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  Weather and Fauna Calendar
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January

  • Land birds start nesting, generally after the first rain
  • The green sea turtles arrive on the beaches to lay their eggs
  • Land iguanas begin reproductive cycles

February

  • The highest water temperature reaches 25C (77F). This temperature remains constant until April
  • Greater flamingos start nesting
  • Bahama pintail ducks (Black-tailed pintail) start their breeding season
  • Nazca (masked) boobies on Hood are at the end of their nesting season
  • Marine iguanas begin to nest and are often found around (and in!) the hotel as they search for suitable nesting sites.
  • Very few penguins are sighted around Puerto Villamil as most have followed the cool waters to the northen part of Isabela
  • Nesting season of the Galapagos dove reaches its peak

March

  • The rainy season reaches the highest precipitation (this does not mean it rains everyday) and air temp and humidity is high
  • Marine iguanas nest on Fernandina.
  • March 21st, the beginning of the summer equinox signals the arrival of the waved albatross to Española.
  • Some shores, especially those facing the north side, can receive deep surge (ola de fondo) coming from the northern currents.

April

  • Massive arrival of waved albatrosses to Española and their amazing courtship rituals start.
  • End of hatching season of the giant tortoises
  • Eggs of green sea turtles begin to hatch
  • Eggs of land iguanas hatch on Isabela
  • While the rains have ended, the islands are still quite green
  • Perhaps, together with May, the best months in Galapagos (weather, animals, water temperature)

May

  • North Seymour's blue-footed boobies begin their courtship
  • Sea turtles are still hatching on Gardner Bay, Punta Cormorant, and Puerto Egas
  • Most of marine iguanas' eggs hatch from nests on Santa Cruz
  • Palo santo trees begin to shed their foliage
  • Waved albatross on Española start laying their eggs
  • Rumped storm petrels begin their first nesting period

June

Cold/Dry Season (From June through November)
Air Temperature: Average air temperature in June is 25.2°C ( 77°F ), while in November is 24.4°C ( 76°F ). Peak month is September with 23.1°C ( 74°F ). Humidity fluctuates between 35% - 60%.
Water Temperature: Average surface water temperature in June is 23.3°C ( 74°F ), while in November is 22.8°C ( 73°F ). Peak month is September with 21.6°C (70°F). Visibility of the water ranges from 15 to 50 feet. In unusually dry years (like La Niña years) waters can even reach 16°C (61°F). Wetsuits are advised for snorkeling and can be hired locally for $5 per day.
Precipitation (rainfall): ranges only from 35 mm (June) to 13 mm (November), with its peak dry at 9.9 mm (September).
This season is very untropical: dry, windy, barren. There's hardly any rain, but the islands may seem somewhat moist as an early mist called "garua" covers the sky. Usually this layer of fine drizzle burns off by mid morning. The seas are strong with choppy waters (especially shores that face West and South) due to the active presence of the south east trade winds.
Biological implications: Due to the change in ocean currents, where the Cromwell (Equatorail counter current) predominates, plankton rich waters rise throughout Galapagos. All species which are dependent on the ocean's productivity thrive and reproduce during this season. This includes all marine life and sea birds.

  • Giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island migrate from the highlands to the lowlands in search of suitable nesting places
  • Beginning of the nesting season of giant tortoises
  • Many red pouches can be seen on the male magnificent frigatebirds at Brattle Island as they search for a mate.
  • Southern migrants have started their journey towards the north. Galapagos is a rest stop for such birds. Some species of cetaceans also follow this pattern of migration.
  • Some groups of Humpback whales that migrate up to equatorial latitudes along the coast of Ecuador can sometimes be seen around the Galapagos.
   
     
 

July

  • Sea bird communities are very active (breeding), especially the Blue footed boobies on Española. Flightless cormorants perform beautiful courtship rituals and nesting activities on Fernandina.
  • American oyster catchers start nesting along the shorelines.
  • Lava lizards initiate mating rituals until November
  • Cetaceans (whales & dolphins) are more likely to be observed, especially off the western coast of Isabela
  • Great month to see the four stages of nesting in Blue footed boobies: eggs, chicks and juveniles.

August

  • Galapagos hawks begin courting
  • Nazca (masked) boobies and Swallow-tailed gulls begin to nest
  • Migrant shore birds start to arrive, and stay on the islands until March
  • Giant tortoises return to the highlands
  • Pupping season (births) of sea lions has started. Western and central islands are common places for such sightings.

September

  • Peak of the cold (garúa) season
  • Galapagos Penguins show remarkable activity: awkward and clumsy on land but torpedo-like while underwater.
  • Sea lions are very active. Females have reached estrus stage, and so harem-gathering males are constantly barking and fighting. Shore fighting is heavy.
  • Most species of sea birds remain quite active at their nesting sites.

October

  • Lava herons start nesting until March
  • The Galapagos Fur Sea lions begin their mating period
  • Blue footed boobies raise their chicks. Two young are always born, but the weaker is pushed out of the nest and left to die!
  • Giant tortoises are still laying eggs
  • Sunrises in the west can be quite beautiful after the garúa covers only certain locations of the western volcanoes.

November

  • Pupping of sea lions continue.
  • Sea lions are sexually active on the eastern part of the archipelago.
  • Breeding season for the brown noddies
  • Some species of jellyfish can be seen around the islands. The genus Physalia is commonly seen floating around.
  • Band-rumped storm petrels begin their second nesting period
  • Generally great weather due to transition between one season and the next one. Not too hot nor too cold. Good underwater visibility

December

Hot/Rainy Season (From December through May)
Air Temperature: Average air temperature in December is 25.4°C ( 77°F ), while in May is 26.8°C ( 80°F ). Peak month is March with 29.1°C ( 84°F ). Humidity fluctuates between 65% - 80%.
Water Temperature: Average surface water temperature in December is 23.2°C ( 74°F ), while in May is 24.5°C ( 76°F ). Peak month is March with 25.5°C (78°F). Visibility of the water ranges from 30 to 80 feet. In unusually warm years (like El Niño years) waters can even reach 29°C (84°F).
Precipitation (rainfall): ranges from 38 mm (December) to 62 mm (May), with its peak rainy at 87 mm (March).
Overall pattern: while this season is the one that gives rain to the islands, it should not be sold as the "rainy" season. Tropical showers are not too overwhelming, and a typical day may include a shower or two that will only last for an hour or so. There are times where for a whole week not a raindrop is experienced. The ocean is generally calm due to the absence of the south east trade winds.
Biological implications: all species which are land-based (like finches, mockingbirds, lizards, land iguanas, tortoises) will reproduce at this time of the year since there are plenty of food sources available: plants for insects, seeds for finches, flowers for iguanas, etc.

  • Hatching of giant tortoise's eggs begins and lasts until April
  • Green sea turtles display their mating behavior
  • The rainy season begins, all of the plants of the dry zone produce leaves. Galapagos becomes "green"
  • The first young waved albatrosses fledge
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Hotel Albemarle . S/N En Malécon . Puerto Villamil . Isla Isabela . Galapagos . Ecuador