Which wildlife can you see when in Galapagos

Old Dec 13th, 2010, 05:03 PM
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Which wildlife can you see when in Galapagos

It's a commonly asked Question: When is the best time to go to Galapagos? There are many answers, depending on what you want out of your Galapagos trip. If you want to see the reptiles and mammals that the Galapagos Islands are famous for, you may want to consult this calendar to help you plan your trip.

Just like the birds, the mammals and reptiles in Galapagos follow certain cycles of breeding, feeding, mating and other life functions. These behaviors vary during different times of the year and also from island to island. For example, if you want to see the bright red-and-green "Christmas Iguanas" of Española, you should go in December or January.

Here's a handy chart, organized by month.


•Española Marine Iguanas are brightly colored
•Green Sea Turtles are laying eggs
•Isabela land iguanas begin breeding season
•Giant tortoise eggs still hatching

•Santa Cruz Marine Iguanas begin nesting

•Fernandina and North Seymour Marine Iguanas nesting

•Giant Tortoise hatching season ends
•Sea turtle eggs begin to hatch
•Isabela Land Iguana Eggs hatch

•Green sea turtles hatching on Punta Cormorant, Puerto Egas and Gardner Bay
•Santa Cruz Marine Iguanas hatching

•Santa Cruz Giant Tortoises migrate down from the highlands to the lowlands to begin mating season
•Humpback Whales migrate through Galapagos
•Good time to see Whale Sharks off of Darwin and Wolf, until November or so

•Lava Lizards begin mating behavior which includes "push-ups" this will continue into November
•Whales and Dolphins common, especially in the waters between Isabela and Fernandina

•Giant Tortoises on Santa Cruz migrate back to the highlands
•Galapagos sea lions begin to give birth, pups common

•Sea lions very active as breeding season kicks off: males often fight on land and in the water to defend their harems

•Galapagos Fur Sea Lion mating season begins
•Giant Tortoises laying eggs

•Good time to see sea lion pups at nurseries

•Giant tortoise eggs begin to hatch, this will last until April
•Green Sea Turtles often mating in shallow waters
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Old Dec 13th, 2010, 05:54 PM
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This means that 12 trips are needed to fully appreciate the wonders of the Galapagos! Great list. Thanks!
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 02:28 AM
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Best times for wildlife activity are from June to December whenthe southern tradewinds bring the colder nutrient rich Humbolt current north to the Galapagos. This means that the water is cooler, and a layer of high atmosphere mist pervades the island skies. In effect, the highlands of the larger islands are kept green and lush, while the sea level islands and shorelines have little precipitation. Thus, June to December is generally called the "dry season", known for its blue skies and mid-day showers. During this season, sea mammals and land birds are most active.

www.weather2travel.com Climate Guide Galapagos

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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 08:07 AM
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Yes...12 one-month long trips would be ideal!!! For alot of wildlife lovers, the timing really depends on which animals (and at which life stage!) are most important for them.
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Old Dec 14th, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Given the subject line, let's add a bit about birds (since birds are wildlife too!) The songbirds (e.g., the many species of "Darwin finches," the mockingbirds, the Galápagos Flycatcher) breed in rhythm with the warm temps and the insects (since most nestlings are raised on high-protein insects). As a result, they are easiest to see during wet season, when rains bring out vegetation and bugs--Jan. - June. (Exact dates can vary.) Given the increased activity required for feeding growing young, the normally harder-to-spot songbirds become easier to glimpse. The mockingbirds are an exception--they are easy to see any time. In fact, they are quite bold, especially the species on Española. We were warned to watch our water bottles (fresh water is highly prized by mockers!) and our shoelaces (they have been known to peck and tug at laces).

The lone species of hawk--the Galápagos Hawk--is present year-round but tends to stay inland, away from landing areas, except during the peak breeding season of the Galápagos Sea Lion (approximately Sept. - Dec.). During those months, they can be seen relatively frequently along coasts with sandy beaches (where the sea lions gather), looking for sickly sea lion pups and the protein-rich placentas that litter the beach areas.

However, except for the most devoted (some might say "crazed") birders, few people visit the Galápagos hoping to see all of the songbirds and the lone buteo species. Instead, most are happy with the many species of easily observed sea birds. These species tend to be much less rigid in their breeding schedules, in large part because they feed their young fish--available year-round. So the 3 species of boobies and the 2 species of frigatebirds, for example, can be breeding almost any month of the year. You can even find different stages of breeding among members of the same species on the same island. On North Seymour, for example, we saw Magnificent Frigatebirds that were raising their nearly grown fledglings while right next to them, a male was in the process of attracting a female just to get things started.

The lone exception to this generalization is the awe-inspiring Waved Albatross. Except for one small island not far off the coast of Ecuador, the only place on the planet that these birds come to land to breed is on Española (Punta Suárez). Although I have heard of sightings of a few in Jan., pretty much all of the Waved Albatrosses leave the archipelago late Dec. to mid-March or so, to feed and soar non-stop off the coast of Peru. Even people who think they don't much care for birds find these behemoths beautiful and wondrous. So if you hope to see them, shoot for April through early Dec.

trip report at http://galapagos2009.wordpress.com/
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Old Dec 15th, 2010, 08:09 AM
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Sorry Tina for not including the birds! Thanks for adding the info above..it´s really helpful. A finch landed on my breakfast plate this morning....just to remind me to enjoy the day in Galapagos!
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