12 September 2011

Striated heron, Isabela Is., Galápagos


The status of striated herons and lava herons is disputed, with lava herons sometimes considered a separate species and sometimes just a subspecies or colour morph of the striated heron. Lava herons are found only on the Galápagos Islands, but striated herons are widespread in many countries. This bird, on the coast just west of Puerto Villamil (Isabela Is.) is a striated heron; lava herons have much more uniform colouring. Curiously, it didn't seem interested in the abundant Sally Lightfoot crabs, but whatever it was concentrating on was in big trouble.

Life here is very relaxed, with the pattern of weather being rain overnight, easing to showers in the early morning, then turning warm with intermittent sunny periods in the afternoon. (Of course, I've only been here a few days, so I'm making some rather large assumptions based on not much data.) The list of wildlife sightings grows daily, and although a few have been fleeting (just two brief penguin sightings so far), I've been lucky, particularly with the photos — hence the more-frequent-than-anticipated posting. On the other hand, I doubt I'll get to see flightless cormorants because day tours don't visit Fernandina and the western side of Isabela; only the cruise ships visit those places. Food's understandably expensive, although not outrageous, and accommodation ranges from very cheap and good (guess where I'm staying) to better-not-to-ask; the choice is far greater than any of the guide books indicate, and in the off-season (now), I suspect it'd be easy to find somewhere without booking ahead.

That's all for now; more on the way (and a few from previous good times).

 

[10 September 2011 (Ecuador), Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 400, 1/640 at f7.1] 

 
All content © 2011 Pete McGregor

8 comments:

Zhoen said...

That is one powerful and sleek creature.

robin andrea said...

A great looking heron!

lisanz said...

Oh my! The most beautiful photograph!

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen, I wouldn't want to be a small fish with that around.

Robin, from a distance they look drab; close up they're beautiful.

Lisa, thank you :^) More to come — this is such a compelling place for photographing.

Relatively Retiring said...

What a contrast with the Warbler! The concentration and physical control of a heron is amazing. I watch them in a local park, hunched and completely immobile, or creeping an inch at a time towards some witless baby duckling.

pohanginapete said...

RR, I think many people aren't aware of just what accomplished predators herons are — not averse to eating other birds when they can. In Aotearoa/NZ a sighting of a kotuku ("white heron"; Eastern Great Egret) is generally regarded as something special, but Keri Hulme ('The Bone People') describes them at Okarito hunting tauhou (silvereyes) — not at all in line with the common perception.

Lydia said...

The bird is beautiful, and I love that you caught the texture of the rock and the clarity of the water of his habitat.

pohanginapete said...

Thanks Lydia :^) They certainly are beautiful.