I may have an unhealthy fascination with the blue-footed booby; I'm speaking to someone about it.
An iconic emblem of the Galapagos Islands, the booby is everywhere, and it's much larger than I anticipated. It hops about with one foot in the air as a way to attract a mate, it dives out of the air with all the wanton fury of a dog fighter, and it sings a merry tune for anyone willing to listen. The booby's days are busy, and it deserves a nap now and then.
You can spot the booby just about everywhere out here. Santiago Island makes for an especially striking backdrop.
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Spy on Lazy Dragons
October 2, 1835.
The HMS Beagle skips the trio of northern Galapagos Islands (the only three wholly in the Northern Hemisphere), en route to Santiago Island.
The crew spends a few days exploring Santiago, where they encounter numerous animal species, including iguanas, for which Darwin had little love. "When we were left at [Santiago], we could not for some time find a spot free from their burrows on which to pitch our single tent," Darwin writes. Sadly, the land iguana is no longer found on Santiago; it was wiped out by invasive species introduced by humans beginning in the 16th century.
The tortoise is the symbolic emblem of the Galapagos, but it is not the only animal marred by human invasion of the islands; keep that in mind when sailing in Darwin's wake.
This image was taken on the island of Isabela, where the land iguana is still common.