Friday, September 30, 2011

Sunset over the Galapagos

I'm not usually a huge fan of sunset pictures- they are beautiful, but really they are pictures of beautiful things instead of beautiful pictures.  I look at pictures of beautiful sunsets and wish I was there.  We had a number of beautiful sunsets in the Galapagos so I thought I'd end my Galapagos posts with some pictures of the beautiful endings we had to each day.  I look at them and wish I could be back right now and hopefully they will inspire you to go visit these beautiful islands and help to preserve their delicate ecosystem.  Adios Galapagos! Gracias por los recuerdos! 

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Galapagos Sea Lions and Fur Seals

Since my first time watching sea lions play on Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco when I was a little kid I have been a sucker for sea lions.  I did presentations on them throughout elementary school and every art project from 2nd to 5th grade most likely involved the drawing, painting or sculpting of a sea lion.  So you can imagine how thrilled I was to visit the Galapagos where everywhere you look you see sea lions!  The sea lions have no fear and easily approach you and don't mind being approached on the beach.  On the boardwalk in San Cristobal you even see them lying on the benches and hanging out on the sidewalks and in the playgrounds.  They are very gentle you just have to stay clear of the bull who can be very protective and aggressive during mating season.  Also you have to remember that they are wild animals and should not be touched (no matter how cute they are)!  The babies will come right up to you, but if you touch them the mothers may reject them later so its important to keep your hands to yourself and just enjoy the adorable little guys with your eyes!  There are two species on the islands- the Galapagos Sea Lion and the Galapagos Fur Seal (which despite the name is actually a sea lion not a seal) and they are both endangered with their largest threat being from climate change that comes with El Nino.  After the pictures are a couple videos I shot of them all around the islands including an adorable compilation of some babies I saw and a funny one of my sister trying to pose with one on the beach.

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Galapagos Baby Sea Lion from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.

Galapagos Sea Lions on the Beach from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.

Galapagos Baby Sea Lions from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.

Sea Lion vs. Liz in the Galapagos from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Crabs

Throughout the Galapagos Islands I saw thousands of crabs!  It seemed that everywhere I looked I saw the beautiful bright red Sally Lightfoot Crab.  The crab has a vibrant red shell and a blue underbelly, which makes for a beautiful contrast against the black lava rocks in the Galapagos.  I'm not usually a fan of crabs because of their resemblance to spiders, but these were pretty cute and I kept seeing Sebastian signing under the sea while I watched them scuttle about.  They are one of the only animals that run away from humans on the islands and while they are abundant now their numbers had dipped from overfishing.  It is now illegal to eat them on the islands.  The other crab that I saw on Isabela Island is the Ghost Crab, a cool red crab with eyes that look like they are on horns on top of its head.  These crabs actually sift through the sand to find food and create little pellets of clean sand when they are done.

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Sally Light Foot Crabs from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Other Birds of the Galapagos

In addition to all the birds I've already mentioned there are many many more!  The Galapagos is a haven for bird lovers and some of my other favorite species that I saw there are the Galapagos Brown Pelican, Lava Heron, Short Eared Owl, American Oystercatcher, Swallow-Tailed Gull, Galapagos Hawk, Galapagos Flamingo, Red-Billed Tropic Bird, Storm Petrels, Galapagos Mockingbird, many species of shorebirds, and many species of Finches including the Darwin Finch.

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Storm Petrels in Flight from Rebecca Yale on Vimeo.
 
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