John Van de Graaff

By VandeGraaff

Flightless Cormorants Acqua-dancing

I'm back blipping three images from the middle of my two-week Galapagos trip. We're in Puerto Ayora, the largest town in the islands, with internet cafes--one of which I'm patronizing.

These are Flightless Cormorants off Isabela Island in the Galapagos, photographed from a dingy with other members of our photography group. The pair in the back are doing an extensive courtship dance in the water (off and on for at least 90 minutes), circling each other constantly and doing other maneuvers such as this leap (the bird in front is a female which hung around for some of the time, presumably trying to distract the male). It is very unusual to see this water dancing behavior at all, and our local guide had never seen it go on for so long.

This species is descended from mainland birds which made it to the islands and then over time lost the ability to fly--above all because in the island environment, with no predators, it was less important for them to fly than to swim (they feed on fish).

I'll start backblipping for the entire two weeks of the trip when I'm back on July 22nd.

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