BOOBIES.....YES.....BOOBIES :P

North Seymour Travel Blog

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a plethora of seal lions

 

DAY 3 (SEE VIDEOS)

(FUR SEALS, BOOBIES, SEAL LIONS OH MY!!!!!!!)

 

After listening to the afternoon brief, mum and decided to go all of the “medium/low intensity” hikes.  Also, I heard from “big” Jorge said that there is more wildlife to see on the ocean on the “medium/low” hikes. It is half zodiac and half hike on land.

 

Wow this was amazing.  I got my camel pack ready filled with vodka….i mean water….kidding truly :) It was a very humid day.

a gull grabbing his meal
I put sun block and my “lakers” cap represent WEST SIDE :P  

 

We were on the last zodiac. Cindy and Daniel from NY joined us.  Apparently , there were short on “naturalists” because the XO (executive officer), Pablo  of the xpedition is in zodiac. If he is here then the captain is REALLY steering the ship : D  he warned us first that he knows barely any wildlife. However, we had Eduardo steering the zodiac. Eduardo knows to spot the wildlife on land, air and sea. He did a good job taking us as close as he can to the sea lions and birds on the lava rocks.

 

Pablo kept asking “big” Jorge what is the name of the birds via walkie takie. Pablo said as soon as “big” Jorge arrives.

baby fur seal
He will jump on another zodiac back to the ship.

 

We saw plenty of wildlife. Sea lions on a sandy bank, blue footed boobies, sally light foot crabs, gulls, pelicans. Baby fur seals, frigates and land iguana.  WOW what a good day.  We saw a varieties of everything in one day . what a great start.

 

After the boat ride, we hiked about 2 miles on North Seymour island.  There we were  greeted by a baby fur seal. I took so much photos that I was the last one in the group. I reminded people not to step on the fur seal. It was on our trail. It was so cute with those innocent black eyes. I just want to take it home with me.  

 

On this island, there are plenty of boobies and frigates.

baby fur seal
This was a good walk. The sun was setting as well. We started at 5pm. it was already about 6pm, and we saw so much wildlife.

 

This is day is the one day I took pics of frigates. I watched them flying over. Praying they won’t poop on me.  I wish I could shoot them inflight. Especially the male frigates with their big red ballooned chest, it was beautiful watching them flying above us.

 

I knew it was mating season. We all got to witness the blue footed boobies mating dance. I have it on video as well. I was so cute watching the male booby marching around the female impressing it with his honks and dance.

 

IN THE WILD THE FEMALES ARE UGLY, LARGER AND NO COLOR AND THE MALES ARE BEAUTIFUL, SMALLER AND MOST COLORFULL  :)  VERY EASY TO DISTINGISH.

baby fur seal

 

At the end of the hike, a female sea lion just got out of the ocean. Mum and I watched it cross our path and decide to lay down on the hiking trail. We looked at each other. we were the last ones.  The sea lion was getting comfortable. “big” Jorge was calling us to hurry up. We are not supposed to go out of bounds on the trail but in this situation. We needed to, as we walked closer. The sea lion moved to the other side of the trial. Thanked GOD I thought we had to step over it to pass.  That was fun. The sun set was beautiful too as we jumped on the boat back to the ship.

 

I plan to sleep early to wake up at 6am to take the zodiac to kicker rock near San Cristobel Island.  

 

WHAT A GREAT START IN THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS :D

 

 HERE ARE SOME INFO ABOUT THE WILDLIFE SEEN TODAY:


The Galápagos fur seal, Arctocephalus galapagoensis (Heller, 1904), has a gray-brown dorsal body surface and lighter brown ventral surface.

me and baby fur seal
Adult males measure up to 1.5 m long and weigh 64 kg on average. Adult females are smaller, measuring an average of 1.2 m in length and weighing from 22-34 kg (average 28 kg).

 

Southern fur seals (Antarctic, Galapagos, Guadalupe, Juan Fernandez, New Zealand, South African/Australian, South American, and Subantarctic fur seals) are the most land loving seals of the Family Otariidae spending only about 70% of their life in the water. Nevertheless, they are still deep divers; females have been observed diving to a maximum depth of 169 m for 6.5 minutes. On average, females dive for about 16.4 hours to depths of no more than 30 m at night when foraging for food. Nowak (1999) states that "foraging trips have been found to last 50-70 hours at the time of the new moon but only 10-20 hours at the time of the full moon." During the warm months, females spend 4-6 days in the water foraging for food and 1 day on land.

me and baby fur seal
Adult males are very territorial defending territories that can extend 200 sq m. They will not abandon their territories to eat until all of their stored energy has been depleted. Approximately 30% of males die in territory fights annually. Females also defend territories which are about half the size of male territories. Unlike other seal species that prefer sandy beaches for their terrestrial habitat, the typical territory of a Galápagos fur seal consists rocky areas with shade for cooling. These seals must maintain an internal body temperature of about 37.7°C, so they cool themselves in tide pools, a method of thermoregulation that females teach to their pups to keep them from overheating (Limberger, 1986). These seals also have a smaller body size to release heat quickly, and they can also sweat, depending on their level of hydration. Thermoregulation is also controlled internally by the cardiovascular system by directing blood flow away from the flipper is the seal is too cold, and toward the flippers if the seal is too warm.
MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY

 

The Galápagos fur seal is a member of the Family Otariidae (fur seals and sea lions), which includes 14 species in 7 genera. The distribution of this family is complex. They are found along coasts of North and South America, central and northern Asia, New Zealand, and several other islands, including the Galápagos.

 

Sea lions, in general, are large, ranging from around 150 kg to over 1,000 kg, and males tend to be much larger than females. Their bodies are slender and elongate. Small, cartilaginous external ears are present. All otariids have fur, however, sea lions have relatively coarse hair and fur seals have dense underfur. Both are generally shades of brown without stripes or other contrasting markings. The fore flippers of otariids have small claws, and are long and paddle-like, measuring more than 1/4 of the length of the body.

lava heron
The surfaces of the fore flippers are leathery. The hind flippers are also large. They differ from those of true seals (phocids) in that they can be rotated under the animal when it is on land to support the body and aid in locomotion. Otariids also have a small but distinct tail.

 

Otariids tend to be highly social and forming large herds during the breeding season. Depending on their size and strength, individual males maintain harems of 3-40 females. They establish territories on their breeding grounds before females arrive, which they defend aggressively from other males. Females give birth to pups from the previous year's breeding season soon after they arrive, which is followed by mating. A period of delayed implantation insures that the young will be born in a year when the breeding herds are re-established.

 

World Range & Habitat

 

The Galápagos fur seal, smallest of the pinnipeds, lives only in the Galápagos Islands.

PARADISE :)
This species does not seem to share territory or food with the other pinniped species in the islands such as the Galápagos sea lion. No current data on population size is available. The most recent estimate of about 40,000 is based on a survey from 1978, and it is thought that the 1982-83 El Niño event significantly reduced the population.

 

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

 

Galápagos fur seals feed on fish and cephalopods (Nowak, 1999; Reidman, 1990), close to shore and exclusively at night when their prey migrates closer to the surface. Sharks and orca are known to be predators but not to any great extent.

 

Life History

 

Galápagos fur seals are a polygynous species.

swallow tail gull
They have the longest pupping period of any fur seal (or pinniped). Pups are born between mid-August and mid-November. Pups weigh 3-4.5 kg at birth.

 

Females reach sexual maturity at 3-4 years, males around 7-10 years of age. The preferred breeding habitat is rocky shores with sea caves on the western coasts of the islands. Females give birth 2-3 days after coming ashore. About one week after giving birth, females begin alternating between foraging for food in the water for 1-4 days and nursing for 1 day. The duration of the nursing periods and the feeding trips appear to vary with the phase of the lunar month�"mothers have been seen to spend 1.5-75 hours (median 22.5 hours) on shore feeding their pup and 3.5-127 hours (median 33.5 hours) feeding at sea. The Galápagos fur seal has the longest nursing period of any seal, the pups finally being weaned between 1-2 years but sometimes even being nursed at the age of 3 years.

FRIGATES (MALE AND FEMALE)
Only the walrus has a nursing period close to this. The nursing period of a particular pup tends to be longer if food has been scarce during the time of its nursing, and the long period may therefore be a mechanism that the species has evolved to improve survival rates through such events as El Niños.

 

Observations have shown that the pups spend more time playing and moving around when their mother is away, although they have to take care since females can be quite ferocious towards pups that are not their own.

 

The female mates about 8 days after giving birth. As with other fur seals the males maintain breeding territories, in this case for about 27 days at a time.

 

Pups begin to swim a little after a few months and start to engage in some independent feeding at 9-12 months.

BOOBY
They molt into their grayish-brown adult fur at about 4 months. Galápagos fur seals do not migrate.

 

Comments

 

Thousands of Galápagos fur seals were killed by commercial sealers in the 19th century. They became a protected species under Ecuadorian legislation in the 1930s, however this was not enforced until 1959 when most of the Galápagos Islands were established as a National Park. The waters around the islands are also protected, including a no-fishing zone, to a distance of 40 nautical miles. The species is listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List and as an Appendix II species under CITES.

 

Because of the geographic position of the Galápagos Islands, El Niño events can significantly reduce food supplies causing starvation among the seals, which happened during the 1982-1983 El Niño event.

LAND IGUANA
Almost all of young fur seals were lost along with about 30% of adult females and non-territorial males and almost 100% of the large territorial males.

 

These fur seals have also been at risk of mortality due to entanglement in gillnets, but this problem seems to have been solved. Feral dogs have also attacked and killed Galápagos fur seals, however this problem is now controlled by the Galápagos National Park Service.

 

The Blue-footed Booby (Sula nebouxii excisa, piquero de patas azules) is most easily identified, as its name suggests, by its bright blue feet. It has brown upper plumage and white lower plumage, with wings being a slightly darker brown than the rest of the body. Juveniles are completely brown and receive their coloration after about one year.

MALE BOOBY DOING THE MATING DANCE

 

 

 

Males are slightly smaller than females and perform an elaborate, intensely entertaining mating dance to attract their female partner. The male begins by lifting up his enormous clown-feet one-by-one, and then stops in a distinctive pose, beak raised skyward, announcing his manhood with a loud whistle, pointing out his tail, and opening his wings. This is accompanied by a love-offering of sticks and twigs. Females join in the mating dance, following the same movements, but respond with a guttural honk. Besides their distinguishing sounds, the females also have larger eye pupils.

 

 

 

Breeding can take place at any time of the year when the food supply is abundant.

baby seal lions
Up to three eggs are laid in a “guano ring,” or nested circle of booby dung. When food is scarce, the oldest sibling will push younger sibling(s) out of the guano ring in an act of “cainism.” This form of natural selection is effective, because young outside of the ring are refused care and ultimately perish.

 

 

 

The young take two to six years to mature, at which time they will return to their island birthplace to mate. Meanwhile, they travel among the islands feeding on fish, which are caught in a graceful plunge dive. Watching the boobies fish�"either from the air or underwater�"is a major highlight in the Galapagos.

 

 

 

Blue-footed boobies are best viewed in coastal waters at the visitor sites of Punta Suarez (Española), North Seymour, and Punta Pitt (San Cristóbal).

sally light footed crab

 

The Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus) is an equatorial seabird in the gull family Laridae. The species is endemic to the Galápagos Islands. When it is not breeding it is totally pelagic (flying and hunting over the open oceans), migrating eastward to the coasts of Ecuador and Peru. A notable aspect of the swallow-tailed gulls are the fleshy red rims around the eyes; it is speculated that these may aid its noctural vision.

 

It is unique within the gulls for feeding exclusively at night (Harris 1970), feeding mostly on squid. It breeds colonially throughout the year; unlike most other gull species it lays a single egg per breeding attempt (Agreda & Anderson 2003) .

 

A type of fish that glows can be seen from above the water, making it easy for the Swallow-tailed Gull to see and attack it at night.

sea lion

 

The Great Frigate Bird resembles a huge blackbird that hovers lazily in the sky. Frigate birds belong to the family Fregatidae, which contains five species world-wide. In the Galapagos there are two species: the Great Frigate bird and the Magnificent Frigate bird. Of the two, the Great Frigate bird has the greater world-wide distribution, being found primarily throughout the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans.

 

The Magnificent Frigate bird is found in the Caribbean and on the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the Americas. The Galapagos population of Magnificent Frigate birds is considered to be an endemic subspecies.

 

In the Galapagos, the two species can be seen nesting side by side, but when Frigate birds are sighted in the air, they typically are Magnificent Frigate birds, as Great Frigate birds tend to forage much further out at sea.

brown pelican
As with the three similar species of Booby birds, similar species of Frigate Birds avoid competition by feeding in different locations.

 

You can tell the two species of Frigate birds apart by their sounds - a Great Frigate bird makes a 'gobbling' noise like a turkey, while a Magnificent Frigate bird will make a rattling or drumming sound.

               

 

Great Frigate birds are large, with iridescent black feathers (the females have a white underbelly), with long wings (male wingspan can reach 2.3 metres) and deeply-forked tails.

 

The males have inflatable red-coloured throat pouches, which they inflate to attract females during the mating season.

YES AM CUTE :)

 

Both species of Frigate bird have extremely high wingspans to bodyweight ratios allowing them soar and to fly extremely well and with excellent control. Using this control, Frigate birds routinely steal food from other birds by grabbing them by their tail feathers and shaking them until they regurgitate their food.

 

However, Frigate birds are also capable of capturing their own prey. Since Frigate birds have only a small oil gland and very little waterproofing in their wings, Frigate birds cannot dive and must instead rely on their superb aerobatics to snatch flying fish out of the air.

 

Frigate birds do not swim and cannot walk well, and cannot take off from a flat surface. Having the largest wingspan to body weight ratio of any bird, they are essentially aerial, able to stay aloft for more than a week, landing only to roost or breed on trees or cliffs.

LAND IGUANA

 

To attract females, male Frigate birds will blow up their bright red throat pouch and skwalk loudly as females pass overhead. The females will then choose a suitable male and land next to him. The male responds by spreading his huge wings around the female to protect her from other males.

 

After mating has taken place, a single egg is then laid, and although the baby Frigate bird can fly after about five months, it stays with its parents and is dependent on them for about a year. Because of this long investment in each chick, Frigate birds can only mate once every other year.

 

It is typical to see juveniles as big as their parents waiting to be fed. When they sit waiting for endless hours in the hot sun, they assume an energy-efficient posture in which their head hangs down, and they sit so still that they seem dead.

DAPHINE MAJOR WITH THE SEA LION
But when the parent returns, they will wake up, bob their head, and scream until the parent opens its mouth. The starving juvenile plunges its head down the parent's throat and feeds at last.

 

Female Magnificent Frigate birds are black, but have a white breast and lower neck sides and a brown band on the wings. Female magnificent fingerboards have a blue eye ring. Young birds have a white head and white under parts.

 

Frigate birds feed mainly on fish, and also attacks other seabirds to force them to disgorge their meal. Frigate birds never land on water, and always take their food items in flight.

 

North Seymour is a small island near to Baltra Island in the Galapagos Islands.

MALE FRIGATE
It was formed by uplift of a submarine lava formation. The whole island is covered with low, bushy vegetation.

 

The island is named after an English nobleman, Lord Hugh Seymour. It has an area of 1.9 km² and a maximum altitude of 28 metres. This island is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. It hosts one of the largest populations of frigate birds.

 

North Seymour has a visitor trail approximately 2 km in length crossing the inland of the island and exploring the rocky coast.

 

The stock for the captive breeding program of the Galapagos Land Iguana is descended from iguanas which William Randolph Hearst translocated from Baltra Island to North Seymour Island in the 1930s.

cianmodel says:
amazing pictures
Posted on: Jun 11, 2008
CanadianBorn says:
At least there is one species out there in the evolution of the planet where the male is the attractive one of the species :)
Posted on: May 23, 2008
mellemel8 says:
hell yeah prissy, we got to REPRESENT :P

i know RJ, i couldn't not believe it too :P

Posted on: May 07, 2008
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a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a gull grabbing his meal
a gull grabbing his meal
baby fur seal
baby fur seal
baby fur seal
baby fur seal
baby fur seal
baby fur seal
me and baby fur seal
me and baby fur seal
me and baby fur seal
me and baby fur seal
MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY
MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY
lava heron
lava heron
PARADISE :)
PARADISE :)
swallow tail gull
swallow tail gull
FRIGATES (MALE AND FEMALE)
FRIGATES (MALE AND FEMALE)
BOOBY
BOOBY
LAND IGUANA
LAND IGUANA
MALE BOOBY DOING THE MATING DANCE
baby seal lions
baby seal lions
sally light footed crab
sally light footed crab
sea lion
sea lion
brown pelican
brown pelican
YES AM CUTE :)
YES AM CUTE :)
LAND IGUANA
LAND IGUANA
DAPHINE MAJOR WITH THE SEA LION
DAPHINE MAJOR WITH THE SEA LION
MALE FRIGATE
MALE FRIGATE
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
a plethora of seal lions
rock of birds
rock of birds
more sea lions
more sea lions
brown pelican
brown pelican
sally light footed crabs
sally light footed crabs
sea lion
sea lion
sea lion
sea lion
sea lion
sea lion
blue footed booby
blue footed booby
more blue footed boobies
more blue footed boobies
sea lions
sea lions
swallow tail gull
swallow tail gull
sea lion
sea lion
sea lion
sea lion
sea lion
sea lion
seal lion
seal lion
swallow tail gull
swallow tail gull
swallow tail gull
swallow tail gull
brown pelican and swallow tail gull
brown pelican and swallow tail gull
lava gulls and an egret
lava gulls and an egret
BROWN PELICAN
BROWN PELICAN
BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES DOING THE MATI…
BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES DOING THE MAT…
BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES DOING THE MATI…
BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES DOING THE MAT…
BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES DOING THE MATI…
BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES DOING THE MAT…
BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES DOING THE MATI…
BLUE FOOTED BOOBIES DOING THE MAT…
LAND IGUANA
LAND IGUANA
JUVENILE BOOBIE
JUVENILE BOOBIE
ME AND SEA LION
ME AND SEA LION
HIKING INTO THE SUNSET
HIKING INTO THE SUNSET
FEMALE FRIGATE
FEMALE FRIGATE
DAPHINE MAJOR
DAPHINE MAJOR
TRYING TO FLIP OVER
TRYING TO FLIP OVER
RELAXING
RELAXING
North Seymour
photo by: catalina