The Birds of Española

This whole trip has been incredible, but they definitely saved the best day for last. Española island is one of the oldest Galápagos islands, and one of the prettiest. This, combined with the fact that we were there in baby animal season, made this my favorite day out of all of them.

The first thing we saw when we stepped off the panga was an adorable baby sea lion. It was alone on the beach- its mom must have gone fishing. It was strutting around, posing, and just being the cutest little animal ever!

The little baby sea lion!

The walk across the island was rocky and surrounded by shrubs. It was hard not to step on all of the lava lizards (which sound much cooler than they actually are). We even saw a small garden snake! The first really impressive thing we saw were the albatrosses. The type we saw were called Waved Albatross. They were huge! They had yellow heads and grey bodies with a white neck. They also had really funny eyebrows! Most were sitting on their eggs- or babies.

An albatross, seen through the bushes on the side of the trail

On one side of Española Island is cliffs that drop to the ocean. We were lucky enough to watch an albatross take off from the cliffs. It sat on the edge until the wind was perfect, spread its eight-foot wings, and jumped off the cliff. It was amazing! Unfortunately, landing was not so easy. Because the ground was so rocky and uneven, it’s really hard for such a big bird to land safely.

The cliffs of Española Island

One of the most famous things about the albatrosses is their mating dance, which we were lucky enough to see. After they mate, they do a really funny dance. They circle each other and bow their heads, clack their beaks, and then raise their heads upwards. They repeat it over and over again. It was really fun to watch!

Two albatrosses sitting in the middle of the trail

Albatrosses weren’t the only birds we saw. We saw all kinds of gulls and water birds, but the other highlight was the blue-footed boobies. They were everywhere, also sitting on their eggs and babies. The babies were white and fluffy- their feathers hadn’t grown in, and their feet hadn’t turned blue yet. We learned that boobies lay two eggs at a time, a few days apart, and usually only the older one survives because it gets all of the food.

A male blue-footed booby with two babies
A male and a female booby with two babies and the cliffs in the background
A female booby sitting on two babies

We did see cool things other than birds, however. One of the most impressive things about Española island was called the blowhole. The blowhole is a lava fissure with waves crashing into it. The result is a column of water and mist that can spray up to 30 meters at high tide. When the light shines through it, it becomes a massive rainbow. It was incredible.

“The Blowhole”

Overall, this was my favorite day. We saw so many unique and amazing things that I will never forget!

-La Niña Curiosa

Me and Cassidy with the boobies

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