Galapagos Sea Lions – A Little Disagreement

Galapagos Sea Lions - A Little Disagreement

Galapagos Sea Lions – A Little Disagreement

Not only are sea lions social, they are also quite vocal. Adult males often bark in long, loud and distinctive repeated sequences. Females and juveniles do not produce this repetitive bark, but the younger pups will growl. A little growling going on here …

Galapagos Sea Lions – Motherly Love

Galapagos Sea Lions - Motherly Love

Galapagos Sea Lions – Motherly Love

The static and social interaction between mother-offspring pairs is a central social unit in most mammalian groups, as well as these sea lions. The cow will nurture a pup for up to three years. In that time, the cow and the pup will recognize each other’s bark from the rest of the colony.

Galapagos Sea Lion Basking

Galapagos Sea Lion Basking

Galapagos Sea Lion Basking

Being fairly social, and one of the most numerous species in the Galápagos archipelago, they are often spotted sun-bathing on sandy shores or rock groups or gliding gracefully through the surf. Their loud bark, playful nature, and graceful agility in water make them the “welcoming party” of the islands.

Galapagos Sea Lions – Mostly Sleeping

Galapagos Sea Lion - Mostly Sleeping

Galapagos Sea Lion – Mostly Sleeping

Slightly smaller than their Californian relatives, Galápagos sea lions range from 150 to 250 cm (59 to 98 in) in length and weigh between 50 to 250 kg (110 to 550 lb.), with the males averaging larger than females. Most of the sea lions we encountered during the day seemed to be sleeping. 

Galapagos – Swallow-tailed Gull

Galapagos Birds - Swallow-tailed Gull

Galapagos Birds – Swallow-tailed Gull

The Swallow-tailed Gull breeds mainly on the Galapagos Islands. It forms loose colonies with large inter-nest distances but can be solitary, nesting on steep slopes or broken cliffs, often on broad cliff-top ledges but also just above the wave line, and on gravelly beaches and under vegetation.

In the breeding season, the adult has a black plumaged head and a bright red fleshy rim around each eye.

Galapagos Frigatebirds

Galapagos Birds - Magnificent Frigatebird Resting its Beak

Galapagos Birds – Magnificent Frigatebird Resting its Beak

Galapagos Birds - Magnificent Frigatebirds in Contrast

Galapagos Birds – Magnificent Frigatebirds in Contrast

The Magnificent Frigatebird is 100 cm (39 in.) long with a 215 cm (85 in) wingspan. Males are all-black with a scarlet throat pouch that is inflated like a balloon in the breeding season. The contrast between the inflated versus deflated pouch above is striking.

Galapagos – Magnificient Frigate Birds

Galapagos Birds -  Magnificent Frigatebird

Galapagos Birds – Magnificent Frigatebird

Galapagos Birds - Magnificent Frigatebird Portrait

Galapagos Birds – Magnificent Frigatebird Portrait

The frigatebirds are a family of seabirds also sometimes called Man of War birds or Pirate birds. Since they are related to the pelicans, the term “frigate pelican” is also a name applied to them. They have long wings, tails, and bills and the males have a red gular pouch that is inflated during the breeding season to attract a mate.

 

Galapagos – Marine Iguanas

Galapagos Iguanas - Marine Iguanas Cuddling

Galapagos Iguanas – Marine Iguanas Cuddling

Galapagos Iguanas - Young Marine Iguana

Galapagos Iguanas – Young Marine Iguana

The Galapagos marine iguana is an iguana found only on the Galápagos Islands that has the ability, unique among modern lizards, to live and forage in the sea, making it a marine reptile. The iguana can dive over 9 m (30 ft.) into the water. It mainly lives on the rocky Galápagos shore, but can also be spotted in marshes and mangrove beaches.

 

 

Galapagos – Land Iguanas

Galapagos Iguanas - Land Iguana

Galapagos Iguanas – Land Iguana

Galapagos Iguanas - Land Iguana Sunbathing

Galapagos Iguanas – Land Iguana Sunbathing

The Galapagos land iguana is a species of lizard and grows to a length of three to five feet with a body weight of up to twenty-five pounds, depending upon which island they are from. Being cold-blooded, they absorb heat from the sun by basking on volcanic rock, and at night sleep in burrows to conserve their body heat.

 

Galapagos Islands – A Photo Paradise

Galapagos - A Photo Collage

Galapagos – A Photo Collage

Situated in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Ecuador, these 19 islands and the surrounding marine reserve have been called a unique ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’. Located at the confluence of three ocean currents, the Galápagos are a ‘melting pot’ of marine species. Ongoing seismic and volcanic activity reflects the processes that formed the islands. These processes, together with the extreme isolation of the islands, led to the development of unusual animal life – such as the land iguana, the giant tortoise and the many types of finch – that inspired Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection following his visit in 1835.

Ecuador – Head Shrinking Process

Ecuador - Head Shrinking Process

Ecuador – Head Shrinking Process

This is less about photography and more about a fascinating history of culture.

The Jivaro clan who lived deep in the Ecuadorian, and neighboring Peruvian Amazon. were known for the ancient practice of shrinking human heads. Most Jivaro Indians considered any victory over the enemy as incomplete if they were unable to return without one or more enemy heads as trophies. More importantly, the reason behind shrinking the heads was to paralyze the spirit of the enemy attached to the head so that it cannot escape and take revenge upon the murderer.

The above composite panorama shot at the Inti Nan Museum outside Quito depicts the process of shrinking the heads.

Ecuador – On the Equator

Ecuador - On the Equator

Ecuador – On the Equator

La Mitad del Mundo (the Middle of the World), the huge Equatorial monument north of Quito isn’t on the equator at all. The screw-up was caused by a French expedition in 1736 that marked the wrong spot. The mistake wasn’t realized until just a few years ago when the Global Positioning System (GPS) was invented.

The real equator is about 250 yards away. But if you want to visit the “real equator” you need to go to the Inti Nan museum (shown above), which is about five minutes away.