Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Black Sea Turtle Cove

Alas, we are coming to the end of my Ecuador pictures and stories. If you've actually read all my posts you may be sick of hearing how awesome our trip was. But not as sick as those people whom I forced to look at all ~1,000 pictures and video clips while I sat next to them babbling.

On our final day in the Galapagos, they managed to pack in one last excursion before we had to catch our plane. We had sailed all night from Espanola back to Santa Cruz and I was actually happy to get up at 6am given the poor night of sleep I'd had. I'm happy to report that neither Maura nor I got seasick at any point, but on night 3 the side-to-side rocking was so extreme that I had to splay myself out on the bed to keep from being rolled around. But I will take this over throwing up all night, which was the fate of some of our shipmates.

The early morning excursion took us to Black Sea Turtle Cove, a huge system of mangroves on the northwest side of Isla Santa Cruz. There, differing habitat meant a new array of animals. Here's the list of what we saw:

  • Blue-footed boobies (of course)
  • Pelicans
  • Some black bird that sits on pelicans' heads and tries to steal their fish
  • Cattle egret
  • Eagle rays (smaller than the big guy we saw at Devil's Crown)
  • Golden rays (who travel in packs)
  • White-tipped reef sharks
  • Herons
  • Sally Lightfoot Crabs (as always)
  • Sea turtles
  • Starfish
  • Frigate birds

The rays might have been my favorite, again because they're so graceful, but also because in the calm water of the mangroves, there were times when we could see their little wingtips poking up above the water as they swam.

The other amazing thing about Black Sea Turtle Cove was the sheer number of birds and bird activities. There were huge flocks of cattle egrets dotting the trees, blue-footed boobies swarming the skies Alfred Hitchcock-style, and pelicans diving left and right. Of course I took video.

In this one, you have to look closely, but you can see a blue-footed booby diving all arrow-like into the water.

Here's another shot of some boobies diving, swimming, taking off, and generally being awesome.

Finally, I had to take video to capture just how many birds there were. Why are they all facing the same way? I have no idea.

And thus ends my adventure in Ecuador and the Galapagos. Now it's back to adventures in the classroom where, frankly, I'm a little less interested in seeing creatures in their natural habitats.


Dallas said...

The birds are all most likely facing into the wind so their feathers don't get ruffled. Seriously.

Geetha said...

So smart! I definitely had not thought of that.