birds

meet the animals of the galapagos

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Who loves wildlife-spotting while travelling?

We DO! So you can imagine what an incredible time we had when we were in the Galapagos.

We cannot believe that it has been 4 years since we visited there. We so fondly remember our time exploring three of the islands!

Without further a do… introducing the different wildlife we were able to meet.

Sea Lion

Sealion

Friendly, curious and relaxed, you can spot these gorgeous fellows everywhere. They really know how to sunbathe. We were lucky to see so many pups. We loved how uninhibited and playful they were.

Marine Iguana

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These guys are very unique and probably the ones we found most fascinating to learn about. They are typical reptiles, basking in the early morning sun. Then later in the day, they will dive for seaweed growing on the sea floor. They are the only true marine lizards and live only in the Galapagos. They are everywhere, so if you go, watch out where you put your foot, as they camouflage with the volcanic rock sometimes.

How many can you see in this picture?

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Land Iguana

Land Iguana

Lava Lizard

Lava Lizard

Different types of Giant Tortoises

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There once were 14 recognisable species of giant tortoises on the Galapagos Islands.  Over the years, they have been killed for many things by humans, including for food. The species count is officially down to 10 because when we were there, there were still 11.

With Lonesome George (pictured below) being the last of his kind, we felt very humbled to have met him before he passed away the year after we met him. It was estimated that he was over a hundred years old.

LonesomeGeorge

Trivia: As a tortoise gets older, the lines on his shell become fewer. Works opposite to a tree trunk. 

Now to the folks found predominantly in the water….

Green Sea Turtle 

Sea Turtle

Not easy to see it in the photo, but it’s coming up for air.

White-tipped Shark

Sharks

Octopus

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We had to crop and zoom this photo a little so the octopus could be seen…. can you see it?

Manta ray

Manta Ray

Spotted rayfish

Spotted rayfish

We found the manta ray and spotted rayfish in a lagoon and not in the open waters. We were sitting on a jetty one lazy afternoon and looked down and what do we see swim past but these two.

The Birds

There are so many different species of birds in the Galapagos. These were the ones we were fortunate to see and snap a photo of.

Lava Heron

Lava Heron

One of many Darwin finches

Finch

Ruddy Turnstone

Ruddy Turnstone

One of many warblers

Warbler

Great Frigatebird

Frigate

They are huge just sitting there. Watching them in the air is simply unreal. There look enormous when you see their wingspan in flight.

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Galapagos Pintail

Pintail

Lava Gull

Lava Gull

Least Sandpiper

Least Sandpiper

Greater Flamingo

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Great Blue Heron

Great Blue Heron

Galapagos Penguin

Penguin

Brown Pelican

Pelican

Blue-Footed Boobie

 

BlueFooted Boobies

Interesting name… but there are plenty of boobies to see in the Galapagos. These blue-footed ones are easy to spot thanks to their bright blue feet. When they are in their mating prime, their feet are the bright blue.. it fades when it’s not time.

Just for a bit of fun, can you spot the four different species of bird in this photo?

BirdCombo

Disclaimer: We apologise if we have named any of the animals incorrectly, this is us digging into our memory bank 🙂 If you spot any errors, please let us know.

Up until NOW, we hadn’t really appreciated the extent of all the wildlife we encountered on this trip.

Where would you recommend we go to do some more wildlife spotting?

Leave us a comment.

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weekly photo challenge: on the move

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Our choice for this week’s theme are two photos we snapped while visiting the Galapagos Islands.

These birds were peacefully perched upon this rusty boat and suddenly were “on the move”

What disturbed them?

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weekend walks: auburn botanical gardens

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For $4 who would’ve thought we would’ve seen kangaroos, brush turkeys, green peafowls and a Japanese Garden. We were running a little bit short of time this weekend, so squeezed in only this little walk. We hadn’t visited the Auburn Botanical Gardens before but weren’t we simply  surprised.

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As we entered, the Japanese Garden is the first thing we see. There is traditional landscaping wrapped around the lake, complete with a tea house, zen garden and bridges. The late afternoon sun striking the leaves and the trees made for a beautiful backdrop. For a moment, it took us back to when we were in Japan. The entire Botanical Gardens are serene but this part was particularly peaceful and photogenic.

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Walking to the left of the Japanese Garden is the fauna reserve – there we saw wallabies, kangaroos and an emu. There was an enclosure for a wombat but we were not able to spot him. We could spend hours watching animals, especially the way they interact with one another. This particular kangaroo was trying to reach the feeding pan but was constantly being frightened off by a Cape Barren Goose.

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As we weave around to our right after leaving the animals, we enter the native rainforest section where we come across our first brush turkey, first of many as it turns out.

Actually, there are so many birds roaming free in these gardens, it was really quite a treat!

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Our last stop for the visit was the sunken rose gardens – the roses we did see were all in full bloom and the colours as striking as ever but unfortunately there weren’t too many left in the bushes. The rest must’ve been pruned only recently.

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Our biggest surprise was seeing the Reflection Pool. The signage states that the tree at the far end is a progeny of the original Lone Pine from Gallipoli in 1915. We found that fitting for us to be able to visit on ANZAC Day*. Another very peaceful place in the gardens for us to stop and reflect: Lest We Forget!

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The Auburn Botanical Gardens is about 19km west of Sydney. It is open 9 am to 5 pm (and until 6 pm on weekends).

* ANZAC Day is the anniversary of the landing on Gallipoli back in 1915 during World War I. It is the day when Australia and New Zealand remember those who served and died in military operations.   

weekend walks: centennial parklands

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We woke up early on Sunday morning to get to Centennial Parklands for a quick walk around the ponds. And to all bird lovers out there, it was sensational.

The air was really crisp, the sky was cloudy and there were a few people out for the morning run. But what blew us away was that there were birds everywhere! In fact, the first birds we came across were a brace of ducks crossing the road in front of us.

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As we walked, we saw a walking track amongst some trees and decided to detour. Looking up and all we saw were bats overhead. Yikes, all hanging upside down in the trees or swooping overhead.

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Hope you enjoy our photos for this weekend walk.

Disclaimer: We only took our compact camera (as per usual for our walks) so shutter speed and zoom was not the best for capturing birds 🙂

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We wish you all a lovely week ahead!