Day 4 |
Mar 19, 2012

Isla Lobos de Tierra 

By Marco Favero, Lecturer

Co-ordinates: 06°25.011’S, 80°51.255’W
Weather: Warm weather with light winds and partly overcast
Air Temperature: 24°C
Sea Temperature: 18°C

I woke up today as the Silver Explorer was approaching our morning destination at Lobos de Tierra, a barren island some 16 km (10 miles) long, and located off the Peruvian coast in the Lambayeque Region. The island is a wildlife sanctuary populated by just two park guards watching over the island but accompanied by over 100,000 blue-footed boobies. Peruvian pelicans and Guanay cormorants are also among the most abundant species. The main dock, used a long time ago for loading ships with guano, is now very deteriorated and only home of Turkey and Black vultures guarding the place.

My camera and binoculars were ready for the long hike. The landscape was fantastic and birds amazing. Blue-footed boobies were dancing and showing their incredible blue-colored feet while courting. I observed an important asynchrony in the breeding chronology of the boobies, as well as the pelicans, with some adults incubating eggs while others were guarding either small (1-2 week old) or larger, almost fledged, chicks.

I was as well interested in the fishing boats anchored nearby the landing site. Although the coast of Peru was not far away, it was certainly a good number of miles to be covered by those small fishing boats with open decks. There were other larger (although artisanal) “purse seine” fishing boats, likely targeting Peruvian anchovy or some other mid-water fish.

I came back aboard around 11:00 and soon after the Silver Explorer was heading north towards tomorrow’s destination in Guayaquil, Ecuador. Before lunch time, our ornithologist Patricia Silva offered a lecture “Seabirds in the Pacific”, where a number of frequently asked questions on the seabirds that we have seen so far in our voyage were addressed. As soon as the lecture was finished I grabbed my camera as large groups of dolphins in the hundreds had been spotted. The picture out on deck was fantastic; dolphins breaching all around the vessel, along with gulls, pelicans and boobies flying overhead and feeding on what I presume was a large anchovy school. The concentration of wildlife was simply amazing.

The afternoon was busy indeed, with a presentation entitled “Guano, Politics, Peru and War” offered by our historian Christian Walker. The lecture was very interesting and a perfect way to wrap up concepts and matters discussed in previous days while visiting an important area for the industry of guano. The trivia prepared for the afternoon by our botanist Hans-Peter was also good fun. Later on in the evening, we had the Recap & Briefing during which our Expedition Leader explained the details of the program for tomorrow and the following day. All in all an exciting expedition day!