February is a great time to visit Isabela, water temperature is around 25C and thew ildlife is spectacular. From the moment you step foot on Isabela there is plenty to see, on the taxi to the dock this week we saw sea lions climbing onto boats, and the iguanas basking in the tropical sun. This was all before we had even so much as stepped foot onto the wooden jetty.
As February progresses the mercury will rise and although this is one of the rainiest months, the moments of rain are followed by the bright sunshine and blue skies. Due to the rising temperatures the water is warmer and with underwater visibility at an annual high in these months there is a lot of wildlife to be seen both above and below. It is truly like paradise on the island.
February is one of the most active breeding months for many of the indigenous species of birds.Whether you are a bird-lover, underwater fanatic or a land lover, the wildlife is vibrant and the flora and fauna is abundant.
WHAT TO EXPECT IN FEBRUARY?
The Galapagos land Iguana is a common site on Isabela, they can grow to over three feet long. Until the early 2000s, it was believed that the only species to be found on the Galapagos was the yellow/green, then they discovered the pink and black land iguana here on Isabela Island. The land iguanas roam the beaches, one of their nesting sights is cordoned off to protect the species - this shows just how focused the National Park and conservation team are on protecting the species of this paradisiacal island.
Giant Tortoises will begin laying there eggs on the beach - the land giants are unique to the Galapagos. We are lucky enough to have the tortoises here on Isabela one of the few places you can see them. Out of the 15 species globally Isabela is home to many of them.
Similar to the Land Iguana the Marine Iguana is also beginning to nest . The Marine Iguana is the only lizard to split its time between land and sea, nesting season is a great time to spot the Iguana for this reason.
Galapagos Green Sea Turtle spends most of its time in the ocean, during the winter months the females will come ashore to nest and lay there eggs. Students visiting as IOI volunteers to go out every evening to monitor the beach. The same happens in the morning, and a different group walk the 5km of beach to monitor the nesting sights and write down any tracks they have found in the sand. This is an opportunity to see how theGreen Sea Turtle nesting is going and the work is incredibly valuable to help build data about the islands turtle population - the students have found 3 nests in the past two weeks.
The frigate birds are best known for there giant wingspan which can reach close to three yards in length which, in comparison to their body size, gives them the largest proportionate wingspan among all birds species. The males have a large, red throat pouch that inflates during mating to attract the females - during February they are beginning to nest.
The greater flamingo of the Galapagos can grow to be over three feet tall. Their mainly crustacean diet is responsible for their bright pink color. In February the birds are breeding and nesting, but for their own safety they staying larger flocks- you can see the flamingos on the walk to the tortoise conservation.
Galapagos Doves are found only in the Galapagos and the dove’s nesting season reaches its peak during the winter months. The dove is brown in color and will build its nests on the ground; in rock cavities or in the abandoned nests of the GalapagosMockingbird.
February is the perfect time to visit the wildlife haven of the Galapagos, the perfect opportunity to enjoy the verdant green jungle and paradisiacal stretches of beach along the pacific coast. This month the volunteers in Isabela are continuing on their projects with a keen focus on monitoring the turtle’s nesting - this is the first time the project has taken place and is extremely important work for the National Parks. In addition, the volunteers at theTortoise Sanctuary are continuing measuring the young to ensure accurate records are kept. Biweekly beach cleans are being done to make sure the environment and wildlife aren’t affected by the impact of tourism.
February in Isabela is a busy month, but with crystal clear skies and beautiful beaches who can complain?