MARINElife Research Survey Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy 17 May 2014

Rick Morris and Annie Jenkin: Research Surveyors for MARINElife
Weather: variable light wind sea state 1-2 occasional glare

Cetaceans:
Common Dolphin Delphinus delphis 56+
Harbour Porpoise Phocoena phocoena 13
Grey Seal Halichoerus grypus 1

Seabirds:
Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis 2
Manx Shearwater Puffinus puffinus 162
Gannet Morus bassanus 8
Shag Phalacrocorax aristotelis 6
Herring Gull Larus argentatus 134
Great Black-backed Gull  Larus marinus 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull Larus fuscus 1
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla 1
Guillemot Uria aalge 189
Razorbill Alca torda 42
Commic Tern sterna hirundo/paradisaea 4

Terrestrial birds at sea:
Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus 2
Swallow Hirundo rustica 5

After picking up my co-researcher, we made our way to Bideford for this month's survey, here we met Carol Farmer-wright who had kindly volunteered to cover the wildlife officer role.

Harbour Porpoise Rick Morris 01We boarded the 'Oldenburg' in glorious sunshine and made ourselves ready for the survey. Our expectations for cetaceans were high, but as there was very little wind, seabird numbers were relatively low, we did however record 5 Harbour Porpoise before reaching Lundy.

Upon our arrival, Annie and I made our way up to the Marisco Tavern where we met Carol and enjoyed a nice 'cuppa' before heading up to Jenny's cove to see the Puffins. During our walkabout we encountered Skylark, Meadow and Rock Pipit, Redstart, Wren, Wheatear, Raven, Sedge Warbler, Pied Wagtail, Swift and also saw the Lundy ponies and Highland Cattle.

Harbour Porpoise (Rick Morris)

Guilllemot Line_Rick MorrisThere was a 'round the island' boat trip planned for 2.45pm, so we headed down to the landing bay via the Tavern for another 'cuppa'. The trip proved to be the best one yet with plenty of Guillemot, Razorbill, Kittiwake and Puffin, but the highlight was two pods of dolphins in close proximity of each
other clearly feeding, the first pod were Common Dolphin and the second were Bottlenose Dolphin, unfortunately these are not recorded as the round the island trip is not part of the monthly transect line we follow!

Guillemot (Rick Morris)

Feeling quite content with the sightings we had already seen, we headed back to the landing stage to pick up the rest of the passengers and made our way back to Bideford. It wasn't long before we were recording greater numbers of seabirds and then to our delight, 56+ Common Dolphin from a few groups were seen over many minutes followed by some frequent Harbour Porpoise sightings.

Common Mother & Calf_Rick MorrisWe reached the sand bar at the mouth of the Torridge and Taw estuary and had to wait for the tide to come in enough for us to proceed up the river to reach our birth, so we ended our survey and went out on deck for a chat with Carol and some of the passengers to re-cap about the wonderful days sightings.

Reaching the mooring in Bideford, we said our thanks to Jerry and his crew and made our way home.

Our thanks to Jerry, the crew and staff on Lundy and the shore office for the continued help and support.

Common Dolphin (Rick Morris)

Rick Morris and Annie Jenkin: Research Surveyors for MARINElife