You may want to look at these previous posts on Ecuador.
Another set from the Galapagos Archipelago offshore Ecuador, South America. As with the previous post on the Giant Tortoises, there’s something prehistoric about the Marine Iguanas too. As there are often Sally Lightfoot Crabs – Latin name Graspus Graspus , yes, really – nearby to the Iguanas, I’ve included them too.
As before, more to follow as I work through what I shot. In the meantime, you may want to look at these previous posts on Ecuador.
A selection of Galapagos Giant Tortoise photos taken in the ‘Highlands’ of Santa Cruz Island, in the Galapagos Archipelago offshore Ecuador, South America. Something prehistoric about these ancient looking creatures and, without anthropomorphising too much, full of character.
We stayed at the excellent Finch Bay Eco-Hotel and had a variety of fantastic, well-organised trips to see the unusual wildlife and landscape. We had good guides, in particular Valentine, who was easy-going, yet knowledgeable and authoritative, plus a friendly team in the hotel led by yer man Carlos.
And her’s a shot from the Tortoise breeding programme to conserve the species endemic to the various islands. As you can see, this wee fella is tiny compared to the fully grown adult above.
And finally, walking out of the picture…
More to follow as I work through what I shot. In the meantime, you may want to look at these previous posts on Ecuador.
Another much longer post than normal, but I’ve tried to write a bit more about our experiences.
Still feeling very fortunate to be able to visit Ecuador and the Napo Wildlife Centre (or Center), built and run by the local Kichwa Añangu community. It is designed to both preserve the local, fragile habitat, plus provide high-quality, environmentally friendly accommodation and facilities for visitors. It does all these things very well and gives a great insight into the Amazon flora, fauna and need for conservation.
Our journey to the Napo Wildlife Centre started after a short half hour flight from Quito to Coca. From there, we proceeded in a motorised, largish ‘canoe’ for a couple of hours down the tributary river of the Amazon, the Napo River (Rio Napo), then transferred to small six-seater, hand paddled canoes (not by us – by our guides) for the last leg, where the reserve starts and motors are not allowed.
Travelling to Napo – on the Napo River.
Into the small creek leading to the Napo Wildlife Centre – no motors – and arrival.
Where we stayed, right at the edge, next to the jungle and the lake.
And then the sights (and sounds).
And some of the monkey photos I managed to get – not too easy from a moving boat at full lens zoom with the buggers constantly moving.
And a couple of owls.
And a Strangler Fig (not a tree) – this starts as a small plant whose seed lands on a tree, grows, develops roots downwards and then envelops the host tree, killing it in the process. Sometimes they both end up falling down and dying together.
These next photos show the clay lick on the Napo River that these birds (Parrots and parakeets) go to daily to ingest minerals that counteract the potentially poisonous nuts and fruits that form their diet. I like the queueing system on the branch at right in the first one.
Shot at 200mm from the boat in the river – we didn’t go closer as that would have disturbed them.
And the next set are from the other clay lick we visited – the large, colourful birds are Macaws. This was quite a sight, as the Macaws waited and waited, watching out for predators, before the first brave or foolhardy Macaw went down and didn’t get attacked (the first photo), leading to the rest following. The smaller birds then followed the same ritual after the Macaws were finished.
We had excellent guides in Sergio (‘Tyson’), seen here explaining about traditional village life and persuading me to try the fermented drink Chicha – an aquired and alcoholic taste, Eduardo (‘Pantera’), who was incredible at spotting things, and finally the engine room of the canoe, ‘Vladimir’, who could paddle all day.
This is a much longer post than my usual, but I wanted to put this photo set out together. These were all taken on our visit to the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest where we stayed in excellent Mashpi Lodge within the Masphi Biodiversity Reserve. We crammed a lot in to our few days there and had two enthusiastic and knowledgeable guides accompanying our small group – Sebastian and Angelo. Oh, and the food was great too.
First up, the cloud forest, where the clouds form, as can be seen in the following shots, together with the mistiness you get when walking in amongst the trees. Tranquil, with lots of wildlife to try to spot. Thankfully our guides were patient in helping us to spot things.
And an Iguana, having a wee rest in a tree, but keeping an eye on us too. Perhaps a Dwarf Iguana?
If I was paying attention to our guide, then this is a harmless, relatively slow moving, if large, millipede, which lives on decaying plant material whereas the faster moving centipede has a nasty bite and is carnivourous – we didn’t see the latter.
We were warned not to put our hands on anything even if to stop ourselves from stumbling and here’s one of the reasons why – a Tarantula, which was gently coaxed out of a burrow using a long stick. This ain’t a good shot, mainly because I was being careful not to get to close and it only darted out briefly.
This is the Mashpi Lodge Observation Tower, where you can get good views across the forest canopy.
We spotted this wee fella next to the path. A Glasswing Butterfly – clear wings which have taken on a blueish cast in this shot.
Two Toucans – I’ll avoid some bad humour for once.
And some nice jewellery perhaps, except it’s Butterfly Pupae. The metallic colouring is used to warn off predators, signifying poison. An interesting way of defence against getting chomped.
And on to Hummingbirds. These are really difficult to shoot as they are like sugared up kids, never stopping for more than a second or two before – zip – gone! They live on high energy nectar or, in this case, visit sugar-water feeders.
This one isn’t a hummingbird, but I can’t remember what it is as I was overdosing on hummingbird shots at the time.
More Ecuador to follow.