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20/10/2016 Wildlife facts

What to see in October

Many tour operators consider September and October to be low season months, so during this period tourism in Galapagos decreases. This is not to say,however, there is a decrease in wildlife activity.

Photograph of Jenny Vidler

Jenny Vidler

Former Communications & Membership Assistant at Galapagos Conservation Trust

Many cruise boats lower their prices in order to attract more passengers on board, which means it is a fantastic time for visitors who can make it over that time of the year, as there is always an abundance of animals to see year round in Galapagos. The air temperature is a minimum of 20 degrees and a maximum of 26 with an average rainfall of just 0.25 inches in the highlands. The water temperature around Galapagos is beginning to warm up again, and stands at around 23 degrees. You may want to take a 5mm wetsuit if you are planning on snorkelling for long periods of time.

From June to December, the southern tradewinds bring the colder Humboldt Current north to the Galapagos. Therefore the water is cooler. Days are not always sunny and rains can be expected in most locations except the western islands where most days have a misty start, and sunrises in the west are often very bright and beautiful. Low-lying fog covers the shoreline at day-break but summits are clear. Winds are usually strong and shore birds can be seen gliding overhead, taking advantage of the breeze.

©Kate Green

Nazca booby ©Kate Green

Blue-footed, red-footed and Nazca boobies nest across the islands throughout October, as well as waved albatross and great and magnificent frigate birds. California sea lions and fur seals also start their breeding cycle at this time of year with males challenging each other to duels on the beaches in order to win the harem. Flightless cormorants, penguins and greater flamingos breed and nest year round, but October is a great month to see them as feeding has lessened and they spend more time at their nests.

©Kate Green

Flightless cormorant ©Ian Dunn

The Humboldt Current continues to flow strongly, pushing nutrients towards the shores of the islands, making snorkelling great in October with the common addition of curious sea lion pups joining snorkelers. Dolphin and whale spotting during this time is common, especially on the crossing between Fernandina and Isabela island in the deep channel.

To learn more about the Galapagos wildlife mentioned, head over to our wildlife profile pages and our educational sister website Discovering Galapagos.

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