Nov 18, 2017 - National Geographic Islander
Today we arrived to the north-eastern realm of San Cristóbal Island where we went ashore for an invigorating hike to the top of an old cinder cone and had great weather all morning long.
As we started climbing up an old dry creek, we encountered several San Cristobal lava lizards. Male lava lizards have a couple of wide, white stripes running along the back, while females have the same color as the rocks with a striking bright orange color on the belly and throat. We also found the endemic San Cristobal Mockingbird looking at us curiously and inspecting us very closely.
One of the highlights for everybody was searching for the very colorful red footed booby and we found several nesting along the cliffs while others were flying above our heads. One landed on a rock and stayed long enough so everybody could take pictures of it. Another species of seabird found along the trail was the blue footed booby. This morning we saw this species of bird in different stages; some eggs, others downy chicks, and several immature boobies already flying and feeding on their own.
At the end of the morning we returned to the shore for a well-deserved swim, then we returned to the ship and navigated towards Cerro Brujo on the west coast of San Cristobal. There we went ashore for a last walk on a white sandy beach where a colony of Galapagos sea lions greeted us.
On our walk we found other species of birds such as the lava gull, white-cheeked pintail ducks, and a rare visitor the peregrine falcon flying high above the cliffs. Personally it is only the third time I have seen one in twenty-one years as a naturalist, so it was an amazing sighting.
The afternoon ended with a very colorful sunset and nice gentle breeze.
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