Looking Back Day 65 Red Footed Booby
Hands down, no questions asked, my favourite bird of the Galapagos Islands is the Red Footed Booby.
Look at those feet! I mean, REALLY!, LOOK at those feet. They are RED. and not just sort of red, but RED RED! And their blue beak, too. Super cool characters.
These images show the two varieties. Brown morph and white morph. Both gorgeous. But wait’ll you see the chicks. Crazy cute. But I’m holding them back for another post.
The Boobies make stick nests in the trees, like the one above, and male and female take turns on the egg for about 45-50 days and they will be monogamous over several seasons but not lifetime. When they aren’t on the nest, they are out fishing and what spectacular moves as they dive down from crazy high straight into the ocean at wicked speeds.
The Booby is typically only around land during mating season and they are out and about the rest of the year. Yet another species reason to time your Galapagos visit with spring mating season.
In the Galapagos, the red footed booby is only seen on Genovesa (Tower) Island. This meant we had just this one day to photograph these beauties. That kind of photographic stress is pretty common with a Galapagos tour. Every island has it’s unique species. An incredibly fascinating place. Without spoiling future posts, it is fascinating to see adaptations of plants to survive animals and the subsequent animal adaptation to deal with the plant adaptation. Which is the chicken, which is the egg?
Genovesa is one of the more isolated islands in the archipelago, and also one of the older islands. Older? Heh, yeah. The Galapagos are an ever forming and decaying island chain, not unlike Hawaii. The islands in the west are the youngest, those in the east are the oldest. This results in a remarkable variation in flora and fauna as the older islands have had life longer, more time to erode, more time to adapt, more time to support plant life.
Back to Genovesa, being isolated means it is a fair hike out to it and back thus it is skipped by the shorter tours. It’s also a small island and a very important breeding colony for a number of birds so it also has significant restrictions in the number of visitors allowed - only small boats receive landing permits. If you are thinking about a Galapagos tour, it’s important to research and consider these restrictions so you can choose a tour operator which meets the needs of your visit.
Visiting Genovesa is a two part adventure. In the morning we walked the low route, in the afternoon we hiked up to the top of the caldera via Prince Phillips Steps. But more on that later.