Galapagos Islands Photo Tour Oct 5th North Seymor Island and Santa Cruz

October 05, 2011

Wednesday October 5th ... Blog Entry the Island of North Seymor and the Magnificent Frigate bird.

This mornings visit to North Seymor Island was a much anticipated landing.  This is the only island in the Galapagos that the Frigate bird nests on.

The tiny island of North Seymor is located on the map below just above Baltra Airport and for some time the National Park authority has had concern about visitors to the islands.  The concern is if a Frigate birds is disturbed they will abandon their nests and the young won’t survive.  From time to time the island has been closed to visitors for this reason.  We were lucky and at this time visits are permitted. 

A little background on one of the most amazing birds in the Galapagos.  The Magnificent Frigate bird fully grown can measure 39 inches long with an 85 inch wingspan.  The males are all black with a scarlet throat pouch which they inflate like a balloon in the breeding season.  Females are black, but have a white breast and lower neck.  The immature birds have a white head and white patches around their bodies.  I have posted a good selection of this bird.

This was a dry landing and good food wear was required due to the rocky pathways.  We were also asked to keep our voices down as not to disturb the nesting birds.  They were so close as we walked along the trails you could almost reach out and touch them.  As we quietly walked along you could hear the clicking noise the male birds make as they try to attract the females flying overhead.  And of course they fill out their red throats and flap their wings.  It’s an amazing experience to watch them, and this was one of the moments just to quietly observe Mother Nature at her best. 

The trail brought us in full circle and as we approached the shoreline many more birds and animals came into view.  It was interesting to see the sea lions amounts the brush instead of on the sand and rocks.  We also came upon a very large land iguana, there are some images in the post below.

We had a shorter time on North Seymor as visits here are strictly controlled, as not to stress the birds.  We still had plenty of time and came away with some great images.

We then had a short navigation, sailing to Baltra Port to take on supplies.  Then after lunch onboard our ship we sailed to Dragon Hill on the island of Santa Cruz.  The Frigate birds kept us entertained and gave us plenty of photo opportunities as we sailed to the other island.  At one point there was 15 to 20 of the birds soaring overhead of our ship.  We were able to go up to the top deck and photograph them.  It seemed like they were floating in air.

Our afternoon landing was a dry landing at Dragon Hill.  Here we hiked up to another salt water lagoon.  We were met there by one solitary Pink Flamingo who was busy looking for food.  The view from the look out was spectacular and once again demonstrated the vast difference as we visited each of the islands.

In the evening we enjoyed a beautiful but fast sunset from onboard the ship, had our nightly briefing and then set sail for Rabida Island and Santiago, Egas Port for our next days adventure.  Enjoy the images from todays trek.

The first image is the map showing our overnight route, todays route is in blue.



Some of the group speaking with one the Naturalist Guides before our morning departure.  Thanks to all our guides during the journey they were a vast wealth of knowledge.


An interesting island formation just off the bow of the ship.  Note the tree line on top of the rock.


The Magnificent Frigate Bird with his ruby throat in fully inflated.


Here are a couple of images of the interesting landscape of North Seymor Island.


Close-up of cactus.


Erika moving along the pathway, Tom, Brenda and Nancy in the background.


Another view of the male Frigate Bird, they next within the tops of these bush type trees.  The trees have many small branches that make for challenging photography.


Female Frigate Bird nesting.


Our ship anchored in the bay, notice the interesting pattern of clouds and light in the background.


A family of Frigates, I included this image to show you how protected they are within the trees.


An immature Frigate waiting for food.

Another male Frigate notice his red deflated throat.


Junior ...


Close-up of a baby Frigate.


They are so fluffy.


We had a good cross section of immatures.  Notice the construction of the nest.


Two male Frigates looking skyward for females.


Another immature Frigate.


As the Frigate Bird matures they continuously change their feather colours.


Another view of the throat of the Frigate.  As you can see, even though our time was restricted we had many opportunities and many different angles to photograph the Frigates.


A male flapping his wings and throat full inflated to attract the females flying above him.


Wings fully extended.  I wonder if they have to be careful of a puncture if they caught the sharp end of those branches???


Immature Frigate asleep.  The touch of green and partly blue sky added to our shots.


Maria, Sandi and Terry along the trail.  I think Terry is saying if I see another Friggin Frigate I’m going home ...


Sandi, Lorna and Dave looking for interesting angles.


Watch your step Frank.  Take note of the lava rock pathway.  Brenda, Dick and Erika in the background.


A Striated Heron watching the group pass by.


Do you think he has a question ??????


A very interesting angle, take note of the sea lion on the sand hill top left.  The ground covering was interesting on this island.


Funny to see the Sea Lion relaxing on the ground cover.


Sea Iguana warming in the morning sun.


Frank and Jim comparing shots.


A baby Sea Lion feeding ...


Land Iguana soaking up the sun.  I’ve included two shots to give you an idea of the size of this guy.


This gives you a better idea of his size.


Brenda, Jim and Frank shooting along the shoreline.  Thanks to Terry Lennox for providing this image.


Nancy, Dick and Brenda as we hike along the coastline.


Another group of Marine Iguana’s.  These guys are everywhere.


Family catching the warmth of the sun together.  Marine Iguanas require the warmth of the sun to survive, but also have the ability to dive to the depths of the ocean for feed on seaweed and other plant life.  They can only stay under for a short amount of time or will perish in the cooler waters.


Bonnie, Bill and Karen checking out the many photo opportunities the shoreline has to offer.


Sally Lightfoot Crabs cover the shoreline.


Mid morning we stopped at Baltra Port for supplies and fuel.


As I described in todays blog entry, the Frigate Birds followed us out into the ocean.  many of these birds soared just out of reach above our ship as we sailed across the channel to Santa Cruz.


Our Navigator, female Frigate.


Look up, shoot and then dodge what might be falling from the sky.


Bill getting a few close-ups.


A couple of close-ups.  They seemed to float.


Another close-up.


This guy took a break on the roof of the ship.


Great close-up opportunities.


They followed us for miles.


Nancy, Sandi and the back of Bill.  The birds were just amazing to watch.


Dry Landing on Santa Cruz as we visited Dragon Hill.


Randy checking out the view.


Dragon Hill, an inactive volcano.
Another shot supplied by Terry Lennox of a Heron fishing along the coastline.
A solitary Pink Flamingo Fishing feeding in the salt water lagoon.
Reflections ...
Another shot of our ship anchored just off the island.  This was the view from the vantage point we hiked to at Dragon Hill.
This finch was looking for food along the pathway.  Notice the red ground up lava sand on the pathway.
A Marine Iguana swimming back to shore.
Sunset ...  Goodnight from the Galapagos Islands.  Overnight we will sail to Rabida Island.
This last image shows you where we will be traveling overnight.
Tags : GalapagosTour

Please add a comment

Posted by patti on
The close up shots of that Friggate bird are amazing!
Posted by Joann on
Wow, the pics are fantastic, thanks for sharing..
Posted by Britney on
What beautiful images. I love the close up shots of the Frigates.