Ilfracombe or Bideford-Lundy

Sightings Archives: June 2013

MARINElife WLO Report: Bideford-Lundy-Ilfracombe 'MS Oldenburg' 29th June 2013

Posted 02 July 2013

Rick Morris MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer

Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 2
Unidentified Dolphin Species c6

Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Manx Shearwater

Puffins in flightUpon my arrival in Bideford, I popped into the shore office to receive my boarding ticket and then proceeded to board the charismatic 'MS Oldenburg', where I received a friendly welcome by the crew. We slipped our mooring on the river Torridge in Bideford and I then made my way around the decks, introducing myself to the passengers to encourage them to look out for various marine wildlife we may encounter. The river section was fairly quite (apart from the resident gulls and ducks) due to lots of weekend leisure activities. Entering Bristol Channel, we soon started to see Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Fulmar and Auks and around half way through the crossing we were picking up the odd Gannet and good numbers of Manx Shearwater, with the seabird highlight of two Puffin close off the starboard side.

Around 11:15, I observed some very distant splashing with lots of Manx Shearwater and gull activity overhead. I encouraged the passengers in earshot to keep looking under the birds for possible dolphins, but as this 'feeding' activity stayed distant, it proved difficult unless observed through binoculars. I did see a couple of dorsal fins though and although I am sure they were Common Dolphin, I cannot be certain so noted them as unidentified Dolphin species. Half an hour later saw another group of mixed seabirds excitedly circling and stooping down to the surface, keeping a watchful eye on this produced a sighting of two Harbour Porpoise.

Grey Seal LundyArriving at Lundy Island I made the customary walk up to the top of the island, taking in some breath taking views along the way together with sightings of Raven, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Wheatear and Linnet. I never made it as far as Jenny's cove (meeting with Lundy's management) to watch the puffin's, but still had time to explore the south of the island.

We departed Lundy shortly after 4pm with a sea mist rolling in making observation a little challenging, but still we had regular sightings of Gannet, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Auks and Gulls.

Arriving at Ilfracombe, I thanked Jerry and his crew for their help and assistance and made my way to catch the coach back to Bideford, engaging in conversation about our trip with some of the passengers.

This is a truly rewarding position and I encourage our volunteers to consider applying for this opportunity.

MARINElife Lundy WLO Rick Morris