Continued excerpts from Brian’s Galapagos journal: Santiago Island
“We were in the zodiacs at sunrise catch the coolest part of the day. Walking first to the end point of the loop trail at Egas Port, we then meandered slowly back along the beach. Collapsed lava tubes with natural rock bridges contained quiet sea water with several fur seals lolling in the water. We saw many healthy marine iguanas, but some were showing serious signs of starvation. Several had the spiny scales on their backs flopping over, ribs showing and heads resting on the rock.  Still others had succumbed, with mummified carcasses eerily perched in mid stride, some overlooking the ocean where they appeared to have given up and died.  It’s an El Niño year, and this is the first real signs we have witnessed of the effects.  The lack of the usual cold currents limits the growth of the iguanas food: the aquatic salt water algae. American oystercatchers patrolled the beach, the odd Great blue heron stood guard, and several endemic Lava herons fished successfully in the tidal pools.  After lunch we hiked in a forest of large incense trees at Espumilla Beach with its seasonal fresh water lagoon full.  The forest was rich and green, and the ground cover was thick and luxuriant, and the air rang with the songs of finches, mockingbirds and Yellow warblers. This extra rain is a positive spinoff of El Niño.”
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