Galápagos Close-Up: Santiago Island

Only a few miles away as the pelican flies, Santiago Island is as different from its neighbor Rábida as night from day. Its stark cratered surface reminded me of the moon.  Sea lions, marine iguanas and American Oyster Catchers were abundant, and we saw fur seals (which are actually sea lions – a fact that caused great confusion) for the first time. yellowwarbler_santiago

This bright Yellow Warbler with its colorful plumage was a standout, especially on Santiago’s moon-like surface.


The marine iguana population has bounced back from near extinction post El Nino but skeletons are a stark reminder of the starvation caused by this natural disaster.


The pelicans were not nearly so numerous, but still a friendly presence preening their feathers and fishing off shore.


We never tired of the sea lions.


In the foreground, two American Oyster Catchers look for food. In the background, Isabela Island‘s distinctive form dominates the skyline.


A closer view of an American Oyster Catcher pair.


Lastly, another Sally Lightfoot Crab – a crowd favorite.  Next up: the island of Santa Cruz, home to the tortoises who gave the Galápagos Islands their name.

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