Posted by: danielfee | December 22, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: Surprise 12-22-2012

Lava Heron eating Darwin Finch - Galapagos Islands

Lava Heron eating Darwin Finch – Galapagos Islands

The biggest surprise that we have encountered on our travels was during our trip to the Galapagos Islands. We had just walked from one side of Espanola Island to the other and as soon as we hit the shore, a Lava Heron swooped in and grabbed a Darwin Finch. It is a rare surprise to catch nature in action. As the rest of our group caught up, we pointed out what was happening. We all stood around taking photos, and I caught the episode on video, while the Lava Heron first drowned the finch in the tidal pool and then swallowed it whole. It wasn’t until later that evening, back on ship, that we learned just how big of a surprise this was. One of our fellow passengers was the former director of the Charles Darwin Research Center. Over cocktails I was telling him what we had seen and he responded that Lava Heron don’t eat finches; it is not part of their diet. I asked if he wanted to see the video, as if I didn’t know the answer to that question. After watching the video, his response was that nature in the Galapagos continues to evolve and to please send him a copy of the video so he could use it for his classes.



  1. the way life goes i guess
    .•*¨*•.♪♫♫♪Wishing you a safe and very Happy Holidays.♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸

  2. amazing when you get to witness something like that AND to capture the moment as well – well done and thankx for sharing!

  3. How smug we can be thinking we know everything about our fellow creatures and how humbled to find out we really don’t.
    I find this absolutely fascinating – not only because it probably was a deviation from the heron’s normal diet but the fact that the heron knew how to most effectively kill the finch before consuming it. Thanks for sharing this story.
    BTW, those crabs (?) are a most remarkable color!!

    • Thanks, if you scroll back through my photos of the day you will find a few close ups of the Sally Lightfoot crabs. They are pretty cool.
      It might be a deviation or it could be evolution based on a change in the food chain of the Galapagos. Whichever it is we were lucky to see it and get it on film.

  4. you should get a citation for that ‘new’ discovery, 😉 Happy Holidays!!!

    • I agree 🙂 Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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