North Seymour Island, GALAPAGOS
(Isla Seymour Norte)
North Seymour Island has a lot to offer wildlife lovers. For starters, the largest colony of magnificent frigatebirds in the Galapagos makes its home here. Frigatebirds are also known as “pirate birds,” due to their proclivity for stealing food from other birds or snatching chicks out of their nests. They’re also exceptionally agile and acrobatic flyers, which no doubt aids them in their thievery. One of the bird’s most distinctive features is the male’s scarlet red throat pouch, which he inflates during mating season to attract female frigatebirds.
If you’re up for a hike, you can take the short path that crisscrosses the island to explore inland and along the rocky shore. Just be mindful of the blue-footed booby chicks, which are often raised in close proximity to the trail and might wander across your path. If you’re lucky enough to visit North Seymour Island in mating season, you could witness the legendary ritual of the blue-footed booby’s unusual courtship dance. But it’s not all about the dance. Apparently, the bluer the feet, the more attractive the booby is to a potential mate. Be sure to keep an eye out for large land iguanas too. Though not native to the island, these prehistoric-looking creatures are becoming more prevalent on North Seymour Island these days thanks to a program started in the 1930s aimed at increasing their once dwindling population.
Meanwhile, down on the beach you might spy some sea lions enjoying a nap in the sun. Marine iguanas will likely make an appearance as well, along with the occasional Nazca booby, in season. Pelicans, swallow-tailed gulls, and tropicbirds are also frequent avian visitors to the area. Looking for more active adventures? Snorkeling along the shore provides a great opportunity to observe underwater wildlife, including rays, sea turtles, and large schools of tropical fish.