MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy 3 May 2014

Rick Morris MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer (WLO)

Summary of sightings
Marine Mammals:
Harbour Porpoise 3
Common Dolphin 2
Grey Seal 25

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

Other birds seen at sea:
Black-tailed Godwit
Swallow

Island
Wildlife sightings:
Soay Sheep
Highland Cattle
Sika Deer
Feral Goat
Lundy Pony
Meadow Pipit
Rock Pipit
Skylark
Wheatear
Linnet
Raven
Merlin 

MARINElife's Conservation Science Manager, Rachel Davies, accompanied me on the journey to Bideford where we met up with Jo Stewart-Smith. Jo is a film producer in the process of making six short documentary films about those whose lives revolve around fishing and working boats in North Devon and wanted to do a piece on marine wildlife and Lundy.

After a quick bridge visit to say hello to Jerry and Brian, I made my way round the decks to greet the passengers.

Greys_Rick MorrisThe journey down the river Torridge was quiet until we got to the sandbar, here a couple of Common Tern were seen as well as mixed gulls. Around half an hour out in the Channel a passenger alerted us to a 'fin' and this turned out to be a Harbour Porpoise. Bird numbers were fairly low, probably due to the light easterly wind, although I did note 7 Black-tailed Godwit heading south toward land around the halfway point.

We were met at the landing stage on Lundy by Beccy (the island warden), who walked with us up to Marisco's tavern. We sat outside for lunch and this gave Jo a chance to talk to Beccy about the island. We decided to walk up to Jenny's cove to see if the Puffin were there and we were not disappointed, as we could see a raft of 40+ below us on the sea as well as Guillemot, Razorbill and Kittiwake. Also seen on the steep slopes that fall into the bay were Soay Sheep and feral Goat.

Grey Seals (Rick Morris)

We made our way down to join the 'Oldenburg' for a round the island trip, seeing Lundy Pony, Highland Cattle and Sika Deer on the way. The trip around the island produced excellent views of Grey Seal and a sighting of 2 Common Dolphin. Oystercatcher, Puffin, Razorbill, Guillemot, Shag, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Fulmar and gulls were also seen. After coming round the North end, we were watching the high rocks on the east side for Peregrine Falcon, when I spotted a Merlin.

Razors_Rick Morris

Razorbill (Rick Morris)

After returning to the landing bay to pick up the passengers going home, we made our way back to Bideford. Seabird numbers were much higher with notably high numbers of Razorbill, but the highlight for me was of a lone Great Skua. We also had two separate brief sightings of individual Harbour Porpoise around mid-channel.

A quiet run up river soon found us moored up where we said our thanks and farewells to Jerry and the crew.

My thanks to the 'Oldenburg' crew, shore staff and all on Lundy for the continued help and support.

Rick Morris MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer (WLO)