Islas Ballestas

The last day of June was a warm but overcast winter’s day as we departed from Paracas in southern Peru on a speedy launch for the Islas Ballestas – sometimes called the Poor Man’s Galapagos. We traveled under the expert care of Jean-Paul from Ecologistica Peru. The Ballestas are a group of bird islands in the cool Humboldt Current that sweeps up the Pacific coast of South America from southern Chile. The islands are farmed for guano despite their protected status, and they are literally teaming with birds. The main species are the white-breasted Guanay Cormorants (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii), the strikingly beautiful Red-legged Cormorants (Phalacrocorax gaimardi), majestic and hungry Peruvian Pelicans (Pelecanus thagus), exquisite Inca Terns (Larosterna inca), and the irresistible Humboldt Penguins (Spheniscus humboldti). See examples of these species below – including an animation of a Humboldt Penguin jumping.

Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti) Islas Ballestas, Peru. June

Humboldt Penguin (Spheniscus humboldti)
Islas Ballestas, Peru. June

Nice take off but he lost a few points on the landing!

Red-legged Cormorants (Phalacrocorax gaimardi). Islas Ballestas, Peru. June.

Red-legged Cormorants (Phalacrocorax gaimardi). Islas Ballestas, Peru. June.

Peruvian Pelicans (Pelecanus thagus) in front of thousands of Guanay Cormorants (Phalacrocorax bougainvillea). Islas Ballestas. Peru. June

Peruvian Pelicans (Pelecanus thagus) in front of thousands of Guanay Cormorants (Phalacrocorax bougainvillea). Islas Ballestas. Peru. June 

Inca Tern (Larosterna inca).  Islas Ballestas. Peru. June

Inca Tern (Larosterna inca). Islas Ballestas. Peru. June

Guanay Cormorants (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii). Islas Ballestas. Peru. June

Guanay Cormorants (Phalacrocorax bougainvillii). Islas Ballestas. Peru. June

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