A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Galapagos: An Intimate Look at Darwin's Islands I 2022

July 16-26, 2022 with Willy Perez & local guide guiding

It was a true privilege to be back to one of the most stunning places in the world, and having not been there for a couple of years, this time it felt even more special. The itinerary worked incredibly well and we managed to visit many corners of this wonderful archipelago with the most unique wildlife. The Nemo III was our home for 7 nights and it worked very well. We did fantastic sailings from one island to another and every morning we ended up in a new place, ready to explore and find beautiful surprises. The food was delicious and the crew was great. We went from the lowlands to the highlands and we had a combination of great encounters and memories.

The lowlands had nesting Magnificent and Great Frigatebirds, Galapagos doves, dancing Blue-footed Boobies, Waved Albatrosses with chicks, and Galapagos Hawks sitting together with Galapagos Mockingbirds. We saw a great number of Darwin's Finches, and they gave us a good chance to see their beaks, and talk about how they've been evolving this whole time. We even had curious birds that came to sit on people's heads to be included in the photo..... We had to do a nice long walk along a muddy trail to find the Galapagos Rail that eventually showed up nicely. Even when I was really desperate for some action, the incredible Yellow Warblers were there to save the moment, I really loved them! The Giant Tortoises, Marine and Land Iguanas, and even the Lava Lizards were incredible.

What really made this trip a success was how lucky we were to have a great group of people on the Nemo III; all the crew were great. Elizabeth Coral was our local guide and she shared all her knowledge and wisdom about the islands and life in Galapagos with us. A huge thank you to Eli for that.

And to finish, a big thank you to all of you people who came and did this wonderful trip with me, I hope that you enjoyed it as much as I did.

Keep birding,


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

WHITE-CHEEKED PINTAIL (GALAPAGOS) (Anas bahamensis galapagensis)

We saw these birds in several places during the trip.

Phoenicopteridae (Flamingos)

AMERICAN FLAMINGO (Phoenicopterus ruber)

Seen only twice which is very unusual; normally there are higher numbers.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

GALAPAGOS DOVE (Zenaida galapagoensis) [E]

It was the first bird to be seen by some people when we arrived at Baltra.

EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata)

Some people saw this dove on the grounds of the hotel in Quito.

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) [I]

DARK-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus melacoryphus)

We had great looks at this handsome bird during our bathroom stop.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

PAINT-BILLED CRAKE (Mustelirallus erythrops)

A pair showed up nicely in Asilo de la Paz in Floreana.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

GALAPAGOS RAIL (Laterallus spilonota) [E]

We had to do a muddy walk, but it paid off when we had one bird that came out to the trail.

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Haematopodidae (Oystercatchers)

AMERICAN OYSTERCATCHER (Haematopus palliatus galapagensis)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (HUDSONIAN) (Numenius phaeopus hudsonicus)

It was nice to see this species in the highlands of Isabela.

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (Phalaropus lobatus)

Few groups of them were seen along the Bolivar canal between Isabela and Fernandina.

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

SWALLOW-TAILED GULL (Creagrus furcatus)

We saw this nocturnal gull several times, but it was also following the boat during our night sails.

LAVA GULL (Leucophaeus fuliginosus) [E]

For a very rare Gull, we saw them almost every day!

BROWN NODDY (Anous stolidus galapagensis)

Phaethontidae (Tropicbirds)

RED-BILLED TROPICBIRD (Phaethon aethereus mesonauta)

Stunning views of one of the most handsome birds of the trip.

Spheniscidae (Penguins)

GALAPAGOS PENGUIN (Spheniscus mendiculus) [E]

We had the privilege to see them, but some people also managed to swim with them.

Diomedeidae (Albatrosses)

WAVED ALBATROSS (Phoebastria irrorata)

It was wonderful to see this unique species so close, especially doing their courtship dance. It was superb.

Oceanitidae (Southern Storm-Petrels)

ELLIOT'S STORM-PETREL (Oceanites gracilis galapagoensis)

They were close to the boat all the time.

Hydrobatidae (Northern Storm-Petrels)

WEDGE-RUMPED STORM-PETREL (Hydrobates tethys tethys)

The big colony of this species in Genovesa was breathtaking.

Procellariidae (Shearwaters and Petrels)

GALAPAGOS PETREL (Pterodroma phaeopygia)

Several birds seen during our navigation; stunning flight pattern.

GALAPAGOS SHEARWATER (Puffinus subalaris)

The most common bird in the Galapagos.

Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)


It was good fun to see these, especially the chicks. We also saw some adults nesting and fantastic males displaying.

GREAT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata minor ridgwayi)

Smaller in size than the previous one and it has a green sheen; in several places they were together with Magnificent and we could compare the differences between them.

Sulidae (Boobies and Gannets)

NAZCA BOOBY (Sula granti)

BLUE-FOOTED BOOBY (Sula nebouxii excisa)

These birds gave us another show when they started to dance in front of us; great fun!


Genovesa was the best place to see them.

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

FLIGHTLESS CORMORANT (Nannopterum harrisi) [E]

I really like this species because it shows evolution in progress. They look ridiculous with their tiny 'wings'.

Pelecanidae (Pelicans)

BROWN PELICAN (GALAPAGOS) (Pelecanus occidentalis urinator)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

GREAT BLUE HERON (GREAT BLUE) (Ardea herodias cognata)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (GALAPAGOS) (Butorides striata sundevalli) [E]

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (GALAPAGOS) (Nyctanassa violacea pauper)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

GALAPAGOS HAWK (Buteo galapagoensis) [E]

This time there were many places were we saw them but the best were at Santa Fe, when one was sitting a few meters away from us being watched by a group of Galapagos Mockingbirds.

Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)

BARN OWL (GALAPAGOS) (Tyto alba punctatissima)

We went to the old generator house to see this amazing owl resting.

Strigidae (Owls)

SHORT-EARED OWL (GALAPAGOS) (Asio flammeus galapagoensis)

First seen at Genovesa, where a few of them were hunting for Storm Petrels, and another one at Floreana.

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

BRUJO FLYCATCHER (GALAPAGOS) (Pyrocephalus nanus nanus)

Isabela was the place to see male and females of this bird that was split from Vermillion.

GALAPAGOS FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus magnirostris) [E]

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

GALAPAGOS MARTIN (Progne modesta) [E]

We had to do a little detour to find this endemic species, but it worked out nicely when we found 3 of them at Tagus Cove.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)


The most widespread of the 4 mockingbird species that we saw on a few islands.

FLOREANA MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus trifasciatus) [E]

We had to go to Champion islet to see this very rare endemic; took a while, but eventually we had great looks at a pair.

ESPA–NOLA MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus macdonaldi) [E]

The biggest of all mockingbirds that we saw in Espanola island.


I am sure that you remember the Cemetery in the highlands of San Cristobal; we saw this species just below the cemetery.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

GREAT THRUSH (Turdus fuscater)

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

YELLOW WARBLER (GALAPAGOS) (Setophaga petechia aureola)

It will take a while to forget about this colorful and curious bird that we saw, even on the airplane...

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

GREEN WARBLER-FINCH (Certhidea olivacea) [E]

We saw them in Isabela and Santa Cruz.

GRAY WARBLER-FINCH (Certhidea fusca mentalis) [E]

Subspecies that we saw in Genovesa island.

GRAY WARBLER-FINCH (Certhidea fusca luteola) [E]

Great looks at San Cristobal.

GRAY WARBLER-FINCH (Certhidea fusca bifasciata)

This one was the one that was very similar in color to the lichen in Santa Fe island.

GRAY WARBLER-FINCH (Certhidea fusca cinerascens) [E]

The one at Espanola.

VEGETARIAN FINCH (Platyspiza crassirostris) [E]

This massive finch was seen during our visit to San Cristobal.

WOODPECKER FINCH (PALLIDUS/PRODUCTUS) (Camarhynchus pallidus pallidus) [E]

The last day at Santa Cruz island.

WOODPECKER FINCH (PALLIDUS/PRODUCTUS) (Camarhynchus pallidus productus) [E]

The first one that we saw at Isabela before the Brujo Flycatcher (Vermillion).

WOODPECKER FINCH (STRIATIPECTA) (Camarhynchus pallidus striatipecta) [E]

Few sites at San Cristobal.

LARGE TREE-FINCH (Camarhynchus psittacula psittacula) [E]

I am sure that you remember this one; if you don't you will definitely remember the many cows that we had to avoid along the road. It was the last finch on our list.

MEDIUM TREE-FINCH (Camarhynchus pauper) [E]

Nice looks of this super rare bird at Floreana.

SMALL TREE-FINCH (Camarhynchus parvulus parvulus) [E]

Few seen in Floreana and also in Santa Cruz.

SMALL TREE-FINCH (Camarhynchus parvulus salvini) [E]

We saw this one in San Cristobal.

SMALL GROUND-FINCH (Geospiza fuliginosa) [E]

They were everywhere, even in the restaurant in Baltra airport!

LARGE GROUND-FINCH (Geospiza magnirostris) [E]

The best views were at Genovesa, we could definitely see the massive bill.

GENOVESA GROUND-FINCH (Geospiza acutirostris) [E]

Split from Sharp-beak, this is the one that we saw in Genovesa.

COMMON CACTUS-FINCH (Geospiza scandens intermedia) [E]

We had them in a few places, even one nesting in the tortoise breeding center in Isabela.

MEDIUM GROUND-FINCH (Geospiza fortis) [E]

ESPA–NOLA GROUND-FINCH (Geospiza conirostris) [E]

We did a beach walk to find this finch; we saw only one but that was enough for us.

GENOVESA CACTUS-FINCH (Geospiza propinqua propinqua) [E]

It was nice to compare the beak difference between this one and the Large-ground.



ORCA (Orcinus orca)

HUMPBACK WHALE (Megaptera novaeangliae)

It was fantastic to see a calf jumping close to his mother!

"GALAPAGOS" SEA LION (Zalophus californianus wollebacki)

GALAPAGOS FUR SEAL (Arctocephalus galapagoensis) [E]


MARINE IGUANA (Amblyrhynchus cristatus) [E]

LAND IGUANA (Conolophus subcristatus) [E]

SANTA FE LAND IGUANA (Conolophus pallidus)

GALAPAGOS LEAF-TOED GECKO (Phyllodactylus galapagoensis) [E]

GALAPAGOS LAVA LIZARD (Microlophus albemarlensis) [E]

ESPANOLA LAVA LIZARD (Microlophus delanonis) [E]

FLOREANA LAVA LIZARD (Microlophus grayi) [E]

SAN CRISTOBAL LAVA LIZARD (Microlophus bivattatus) [E]

GALAPAGOS (GIANT) TORTOISE (Geochelone elephantopus) [E]

GREEN SEA TURTLE (Chelonia mydas)


We also saw:

Galapagos Blue Butterfly

Large Painted Locust

Sally Lightfoot Crab

Fiddler Crab

Giant Manta Ray

The people who did the snorkel saw several fish:

King angelfish

Yellow-tailed surgeonfish

Black-striped salema


Four-eyed blenny

Totals for the tour: 71 bird taxa and 5 mammal taxa