Island, Galapagos


Genovesa Island, Galapagos

Sarah and Tobias on Prince Philip's Steps, Genovesa Island

View from Prince Philip's Steps into Darwin's Bay, Genovesa Island

After lunch we spent around an hour on the beach at Darwin's Bay where we had good views of Swallow-tailed Gull and Red-billed Tropicbird as well as our first Wandering Tattler and Ruddy Turnstone of the trip. Snorkelling in the bay produced a fantastic resting group of 25 White-tipped Reef Shark and a single Diamond Stingray. Back at the boat at around 14:00 we enjoyed some great views of White-vented Storm-petrel.

White-vented Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

White-vented Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

White-vented Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

White-vented Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

White-vented Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

White-vented Storm-petrel - Genovesa Island, Galapagos

We began our 10 hour west-bound crossing to the north-west side of Isabela Island soon after 14:00. Seawatching from boat produced large numbers of birds, mainly White-vented Storm-petrel and Wedge-rumped Storm-petrel but also three Band-rumped Storm-petrel, two White-faced Storm-petrel, one Markham’s Storm-petrel, Galapagos Petrel (c.30) and a single Waved Albatross as well as the usual Booby’s and Frigate-birds. Things got a little hairy on the top deck with waves breaking over the top of the boat and so as the sun sank the hardcore birders retired downstairs to a diminished group - several of which had fallen foul to sea-sickness. Fortunately, Sarah and Tobias were two of the stalwarts. We went to bed at around 19:30 to another rough overnight crossing arriving at Isabela around 02:00.