Galápagos Wildlife Calendar

January As the rainy season starts, marine iguanas become brightly coloured and land birds begin nesting. Green turtles start egg laying and warming sea temperatures are ideal for snorkelling.

February Galápagos dove courtship is in full swing; flamingos and pintail ducks are also breeding, along with marine iguanas on Santa Cruz. Sea temperatures reach 25°C.

March Expect frequent downpours this month. Marine iguanas are nesting on Fernandina, but the big event in late March is the mass arrival of waved albatross to Española.

April Waved albatross waste no time in practising their courtship dances. Frigatebirds are also engaged in frenzied mating rituals. Green turtle and Isabela land iguana eggs hatch. As the rains come to
an end, the islands are at their greenest.

May As North Seymour’s blue-footed boobies begin their courtship, waved albatross are laying eggs on Española and turtle hatchlings are emerging. Marine iguana eggs are also hatching on Santa Cruz.

June The garua (mist) season begins as giant tortoises descend from the Santa Cruz highlands to find a nest. Seas can be choppy. This is a good month to spot migratory birds and humpback whales.

July Sea temperatures will drop to around 21°C this month. Everywhere you go, seabird colonies are a riot of courtship, egg-brooding and chick-feeding. It’s another good month for whale watching.

August Sea temperatures fall to around 18°C. Sea lions begin to pup, and it’s a good time to look for courting Galápagos hawks, nesting Nazca boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. Migrant shore birds arrive, while giant tortoises head back to the highlands.

September It’s a good month to brave the waters around Bartolomé where Galápagos penguins are usually active. Most seabirds are also still busy nesting and rearing chicks. Male beachmaster
sea lions start fighting over females. 

October The garúa period is coming to an end. Galápagos fur seals start mating, lava herons begin nesting and blue-footed boobies have chicks on Española and Isabela.

November Seas are calmer and water temperatures start rising. Snorkellers can enjoy encounters with sea lion pups. Storm petrels are busy nesting on Genovesa and dodging the island’s short-eared owls.

December Giant tortoise eggs hatch between now and April; green turtles are mating in offshore waters, while the first waved albatross chicks fledge.

For our full colour guide to the wildlife and landscapes of the Galápagos Islands, take a look at our Ecuador & Galápagos Handbook.

This is edited copy from Footprint Handbooks. For comprehensive details (incl address, tel no, directions, opening times and prices) please refer to book or individual chapter PDF
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