Daily Archives: April 22, 2017

San Cristobal Mockingbird

San Cristobal Mockingbird, San Cristobal Island, the Galapagos, Ecuador.

We transition today from the Wildside Nature Tours Amazon River Boat Adventure to the Wildside Nature Tours Wildlife and Photo Adventure in the Galapagos. The Galapagos is on almost every wildlife or nature photographer’s bucket-list, and is a dream destination for anyone interested in natural-history…or even just in travel. There is no where in the world like it. An archipelago of volcanic islands, ranging from quite large with cloud forest above the 2000 foot level, to small lava caps, well off the coast of Ecuador, it is the place, and is home to the wildlife, that inspired Darwin’s most important work. And it is unique in being entirely protected, and operated, as a National Park. You can only visit most of the islands accompanied by a National Park Guide, and in a group of less than 20 people. Visits are limited to 4 hours per licensed tour boat…which means that if your tour is larger than 20 people, you only get a portion of that 4 hours. In addition, any given tour boat can only visit an island once in 4 days. Human traffic on the islands is closely controlled and fully monitored. We did not see more than 2 additional groups on any of the islands we visited, and we were often alone on an island. Because Wildside Nature Tours keeps its groups to less than 20, we always had the full 4 hours to photograph and enjoy the unique landscapes and wildlife of the islands. Kevin Loughlin, who owns Wildside, has visited the Galapagos over 45 times in his tour-leading carrier, so there are few people more experienced, or more qualified, to guide you to the best the Galapagos has to offer. I was wonderfully blessed to be asked along on this trip…a destination that otherwise would have remained on my bucket-list past its expiration date. 🙂

This is the San Cristobal Mockingbird. The Galapagos are home to 5 species of Mockingbirds, apparently all descended from a few Mockingbirds that reached the islands sometime in the dim past. The islands are far enough apart, and the seas around them are rough enough, so that travel between islands is limited. That, in theory, has allowed (or forced) single species like the Mockingbird to develop into a complex of closely related species, each restricted to a single island or a small group of islands. The San Cristobal Mockingbird is found only on the island of San Cristobal. San Cristobal was our port of call in the Galapagos…we flew into the airport there…and drove up over the 2000 foot peak of the island and down the other side to a Land Tortoise Breeding Center where the San Cristobal Mockingbird greeted us in the parking lot. One of the unique aspects of the Galapagos is that the wildlife has not developed a fear of man…so the Mockingbirds, as we walked the paths looking for giant land Tortoises, were latterly at our feet, looking for food among the lava chunks. 

Sony Rx10iii at 600mm equivalent. Program Mode. Processed in Polarr on my iPad Pro.