Sunday, March 27, 2016

Field Work Food

People are often surprised to find that there are established towns on the Galapagos Islands (myself included when I found out). We had an apartment that came with a full kitchen including an oven. I had convinced Marco to bring some yeast down with him when he came, so Sarah and I didn't let it go to waste. The delicious results included homemade bread

 

 and homemade pizza!


Our neighbors also procured some whole coconuts, so they cracked a few open to let us have the coconut water (yum!)




So, we're pretty lucky in that we get to eat and drink some pretty yummy things during our field seasons!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Baltra

Today we went to Baltra Island, also known as South Seymour Island. The island is most well known for harbouring the airport that serves Santa Cruz Island. It was regular flights to and from the mainland, and also hosts land iguanas, tribulus, and finches, of course!

 

Baltra also had an invasive house cat and black rat population that was successfully eradicated about 13 years ago.



It also served as a military base, and so there are abandoned military structures on the island.

 

This island is similar to North Seymour in that the terrain are large, red volcanic boulders, or areas consisting of vegetation and swathes of a fine, red dirt. The green vegetation, during the current dry spell, is fairly sparse, with patches of palos verde and acacia, as well as opuntia.

 

Also like North Seymour, it felt as though this is what Mars would be like once we get there!

 

We spent all day there but had a successful day collecting samples and data!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Galapagos Dove

In previous years, the Galapagos Dove was quite elusive, and I would maybe see one or two for an entire field season. This year, I've been lucky to see them on different occasions!

Here are some doves we saw at El Garrapatero







And here was one that decided to pose for me in the highlands. It has blue eyelids!!



Thursday, March 17, 2016

Working in town

When you are in the field, you tend to lose a sense of time. While we remembered pi day on the 14th of March, we forgot about Saint Patrick's Day on the 17th. Well, nobody is Irish I think so it doesn't really matter, and St. Patty's Day isn't really celebrated down here. So, instead, Marco and I headed into town to collect behaviour data.

We started on foot but quickly realized that it would be much easier on bikes. While going around town collecting data, we did see some cats hanging out.



We also went to some places near our apartment. Unfortunately, people often dump garbage by the side of the road when they think they are on the outskirts of town. One person's trash is another's treasure however. Marco found an algebra book, a chemistry book, and a Galapagos tour book!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

North Seymour Part II

After a delicious lunch with pescado (fish), rice, and salad, we went to Las Bachas on the northern part of Santa Cruz. There we went for a short walk along the beach.



There was a lagoon, similar to the one at El Garrapatero, and there were also flamingos as well!!


One the way back, the gulls were trying kleptoparastize the pelicans who were busy fishing for their food.


We then went snorkling, which was nice. The visibility was decent, but we saw lots of fun things. I missed the turtles, but I saw parrotfish, hogfish, an eagle ray, an eel, and other fun things!!





Another amazing trip to North Seymour!





North Seymour Part I

Since we managed to get all of our poop samples - Team Poop for the win! - we took a day off. Well, Sarah did extractions all day, but she told Marco and I to take the day off, so we booked a day trip to North Seymour. This day trip tends to be one of the favourites of everyone who has ever done it, and Marco is only here for a limited time. We depart from the channel in between Baltra and Santa Cruz, which allows for a lovely view of both islands


We are treated to lovely views of Daphne Major and Daphne Minor, made famous by Peter and Rosemary Grant and their seminal work on Darwin's Finches.



There were many Frigate Birds of all ages, males and females. 



Frigate feet!

They are incredibly large birds, and the males have a red pouch that they inflate to attract females.




One of my favourite things to see this trip was a pair of Blue Footed Boobies courting. They both show off their feet, but the male especially took the time to lift each foot and show it off while turning in a slow circle around himself.


Finally, we stayed long enough to watch juvenile Frigates begging for food. Eventually, the parent would (literally) cough some food up for the juvenile. 



However, sneaky birds would try and steal the food!!


I will have more about what we did after lunch soon!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Happy Pi Day

Today is pi day, in honour of the irregular number we all love, pi. So, Marco decided to make a pie, and baked, from scratch, an apple pie. Yum!!!

Homemade apple pie!!
Happy Pi Day!