From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos
Feb 20, 2013 - National Geographic Endeavour
Santa Cruz Island
Today we had an amazing opportunity to appreciate the unique wildlife of the dry lowlands from Santa Cruz Island as we organized our photo expedition departure.
Santa Cruz is a middle aged land that at this time of the year offers a different landscape thanks to the small amount of fresh water found here. Every year the flora has a little chance to grow and provides enough sources of food supply to land iguanas, tortoises, and birds, which all reproduce here. The connotations from high temperatures almost every day are the perfect chance for the reptile’s egg incubations.
Dragon Hill is one of the places where the first programs of conservation began with the necessity of providing protection to land iguanas. In the early 1970’s they almost disappeared because of the feral dogs, pigs, goats, donkeys and even rats that decimated the population to the point that only five dozen where available. Since the National Park took care of them the colony increased numbers until we realized that they did not required any further assistance.
At 7:30 this morning we disembarked and we immediately observed nine flamingos in the salt water lagoon! This of course does not happen very often, so it must be due to the food or courting rituals.
As our walk continued, we found several land iguanas sun bathing along the trail as we struggled along, catching our breath and sipping some water. It was very hot but a great photo opportunity to everyone.
In the afternoon our captain decided to take the adventure in a different way; we spent some good time in navigation towards Daphne Mayor, an old cinder cone in the middle of the ocean. This was a good afternoon.