Sunday, June 20, 2010

June Program Summary

Bill Page Tells Us About The Galapagos Islands.
Our June program was Bill Page, giving us a close-up look at the Galapagos Islands. We were expecting to see lots of birds, but learned much more. Bill talked about how the Islands were originally volcanoes, with some islands older than others. He also showed the various climate zones on the islands that are so visible even in short distances. Bill talked about why the ocean currents made these islands special, carrying some animals clinging to driftwood all the way from the mainland to this isolated group of islands over 600 miles from the coast of Ecuador. Many birds probably got to the islands by being blown along with storms. For some of the animals, there are no natural predators in this habitat and it is speculated that they have evolved accordingly.

Bill showed some incredible pictures of birds—blue-footed boobies, a heron, pelicans and frigate birds as they puffed their red chests and as they stole fish from the pelicans. There were even penguins frisking about. He talked about Darwin’s famous study of the finches and showed pictures of some of them, pointing out the differences to us.

However, Bill had photographed several other interesting types of animals. The Galapagos Islands are famous for the giant turtles that have always been fighting for their existence, usually threatened by humans. We saw a picture of “Lonesome George” the last turtle of his particular subspecies in the world. There were sea lions and Bill’s story of a too-close encounter with a particularly big one. The lava rocks make great homes (and backgrounds) for the large marine iguanas and the colorful Sally Lightfoot Crabs.

Bill Page obviously has a tremendous enthusiasm for photography and the subjects of his photos. Although the cameras are heavy, he (and his wife) carry two of them with different lenses. Thank you, Bill!! You are a master photographer and teacher and, in such a short time, we learned so much about the Galapagos Islands and their inhabitants.

No comments: