North Seymour, Galapagos Islands
North Seymour was hands down our favorite island on Galapagos. And guess why? Blue-footed boobies! A bird with bright blue feet, it is a favorite character to put on local souvenirs: t-shirts, bags, postcards, magnets, it’s everywhere. We’ve seen it! And not just one bird, many of them very close to us performing their mating dance!
North Seymour, a small island in the Galapagos, is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and the chief nesting site for the magnificent frigatebird. It is located just north of Baltra, where the main airport of Galapagos Islands is. There is no permanent docking facility. The landing to the island is a dry landing, meaning your legs will not get wet. We needed to jump from the zodiac to the slippery cliff. It wasn’t an easy task to do with a little kid in your hands!
The photo bellow is the only photo of Roman we have from this tour – he was proudly walking in front of the group together with our guide, while we were with Mia at the back of the pack :)
North Seymour has a visitor trail approximately 2 km in length, easy and flat. At first, the island looked dried out, like it was torched: rocky terrain and small trees without a single leaf. But soon we realized the island is covered with birds.
Our first blue-footed booby was sleeping under a tree in the far distance.
After just a few meters we started to see birds with blue-colored feet everywhere! Their webbed feet can range in color from a pale turquoise to a deep aquamarine. The blue color comes from carotenoid pigments obtained from fresh fish they eat.
Younger birds have lighter feet.
Females and males are slightly different: females are larger and have darker feet. We found it easier to distinguish birds by their eyes, with the males having more yellow.
We were lucky to see the famous mating dance. What is the most important quality that female bird looks for? No surprise, blue feet! :) The brighter the feet the more attractive the male is to a female. Male birds lift one and then the other foot to impress desirable lady :) It was a great performance to watch.
North Seymour hosts one of the largest populations of magnificent frigatebirds. The frigates are huge. Male frigates inflate their red throat pouch to attract a mate. On North Seymour they are on display year-round.
Frigatebirds are the only seabirds where the male and female are easy to differentiate.
The male abandons its mate and half-grown chick, while the female cares for the young for over a year.
Other encounters on North Seymour included lava lizards, and Galapagos land iguana.
After North Seymour, we visited Bachas beach, one of the main nesting sites of sea turtles. There isn’t much to do there except for relax, swim, sunbathe and observe sally lightfoot crabs.
Good to know:
- North Seymour is one of the most popular day tours from Santa Cruz, and needs to be book well in advance. We booked our trip several weeks before coming to Galapagos, and after receiving “fully booked” replies over and over again we felt we were a bit late on this. Luckily for us, we emailed Moonrise Travel, who found us a spot. North Seymour also can be visited as a part of most Galapagos Islands cruises.
Visited January 2013