|The location of Española is indicated by the red arrow; the volcanic 'hot spot' is currently under Isabela and Fernandina|
to the west, and the whole archipelago is sailing east with the Nazca Plate.
|Waved Albatross colony, Española.|
|They are a beautiful and imposing bird seen close up.|
|Courtship, above and below, involves exaggerated stepping, sky-pointing, mellow honking|
and loud beak slapping, like children sword-fighting.
|It requires some imagination to see the cheerful buffoonish chicks as the infinitely|
graceful adults they will soon become.
|To watch them lumber into the wind, or simply drop over the cliff edge, then soar overhead |
or even below us along the cliff, is nothing less than thrilling.
|And finally, if you were wondering about the 'Waved' part of the name, here's the answer,|
in the delicate filigree pattern on neck, breast and flanks.
|Blue-footed Booby Sula nebouxii, Española.|
The egg is just visible under the breast.
|Nazca Booby colony on plateau, Española. |
They are bigger birds than the Blue-foots, and like the albatrosses appreciate the advantages of cliff-top takeoffs.
|Nazca Booby pair.|
|Nazca Booby with eggs, Española. They nearly always lay two but, as in some other bird species,|
the second chick is just insurance, and if its older sibling survives, it will not.
|Franklin's Gull Leucophaeus pipixcan, a non-breeding migrant from North America.|
And what an excellent place to avoid the northern winter!
(Sally Lightfoot Crabs in the background.)