MARINElife Survey Report: Ilfracombe-Lundy 'MS Oldenburg' 20th April 2013

Sue Lakeman and Ian Denty; Researchers for MARINElife
Weather: Sunny; Wind: Light, Variable; Sea State: 2

Marine Mammals
Common Dolphin  Delphinus delphis 2

Fulmar  Fulmarus glacialis  8
Manx Shearwater  Puffinus puffinus  61
Gannet  Morus bassanus  4
Cormorant  Phalacrocorax carbo  3
Shag  Phalacrocorax aristotelis  35
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus  38
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 22
Kittiwake  Rissa tridactyla  9
'Commic' Tern Sterna hirundo/paradisea 2
Guillemot  Uria aalge  139
Razorbill  Alca torda  44
Gull sp. 11
Auk sp. 153

Terrestrial birds
Swallow Hirundo rustica 3
Hirundinidae sp. 1

Manx Shearwater Peter Howlett 03Greeted by bright sunshine we arrived early at the Lundy Ferry terminal in Ilfracombe, especially Ian, keen to start his first trip with MARINElife. The usual warm welcome from the shore staff and crew saw us soon on the bridge of the MS Oldenburg to begin our survey, with seas much calmer than could have been expected after the windy week before.

Guillemot and Razorbill were our main species on a fairly quiet outbound journey, as we sailed toward Lundy rising out of the mist.  As we met the bank of fog surrounding the island, visibility temporarily reduced, but we found that numerous Shag and Manx Shearwater were sitting on the water in the fog - possibly unaware that bright sunshine was only a few metres away. Passing through the narrow bank we arrived to find the island bathed in sunshine.


Osprey Sue Lakeman 01As we climbed up to the village, a single Grey Seal was lounging in the bay. The island was alive with Wheatear, pipits and Skylark, the latter filling the air with their uplifting song as we were entertained by the spring lambs. We had hoped to spot the Merlin reported by others on Lundy that day, but instead were delighted to see an Osprey soaring overhead - a rare treat!

Still calm and sunny for the return journey, we were soon recording more Manx Shearwater skimming the waves and many Guillemot and Razorbill, although no Puffin were seen. Two Common Dolphin made a fleeting appearance at the bow, spotted by the Captain, but were gone as soon as they surfaced - frustrating when conditions were very good for spotting them. We were kept busy with the seabirds, however, adding Gannet and Fulmar to our list, as well as a couple of Swallow.

Delivered safely delivered back to Ilfracombe under the watch of Damien Hirst's striking 22m statue, we extended our thanks to Captain Gerry and his crew for another comfortable and enjoyable trip.

Sue Lakeman and Ian Denty, Research Surveyors for MARINElife