Ilfracombe or Bideford-Lundy

Sightings Archives: April 2014

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 26 April 2014

Posted 28 April 2014

Annette Dutton; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer
Weather - South Easterly, Force 5-6, Sea State Rough

Summary of sightings
Marine mammals:
Grey Seal 3

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

Terrestrial Birds:
Swallow
Meadow Pipit

View from OldenburgA stiff breeze greeted us on this crossing which made for good seabird watching conditions. I went up to the Bridge to say hello to Jerry, the Captain then around the decks and introduced myself to the passengers, explaining what MARINElife do and handed out leaflets.

The sea state was a little high but we were still able to spot Gannet and auk then as we were nearing Lundy itself, there were over 100 Manx Shearwater on both sides of the Oldenburg.

We arrived at Lundy and once on dry land spotted a couple of Grey Seals in the water by the rocks near the landing stage.

Soay Sheep_Annette DuttonIt was quite sunny as I walked up to the village but windy so I decided to go up to the Lighthouse and as I approached, I could see the black clouds moving over. I went to the top of the lighthouse and spotted 2 Gannet flying along the west coast of the island. I then walked back to the main track and up to the quarter wall where I saw Highland Cattle before turning back as the rain set in.

Walking back down to the landing sage I saw 2 Gannet flying around the cliff, a lone Manx Shearwater in the bay and 3 Grey Seals by the rocks.

The wind was roaring through the gap at Devil's kitchen and we got buffeted as we walked up to the Oldenburg.

I saw Manx Shearwater, auks, gulls along with regular sighting of Gannet on the journey home.

We arrived back In Ilfracombe and I thanked Gerry and the crew of the Oldenburg for their help and assistance.

MARINElife/Lundy WLO Annette Dutton

MARINElife Research Survey Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy 19 April 2014

Posted 27 April 2014

Simon Hartill and Steve McAusland, Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: Sunny, wind east-northeast, sea state 0-5

Summary of sightings:
Cetaceans
Harbour Porpoise  Phocoena phocoena 3

Seabirds
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 3
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 147
Gannet  Morus bassanus 2
Guillemot  Uria aalge 7
Razorbill  Alca torda 44
Common Tern  Sterna hirundo 6
Herring Gull  Larus argentatus 20
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 3
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 2
Kittiwake   Rissa tridactyla 6

Terrestrial Birds
Whimbrel  Numenius phaeopus 7

Harbour Porpoise Mike Bailey 02aUpon my arrival at Bideford Quay I met up with Steve and Rick Morris who was the WLO on this crossing.  We left the quay in glorious sunshine but an easterly breeze gave a bit of a chill. The short trip down river produced sightings of Oystercatcher and gulls and reaching the sandbar, a small number of Common Tern were seen. We spotted 3 Harbour Porpoise on the 2 hour crossing over to Lundy and good numbers of Manx Shearwater.

 

Harbour Porpoise (Mike Bailey)

Arriving at Lundy we decided to head up to see if we could see the small number of Puffin that had arrived. Along the way we observed a Peregrine soaring over the cliffs. Good numbers of Wheatear were present and Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Swallow were also seen. Looking down into a bay between the 'Battery' and 'Needle Rock', a couple of Gannet were diving to feed and further observation produced an excellent sighting of a Harbour Porpoise. A few Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers were in seen in the Millcombe valley.

Manx Shearwater Peter Howlett 02

Manx Shearwater (Pete Howlett)

Due to the later departure time, a 'round the island' boat trip was arranged and after a warming cup of tea in the Marisco tavern, we made our way down to the landing jetty. Beccy, Lundy's warden, gave an excellent narrative as we made our way around the island, pointing out the Grey Seal that had hauled out as well as features of the island that cannot be seen on land.

Returning back to the landing bay to pick up the rest of the passengers, we made our way back to Bideford. The wind had picked up and this provided more Manx Shearwater sightings as well as bird numbers in general, but alas, no dolphins.

Simon Hartill and Steve McAusland, Research Surveyors for MARINElife

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy 19 April 2014

Posted 23 April 2014

Rick Morris; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer

Marine mammals:
Harbour Porpoise 1

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

Other birds seen at sea:
Whimbrel

Upon my arrival at Bideford Quay I met up with Simon and Steve who were conducting this month's MARINElife survey.

We boarded the MS Oldenburg to be greeted with the familiar, friendly faces of the crew and after a quick visit to the bridge to say hello to Jerry and Brian, I made my out on deck to greet the passengers.

We left the quay in glorious sunshine but a southeasterly breeze gave a bit of a chill. The short trip down river produced sightings of Oystercatcher and gulls and reaching the sandbar, a small number of Common Tern were seen.

Harbour Porpoise Rick Morris 03Once in the channel I was soon picking up lots of vegetation debris, notably some sizable tree branches, one of which was 'moving' and turned out to be a Harbour Porpoise! This was followed by a sighting of 2 Whimbrel heading down channel. The rest of the crossing was fairly quiet, peppered only with small numbers of Manx Shearwater, auks and gulls.

Arriving at Lundy we decided to head up to see if we could see the small number of Puffin that had arrived. Along the way we observed a Peregrine soaring over the cliffs. Good numbers of Wheatear were present and Skylark, Meadow Pipit and Swallow were also seen. Looking down into a bay between the 'Battery' and 'Needle Rock', a couple of Gannet were diving to feed and further observation produced an excellent sighting of a Harbour Porpoise.

Harbour Porpoise (Rick Morris)

After stopping at 'Jenny's Cove' for lunch and without seeing any Puffin, we made our way back along the central path. Island wildlife seen on the way back included the Lundy ponies, Highland Cattle, Sika Deer and a little further on one of the resident Raven was seen feeding.

Raven Feeding

Raven (Rick Morris)

Due to the later departure time, a 'round the island' boat trip was arranged and after a warming cup of tea in the Marisco tavern, we made our way down to the landing jetty. Beccy, Lundy's warden, gave an excellent narrative as we made our way around the island, pointing out the Grey Seal that had hauled out as well as features of the island that cannot be seen on land.

Returning back to the landing bay to pick up the rest of the passengers, we made our way back to Bideford. The wind had picked up and this provided more Manx Shearwater sightings as well as bird numbers in general, but alas, no dolphins.

My thanks as always to Jerry and his crew, the shore office and island staff for all their help and support.

Rick Morris MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer (WLO)

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 12 April 2014

Posted 15 April 2014

Annette Dutton; MARINElife Lundy Wldlife Officer
Weather outgoing - Westerly, Force 3-4, Calm to Moderate
Weather incoming - Westerly, Force 4-5, Moderate

Summary of sightings
Marine mammals:
Common Dolphin  4
Grey Seal  9

Seabirds:
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Kittiwake
Fulmar
Shag
Guillemot
Razorbill
Manx Shearwater

Terrestrial birds:
Blackcap
Swallow
Wheatear

This was my first trip as WLO so I was keen to have lots of sightings. We left Ilfracombe harbour on a dull and cloudy morning with a fair breeze hoping to see the same numbers of cetacean seen recently. I approached the Bridge and introduced myself to the Captain who was very welcoming and let me leave my rucksack for safekeeping.

After the safety information was broadcast I went around the decks and introduced myself to the passengers, explaining what MARINElife do and handed out leaflets.

Initially there were few seabirds about and I was surprised not to see a Gannet but further into the journey I spotted the first of many Manx Shearwater along with various gulls and auks. A solitary Common Dolphin joined us on the starboard side briefly but saw no more on the outward crossing.

Helicopter LundyWe were then advised by the Captain that one of the rescue helicopters from RAF Chivenor would be joining us to perform an exercise. The helicopter came very close to the Oldenburg and discharged one of the crew then collected a bag which the Captain said was full of pasties - I was not sure whether or not to believe him. The passengers were absolutely thrilled by the event.

As we approached Lundy 9 Grey Seal were hauled out on the rocks near the landing stage.

I made my way over to Jenny's Cove but it was very windy and I struggled to identify the seabirds on the rocks. Walking back to the landing stage I saw 2 Grey Seal swimming in the bay.

The return journey didn't have the same drama but I saw increased numbers of Manx Shearwater and then at last the arrival of 4 Common Dolphin swimming alongside the port side of the vessel for several minutes which caused great joy amongst the passengers.

We arrived back In Ilfracombe and I thanked the Captain and crew of the Oldenburg for their help and assistance.

MARINElife/Lundy Wildlife Officer, Annette Dutton 

MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy-Ilfracombe 5 April 2014

Posted 07 April 2014

Rick Morris; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer

Summary of sightings

Marine mammals:
Common Dolphin 30+
Harbour Porpoise 3

Seabirds:
Herring Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Arctic Tern
Common Tern
Gannet
Kittiwake
Fulmar
Shag
Guillemot
Razorbill
Manx shearwater

Terrestrial birds:
Swallow

Upon my arrival at Bideford Quay, I met up with MARINElife volunteer Libby Abbott for this our first sailing of 2014 on Lundy's very own ship, the MS Oldenburg.

We were welcomed on board by the familiar friendly crew and greeted onto the bridge by Jerry, Oldenburg's captain. Here we organised ourselves and made our way to the outer decks to interact with the passengers explaining how as MARINElife wildlife officers we on board to offer help and guidance on any marine wildlife encountered.

Common Dolphin Rick Morris 01

Common Dolphin (Rick Morris)

A short journey down the river Torridge soon found us in the Bristol Channel with southwesterly winds producing a sea state of 4 to 5. Seabird sightings were a little sporadic with gulls being the most common. There were reports of a Sandwich Tern in the area, but we didn't see it, although an Arctic Tern and a few Common Tern were seen. A single Gannet caught my eye as it prepared to dive down and at the same time a brief view of the back and small triangular dorsal fin of a Harbour Porpoise popped up.

We were just over the halfway point of the trip when Libby spotted two Common Dolphin heading straight for us on the port side, these were part of a larger group of around 20+ animals and to the delight of the passengers, played in the bow and stern wake waves for a good few minutes.

Manx Shearwater Rick Morris 03Arriving on Lundy, we made our way up to the top hoping to take in the views and maybe see the newly released puffins at Gannets Bay, but alas, the island was cloaked in heavy mist and so we settled into the Marisco Tavern for a welcome cup of tea and lunch.

The return crossing was much more productive for seabirds, with good numbers of Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake, Guillemot and Razorbill seen. Libby also pointed out a lone Swallow heading to the mainland.

Manx Shearwater (Rick Morris)

We were within 10 minutes of arriving at Ilfracombe when we were again joined by around 10 Common Dolphin to the delight of everyone and as these disappeared behind us, two Harbour porpoise were seen leisurely swimming very close to the shore.

This was the first WLO trip of 2014 and a very productive one for wildlife and we would like to thank Jerry and his crew for their help and support.

Rick Morris MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer