We had not been chasing numbers, only delighted to see new birds and record them on our list. Before we arrived in Ecuador, we had seen 970 birds on our travels across North America, Asia, Africa and Europe. There are approximately 10,000 bird species world-wide, so having seen roughly 10% is a number we never thought we’d reach.
One of the Galapagos Islands that we visited, Genovesa, is a prime spot for watching birds.
We took the short-eared owl by surprise. It was only about 5’ off the walking path. It arched and spread its wings, then finally relaxed but never gave up its territory.
Genovesa had a large nesting population of blue-footed boobies who were all more concerned with nesting than with us.
We’d first seen red-footed boobies in Costa Rica, but were pretty excited to see them again.
At this point we saw that we were inching towards the magic number of 1,000. Only a few more new bird species and we’d be there.
Lava gulls are only found on the Galapagos Islands and are the rarest gull in the world, with only 300-600 individuals recorded in 2015.
We saw the endemic Galapagos mockingbird on most of the islands. It’s thought that all the Galapagos mockingbird are descended from a mockingbird that made its way to the Galapagos many years ago. The mockingbirds on different islands are all slightly different subspecies.
So, you may wonder what bird now holds the place of honor as the 1,000th bird species we’ve seen?
The Galapagos penguin! This is the northern-most penguin in the world and 2nd smallest. This penguin was seen on the island of Isabella. We find it rather strange to think of a penguin living on the Equator – and in a mangrove swamp!
Now that we have seen our 1,000th bird, we can go back to not worrying about the numbers and just enjoy watching and learning about them.