Ilfracombe or Bideford-Lundy

Sightings Archives: March 2012

MARINElife Survey Report: Ilfracombe-Lundy 'MS Oldenburg' 31 March 2012

Posted 02 April 2012

Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher: MARINElife Research Surveyors
Weather: NNW-NE 1-3

Sea Mammals
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 3
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 9
Gannet Morus bassanus 3
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo 1
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 28
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 26
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 22
Common Gull Larus communis 2
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 90
Great Black-Backed Gull Larus marinus 2
Lesser Black-Backed Gull Larus 4
Guillemot Uria aalge 88
Razorbill Alca torda 70
Oystercatcher Haematopus ostralegus 2
Unidentified Gull Sp 8
Unidentified Auk Sp 5

Manx Shearwater 1

As we arrived for the first survey to Lundy in 2012, we were greeted by overcast conditions and slightly more wind than had been characteristic of previous weeks. We were welcomed aboard the Oldenburg by Captain Jerry and also Sophie, one of the wildlife wardens on Lundy for the two hour crossing.

We headed out of Ilfracombe and soon started encountering Herring Gulls along the cliffs and the occasional Fulmar guiding across the sea surface. After around 30 minutes, the seabird sightings began to increase, primarily Guillemots and Razorbills, but also the first Manx Shearwaters arriving back in the area - perhaps some of those that actually nest on Lundy?

 

Sika Deer

There was a fleeting glimpse of two Harbour Porpoise crossing the bow shortly after and an increasing number of Shags in full breeding plumage as we approached Lundy. We disembarked for a couple of hours to explore Lundy, observing the Sika Deer, a hunting Peregrine and many singing Meadow Pipits and Sky Larks before grabbing a bite to eat at the islands pub.

We re-boarded around 3.30pm and were soon heading back through Shags, Guillemots, Razorbills together with small groups of Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes. A Grey Seal not far offshore looked at us as we headed away from Lundy and our final cetacean encounter was another Harbour Porpoise within sight of the north Devon coast.

We thanked the crew of the Oldenburg for another enjoyable survey on this great route across to Lundy and look to the next time.

Adrian Shephard and Thomas Fisher; Research Surveyors for MARINElife