MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Ilfracombe-Lundy 24 May 2014

Annette Dutton; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer
Weather - wind light to variable, sea state calm

Summary of sightings
Cetaceans:
Common Dolphin 2
Harbour Porpoise 1
Grey Seal 1

Seabirds:
Herring Gull
Kittiwake
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Fulmar
Guillemot
Razorbill
Puffin
Cormorant
Gannet
Manx Shearwater

Terrestrial birds:
Wheatear
House Martin
Swallow
Rock Pipit

Soay Sheep Annette Dutton 02We departed from Ilfracombe Harbour on a calm sea in sunshine with a light breeze. I popped up to the Bridge to collect my jacket and to say hello to Jerry, the Captain who told me that there were 216 passengers on board. I found out later that over 100 of them were members of the Arthur Ransome Society on a day trip. 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.

The good conditions stayed with us during the voyage and I saw a couple of Gannet and several auk then as we passed Hartland Point I spotted a Harbour Porpoise in the distance.

Soay Sheep (Annette Dutton)

As we approached Lundy we sailed past a raft of about 40 Manx Shearwater and on arrival at there was a solitary Grey Seal near the rocks and a couple of Oystercathcher flew past.

On the Island it was sunny and warm making the walk up to the village very pleasant. I walked over to the coast path, passing the lighthouse and stopped for lunch overlooking the old Battery before heading over to Jenny's Cove.

The coastal path was littered with Sea Thrift, Bluebells and the air filled with the sound of Skylark and in the fields was a group of Soay Sheep with several young amongst them.

Common Dolphin Rick Morris 01aAt Jenny's Cove several of the passengers were sat enjoying the sunshine and the spectacle of the seabirds on the cliffs. I saw several Puffin in the water along with Guillemot, Razorbill and other seabirds then I spotted more Puffin on the cliff face amongst the Sea Thrift.

It started to rain as we set off for Ilfracombe and before long I saw about 40 Manx Shearwater, auks, and Gannet then further on in the journey a pair of Common Dolphin joined us briefly at the rear of the Oldenburg which pleased the passengers who had not seen any sea mammals all day.

Common Dolphin (Rick Morris)

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

Annette Dutton; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer