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Only 525 feet wide and less than a half a mile long, Mosquera Islet may be tiny, but it’s home to the one of the largest sea lion populations in the Galapagos. This narrow sandy expanse is situated in the channel between Baltra and North Seymour Island and offers a perfect opportunity for sea lion watching. Step ashore and you’re sure to see a sea lion or 10, basking in the sun or frolicking in the water nearby. They’re a playful bunch and very entertaining to watch. Just don’t get too close. The males can be aggressive if they think you’re encroaching on their territory. Just offshore, you might catch a glimpse of an orca pod. They often cruise the area looking for snacks, which can sometimes include sea lions.
Mosquera Islet is a fantastic location for sighting lava gulls (also known as dusky gulls). They’re the rarest gulls in the world, and only found in the Galapagos. They’re usually found in pairs and are easily recognized by their dark gray heads and lighter gray bodies with white markings and distinctive bright scarlet ring around their eyes. Juveniles are generally dark brown and white. Lava gulls can often be seen scavenging along shorelines. Though the population in the Galapagos is considered stable, lava gulls are still classified as a vulnerable species.
You may also spot shore birds, such as herons, oystercatchers, white-cheeked pintails, and common egrets on Mosquera Islet. Be sure to keep an eye out for the brightly hued Sally Lightfoot crab. The crustaceans can be found scrambling around the rocks near the water, looking for algae or other nibbles. Sally Lightfoots come in a rainbow of reds or oranges, yellows, and blues, or more muted brownish reds with spots, and can grow to be quite large. They also move surprisingly fast!