MARINElife Wildlife Officer Report ‘MS Oldenburg’ Bideford-Lundy 31 May 2014

Steve McAusland; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer

Cetaceans:
Common Dolphin 20
Harbour Porpoise 3
Grey Seal 21

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

Terrestrial birds:
Woodchat Shrike
Water Pipit
Rock Pipit
Meadow Pipit
Wheatear
Starling
Raven
House Sparrow
Wood Pigeon
House Martin
Swallow
Linnet
Robin
Blackbird
Dunnock
Oystercatcher
Chiffchaff
Skylark
Wren

Common Dolphin Adrian Shephard 01aArriving in Bideford at 07.15am it already felt warm and I was optimistic for a fabulous day of weather and the day didn't disappoint as the sun shone all day with the temperature in the 70's. After boarding the MS Oldenburg I made my way up on to the bridge to meet Jerry the captain and after collecting the essential items for the trip (MARINElife leaflets, binoculars and my camera) I started my tour around the upper and lower decks introducing myself to the passengers. Many of them were very interested in the work of MARINElife and took a leaflet with a view to visiting the website and to hopefully support the charity in the future.

Common Dolphin (Adrian Shephard)

The outward passage gave me an opportunity to point out three Harbour Porpoise off the starboard side, quickly followed by four Common Dolphin off the port side; these were followed later by a pod of a further 12 Common Dolphin. Birds of note were Manx Shearwater gliding effortlessly over the water, a diving Gannet and many Guillemot and Razorbill rafting as the ship passed them by. The usual gulls were seen along with Kittiwake and Fulmar.

Guillemot Peter Howlett 01As the Oldenburg made its way slowly towards the landing bay I had sight of a distant black and white bird resting on the rocks, the binoculars soon confirmed it was a Black Guillemot and a great start to the island's bird list. Soon everyone disembarked and began to make their way up to the higher levels. My planned route was to take in the southern coastal footpaths along and past the old battery and then on towards halfway wall and lunch overlooking Jenny's cove. Here I met assistant warden Chloe who was helping many of the visitors with locating the Puffins. After lunch; I made my way back to the jetty in time for the around the island trip aboard the Oldenburg.

Guillemots (Pete Howlett)

Whilst walking back the island's Sika Deer were running around in many directions. Other animals seen were the usual sheep - some obviously posing for 'Aah' photo's, Lundy ponies, wild goats and a single rabbit which is in fact the first rabbit I've ever seen on Lundy.

Grey Seal Steve McAusland 01The around the island tour was made even more interesting as we had a commentary by local guide Simon. Many of the ledges were covered in Guillemot, Razorbill and a few Puffin, the rocks had Kittiwake and Shag and all the usual gulls were observed. Grey Seals were sighted both in the water and on the rocks, as we approached Jenny's Cove the whole area had a good number of Guillemot and Razorbill rafting and to everyone's delight I soon had some of the passengers along with some of the ships company on to Lundy's famous Puffins. These small birds are always a pleasure to see either on the water or on land. Sadly all my photos were either too far away or blurred!

Grey Seals (Steve McAusland)

The crossing back to Bideford was calm again with the same birds being seen along the way.

Steve McAusland; MARINElife Lundy Wildlife Officer