Posted by: atowhee | October 11, 2010


The geology and location of the Galapagos seven  hundred miles from the nearest continent make them an on-going evolutionary crucible, new species developing from limited starter sources.  One finch becomes many.  One Mockingbird species becomes multiple, etc.  Here are some of the ones I saw in a recent five-day visit:

This is a Lava Gull standing on the beach of Santa Cruz Island.  It is probably the rarest gull on earth with fewer than one thousand breeding adults in the Galapagos.  Yet, we saw this gull several times, usually in pairs.

This is a male Ground Finch, I believe from the Small Ground Finch species.  One of the finch species made famous by Darwin and research into the tradiation of species from the first, single population of House Finches that managed to get established on the Galapagos.  Eventually over ten species evolved from that unitary start.  All are endemic, of course.

This is a female, and I believe, based on the larger and heavier bill, this is a Medium Ground Finch.  On the beach at Santa Cruz Island.

This is the handsome, endemic Galapagos Dove, chunkier than a Mourning Dove but  no longer.  These birds roost in the barren lava fields which afford many snug caves and ledges.

Galapagos Penguin, another bird with a small overall population. Probalby five thousand or fewer.  Frequently seen in small groups, loafing on the lava or fishing in shallow bays.  This bird was part of a group that were checking out snorklers from our boat.  Very fast swimmers, the penguins stay away from deeper water where sea lions and sharks may lurk.

One of the smallest species of penguin, these are the only ones that actually occur north of the Equator, by a mile or two in the Galapagos.  Endemic, of course.


























White-cheeked Pintail on Isabella Island.  An endemic sub-species.












Penguin standing at attention as our boat passes for his review.













Galapagos Shearwaters feeding off the bow of our boat.


  1. Nice pix, Harry! I’m jealous of you being in the Galapagos, even though we saw our own endemic, a Moussier’s Redstart yesterday in an oasis at Tiout, Morocco. No pictures, I’m afraid.

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