MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 3 August 2013

Rick Morris: MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer 

Marine Mammals:
Harbour Porpoise 3
Grey Seal 3

Seabirds:
Manx Shearwater
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Kittiwake
Gannet
Guillemot
Razorbill
Shag
Oystercatcher

I was accompanied on this week's crossing by my wife Sharon and we arrived in Ilfracombe on a bright and breezy morning. After popping into the shore office to collect our tickets we made our way to the quayside to board the MS Oldenburg. We were invited onto the bridge by Jerry (captain) who as always, kindly let us leave our bags there.

Cow & Bull Grey SealLeaving the calm of Ilfracombe Harbour, it soon became apparent that cetacean spotting would be a little challenging in the sea state of 4-5. I made my round the outer decks as normal to encourage the passengers to keep a look out as it would still be possible to get close in sightings as well as the seabirds.

Approaching Morte Point I came across six Gannet circling and watching intently beneath them yielded three triangular dorsal fins of Harbour Porpoise. The rest of the crossing was quiet, with seabird numbers low but still a good variety of species seen. Approaching Lundy Island, I observed three Grey Seal just off Rat Island and ten Shag including juveniles on Mouse Island.

Male & Female Grey Seal (Rick Morris)

Meadow PipitUpon disembarking we were greeted by John and took advantage of the offer of a lift to the top in the Land Rover; from here, we made our way along the west side up to Jenny's Cove to see if there were any late Puffin left. None were seen on land suggesting all the chicks had now fledged, but we did see good numbers rafting on the sea. Other wildlife seen on our ramble included Soay sheep, Highland Cattle and ponies - the Sika deer remained elusive. Birds seen on the island were Meadow and Rock Pipit, Skylark, Wheatear, Raven, Carrion Crow, Linnet, chaffinch, House Sparrow and Wren as well as a couple of unidentifiable warblers.

The return journey back to Ilfracombe was again quiet and we arrived back in the Harbour ahead of schedule. We said our farewells to Jerry and the crew and made our way to the recommended fish and chip shop where we enjoyed an excellent locally fresh caught fish and chip tea.
Meadow Pipit (Rick Morris)

Our thanks to 'Oldenburg's' crew, the shore office and to Landmark Trust for supporting MARINElife

Rick Morris, MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer (WLO)