Galápagos Album: Our constant companions


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I'm not a twitcher (that's what they call the bird nut isn't it?), but on a trip to Antarctica a couple of years ago our constant companions were wandering albatross, skuas, snow petrels, a whole variety of ocean going birds not to mention the penguins. I never got sick of them. We'd spend hours watching the huge albatross soaring around the boat. Totally awesome. No boobies though. Always wanted to see a blue footed boobie.

AAAAHhhhhhhhhhhh! Aren't frigatebirds the most glorious thing to watch?

Know what? I'm still envious as all hell, and I say you deserved that trip--not only for your work (and I mean classroom work especially) before it, but for knowing how to look while you were there.

I'm constantly amazed at how scarce that skill seems to be.

Beautiful. It has an Origami look to it.

we called them Friggin' birds by the end our our trip a few years ago.

while folks are checking out PZs galapagos reports, I want to add (as I have a few times)

when booking a trip there, try to find LOCALLY owned boats. If you want to support sustainable low impact eco toursim (and help replace fishing in an over fished fishery) that is the only way to do it. In addition, SPEND MONEY ON THE ISLANDS, esp. the inhabited islands besides Santa Cruz. Don't book the large boats owned by international companies, if you can avoid it (sorry, this was where the Randi foundation messed up on this cruise), even though they must employ residents of the galapagos, the money goes somewhere else. and it doesn't allow for family businesses to shift towards eco tourism.

This was seconds before you guys got pooped on.

By Hamsterpoop (not verified) on 01 Sep 2008 #permalink

we called them Friggin' birds by the end of our trip..

Sounds like a story there. Care to share?

Shane @ 1,

No boobies though. Always wanted to see a blue footed boobie

I expect that "wÒÓt" will be along any moment to give you what you want.

Frigates, eh? Amazing. Almost enough to make me interested in vertebrates.

Believe it or not, one of those was seeing flying up the Willamette River in downtown Portland, Oregon about 20 years ago. Confirmed by one of the best birders in the state (who saw it from his office overlooking the river, causing him to about fall out of his chair).

And we've got another record from some ship/boat off the Oregon coast this year, carrying a pair of people doing bird surveys for the feds.

What flavour is it?


P.S. I know it's not an albatross, but I had too ask.

In 1998, a magnificent frigatebird was seen from the west shore of Mono Lake--way inland, way up on the east slope of the Sierra Nevada. That place is a trip all by itself, never mind tropical seabird sightings. I think people have seen jaegers and skuas there too: not tropical, but pelagic. (They can process saltwater; they don't need to bother coming ashore to find freshwater for years at a time.)

I wonder if anybody's ever filmed what happens aboard a birding partyboat when someone yells, "SKUUUAAAAA!!!" It's amazing. Tip: if everybody's rushing over to the starboard rail, you might as well stay where you are on the port side because all that weight will raise you handily over the heads of even the obnoxious tall guys.

It's bloody seabird flavor, Louis, and if you click on the link PZ put up there and look at the guy's Best Of photoset, you'll find a couple of impressive waved albatross portraits.

Thanks for the link, PZ. Now I'll go back to being envious.

Methinks I hear that bird murmuring, "Ready, aim..."

In another clash between the modern world and instinct, albatrosses (I don't know about frigatbirds) bring pieces of plastic to their young. We hypothesize that if the only hard, crunchy things around were seashells, the nestlings would be getting their calcium. Instead, many of them die, guts stuffed with plastic trash. Tragic.

I adore frigate birds, and am always pleased to see them. I can't imagine how much fun it must have been to see so many at once!

Thanks for the plug PZ, and everything else!

What a fantastic trip that was. I just arrived home from DragonCon. I finished processing all the photos after arriving home August 18th, at 4:30AM of the 28th, just before I left for the Con.

I say to all of you: Whatever it takes, find a way. That trip REALLY is worth it.

(getting to hang with PZ and his trophy wife only sweetened the deal)

I say to all of you: Whatever it takes, find a way. That trip REALLY is worth it.

but book local, but local, spend local while on the islands. do the research before signing up for some boat run by Princess, Carnival, or Royal Caribbean. You will be glad you did.