The highest rates of endemic species are found in the eastern and southern islands. This is due to the fact that they are the first islands on the path of the prevailing winds and currents which flow from the southeast. This means that creatures have been established here for longer, giving them time to evolve into new forms. Amongst the endemic species unique to Española we can find the mockingbirds, lava lizards and the Española ground finch. The island is also home to the only tropical albatross in the world: the waved albatross. The white coralline beaches and bays of the island make the perfect habitat for one of the most charismatic species of the islands, the Galapagos sea lion.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Sunrise was a bit overcast, and the wind of the dry season made small waves that gave the first morning impression of the isolation and wildness of western Galapagos. We landed on Urbina Bay first thing in the morning, in the search of the Galapagos land iguanas. As soon as we started our hike inland from the black sand beach we found a giant Alcedo tortoise. It came out from the bush in the middle of the trail. It was feeding from the poison apple tree because it is one of the very few animals that can eat this plant. On this walk, we also found a male land iguana that was setting his territory boundaries by walking from one side to another around a big nest. Many other land iguanas showed up as we kept walking into the forest. The morning ended with a refreshing swim off the beach, surrounded by turtles and flightless cormorants. In the afternoon we moved to Tagus Cove, a sheltered rocky bay where flightless cormorants and penguins are nesting. We enjoyed the presence of these unique animals kayaking, paddle boarding and snorkeling around the cove. We ended our day with a walk to Darwin Lake, one special site with a magnificent landscape of tuff cones and geological structures, and also a Zodiac ride along the wall of the cove finding many marine birds and iguanas feeding.