North Seymour Island

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North Seymour, Galapagos, Land Iguana

North Seymour (Spanish: Isla Seymour Norte) is a small island near to Baltra Island in the Galapagos Islands. It was formed by uplift of a submarine lava formation. The whole island is covered with low, bushy vegetation.

The island is named after an English nobleman, Lord Hugh Seymour. It has an area of 1.9 square kilometres (0.73 sq mi) and a maximum altitude of 28 metres (92 ft). This island is home to a large population of blue-footed boobies and swallow-tailed gulls. It hosts one of the largest populations of frigatebirds Fregata magnificens and a slow growing population of the Galapagos land iguana (Conolophus subcristatus).

North Seymour has a visitor trail approximately 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) in length crossing the inland of the island and exploring the rocky coast.

One of the most famous birds found in the Galapagos are the Blue-footed Booby that are found on North Seymour.

The stock for the captive breeding program of the Galapagos Land Iguana is descended from iguanas which Captain G. Allan Hancock translocated from nearby Baltra Island to North Seymour Island in the 1930s. This was very important because Baltra Island during World War 2 was populated by airplane base by the U.S. Military versus North Seymour which has no people who live on it and is only viewable today with a person guide who works for the Galapagos National Park.

North Seymour was created by seismic uplift, rather than being of volcanic origin. The island has a flat profile with cliffs only a few meters from the shoreline, where swallowtail gulls and tropicbirds sit perched in ledges. A tiny forest of silver-grey Palo Santo trees stand just above the landing, usually without leaves, waiting for rain to bring them into bloom. The island is teeming with life. While visiting the island, one may have to give way to a passing sea lion or marine iguana. Flocks of pelicans and swallow-tailed gulls feed off shore, and seasonally, Nazca boobies can also be seen.

North Seymour is an extraordinary place for breeding birds, and is home to one of the largest populations of nesting blue-footed boobies and magnificent frigate birds. Pairs of blue-footed boobies can be seen conducting their mating ritual as they offer each other gifts, whistle and honk, stretch their necks towards the sky, spread their wings, and dance—showing off their bright blue feet. Magnificent Frigatebirds perch in low bushes, near the boobies, while watching over their large chicks. The frigates are huge, dark aerobats with a 90-inch (2.3 m) wingspan. Male frigates can puff up their scarlet throat sacks to resemble giant red balloons. Boobies and frigates have an interesting relationship. Boobies are excellent hunters and fish in flocks. The frigates by comparison are pirates, they dive bomb the boobies to force them to drop their prey. Then, the aerobatic frigate swoops down and picks up the food before it hits the water.

Vegetation and terrain in the dry season

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Coordinates: 0°23′29″S 90°17′03″W / 0.3915°S 90.2841°W / -0.3915; -90.2841