Sunday 28 February 2016

Espanola Island - Suarez Point

Gorgeous Vista at Punta Suarez
Espanola Island, the southernmost and one of the oldest islands in the archipelago, is a treat waiting to be discovered by every Galapagos Island visitor. If possible, there is too much beauty, uniqueness and wonder to conceive of in one small place.  

National Park Service Photo
At Punta Suarez, you have a dry landing – but a very careful one on a rocky ledge – and be sure not to step on the Sea Lions!  You will walk up a trail, through some fascinating flora and fauna and many little lava lizards before arriving at your ultimate destination – the top of a cliff populated by Blue Footed Boobies and Waved Albatross.

Adult Albatross with Fledgling
Punta Suarez is the world-wide nesting site for the Waved Albatross, now considered to be a critically endangered species. Depending on the time of year, you might see their elaborate and lengthy mating dance and even their newborns. The albatross nestlings are covered with white down and soon will be learning to fly, quite awkwardly at first. It’s hard to let your eyes rest here.  And you won’t want to; remember this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Here are some other albatross and some really adorable results of the mating dance and courtship ritual. Albatross mate for life.

Albatross mating area on Espanola Island, Punta Suarez, Galapagos
Albatross Mating Area at Punta Suarez
Little Albatross Chick Attempting Flight on Espanola, Punta Suarez, Galapagos
Little Albatross Chick Attempting Flight
This is also a nesting site for Blue-Footed Boobies.  Their dance is just as fabulous as that of the Albatross and even amusing.  The Blue-Footed Boobies will definitely make you smile.  Here's a sample of boobies at Suarez Point:

Blue Footed Boobies Mating Dance Performed on Espanola Island at Punta Suarez
You Can Try to Ignore Me

Blue Footed Boobies Mating Dance Performed on Espanola Island at Punta Suarez
But, I Will Win You Over A Little Bit At A Time

Blue Footed Boobies Mating Dance Performed on Espanola Island at Punta Suarez
Didn't I Tell You - Just Come a Little Closer
Blue Footed Boobies Mating Dance Performed on Espanola Island at Punta Suarez
    I Knew You Couldn't Resist Me!  You're Mine!
Baby Blue Footed Booby Chick on Espanola Island at Punta Suarez
Ta Da!

Galapagos Whimbrel

Now, you might think that having seen the world's largest population of Waved Albatross and the most beguiling Blue-Footed Boobies ever, was enough.  But Punta Suarez isn't done - not at all. The birdlife doesn't stop there. More birds await – red billed tropic birds, gliding hawks, doves, finches, Whimbrels, ubiquitous frigatebirds, mockingbirds and swallow-tailed gulls.

Galapagos Hawk
Galapagos Hawk
Galapagos Hawk

Hawk Coming in for a Landing

As you watch these magnificent creatures interact, and take in the vista, you will also be aware of the gorgeous Pacific Ocean roaring below you and the amazing lava blow hole spewing waves and foam up to 30 feet high. Don’t be the least bit surprised if a brightly-colored iguana is soaking up the sun and seemingly enjoying the view along with you. Truly, Punta Suarez is a sight to behold.

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