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Field Notes Close to home or in a far away jungle, there is always something marvelous to see.

What Darwin Saw (And Us, Too)

ECUADOR | Friday, 11 June 2010 | Views [592]

Galapagos mockingbird, Isabela - Galapagos Islands

Galapagos mockingbird, Isabela - Galapagos Islands

Darwin was seasick on much of his Beagle voyage.  Our trip was much more civilized although mal de mer was always a possibility.  We soon settled into the routine: wake up call at 6:30; breakfast at 7; island visit; snorkel; lunch; siesta; snorkel; island visit; dinner.  Neither Connie nor I have been a regular on the snorkeling trips.  Once you have played with the sea lions, watched penguins feed underwater and seen a shark or two it becomes same ole – same ole.  The water is too cold for coral, the currents are strong and ours hasn’t been the best organized or most safety conscious of guides.  And it’s nice to have the entire boat to ourselves.

Besides, it's what's on land that we want to see.  Most people are most interested in the large animals like sea lions, sharks, rays, iguanas and penguins so it is understandable that guides lean in that direction.  They don’t care about birds, especially the hard to identify finches of the Galapagos and the mockingbirds that started Darwin thinking about natural selection. Ours also throws in a great deal of Geology 101 to explain the history of the islands.  We were familiar with much of it and are surprised by how little the others know about their planet. Still, there were some 'a ha' moments.

Here are some of the new birds we saw, many endemic to the Galapagos:  dark-rumped petrel, wedge-rumped storm petrel, band-tailed storm petrel, lava gull, brown noddy, Galapagos mockingbird, little ground finch, lava heron, blue-footed booby, great frigate bird, magnificent frigate bird, Galapagos hawk, Galapagos penguin, sharp-beaked finch, white vented storm petrel, Audubon shearwater, cactus finch, small tree finch, medium ground finch, large cactus finch, large-bill flycatcher, wandering tattler, medium tree finch, Nasca booby, Hood mockingbird, large ground finch, red-billed tropicbird, warbler finch, Floreana mockingbird, waved albatross, Galapagos dove, swallow-tailed gull, large tree finch, vegetarian finch and woodpecker finch.  Photos of many are in the album Birds of Ecuador.

 

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