Date: 7/3/18 8:40 pm
From: Howard Wu via VA-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [VA-bird] (extralimital) The Galapagos Islands (May 2018)
Hi, all:

In May I took a trip to the Galapagos (an 8-day cruise), then mainland
Ecuador (for about 10 days). This was a fantastic trip which I am sure some
of you have taken before. I have put up a web page for the Galapagos
portion of this trip below (the mainland portion will take some more time):

http://www.travelerathome.com/2018_galapagos.html

(I somewhat hastily put up these pages, they may still contain some typos
and identification errors.)

A couple of random notes (most of which related to birds):

This was not a birding-only trip, and the Galapagos actually has relatively
low biodiversity (but it has a high percentage of endemics). In the end, I
tallied 28 new species, highlights of which include: 3 species of boobies
(Nazca, Red-footed and Blue-footed), my first penguin in the wild
(Galapagos Penguin), several species of Darwin's Finches, 2 species of
mockingbirds (pictures of some pelagic birds were fuzzy and are not shown
on these pages). I am sure one who takes more birding-oriented trips would
have gotten quite a few more.

Also interesting is that there is one warbler species, the Yellow Warbler,
that is almost ubiquitous in coastal habitats -- not only in the mangroves,
but also in towns. Obviously, it is a bird that is pretty common in
Virginia also (I sometimes can see it in my backyard), and seeing it in the
far-flung islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean is like running into
an old friend. But, more relevantly, here at home, it does not seem that
different from other warblers. Of course, each warbler species has its own
niche in nature, what I mean is that its habitat is somewhat similar to, or
at least overlaps with, that of other species; I can think of Prothonotary
Warbler and Common Yellowthroat for example. But why is that only this one
warbler species established itself in the Galapagos?

I hope you enjoy. Thanks and have a nice July 4th!

Howard Wu
Herndon, VA
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