Sunday, December 26, 2010

Charles Darwin, Lonesome George, and a Carnivore??

Mom's Big World Assignment in the Galapagos Islands continued.....

.....on Santa Cruz Island to the Charles Darwin Research Center.  A main focus of this Center is to prolong and breed the Galapagos Tortoise population to avoid extinction.
The Tortoises in my previous post were in the wild, but there are some friendly resident Tortoises that live here.

Juan:  Hey look!  It's JB's mom!
Jose:  I think you are right, Juan!  It is JB's mom!! Let's tell George too!

The Charles Darwin Center is also home to "Lonesome George", who is the last known living Pinta Tortoise.  The Center continues to try to encourage George to breed with other species of Tortoises to try to continue his blood line, but so far no luck.   
George looks a bit sad, don't you think?

Since the 1970's, the Center has been successful in bringing population numbers of 10 endangered species of Tortoises back to guarded levels.  Each Tortoise is numbered on their shell to keep track of them.
Then came something mom truly did not want to see.....

Tortoises are naturally vegetarian, but here was rebel Tortoise #17, eating my friend, the Rat!  This is very unusual and someone from the Center came immediately to remove the Rat.

Ok, on that note, I hope my next new animal friends will not be DEAD!!

 Next up will be a hike to an old volcanic crater, to search for Darwin's Finches!

Before you go, please sign my GUESTBOOK here, and stop by JB's SMALL WORLD too, thanks! 

Monday, December 20, 2010

Giant Green Prehistoric Looking Things!

JB:  Mom, are we really still in the Galapagos Islands?  
Mom:  Yes, JB.  I am sorry, but I took 1500 pictures, you know!  Next stop was Santa Cruz Island.
JB:  Ok, what is this next animal, mom??  Is it a super-sized bowling ball?

Mom:  No, JB, these are your new friends, the Galapagos Giant Tortoises!  These species are also "endemic" to the Galapagos Islands!
JB:  They are huge, mom.  I could ride on his back and not even get my furs wet in the water!

I wondered why they look so old, and found out they can live to 100 years and the oldest one on record was 170 years old! 

I think this one forgot to put on sunscreen.  Look at his parched skin!  He looks kind of prehistoric, don't you think?

Most of my new friends were friendly, but this one got a little snappy with mom.

"Here's looking at you, JB!"

I LOVE my GIANT new friends.   
These really are some Giant Green Prehistoric Looking Things! 

Before you go, please sign my GUESTBOOK here, and stop by JB's SMALL WORLD too, thanks! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Animal Friends, Four by Two, and a Slithering Friend!

The Galapagos Islands adventure continued on.  Ok, mom, now weren't you getting just a little bit silly on North Seymour Island?

As mom and her friends were leaving the Boobies and their nests, they tried to pretend they were just like.....

These four Marine Iguanas, all lined up in a row!  
Very funny, mom!

Then what did mom come across?

These two Swallow-Tailed Gulls!

And they were preening their feathers in unison!

There were some juvenile Swallow-Tailed Gulls on the ground, who were just fledglings and learning to fly.  They look quite different than the adults!

Then mom almost stepped on this slithering new friend of mine!  
It is a Galapagos Snake and it is endemic to the Galapagos Islands!

So wehre did your Big World Assignment take mom next?  
To see some pretty little birdies and some GINORMOUS tortoises!  
Stay tuned!

Before you go, please sign my GUESTBOOK here, and stop by JB's SMALL WORLD too, thanks! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Doing the Booby Dance!

Yay, mom, now it is time for the Boobies!  
Blue-Footed Boobies, that is! 

  Mom met these new friends of mine on North Seymour Island in the Galapagos Islands.  And guess what?  They love to dance!

The male must impress the female so he does the best dance he can, and often kicks up his Blue-Footed heels!
An interesting fact, is that the females are always larger in size than the males.

The female is now noticing the male.  She thinks he has some spunk in his step.....

.....and his feet are quite blue!  
The males with the bluest feet, usually wins the attention of the females.

When the female started to respond to the male, they exchanged twigs as gifts.

The male was super excited to get the female's undivided attention, so he shook his tail feathers!

Then they walked off into the sunset.....and the rest is history.

Once the male and female have mated, the female lays 2-3 eggs, and the male and female take turns incubating the eggs.  
Can you see the egg in this picture?

And eventually after 41-45 days, out of the egg would come a tiny baby, who would turn into fuzzy wuzzy white little Booby!

The male and female Boobies make great parents and take good care of their babies till they can survive on their own.

Thank you mom, for this wonderful report on such interesting new "dancing" Blue- Footed friends!

Before you go, please sign my GUESTBOOK here, and stop by JB's SMALL WORLD too, thanks! 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Can I Pop It, Mom?

The next island that mom went to on her Big World Assignment to the Galapagos Islands was North Seymour Island.

What kind of birds are those and what is that red balloon I see behind those branches? 

Can I pop it, mom?  Can I?  Can I?
I found out that I probably should not pop it.  
These birds are Magnificent FrigateBirds, and this red pouch becomes puffed up like this on the males when they are in breeding season and trying to impress the LadyBirds.

When not puffed up it looks like this.
Purrsonally, I would still like to pop it.

The females have different coloring and don't have red pouches because they don't need to impress the males!

 Mom said that the animals in the Galapagos Islands were so unafraid of humans, especially on this particular island.  Mom almost stepped on this Land Iguana!

Even little birdies, like this Yellow Warbler, were unafraid.  All the animals and birdies came right up to my mom and said they wanted to  be my friends!

Ok, mom, these are great new friends, but where are the BOOBIES?  I want to see the Blue Footed BOOBIES!

Before you go, please sign my GUESTBOOK here, and stop by JB's SMALL WORLD too, thanks! 

Monday, October 25, 2010

Some Birds Can Fly and Some Can't

As you might have guessed from my last post, it was a Hawk!  It was a Galapagos Hawk to be exact!  This species of Hawk is also endemic to the Galapagos Islands.

Mom was not able to get a picture of his mama, who flew away as mom walked nearby.  The mama Galapagos Hawk was teaching this fledgling Hawk how to fly!  He fluttered on the ground a lot, having trouble getting into the air.

Finally, he was able to fly himself up onto a tree limb from the ground.  He was not so sure on his feet yet, or with his wings, for that matter.
My, those are very big claws he has!

Then he turned to my mom and said:  "Are you JB's mom?  You aren't making fun of me for not knowing how to fly, are you?"
Immediately mom told him no, that he looked very graceful, as she did not want to get anywhere near those big claws!

Then it was time for mom to leave this island so she could travel to the next interesting island.

She said good-bye to a couple of my new friends before getting back on the ship.

 And she caught a glimpse of a Striated or Lava Heron too.

Mom got back to the Expedition ship and found lots of Magnificent FrigateBird birdie butts all in a row.  
Mom hollered at them:  "What are all of you guys doing up there?"

And the Magnificent FrigateBirds said:  "We are ready to show you the way to the next island to meet the rest of our FrigateBird families and friends, and the Boobies!"

 JB:  Oh mom, I have been waiting and waiting to hear about your report on Boobies!  I am super excited!

Before you go, please sign my GUESTBOOK here, and stop by JB's SMALL WORLD too, thanks! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Red Sand, Sea Creatures and Birdies!

 Mom's next stop on her Galapagos Islands Big World Expedition was at Rabida Island.
Hey, mom!  The sand is Red here!
Mom was greeted by 4 of my new Galapagos Sea Lion friends.  They asked mom to forgive them for not waking up for her!

 Some interesting sea stars were found on the beach, like this Orange Sea Star. 

 And look how big this Blue Sea Star was! 
(that's not my mom's foot, by the way!)

 Sea Stars have a lot of tentacles on the under side of their body.  
Mom's naturalist quickly put both of these sea stars back into the sea so they would not die.

 After that mom went hiking to look for birdies for me, as she knows that birdies are just my absolute favorite friends.

 Look who she found!  It is a Vermilion Flycatcher!  These are very rare to see at the Galapagos Islands, and much more common on mainland Ecuador.  This birdie is a male.  Mom used her pawpawrazzi skills to creep up after him, but this was the best shot she could get of this elusive birdie.

 Mom found out that the male was very busy courting this female Vermilion Flycatcher, and interestingly enough, the female is not vermilion in color at all, but light yellow!

 There were lots of Galapagos Mockingbirds on this island, and one who looked like he was in charge, told mom:  "All of us birdies are so excited to be JB's friends!"

JB:  Wow, mom, these are some great new birdie friends! 
Mom:  JB, just wait till you see the next birdie friend I found for you on this island!

~~To be Continued~~

Before you go, please sign my GUESTBOOK here, and stop by JB's SMALL WORLD too, thanks! 

Friday, October 8, 2010

Water Dragons Galore!

 Wowza, YOWZA!  Those are some scary looking Water Dragons!  
I did some research and found out that these are actually swimming Marine Iguanas.  They have adapted to the Galapagos Islands and are endemic also, and found nowhere else in the world! 

 There were piles and piles of them everywhere. 

 Many were warming their body temperatures on the rocks in the late afternoon sunshine.

 Mom did a great job reporting and was careful not to step on any of my new friends!  This was difficult as their coloring camouflaged them very well.

The Marine Iguana has the unique ability among modern day Lizards to be able to live in the sea and also feed from the sea. 

They like to eat lots of green algae.  
Did you know, they can dive over 30 feet down into the water!

I was astonished at how many new Marine Iguana friends mom found for me.  
Then it was time for mom to hike back to the Expedition Ship to continue her journey.

 Along the way back, a Galapagos Hermit Crab popped his head out of his shell, and pleaded to be my friend too!  He told mom that his particular species is also endemic only to the Galapagos Islands!

Lo and behold, when mom's group got back to the beach to pick up some of their gear before boarding the Ship, look what they found!

What a great report, mom!

Before you go, please sign my GUESTBOOK here, and stop by JB's SMALL WORLD too, thanks!