MARINElife Survey Report: Ilfracombe-Lundy 'MS Oldenburg' 12th October 2013

Maggie Gamble and Ruth Griffith, MARINElife Research Surveyors
Weather: Sunny, wind east-northeast, sea state 3-5

Cetaceans:
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena  4
Common Dolphin  Delphinus delphis  7

Seabirds:
Common Scoter   Melanitta nigra 2
Gannet  Morus bassanus 70
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 4
Skua sp. 1
Arctic Skua Stercorarius parasiticus   1
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 4
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 7
Black-headed Gull  Chroicocephalus ridibundus 3
Kittiwake   Rissa tridactyla      5
Guillemot  Uria aalge   33
Razorbill  Alca torda  5
Auk Sp.   20

Harbour PorpoiseWe received our usual warm welcome aboard the Oldenburg in somewhat blustery conditions to commence this month's survey to Lundy Island and sailed promptly at 10am. Most of the passengers were people going out to stay on the Island plus a few hardy day trippers. After a fairly quiet trip out sightings wise we had a pair of Harbour Porpoise just in front of the boat as we neared Lundy.

After landing at Lundy (the crew made it look easy in somewhat challenging conditions) we tackled the "north face" of the Old Light which is guaranteed to warm you up. The reward is a stupendous view over the Island and all of a sudden the sky cleared and the sun appeared. Then it was down to the Marisco Tavern for a light lunch with the added bonus of live music as it was the end of the Lundy Folk week and they were returning on the Oldenburg with us.

Harbour Porpoise (Tom Brereton)

Common Dolphin Peter Howlett 04After this musical interlude we returned to the Oldenburg for the second leg of the survey. Also on board for the return trip were some bird ringers who had spent ten days on the Island.  The return leg conditions were much improved and a few more birds were visible. About an hour out from Lundy we received a brief but very welcome visit by a small group of Common Dolphins.

Approaching the Devon Coast feeding Gannets were seen over a large area along with some more sightings of Harbour Porpoise.

Common Dolphin (Pete Howlett)

The Oldenburg is a wonderful vessel for surveying, a big thank you to all for allowing us aboard.

Maggie Gamble and Ruth Griffith; MARINElife Research Surveyors