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 …
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.
The Galapagos sea lion mothers will take the young pups with them into the water while nursing until around the 11th month, when the pups are weaned from their mother’s milk and become dependent on their own hunting skill.
The wind and rain washed cliff with its interesting designs makes a great backdrop for this Galapagos sea lion
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.
Momentarily distracted from its sleep by humans, this sea lion lifts its head to check out what is going on
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.
The beauty of the Swallow-tailed Gull captured in flight
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Sally Lightfoot Crab is one of the few saltwater crab species that inhabits
the Galapagos Islands and is often found sharing sea-side rocks with marine iguanas.
A land iguana waits in hiding for its prey …
Land Iguanas enjoy a symbiotic relationship with birds; the birds remove parasites and ticks, providing relief to the iguanas and food for the birds
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.
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.
The Galapagos Islands offer a wonderful variety of landscapes
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.
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.