CORMORANT POINT - FLAMINGOS, UGLY SPIDERS, SANDY BEACHES OH MY!!!

Cormorant Point Travel Blog

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FLAMINGO


DAY 5 (WALKING ON THE BEACH AND SAW SEA TURTLE NESTS AND FLAMINGOS)


Galapagos Flamingos are tall wading birds with pink plumage, long necks and legs and a distinctive down curved bill.  They belong to the Phoenicopteridae in their own order of Phoenicopteriformes with 5 species worldwide (Greater, Lesser, Andean, Chilean and James's), occurring in the Americas, Africa and southern Europe and Asia. In older classifications they are put in the order of Ciconiiformes with the storks and herons, which are seen as their closest relations but some suggest closer relationships with ducks and geese or even stilts and avocets. Ecuador boasts of two species, the  Greater Flamingo, commonly seen and breeding in the Galapagos islands and the  Chilean Flamingo, seen more rarely in the lagoons of the southwestern regions.

BROWN PELICAN

 

Flamingos are very unique in many aspects and their classification is debated and closest relations are disputed among geese, herons or stilts as they possess similarities with all three groups. The beautiful pinkish color is obtained as adults with young birds (see photo to left) still mostly missing it. The color is then maintained by their diet of shrimps and captive birds lose often their color with an improper diet. Also once the feathers are plucked the pink fades as well which was a blessing in disguise when many other wild birds were killed for their plumes.

 

Flamingos are waders and are found in groups in saline lakes and coastal lagoons of the warmer subtropical and tropical regions of the world with the Andean species (Andean, Chilean and James's) ranging up high in the Andes.

Flamingos withstand high temperatures and very alkaline waters, where other waders and shorebirds cannot feed anymore so carving out a niche for themselves. They possess webbed feet to be able to walk on the mud without sinking in and their legs are scaly to withstand the high salinity of the water.

 

Flamingos feed mostly on algae, shrimps and other aquactic invertebrates. Dangling down their head, the downcurved bill is then parallel with the bottom and swinging their heads side to side they suck in water and filter it through their specialized bill  with the prey being traped inside. Feeding like that they keep their neck and head underneath the water while walking ahead (all photos of Greater Flamingos taken at various lagoons in the Galapagos).

 

Flamingos breed in large colonies and perform group displays before that.

BROWN PELICAN
The Greater Flamingos build  nest mounds  out of mud, up to half a meter high with a small depression on top, where one egg (sometimes two) are laid. Both parents incubate for close to a month and then the semi-precocial chick hatches. It leaves already the nest after several days and joins other chicks in a so called créche,  which are watched over by adults. In the beginning chicks are fed a milky secretion by both parents (similar to pigeons) and start to feed by ithemselves after around one month.



Punta Cormorant

The visit to Punta Cormorant offers two contrasting beaches.  Arriving on shore you will encounter a green sand beach (the green sand is caused by the olivine crystals derived silicates or magnesium and iron) from here you will follow the trail leading to a lagoon where Pink Flamingoes and other shore birds can be seen in the distance making their home.

EEEEEEEEEEEEW
Looking into the mud of the lagoon there appears to be 'cracks' in the mud. These cracks are not caused from dryness but are actually the footpaths of flamingos. This is also a good spot for seeing Large-Billed Flycatchers, Small-Ground Finches, Medium-Ground Finches or Cactus Finches.  The walk continues to another beach on the other side made of fine white sand particles known as "Flour Beach". In the waters Ghost Crabs and Rays can be seen swimming. Time permitting you may even go for a swim.

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FLAMINGO
FLAMINGO
BROWN PELICAN
BROWN PELICAN
BROWN PELICAN
BROWN PELICAN
EEEEEEEEEEEEW
EEEEEEEEEEEEW
CUTIE
CUTIE
WHAT A VIEW
WHAT A VIEW
HEY THERE
HEY THERE
MY MARK
MY MARK
MY PIC OF THE DAY :)
MY PIC OF THE DAY :)
SEA LION
SEA LION
FLAMINGO
FLAMINGO
SEA LIONS
SEA LIONS
FLAMINGO
FLAMINGO
MANTA RAYS
MANTA RAYS
FLAMINGOS
FLAMINGOS
LAVA HERON
LAVA HERON
FLAMINGOS
FLAMINGOS
LAVA
LAVA
I AM THE KING OF THE WORLD
I AM THE KING OF THE WORLD
LAVA HERON
LAVA HERON
FLAMINGOS
FLAMINGOS
FLAMINGOS
FLAMINGOS
FLAMINGO
FLAMINGO
WHAT THE FLAMINGO EAT
WHAT THE FLAMINGO EAT
FLAMINGO TRACKS
FLAMINGO TRACKS
SEA LION
SEA LION
MUST HAVE FEET SHOT
MUST HAVE FEET SHOT
SEA LIONS
SEA LIONS
NICE
NICE
SEA LIONS
SEA LIONS
ME :)
ME :)
SEA LIONS
SEA LIONS
Cormorant Point
photo by: mellemel8