Genovesa Island

Sep 30, 2017 - National Geographic Islander


This island is made of basalt and it is flat and rocky nearly all around. It is dry at this time of the year and it will continue to be for months to come. Red-footed boobies and frigate birds nest in the trees and swallow tailed gulls, Nazca boobies, and storm petrels nest on the ground forming vast colonies on the bare lava and under the dry forest.  Either in the early morning or late afternoon we can appreciate the best of Genovesa. The different sea birds go into the ocean and come back to the colony with food. We can see parents feeding their chicks, and the whole island vibrates with bird sounds!

This morning we explored Genovesa’s cliffs from Zodiacs and kayaks. During our journey we spotted flocks of red-billed tropicbirds flaying in circles courting and looking for nesting sites, and hundreds of frigate birds looking for their morning meals along the shore. The vertical cliffs made up of layers of lava rocks are home to swallow-tailed gulls; some nest here and others shelter after their long overnight voyages.

In the afternoon we had a Zodiac ride along the dramatic cliffs of Genovesa and landed at Prince Philip’s Steps for our last exploration walk on this island. From the moment we reached the shore we were surrounded by Nazca and red footed boobies. The highlight of today was the enigmatic short eared owl, motionless, stalking storm petrels in their nesting areas.

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About the Author

Juan Carlos Avila

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Juan Carlos was born in Quito, Ecuador. He spent part of his elementary schooling in the province of Cotopaxi, a beautiful area in the Ecuadorian Andes ringed by volcanoes. In 1989 his family moved to the Galápagos and settled in the highlands of Santa Cruz, the second largest island in this archipelago. It was here that Juan Carlos finished high school and gained his deep love for nature.

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