Each island features different types of birds. I knew there would be birds, but was not prepared for the volume, diversity and incredible beauty. We crossed the equator towards Genovesa , a volcanic caldera that is home to many bird species: red-footed boobies with their scarlet webbed feet, Nasca boobies, Galapagos mocking birds with their piercing eyes, four species of Darwin Finches, and the elusive short eared owl as it hunted over an open lava field. On Fernandina, we walked on a coral sand beach where swallow-tailed and lava gulls gather near tide pools. As we entered a forest of cactus and mangroves where great frigate birds were nesting, the males inflated their striking red throat pouches to attract females as they flew overhead.
On stark Espanola Island we saw many pairs of blue footed boobies perform their ritual mating dance, lifting their bright cerulean feet, offering gifts of twigs to each other. Espanola is also the only nesting place of the wave albatross, a gallant bird, majestic in the air but awkward ashore.