PUNTA SUAREZ - SEA LIONS AND MORE SEA LIONS AND MORE...

Espanola Travel Blog

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MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY

 

DAY 5
(I WANT TO BE REINCARNATED AS A SEA LION, SLEEP, EAT, PLAY, SLEEP, EAT AND PLAY ALL DAY) :P :D :)


That was one of my favorite days. We were very close to the sea lions. Today was a SEA LION DAY!!!!! The ALPHA male was didn't mind we were about 10 feet from me and his harem. However, Freddy, the natualist was talking to too loud and the ALPHA MALE has hollering between Freddy's SPIEL (speech). We had a wonderful hiking  behind the island.  Plenty of sea lion action :)



The Galápagos Sea Lion (Zalophus californianus wollebaeki) is a species of mammal in the Otariidae family endemic to Ecuador.

BROWN PELICAN
Being fairly social, and one of the most numerous of the archipelago species, they are often spotted sun-bathing on sandy shores or rock groups or gliding gracefully through the surf. Their loud “bark”, playful nature, and graceful agility in water make them the “welcoming party” of the islands.

 

 

Sia is slightly smaller than their Californian relatives, Galápagos Sea Lions range from 150 to 250 cm in length and weigh between 50 to 400 kg, with the males averaging larger than females. Adult males also tend to have a thicker, more robust neck, chest, and shoulders in comparison to their slender abdomen. Females are somewhat opposite males with a longer, more slender neck and thick torso. Once sexually mature, a male’s sagittal crest enlarges, forming a small, characteristic bump-like projection on their forehead.

AWWWW
Galápagos Sea Lions, compared to California sea lions, have a slightly smaller sagittal crest and a shorter muzzle. Adult females and juveniles lack this physical characteristic altogether with a nearly flat head and little or no forehead.

 

Both male and female sea lions have a pointy, whiskered nose and somewhat long, narrow muzzle. The young pups are almost dog-like in profile. Another characteristic that defines the sea lion are their external ear-like pinnae flaps which distinguish them from their close relative in which they are often confused with, the seal. The fore-flippers have a short fur extending from the wrist to the middle of the dorsal fin surface, but other than that, the flippers are covered in black, leathery skin. Curving posterioraly, the first digit of the flipper is the largest, giving it a swept-back look.

MALE LAVA LIZARD
At the end of each digit is a claw, usually reduced to a vesigial nodule that rarely emerges above the skin. Although somewhat clumsy on land with their flippers, sea lions are amazingly agile in water. With their streamline bodies and flipper-like feet, they easily propel themselves through crashing surf and dangerously sharp costal rocks. They also have the ability to control their flippers independently and thus change directions with ease and have more control over their body on land.

 

When wet, sea lions are a shade of dark brown, but once dry, their color varies greatly. The females tend to be a lighter shade than the males and the pups a chestnut brown. Born with a longer, brownish-black lanugo, a pups coat gradually fades to brown within the first five months of life. At this time, they undergo their first molt resulting in their adult coat.

BAIRD'S SANDPIPER

 

 Distribution

 

The Galápagos Sea Lions can be found on each of the different islands of the archipelago. They have also colonized just offshore the mainland Ecuador at Isla de la Plata, and can be spotted from the Ecuadorian coast north to Isla Gorgona in Colombia. Records have also been made of sightings on Isla del Coco which is about 500 km southwest of Costa Rica.

 

Diet/Feeding Patterns

 

Feeding mostly on sardines, Galápagos Sea Lions sometimes travel ten to fifteen kilometers from the coast over the span of days to hunt for their prey. This is when they come into contact with their biggest predators: sharks and killer whales.

NAZCA BOOBIES
Injuries and scars from attacks are often visible. During El Niño events, however, more green-eyes and myctophids are consumed due to a decrease in sardine population.

 

Behavior/Male Competition

 

Galápagos Sea Lions are especially vulnerable to human activity. Their inquisitive and social nature makes them more likely to approach areas inhabited by humans, and thus come into contact with human waste, fishing nets, and hooks. They occupy many different shoreline types from steep, rocky cliff sides to low-lying sandy beaches. To avoid overheating during the day, sea lions will take refuge from the sun under vegetation, rocks, and cliffs, and wade into tidal pools.

 

Not only are sea lions social, they are also quite vocal.

MARINE IGUANA
Adult male Galápagos Sea Lions often bark in long, repeated sequences that are loud and distinctive. Females and juveniles do not produce this repetitive bark, but both sexes and the younger pups will growl. From birth, a mother sea lion recognizes her pup’s distinct bark and can pin point it from a crowd of thirty or more barking sea lions.

 

On land, sea lions form colonies at their hauling-out areas. Adult males known as Bulls are the head of the Colony, growing up to 7 ft (2 m) long and weighing up to 800 lbs (363 kg). As males grow larger, they fight to win dominance of a harem of between 5 and 25 cows and the surrounding territory. Swimming from border to border of his colony, the dominant bull jealously defends his coastline against all other adult males. While patrolling his area, he frequently rears his head out of the water and barks, as an indication of his territorial ownership.

A ROW OF SEA LIONS

 

The average dominant bull holds his territory for only a few months, until he is challenged by another male. On land, these fights start by stretching out the neck and barking in attempt to test each other’s bravery. If this isn’t enough to scare the opponent off, they begin pushing each other and biting around the neck area. If males weren’t equipped with a thick, muscular neck, their vital organs would be easily damaged during these fights. Blood, is often drawn, however, and many male sea lions have battle scars due to these territorial competitions. Losers are dramatically chased far from their territory by the new dominant bull with much splashing.

 

Because there is only one male in each harem, there is always a surplus of “bachelor” male sea lions.

HAPPY
They usually congregate fairly peaceably on less favorable areas of the coastline in “bachelor colonies.” One of the most commonly known is atop the cliffs of the South Plaza Island of the Galápagos chain. Because the dominant male of the harem cannot feed while defending his colony, he eventually becomes too tired and weak, and is overpowered by the well-nourished, fresh bull.

 

Breeding

 

Breeding takes place from May all the way through to January. Because of this prolonged breeding season and the extensive care required by the pups from their mother, there are dependent pups in the colonies year round. Each cow in the harem has a single pup born a year after conception. After about a week of continuous attention from birth, the female returns to the ocean and begins to forage, and just a week after that, the pup will follow her and begin to develop its swimming skills.

HUGE!!!
When the Pup is 2 - 3 weeks old the cow will mate again. The mothers will take the young pups with them into the water while nursing until around the 11th month when the pups are weaned from their mother’s milk and become dependent on their own hunting skills.

 

The Pups have a strong bond with their mother. The cow will nurture a pup for up to three years. In that time the cow and the pup will recognize each other's bark from the rest of the Colony. Within the colony sea lion pups live together in a rookery. Pups can be seen together napping, playing, and feeding. It is not uncommon to see one cow 'baby-sitting' a group of pups while the other cows go off to feed.

 

Threats/Status

 

The majority of the Galápagos Sea Lion population is protected, as the islands are a part of the Ecuadorian National Park surrounded by a marine resources reserve.

LOVING
Although the Galápagos Islands are a popular tourist destination, there are strict rules protecting all wildlife from disturbance. Fluctuating between 20,000 and 50,000 sea lions, the population does have a few threatening factors. During El Nino events, the population tends to decrease due to die-offs, cessation of reproduction, and collapses in marine life the seals are dependent on. Sharks are the main predator to the sea lion, and killer whales are presumed to be another predator as well.



The Nazca Booby, Sula granti, is a booby which is found in the eastern Pacific Ocean, namely on the Galápagos Islands where it can be seen by eco-tourists, and on Clipperton Island. The Revillagigedo Islands off Baja California which possibly constitute its northeasternmost limit of its breeding range

 

It was formerly regarded as a subspecies of the Masked Booby but the Nazca Booby is now recognized as a separate species.

CRABS
They differ in regard to ecological and morphological[3] as well as mtDNA cytochrome b sequence data.[4] The Nazca Booby co-occurs with the Masked Booby on Clipperton Island, where they may rarely hybridize.

 

Nazca boobies are known for practicing habitual siblicide. They lay two eggs, several days apart. If both eggs hatch, the elder chick will push its sibling out of the nest area, leaving it to die of thirst or cold. The parent booby will not intervene and the younger chick will inevitably die. It is believed that two eggs are laid so that one remains an insurance in case the other gets destroyed or eaten e.g. by gulls, or the chick dies soon after hatching.

 

This is the largest of the three booby species found in the Galapagos growing to around 30 to 35 inches (76 to 89 cm) in length with a wingspan of 5 to 6 ft (1.

BABY SEA LION
5 to 1.8 m) . It is often referred to as a "Masked Booby" Sula dactylatra, but this has been shown to be a separate species only fairly recently. The Galapagos species is Sula granti - the Nazca Booby.

 

The Nazca booby feeds in a very similar way to the other two species, though they are all segregated in their fishing grounds. Only the Blue Footed is regularly seen fishing as it does so inshore, the Nazca Booby, fishes further offshore and as mentioned in the previous page, the Red Footed fishes the furthest out of all of them.

 

Possibly the most elegant of the boobies on the Galapagos, not surprisingly, the courtship ritual of the Nazca boobies is less elaborate than the Blue Footed as it has no equivalent bizarrely colored appendages to wave around. I have to say though that I have to like the Blue Footed the most, what it lacks in elegance, it makes up for in unlikely and admirable colouration.

A COMPLETE SHOT

 

Lava lizards (Tropidurus) live on most of the main islands of the Galapagos archipelago, though they differ somewhat in size, color and behavior from island to island. Seven subspecies have been identified, all of which are endemic to the Galapagos.

               

 

They are small creatures, growing to no more than a foot in length, and inhabit rocky areas of the islands.

 

There they feed on beetles, spiders, ants, snails and other insects.

 

The male Lava Lizard may have two, three or more mates in a harem, and they can be very aggressive in defending their territory.

 

These guys will stand high on all fours, usually sideways to their opponent to maximize their apparent size, extend the scales on their backs, and bob up and down.

 

The display is usually seen between two males. One scientist has determined that specific aggressive postures are specific to each island on which they occur.

 

Lava lizards live up to 10 years, a relatively long time for such little beasts. They are omnivores, but dine mostly on insects.

 


X_Drive says:
Great blog, but I would rather be a dog than a sea lion. They get petted more!! And I know its not right to smile at every pic but these all deserve it!! :D
Posted on: Apr 09, 2009
mellemel8 says:
oh and thanks :)
Posted on: Oct 10, 2008
mellemel8 says:
awww yeah i love it here. it is the one of the best places to see :)
Posted on: Oct 10, 2008
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MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY
MY FAVE PIC OF THE DAY
BROWN PELICAN
BROWN PELICAN
AWWWW
AWWWW
MALE LAVA LIZARD
MALE LAVA LIZARD
BAIRDS SANDPIPER
BAIRD'S SANDPIPER
NAZCA BOOBIES
NAZCA BOOBIES
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
A ROW OF SEA LIONS
A ROW OF SEA LIONS
HAPPY
HAPPY
HUGE!!!
HUGE!!!
LOVING
LOVING
CRABS
CRABS
BABY SEA LION
BABY SEA LION
A COMPLETE SHOT
A COMPLETE SHOT
MARINE IGUANAS
MARINE IGUANAS
MOMMY AND BABY
MOMMY AND BABY
COMFY
COMFY
IN THE WAY :P
IN THE WAY :P
COOZY
COOZY
SEA LION BUTT
SEA LION BUTT
OUCH
OUCH
SUN WORSHIPING
SUN WORSHIPING
PASSED OUT
PASSED OUT
LONER
LONER
BEACH
BEACH
COLONY OF SEA LIONS
COLONY OF SEA LIONS
THE BOAT
THE BOAT
MOVE
MOVE
QUIET
QUIET
SHINY
SHINY
TOGETHERNESS
TOGETHERNESS
SALLY LIGHT FOOTED CRABS
SALLY LIGHT FOOTED CRABS
FEMALE LAVA LIZARD
FEMALE LAVA LIZARD
SEA LIONS SLEEPING
SEA LIONS SLEEPING
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
3 MARINE IGUANAS AND SEA LIONS
3 MARINE IGUANAS AND SEA LIONS
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
PEACEFUL
PEACEFUL
WHO MOVED?!?!
WHO MOVED?!?!
SUN BATHING
SUN BATHING
LONE BIRD
LONE BIRD
YOU LOOKING AT ME?!?!
YOU LOOKING AT ME?!?!
YES I AM BADASS
YES I AM BADASS
BABY SEA LION
BABY SEA LION
BROWN PELICAN
BROWN PELICAN
MARINE IGUANA
MARINE IGUANA
LONE BABY
LONE BABY
KING OF THE SEA
KING OF THE SEA
BIG BOY
BIG BOY
TIRED
TIRED
NAZCA BOOBY
NAZCA BOOBY
NAZCA BOOBIES
NAZCA BOOBIES
NAZCA BOOBIES AND SWALLOW TAIL GUL…
NAZCA BOOBIES AND SWALLOW TAIL GU…
HMMMMM
HMMMMM
SALLY LIGHT FOOTED CRAB
SALLY LIGHT FOOTED CRAB
SEA LIONS
SEA LIONS
SLEEPY
SLEEPY
MARINE IGUANA FRENZY
MARINE IGUANA FRENZY
CRABS
CRABS
SMALL EEL
SMALL EEL
MORE CRABS
MORE CRABS
JUST WOKE UP
JUST WOKE UP
GOOD TO BE SPECIAL :)
GOOD TO BE SPECIAL :)
Espanola
photo by: slimbolima